Did you know there are over 747,408 registered sex offenders in the U.S and over 100,000 are lost in the system? Sexual Predators are everywhere online including games like Minecraft. A 34 year old man was arrested for attempting to bribe children with real and virtual gifts, and in return he would ask for nude photos of themselves.
Since the invention of the internet Predators are able to select their victims much easier. Many children are very clueless when it comes to putting personal information on the internet, even simple things like posting a picture in front of your house which shows your neighborhood and what your house looks like. Predators look for people who are either vulnerable or naïve. They first listen to the child’s problems showing that they care about this child. That then eases the person in to sexual content. The most vulnerable are those who are new to online activity, rebellious, isolated, lonely, curious, or exploring sexuality. Most children think they are aware of this but it is very easy to be tricked.(http://www.familysafecomputers.org/predators.htm)
Here is a video that shows how easy it is to be tricked.
There are many horrifying stories about online sexual predators and their victims, here are just a few.
It was 2002, Alicia Kozakiewicz had been talking to a boy who she thought was around her age for 8 months. She was walking up her street one night and she heard her name being called and the next thing she new she was in a car driving to this “boys” house in Virginia, where she was held captive in a basement dungeon, and was brutally assaulted both physically and sexually. He chained her to the floor using a dog collar. Another predator watched what this man Scott Tyree was doing to Alicia through a live streaming video, and he ended up reporting it to the police after seeing all the missing posters for her in the newspapers. She is now 28 today and is a living example of the damage one person can do to another. (http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Victim-of-Online-Child-Predator-I-was-Tortured-Raped-and-Brutally-beaten)
Another story is shorter but also proves a point.
Dwan Harden was charged with first degree sexual assault after a women he met on a dating app called Mocospace said that she had told him to “come over and hangout.” They agreed to meet and “smoke blunt.” The two went for a ride in Dwans car and things escalated quickly from there, the women attempted to exit the vehicle but was locked in and was assaulted sexually. (http://www.instantcheckmate.com/crimewire/10-horrifying-true-stories-of-online-predators)
When a predator is selecting victims there is basically a “guideline.” They usually tend to favor those who have private regular access to a computer, and most victims usually live in suburban or rural areas and few in the inner cities. It also helps if the victim is online in the same time frame as the predator. Preferably predators like someone who has instant messaging rather than email since emails automatically save and instant messages usually delete when the window in closed. Obviously they have to search out people who will actually talk to them, otherwise how would that work? The most targeted are those who as I said earlier are vulnerable, lonely, naive, and may have a single parent, have trouble in school or with the law etcetera. In order for the predator to succeed the victim they choose has to be one that wont end the “relationship” at the suggestion of sexual activity. The most targeted ages range from 12-15 because at this age they are exploring who they are. (http://www.safer-internet.net/how-internet-predators-select-their-victims.html)
Here are some ways for a parent to reduce the risk of their child being a victim. First get involved and talk to them about the online dangers. Second make boundaries for young children like not using chat rooms. Also never put a computer in their room put in a common area like the living room. Third have the don’t talk to strangers conversation, and tell them to try and make a gender neutral username and never reveal personal information.
If a parent wants to be able to tell if their child is a victim look for the following things. Child spends more time on the internet then before. Finding pornography on the computer. Starts making or receiving phone calls from long distance numbers or numbers you don’t recognize, or a child might receive “mystery packages” . There is plenty more if you visit the following website. http://www.bewebaware.ca/english/OnlinePredators.aspx
In conclusion online Sexual Predators are real and should not be taken as a joke.