Children can learn many useful things online, and can benefit greatly from using the Internet as a tool, but there are risks and they can be in danger at any time. While computers are very beneficial, they can also provide an "open window" to , and from, your home. It is now more important than ever to supervise who your child might be communicating with, as well as supervising who has access to your child.
Online Sexual Solicitation
- Online sexual solicitation is "unprovoked, uninvited, or unwanted requests to engage in sexual activities, engage in sexually explicit conversations, or give personal sexual information."
- Sexual predators are online looking for victims. The Internet allows people to remain anonymous. Adults can lie about their age and exploit children from thousands of miles away.
- Approximately 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online (Online victimization: A Report on the Nation's Youth, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.)
- 65% of the incidents of online sexual solicitation occur in chatrooms.
- It also occurs via Instant Messenger (IM), E-mail, Game rooms, and Message boards.
What Parents/Guardians Can Do To Educate and Protect Your Children
- Establish rules about going online.
- Place your children's computer in a common room in your home where there is supervision.
- Go over your children's buddy list with them and make sure you know everyone on it and can put a face to each name.
- Tell them it is not safe to put photographs on websites.
- Remind children that people are not always who they say they are in a chatroom.
- Tell them to never agree to meet someone in person that they have met online.
To Report An Online Incident
Report the screen name, e-mail address, or any other known information to:
- your Internet Service Provider
- local law enforcement
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Charles B. Wang International Children's Building, 699 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22315
- 24-Hour Hotline, 1.800.THE.LOST (1.800.843.5678)
- Report online obscentity www.obscenitycrimes.org