As children get older they tend to spend a lot of time online. The more time they spend online, especially on social media and in chat rooms, the more likely they are to become targets for sexual predators. Be sure to talk to your children about online safety and share some of these common signs of an online predator with them. 

  1. Many predators use fake accounts with bogus names and pictures to hide their real identity. They try to keep their identity secret until they have gained the child’s trust and convinced them to meet in person. 

  2. They typically tell their target that they are the same age so their target will trust them. 

  3. Predators almost always want to private chat with their target so nobody else can see their conversation. 

  4. Predators try to get their target’s personal information by making subtle comments or asking subtle questions in hopes that their target won’t know what they’re doing. 

  5. Predators want their targets to feel like they can easily talk to them about anything. This is how they start to gain a child’s trust. They will ask the child a lot of questions to keep the child talking about himself or herself. 

  6. A predator will almost always agree with everything their target says. This is another way for them to gain their target’s trust. 

  7. Predators stalk their target, their target’s friends and their target’s family online. This helps them gather as much information about their target as they can. This is another way they find out information that the target hasn't shared with them.  

  8. Online predators will try to make their targets feel special. They will tell them how smart and beautiful they are. Predators also try to turn their targets against other people in their lives. They want their target to trust them and only them. They will even offer their targets gifts. 

  9. A  predator will often start asking for pictures of their target and may request to video chat with their target in private. 

  10. Eventually, the predator will start making sexual comments to their target. 

  11. Predators will also tell their target to lie. They will tell their target that they can’t tell anyone they are communicating.  They threaten that if the child tells anyone, all communication will be cut off.

  12. Online predators will keep insisting that their target meets them in person. 

  13. Predators will threaten their targets. They’ll tell their targets if you don’t do as the Predator says, they will get the child in trouble. Sometimes predators also threaten the safety and welfare of the child’s family if the child tells anyone what is going on. 

  14. Online predators will make their target think what they’re doing is normal. They’ll tell their target that everyone chats online. They’ll tell them everyone sends their friends sexually charged pictures and videos. They’ll tell their victims it is perfectly normal for young kids and adults to hang out.  

Kim Cullen
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Central Florida Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney

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