As we all are sitting at home while our lives are being threatened from the COVID-19 we need to be extra careful with our children that run to the computers as they could be in a position to become victims of scammers out there. Times like these everyone is out to make a buck whether it is a good thing or not.

The FBI is looking to warn parents, educators, caregivers and children about the danger of online sexual exploitation and signs of child abuse.

There are many different forms that online exploitation comes in. A potential victim may be convinced into submitting explicit images or videos of themselves and then be threatened for them to be posted publicly or sent to their friends. People like this may start casually speaking to children until they gain the child’s trust and then start conversations in a sexual manner that get stronger as the time goes by.

Tips from the FBI to educate and prevent kids from becoming victims of predators include:

• Discuss internet safety with children of all ages when they engage in online activity.
• Review and approve games and apps before they’re downloaded.
• Privacy settings for online gaming, electronic devices and social media accounts should be at the strictest level possible.
• Monitor kids’ internet use, keeping electronic devices in an open, common room of the house. Check their online profiles and postings, and make sure kids know that images posted online stay on the internet permanently.
• Instruct kids to tell a parent or trusted adult if they’re asked to engage in sexually explicit activity online. Explain that it’s not a crime for a child to send sexually-explicit images to someone if they are coerced or compelled to do so.
• If a child discloses abuse, immediately contact local law enforcement for assistance.

I have been around computers for over 20 years and I know some that were tricked by others while talking to someone. Keep in mind that it could be anyone that you are talking to that they think you want them to be. A man can pretend to be a young child and having that child believe they are talking to someone their own age. The man could be 40, 50 or even 60 years old.

I have met a lot of people online but I also met with a few face to face and yes I have been lucky . I met my husband online in 2003 but like I said I am lucky. I have met friends that have become family to me. They have stuck with me through thick and thin, but that doesn’t mean everyone will have that same luck.

The main thing is be very aware of who your children are talking to online. No one wants to think it could happen to them but please beware just in case. I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially with our children. They are the future of this world so we must keep them safe!

God Bless Everyone, stay safe and stay HOME.

Jan

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