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Risks of talking to strangers online

Kids can easily encounter predators online; and predators know the places kids hang out online and how to develop online relationships with them. In this section, we cover the patterns typical of online predators, the likely places where kids can encounter them, how you can minimize the risks of your child becoming a victim, and how to respond if you sense that your child is being targeted by an online predator.


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Ahh, the online blogosphere—such a magical place! In this day and age, you can practically do anything with the help of the internet. You can order a pizza, find how-to videos, and even make a few friends along the way. While chatting up a stranger may seem new and exciting, we want to make sure that you stay safe and have fun at the same. Never, ever EVER share your personal information with a stranger.

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Is she open and forthcoming about her activities? It is not too big a stretch for a young mind to then wonder at their value in the family or in their circle of friends. Check her device for any exchanges. Is she spending more than the usual time in her bedroom?

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Sexual curiosity is one. Have you been affected personally by this or another issue? The protective parent tiger is often our first line of defence, but you are at the information-gathering stage. As someone I know learned recently, it can happen in any family when you least expect it.

The persona of these online strangers has changed. If it is time to do some parental investigationthen for the sake of your child do not hesitate.

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Perhaps the most important tactic is to approach this matter with your daughter and not at her. An unwillingness to share her phone with you is a red flag.

The ‘stranger-danger’ movement did children a disservice—a little freedom could help them learn to navigate the web safely

She will tell you she is whole year older. Report your concern to the platform or service. Ask don't tell. Their tactics involve quickly befriending the young girl.

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If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact support huffpost. All of this will be distressing. You want to help her reach her own conclusions. Friend your daughter on social media and do occasional spot checks of her phone.

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This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Then the initial invitation is offered to catch the child off guard. There are thousands of predators online every day.

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If you feel it is warranted, contact the police. The cachet for the victim and her friends is that an older man is interested in them. Share your story on HuffPost Canada blogs. It becomes a group activity with each supporting the other in chatting with this person. As well, teens naturally feel a distancing as they mature. Be attentive to your daughter's behaviour at home. The approach has changed as well.

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A "virtual" bond she has created is like any young crush — common sense flies out the window. Stay calm. Follow Us. Terms Privacy Policy. Where ly they pretended to be young, there is now a move toward telling the victim their true age.

Restrict stranger chat sites

Block the person from the device. Is your family experiencing some anguish that has had emotional impact on your child? Online friending is nothing more than a virtual reality, a concept that a young mind can fail to grasp. Your daughter will meet online friends, but good judgement is necessary in today's world.

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Ask questions. Be mindful that for any increase in unsupervised internet use there are a few things to consider. Your tween daughter might be asking that some restrictions from last summer get relaxed. Research, talk to other parents and then find what app or software fits for your family.

Talk to her and be an active listener. We feature the best of Canadian opinion and perspectives. Loneliness has been determined as a ificant issue for the 21st Century youth. Start with some pre-summer internet safety information and then set some rules that will give you, as a parent, a much firmer foundation. Take screen shots of the messaging.

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Perhaps most important is to discover if pictures have been exchanged and if this stranger has made any arrangement to meet in person. Be aware of behaviour and check her phone regularly.

Are you being groomed?

They are moving toward friends and independence, and away from the family. Their naivety means they are easily persuaded and believe what they are told by these strangers.

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Girls in the to year-old tween stage have a few vulnerabilities. Maybe this was the year she got her first phone. In order to find out as much as possible about this other person, your child needs to feel they can share without fear. Why did she feel it was safe? What proof does she have he is who he says he is? They know that is appealing to the tween and teen to year-old girl.

What is a ‘stranger’?

This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in Donald Iain Smith via Getty Images. Loneliness is another key factor. Canada Edition. A group of young girls may make a connection with a flirtatious online stranger.

Patterns of online predators

There are three main reasons for a young teen girl to respond to a stranger's overtures online. Talk to her about her online activities and internet safety. Find out how to contribute here. Check her browser history. There are very effective apps and parental control software available.

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They want to express themselves romantically but lack the cognitive ability to process risk and consequences of what they view as innocent flirtation. Be aware of the potential in popular gaming chat room sites and the adage "where kids play, predators prey. Your actions and words give the message that her safety is important to you. Turn off the location sharing capabilities on her phone. Certain site features have been disabled.

How to talk to my child about online grooming

Research shows that girls in this age range are more likely to engage in online chat with strangers. Personal information is gathered — Do your parents work? Where do you go to school? The best defence is a good offence. Often there is peer pressure to pursue these new online friends.