Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Please, protect our kids! How a Predator Can Find Children Online: Part 2

Last article I told you about steps you can take to protect your children from online predators. In this article, I’ll show you an example of how a predator works.
The statistics show an increasing exploitation of the internet as a means for predators to communicate with and eventually meet their victims. This article shows you an example of how a predator finds innocent children and befriends them. How they can take the smallest piece of information and use it to meet and lure a child. We’ll call our child Amanda and assume she is using “MySpace”, a real favorite with the kids.

1-Amanda’s profile looks safe enough. All she has listed is her first name, school and her interests. She writes about her parents and teachers who don’t understand her.

2- Our predator draws a conclusion from her interests: Amanda may be on the softball team. He Googles the high school and finds a picture of the team. He now has her picture and her full name.

3- Our predator heads back to Google and enters Amanda’s full name and school. He finds a newspaper story about her father Alfred, who raised money for the softball team.

4- A new web search (don’t you love Google) provides our predator with a list of all the Alfred Simpsons in the city. Only one of the dozen or so listings is near Amanda’s school.

5- Now the predator is home free, in just a few minutes and with very little effort, our predator has Amanda’s full name, her address, and a picture to identify her. Now he knows where to find her.

The rest is even easier, all he has to do is strike up a conversation online about softball and he’s in.

In a short time he has contacted her thru IMs and email. They talk about parents and school, he is always friendly and reassuring and Amanda thinks she has finally found an adult who understands her.

What happens next I’ll leave to your imagination. I wanted you to see how, with just the smallest bit of information and the power of the Internet, a predator can locate prey and strike.

This drives home how important it is to keep an eye on what your kids are doing on the internet; who they are chatting with, what groups and chats they are joining. Make sure you read their profiles and read what the child is posting. Remember you are the parent and it is our responsibility to protect our children online.
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Posted by Lone Bird Studio Ltd. @ 12:05 PM

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