Protecting Children from Online Predators

Predators. Adults who prey on children are most parents’ worst nightmare. While child predators are not new, the internet has provided a new way for them to access children. Parents cannot shield their children from every danger; however, a precautionary approach to online use for kids can go a long way to prevent the unthinkable.

A Child’s Risk for Sexual Abuse is Real

According to the nonprofit, Innocent Lives Foundation, about 1 in 10 children is sexually abused. The increase in internet usage and social media during the pandemic also increased the risks for children to be exposed to online predators. A report by CBS news says that, “the nonprofit National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that operates a clearinghouse for tips of child online exploitation says it received 29.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in 2021—an increase of 35% from 2020 and an all-time high.

While the majority of offenders incarcerated for crimes against children had most often victimized their own children or stepchildren (40%) or another young relative (18%) and very few (5%) had victimized a stranger, parents want to reduce the risk of online predators reaching their children.


The US Attorney’s Office Released a List of Tips to Help Parents Protect Their Children from Online Predators:


  1. Discuss Internet safety with children of all ages that are online. Many children do not realize that people may not be who they claim to be online. Similarly, many do not understand that someone who seems like a friend online could have a deviant motive.
  2. Set limits around who your children are allowed to communicate with. You may consider limiting young children to communicating only with people you have personally met. For older children, you may consider limiting them to communicating only with people they have met in person.
  3. Set limits around the kinds of devices and applications your children use. Online child sexual predators often use new technologies to avoid detection by law enforcement. If your child is using an application you have not heard of before, consider researching the application online or testing it out using your child’s account.
  4. Use technology to protect them. Many devices and programs allow parents to set parameters around which applications children may use and for how long. Similarly, many of these programs allow parents to see what their children are doing while using those applications.
  5. Pay attention to warning signs. Children who are sexually exploited are often embarrassed and hesitate to tell parents or other authority figures about their experiences. Pay attention if your child is withdrawing or changing their mood while their Internet activity increases.
  6. Report suspected abuse. Reporting can help minimize or stop further victimization. If you believe your child has been sexually exploited online, contact the United States Attorney’s Office, your local F.B.I. office, or report online at

For additional information and resources on staying safe online and at home, visit


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