Originally Posted June 09, 2014
Remember when the World Wide Web launched August 6, 1991, some people told us to stay clear from it because the internet was sure to be the devil and nothing but trouble would come from it.
A good amount of people refused to own a computer and saw them as pure evil. The other half were people mesmerized by the internet so much you could never call their home phone because the line was in use for dial-up. Chuckles
Either way, there has always been controversy-surrounding use of the internet. In a very short time, those alive during the 90’s watched everything around us go from hand written or typewriter to the computer.
Faith in the internet was still wishy washy and many people still believed we were all dooming ourselves by trusting in computers.
Most kids living in the 90’s did not get to use computers outside of school. The majority of parents found it absurd to allow their child on the internet.
Than, after Y2K proved to be a bust people all over eased up on their internet fears.
Parents began to let their teens use the internet. Once in awhile would we hear stories about a child abducted after using a chat room they should not have been in.
A couple of years later, we heard those stories more often. It seemed like every time you turned on the news another predator lured a child found on the internet.
In 2004, Dateline aired a show called To Catch a Predator. The show featured 12 investigations in total held across the United States. The investigations were conducted as undercover sting operations with the help of on-line watchdog group Perverted-Justice.
At first, people were horrified to see how many sexual predators were using the internet to find child victims. People everywhere were talking about it and it was not uncommon to hear, “I told you so” and “what did you expect”.
I remember listening into my parents talk with some friends. My mother said, “You wouldn’t leave your child alone at the park for hours because of the fear of predators, why do parents let their children go online unsupervised for hours”.
We were told that FBI and other companies/organizations were cracking down on this problem. Everyone was given online safety tips, spyware, and chat rooms & even messengers became forbidden by parents.
For a while, it seemed like we had fixed the problem. Kids were back to playing games online, teens were back to doing their homework and hating on the fact their parents were so strict.
Then, social sites became the next big thing!
Just like every other internet milestone, parents were afraid to let their teens use social sites out of fear of safety but leave it to a stubborn teen to convince their parents how wrong they are.
Internet savvy parents were already drawn into social sites with websites like Classmates.com, Sixdegrees.com or Friendster.com
Since those sites were designed more for adults, you did not hear much about any trouble caused by having profiles on those social sites.
You have probably heard others say, “If you want to get to the kids convince the parents your idea is safe and fun.”
You would not allow your child to go to Chuck E. Cheeses without their security measures. Even if there is no 100% guarantee your child will be safe, It seems all parents need is a promise that the company has your children’s safety in your best interest and we all fall for it.
Most good parents monitor their teens use as much as possible, well at least in the beginning. It’s not R.I.S.E. & STAND goal to offend anyone reading this. Our entire team consists of mothers, fathers, or people who work closely with children. We speak through experience.
Did you know 94% of Facebook users are teenagers ages 12-17? Twitter has 26% teen users with Instagram coming in third place at 12% teen users, all ranging between 12-17 years of age.
In 2011, a survey taking by parents of teens showed only 40% of parents knows their teen’s password and regularly monitor their activity.
This is a little alarming to know that 60% of child/teen users online are not monitored. If that does not scare you another recent survey in 2013 shows 48% of child/teen users do not have private profiles and are using their full name. 33% have their email, location and phone number attached to their social site for all to see.
It was not hard finding the information since it is posted all over for anyone to see. This tells us that human trafficking ringleaders and predators all over can see the same information.
Sex Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and billions of dollars are profited internationally each year. Statistics are scarce because of the coercive and underground nature of the crime, but within the U.S., it has been estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of victims each year, of which approximately 100,000 are children forced into the sex industry. Nearly 300,000 children from across the U.S. are trafficked to major metropolitan areas for various kinds of labor, while 20,000 individuals are brought in from outside the United States.
How are children brought in?
After reading hundreds of stories and educating ourselves on statistics its plain to see pimps and predators wisely, choose their next victim. Before ever approaching the child, they spend a great deal of time learning about them and watching them closely.
More than not, a child or teen are chosen if they post online a lot about being unhappy, depressed, neglected, or treated unfairly.
Another sure way for teens to attack predators online is by posting provocative photos. Pimps and pedophiles know the teen must not be monitored or have protective parents if the child gets away with posting risky photos.
Although girls are targeted the most, boys are taken and need to be monitored online just as much.
How can I protect my child?
Assuming you allow your child to use the internet regularly, we advise you set some ground rules.
1.Make sure all the accounts owned by your child, do not have personal information publicly if at all. Do not let them use full name, real location, or publish phone number. Even if the profile is private because there are ways around social sites privacy settings.
Sync your child’s accounts to your phone. Add their Twitter, Kik, Facebook, Instagram or any other app they use to your phone. If you use the same app you can login frequently to check your account and your child’s.
Do not allow your child to delete their messages or emails. Face it teens are sneaky. They will try to out smart you and delete DMs, emails, and messages before you can see them. Make it a rule where they cannot do this. Set a time where you can delete all old messages for them.
5.Install products like WebWatcher on their computer or mobile device. You can also keep track of your child’s physical location by using services like AT&T FamilyMap, Verizon Family Locator, or Sprint Family Locator.
Talk to your children about predators, on and offline. Educate them about sex trafficking and prevention.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything right and still fall victim. Then, there are parents/guardians that just do not care until it is too late.
We cannot stop every incident from happening but we can educate and raise awareness.
We can fight to find kidnapped women and children and bring them home.
We can also fight to make stronger laws against predators and pimps.
We can report any online child pornography we see.
We can report a predator or pedophile if we see one.
Last, we can make sure the victims have safe housing, support, love and therapy they need.
In addition, we want you to remember, every time you post a picture of your child, no matter how private you think you are that picture is out there for anyone to get his or her hands on.
We do not want to be hypocritical and say we have never posted a video or photo of our children online and we are not saying you are wrong if you have or that you even have to stop sharing photos with your friends and loved ones.
We just want you to remember the dangers involved. You can also do things in a smart way. Please do not EVER post a picture of your baby or toddler nude on the internet no matter how cute or funny you think it is.
We all have to learn at some time and think about what we do before we do it. Statistics show there are over 644,865 Registered Sex Offenders just in the United States and about 75% of them have internet access.
How would you feel knowing a sexual predator is looking at your child’s photo? Did you know there are websites where predators post half-nude or nude photos of various kids they find around the internet?
Your adorable toddlers little bottom could be posted on a child pornography site for pedophiles to view in away you did not intend.
Our team, along with several other organizations, anonymous legion, predator hunters, and Government agencies are working to find these sick individuals and stop them from claiming their next victims. Human trafficking rings are getting shut down daily. Child porn sites are getting removed. Websites that allow adult advertisements are being ordered to shut down. People are at work trying to keep your child safe but we need you to do your part as a parent or guardian monitoring your children’s online activity.
We here at R.I.S.E. & STAND just want you to understand the dangers of your child using the web or parents posting photos of their innocent children.
We want to help keep you and your children SAFE.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. God Bless.
R.I.S.E. & STAND TEAM