Social can be Anti-Social

Social networking sites are hot right now – especially for teens and pre-teens. Predators know this and flock to these social network sites. They come to social network sites not necessarily to start off chatting but to look through profiles and find their perfect victims.

Online precautions for parents should and must limit their children’s participation in social networking. What’s even more crucial than overseeing their chatting is monitoring the profiles your children place on the Web.

Millions of youngsters of all ages give away all sorts of personal information on these social networking sites. MySpace is a very good example. Parents who take all sorts of precautions about watching who their children date locally, what time they get home, what they watch on television and who they play with don’t take similar precautions about their kids’ online activity. They know they’re home safe in their room. What could happen, right?

What could happen – and does happen – is that some predator sees your child’s profile, puts their own totally fraudulent profile out there or starts an online conversation that misrepresents themselves as another teen with similar interests and starts and online relationship.

What then happens all too often is the relationship blossoms to the point that the child throws their online precautions to the wind, lies to their parents, and meets the predator in person. Children get raped, brutalized and sometimes die because of the lack of online precautions by the child and their parents.

Typically an online predator will say he or she is about 20 years old – which makes them cool but still young enough to be a friend who understands the child considerably better than her or his own parents do.

This predator could take six months conversing with the child online before suggesting a meeting. By this time your youngster thinks she or he is meeting a friend, not some stranger.

Online precautions for parents must include strenuous monitoring and review of all the child is doing on the Web. Assuming that children will take your cautions to heart is putting their safety in hands far too young for the responsibility.

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