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National Human Trafficking Hotline Call 1-888-373-788 (TTY:711) Text 233733


Online Safety 

All kids are a groomers pray  - know what to do

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1. Keep your computers in an open area in your home is very important. This way you are able to see what your kids are doing on the computer without having to wonder when they are behind closed doors in their bedroom.  A kitchen nook area is a great place for kids to use the computer, this way you can go about cooking or doing other things in the home and still be able to see what they are doing online.

2. The internet is constantly changing, so it’s important to keep up with the changes because your kids certainly are. Each new generation of kids seem to be more and more technologically advanced. In order to know what your kids are dealing with, you must have an idea of how to work the internet yourself, navigate popular apps, find "hidden files" on their phones & computer & understand text lingo. 

3. Teach kids to stay away from links that may pop-up. Even with regular sites like, Facebook, and YouTube, a kid can easily click on links that take them somewhere you may not want them to go. A recent study showed that kids are only 3 clicks away from inappropriate content on YouTube. Keep adult apps off the devices your children use. Even if they usually just play the games, they may sometime wander into the wrong apps when you aren’t watching.

This can happen to any kid

Who are your online Friends?

Whatever you like to do online if you're in a forum where other people are, there is a good chance that someone will try to chat with you. Some people may comment on your posts, pics or request to be your friend. Having the "most friends" is not always the wisest! Just because you chat with someone online does not mean that they are your friend. Some people online genuinely want to chat with you about the same interests you share & nothing more, but that may not always be the case.

Keep in mind, it is easy to lie online. People may use a pic that is not of them & pretend to be someone they aren't. You can't trust someone you don't know. Even if you have been chatting with the same person for some time & you feel comfortable communicating with them, remember that there is no way to really know if they are telling you the truth about who they are.

In fact, there are some people who use the internet to chat with kids because they want to hurt them or make them do things they don’t want to.

So, if you start chatting with someone online consider them a stranger, even if you have been chatting with them for awhile & nothing bad has happened. Just because someone sends you a"friend request" doesn't mean you have to accept it.

REMEMBER – groomers are very patient, so if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, worried or even frightened online you should tell your parents/guardians or an adult you trust, Whatever may have happened you won’t be in trouble.

Stay Safe online with these tips

The internet is a great way to connect with your friends and learn new things. But it's also important to stay safe and be aware of who wants to get to know you online.

Here are a ways to keep you away from online danger:

  • Be careful what you share online
  • When you choose a profile picture for social networking sites, avoid pics that could give strangers clues about where you live
  • Do not use a seductive profile picture
  • Check your privacy settings regularly
  • Think about what should be shared in public and what shouldn't
  • Check your location settings – some sites and apps let you share your location with other users. Make sure that is turned off
  • Learn about how you can take care of your digital footprint
  • Be your own person
  • Don’t let friends or strangers pressure you to be someone you aren’t
  • Know your limits. You may be internet savvy, but people and relationships change, and unexpected stuff can happen online
  • If someone’s mean to you, try not to react, definitely don’t retaliate, & talk to your parent/guardians or a trusted adult
  • Use privacy tools to block the meanies
  • Think about what you post
  • Keep passwords private, but do let your parents/guardians know what they are
  • Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on
  • Learn to read between the "lines"
  • Keep in mind that it may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something from you
  • Flattering or super supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance
  • Don’t talk about sex with strangers
  • Be cautious when communicating with people you don’t know in person, especially if the conversation starts to be about sex or physical details
  • Don’t lead them on – you don’t want to be the target of a predator’s grooming
  • Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really must get together with someone you “met” online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent/guardian or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along. Never go alone.
  • Be careful who you give your number to and how to use GPS and other technologies that can pinpoint your physical location
  • Be sure to secure your phone with a PIN, password, fingerprint or facial recognition
  • Don’t measure your own life based on what others post
  • People typically post happy photos and stories online and don’t usually share their boring or sad moments or unflattering photos
  • Don’t assume that others have better lives than you do, based on what they post
  • Think about what someone could find out about you that you don't want them to know
  • Be very careful when using a webcam & turn it off when you're not using it anymore
  • Block & report anyone that is being weird with you online, is inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable

Have a Family Plan of Action

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Parents, we talk to our kids about drugs and drunk driving, and now it’s time to have regular and frank conversations about the dangers of the internet. They need to know about online predators, grooming, sex trafficking and sexting. As a family, create a safety plan on what to do in a bad internet situation. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Have them immediately shut down their device and come talk to you if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or feel bad
  • Know your kids passwords and accounts.  It’s not prying or babying them. It’s helping them.
  • Limit their internet use (and yours). 
  • Have a scheduled time that they can use it when you are around and aware.
  • Keep their devices for them. 
  • When it’s not their “internet time” parents should keep track of the device and put it safely away. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Install safety software and apps on your computers and devices. 

Keep the conversations going with your kids. Stay involved in their lives. Be there for them. Have fun with them and get them talking. Let them know you are always there for them and ready to help. Having open communication with your children will be vital if/when an internet danger comes along.

Sadly there are people out there that want to exploit our kids for their personal gain. It does not just happen "somewhere else", it happens here in the United States, in your state, maybe even your town. You never know who is being groomed until it often is too late. That's why it is so important to communicate with your kids daily about online safety. Talk about dangers that are out there & how to be personally aware. Develop a plan of action with your kids on how to handle unwanted "friend" requests, texts sexts or advances. Make sure you tell your kids that you love them & want them to be safe. It's just like learning to drive a car, there are rules to be followed to keep everyone safe. 

Ways to keep devices safe

  • Use anti-virus software. You can get anti-virus software for mobiles as well as tablets, laptops and PCs. Make sure that you keep it updated.
  • Check a website is secure. Before entering private information such as passwords or payment details, look for the padlock symbol after the web address or 'https' in front of the web address in your browser.
  • Think before you click. If you receive an email from a stranger, think before clicking on a link or an attachment - it could contain a virus.
  • Cover your webcam if you're not using it or unplug it, cover the lens or point it at a blank wall.
  • Check your privacy settings. You can use privacy settings to control who sees your information. Instructions on how to do this depend on what websites and social networking sites you're using. 

Genuine or Fake?

Here are some warning signs that may help you determine if they may be fake or have bad intentions:

  • Do they seem too good to be true?
  • Do they like all the same things you do?
  • Do they give you lots of attention?
  • Do they comment on your posts/pics in ways that seems inappropriate?
  • Do they ask you a lot of questions that make you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do they make promises & offer you gifts?
  • Do they use sexual language when they chat with you?
  • Do they make you feel pressured to do things you don't want to do?
  • Do they only want to chat with you via "private message"?

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Sources: shared from Childwatch via &

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