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Protecting Your Kids from Online Predators

by Jim Hague, 

CEO, CrystalDI ( 

The predator has one goal and that is to have an intimate physical experience regardless if it’s against the child’s will. 

 When a kid (anyone under the age of 17) or young adult is molested, the impact cannot only destroy the innocence of a childhood, but causes life long scars that may never heal. 

Kids experience shame, guilt, and low esteem. Many experience intimacy issues themselves or become sexually aggressive. Regardless, the predator is a monster and should be treated as such. 

 We can sympathize with the fact that many predators were victims themselves. Sometimes it may be necessary. After all, these people need help since they have been victims themselves. However, the minute they act-out on a child, they should get help ‘after’ they have received the punishment. 

Unfortunately, the predator has found a new tool in addition to their deranged mind…the Internet.

Whether it’s a predator or a sexual addict, the Internet has become a haven for those who can’t help but lurk after the innocent. To understand how to protect your child from predators we must understand the mind of a predator.

On screen these predators can make themselves into anything they want. Predators can be a 40-year man interacting with a 12-year-old girl and know exactly what to say. They become your child’s best friend and build the type of relationship that child has always wanted. That predator will listen, offer advice, and build enough trust to the point where the child will share the most intimate details of their lives, like phone numbers, addresses, and eventually pictures. The child, unaware that they are being hunted, may grow to value online relationships over the reality of their family and friends.

Predators know the lingo and the popular trends of the younger generation. To say that they are wolves in sheepskin is an understatement. On the Internet, the sheepskin is a username. Instead of open fields where the sheep graze, the Internet offers chat rooms and social networking sites.

It’s very challenging to catch a predator at first because they hide behind their online profiles. 

Protecting your child from the potential of being victimized is not only our jobs as parents, but as human beings.  There are some signs you should look out for:

  1. Talk to your kids about the dangers of online predators and encourage them to communicate with you. Don’t let your child have an online profile without first taking to them. 
  2. Limit your child’s participation on too many social media websites. Allow them just one, like Facebook. 
  3. Most social networking websites has a minimum age limit of 13 years old. Do not let you child create online accounts by lying about their age. 
  4. If your child is of age, oversee what they write, be aware of checking their list of friends. Ask them not to accept any friend request unless they know who the other person is. 
  5. Control their emails. For young children, make sure to create emails in which you copied all their correspondence. Do not allow your kids to use their private emails for social networking. 
  6. Always know your child’s username and password. Go into their account and make sure that all interactions are safe. 
  7. Make sure your child does not upload revealing pictures of themselves that show too much skin. Teenage girls are most at risk for attack by predators. 
  8. Look for subtle signs such as (1) your child is quick to log on to the Internet especially at night or (2) your child quickly switches screens when you enter the room. 
  9. Have the computer in the common room. A child who is involved with an online relationship with a predator wants privacy. 
  10. Obvious signs of your child being involved with a predator are (1). Child receiving and sending sexually explicit pictures or emails (2). The predator sends gifts as a way to lure your child. 
  11. Use online parental controls like the ones built into Windows 7 or Vista.
    Do a search on ‘parental controls’ and you will have plenty to choose from.

If you suspect that the person your child is communicating with is a probable predator, then gather the necessary materials: 

  1. Printouts of conversations 
  2. Screen captures
  3. Explicit photographs found on your child’s hard drive.

Gather all materials on a disk (or bring the computer itself) and report it to the police. 

The reason why kids value online relationships is because they may be lacking a valued relationship at home and school.  In the news we heard about young people committing suicide. The reason for this is because the real world is too difficult to handle for some with low self-esteem or relationship issues. The virtual world allows such a person to recreate himself. The virtual world is less painful and all are equal. 

So never ever scold or punish a child for attracting a predator. It is not their fault, it’s the fault of the predator. 

The predators know this. Now you know this. 

Using this article (as well as others) I hope we do something about this.   

Jim Hague is the Owner of Crystal Digital Images(

Any questions email him at

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