Child predators and cell phones

The strategy: More than inspiring fear in our kids, we want to arm them with information. It's not the norm, and it's not a reason to be afraid all the time.

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It's simply a reason to be aware and know that if someone starts asking for personal information or talking about sexual stuff, it's time to get help from an adult. I can't keep up with all of the media my kid is into, so I don't know what games and apps to keep my eye on. According to the New England Journal of Public Policy , contact with online predators happens mostly in chat rooms, on social media, or in the chat feature of a multiplayer game Roblox, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, World of Warcraft, and so on.

Most games meant for kids -- like Roblox and Animal Jam -- have built-in features and settings that are designed to prevent inappropriate comments and chat.

Signs That Your Kid Was Approached By an Online Predator

Though they're often imperfect, they do help. Games that aren't designed only for kids have fewer controls, settings, and safeguards. Any app or online space that allows contact with strangers without moderation or age verification can allow contact between kids and adult strangers. Teens sometimes visit adult sites, chat rooms, and dating apps out of curiosity about sex and romance. What parents should know about videochat, live-streaming apps. First, stay on top of what your kid is doing online by asking them which apps, games, and other tech they use.

Sexual predators using cellphones to prey on kids - The San Diego Union-Tribune

If they're on social media, friend or follow them. Set rules about times and places for device use -- for example, banning phones and tablets from bedrooms.

Find out how they chat -- is it through an app or through their phone's SMS texting? If they're using an app, it won't be easy for you to see it, so ask to do occasional spot checks. Make rules around who they can chat with -- for instance, only people they know in real life. If your kid's a gamer, use these questions to probe deeper: Do you like multiplayer games -- and why?

Do you chat with others while you're gaming? What's been your experience so far? What would you do if someone you didn't know contacted you? Help them set privacy settings to limit the contacts in their games. I don't even understand how this works -- does an adult pose as a kid, then ask to meet? Only 5 percent of online predators pretend they're kids.

Most reveal that they're older -- which is especially appealing to toyear-olds who are most often targeted. Some predators initiate sexual talk or request pictures immediately and back off if refused. It was this gulf that motivated me, with a colleague, to create a children's guide to getting their first cellphone. Kids can learn to use cellphones safely, and there are practical steps that parents can take to minimize their young child's odds of involvement in bullying and cyberbullying, along with cellphone practices that can help ensure the overall well-being of their child.

The phone is not your child's — it's yours.


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Thus, you always have the right to look at it. By checking your child's phone, you may detect messages or posts that can suggest involvement in bullying or cyberbullying. A MacAfee study found that half of kids changed their online behavior if they believed their parents were checking. A study from researchers at McGill University found that family dinners helped protect kids from bullying. Dinnertime can be a time to connect emotionally, even when no conversations of deep importance take place.

It can also be a time to discuss challenges and difficulties, and to debate solutions and strategies, with input from the people who love you. Unfortunately, family dinners can be easily interrupted by notifications or messaging from cellphones. For that reason, a "no devices" rule at the dinner table can help promote family connections that are protective against bullying.

Listening to music can be OK, but watching videos and TV shows or playing games shouldn't happen while homework is being completed. Studies that look at multi-tasking agree that it degrades memory , learning and cognitive performance. It's been well documented that bright screens right before bed can delay or interrupt sleep patterns.

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Sleep problems, in turn, have been linked to becoming involved in bullying. To promote healthy sleep and reduce the odds of bullying, help your child practice good sleep preparation habits by putting away digital devices an hour before bedtime.

Parental cell phone monitoring app helps keep kids away from online predators

If they want to read from their device, use an app that has a UVB filter or dim and "flip" the screen to a black background. To help your child stay asleep, devices should be kept outside the bedroom overnight. Even if your child intends to sleep, a buzzing sound or vibration can wake him or her up. It can represent a strong temptation to send messages, chat or play games. Encouraging kids to put down the phone when they are in a car can literally be a lifesaving habit that can begin in elementary school.


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A review of statistics noted that cellphone use is the second-leading cause of distracted driving. Each day, 11 teenagers are killed as a result of texting and driving. When police raided his home to arrest him just 11 days after he killed Carly, Newman was on his computer posing as Brandon and talking to another teenage girl. He had multiple fake profiles that he had carefully constructed, as well as several mobile phone numbers.

Cyber safety experts warn parents to be vigilant about mobile phone privacy settings. She warned parents to be hyper vigilant, but also to check privacy settings to ensure they are as robust as possible. Sonya Ryan has dedicated herself to promoting internet safety for children and teenagers through the Carly Ryan Foundation, established in memory of her murdered daughter. Skip to: Log in No account? Sign up Log out news. News Corp Australia Network September 4, 8: