The ways paedophiles groom teens online is one that baffles many experts. Research shows that only 5% of predators lie to teens about their age. 95% of paedophiles are upfront with the teens about their intentions.
According to research, predators list low self-esteem and spending extended periods of time online as major risk factors that makes teens vulnerable to their advances. The type of images on their profile page and the kind of posts they make are other major ways victims are chosen.
Some other ways teens become vulnerable are through; posting sensitive personal information publicly; Accepting friend or follow requests from people they don’t know in real life; Interacting with strangers online; Looking at pornography; or Talking about sex online, etc.
Stats show that 85% of predators use social media to gain knowledge about the teen’s likes and dislikes. 65% use social media to learn where their kids live and go to school. Not only that, but predators can also track your teen’s live location through their geotags.
Once a target has been established, the process is eerily simple. The predator establishes common ground with the teen, building a deep friendship where he/she is all the teen trusts. The paedophile then tests the waters by suggesting a sexual topic. If the teen responds positively, the predator continues to molest them online until the relationship is moved offline.
Next, come presents. Or as I like to call them ‘material bribes’. These can be anything from concert tickets to the new iPhone. If you notice that your child is receiving gifts from people you do not know and is on the phone with people you don’t know, or if you suspect your teen is being groomed, this article is for you.
What to do to prevent your child from being a victim
Curiosity is the reason some teenagers still agree to meet a paedophile offline even when his intentions are very clear. Prevent this harmful curiosity by openly and honestly answering their questions about sex. Maintain a good relationship by constantly communicating with your teens.
2. Teach them to protect their social media privacy.
In addition to increasing their privacy settings, if your teen or adolescent is less than 16, it is advisable for you to have their social media logged in on your phone.
3. Have them edit their past posts to remove sensitive information and compromising pictures.
4. Teach them to limit their use of geotags.
Geotags are more dangerous than people realise. When your teen frequently posts their location, such as their house, their school, etc, it makes it much easier for predators to find them.
5. Learn the Teen Slang
Knowing the lingo your teen uses will go a long way in ensuring that you are able to understand what your teen may try to hide from you. This will allow you to help teen even if they are willing to be groomed.
It is important to realise that in 90% of the cases, paedophiles aren’t creeps, they are normal looking people that have direct access to your children. They are your relatives, friends of the family, etc. If you suspect your child is being groomed, this article is for you.