THE TAKE AWAY
Trafficking Prevention: Online Resources
By Kersley Fitzgerald
The Cyber Safety Lady is a woman in Australia who keep up on everything internet you'd ever want to know to keep your kids safe. Check out her webpage and friend her on Facebook for more information
ICE's HSI has this advice:
• Talk to children about Internet predators and whether they have ever been approached online. Visit Netsmartz.org for conversation starters on a variety of topics.
• Keep the computer in a common area of the house, but don't forget that online technology is also available on cell phones, laptops, tablets, and gaming devices.
• Set limits for what sites can be visited and have your children show you what sites they are frequently visiting.
• Recognize signs of victimization and grooming. If your child has become withdrawn and isolated from friends and family, you find inappropriate material on the computer or mobile device, or if your child is communicating or receiving money or gifts from an unknown person.
• Ask them to tell you if anything makes them feel scared, confused or uncomfortable. Let them know that online sexual exploitation of children is a crime and that it should be reported to law enforcement.
• Encourage them to report cyber bulling, not just when it happens to them but when they see others being bullied as well.
• Never share pictures of yourself online that you wouldn't want seen by your family, teachers or a total stranger.
• Don't respond to offensive content and don't forward images or info that might hurt or embarrass someone.
• Don't accept friend requests from strangers. Change your passwords regularly so strangers can't find you.
• Set user profile to private so only real friends can get access. Know who you're chatting with — a "friend" is not always a friend.
• Don't share personal information online like your full name, school, address or phone number, or user passwords.*
• Remember that anything posted online lives on forever and can be shared with anyone anywhere in the world.
• Stop the harassment. Treat people online as you would in person and don't be mean or rude. Report cyber bullying to a trusted adult.
• Tell an adult if someone makes you feel uncomfortable by their actions or words. If you suspect online "stalking," sexual exploitation, or other suspicious behavior, report it to law enforcement.
• Don't meet up in person with anyone you met online.
• Check your privacy settings on social media sites frequently, as they can reset due to site updates.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has developed websites — NetSmartz, NetSmartzKids, and NSTeens — to train parents, teachers, law enforcement, and kids how to be safe online. They have comics, videos, and articles that cover everything from cell phone apps to online gaming to webcams. In addition, NetSmartz provides free multimedia internet safety presentations that you can download.
The FBI has a program for teachers to encourage their students to learn internet safety. Called Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge, it's a game format designed for grades 3-8. Check it out.
If you suspect someone is being trafficked or groomed
• For suspicion of child predators, contact HSI at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or use the online tip form.
• For missing children or suspicion of child sexual exploitation, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
• For known or suspicions of trafficking situations, including locations such as massage parlors, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center's Polaris Project at 1-888-2727-888 or text at BeFree (233733).
• For imminent and/or present trafficking situations, call 911.
Teach your kids to respect others. While men are much more likely to be users of sex trafficking (to include pornography), many of the traffickers are women. Some are massage parlor owners/managers, and some switched to recruiting and trafficking to get away from being trafficked themselves. Teach your boys to respect girls. Teach your girls to be kind and protect the vulnerable. And teach both of them God's perspective of sex.
Image Credit: Alex Eylar; "Meet the Internet;" Creative Commons
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