Online Predators Often Willing to Travel Long Distances

Social media monitoring services

This week, a 17-year-old-girl was returned to her home safely after running away to meet a boy she had met online. The girl, who was from Tehuma County, California, agreed to run away with a boy she had met over the internet from Texas. She agreed to leave to Texas with him. That is the second case in six months coming from the same area of Tehuma County; in March, a 13-year-old-girl left the state with a 21 year old man she met through a smartphone app.

Police in the local area are stressing an important point: parents should be monitoring their children’s internet activity. They want people to know that there are many people willing to drive hundreds of miles to pick up a teenager, and these people can, today, contact many vulnerable teens with just a few clicks.

Although it might seem like an unlikely thing for your child to do, it happens more often than you think. Part of the problem is that teens are impressionable, and there are older, predatory individuals who will prey on them. A common technique is to establish intimacy with a teenager by talking to them while they’re having an argument with a parent. The predator is then seen as “someone they can talk to” in times of need.

How can you make sure your teens are safe? Here are some tips for keeping predators at bay.

Know What Sites and Apps Your Child is Using

Many parents attempt to monitor their child’s activity by watching Facebook. However, studies have shown that teens are constantly moving toward sites where adults are less likely to pry. For this reason, social media monitoring services should include sites like Instagram and SnapChat — over 90% of teens now communicate with Instagram on a weekly basis. Instagram monitoring tools can give you feedback on your teen’s activity so that you don’t need to constantly creep on their photos.

Learn to Read Between the Lines; Use Internet Activity Monitors

Most teenagers aren’t going to up and announce that they’re communicating with someone online. For this reason, parents need to look for anomalies in behavior, and pay attention to how teens are communicating. iPhone monitoring software can help parents make sure that a teen is actually talking to their friend, and not a 40-year-old trucker who’s posing as a 25-year-old three states away. Teens who are engaging in online “romances” will often become secretive about certain activities and conversations. Internet activity monitors can help you keep tabs without angering teens by requesting they hand over passwords.

Do you have an internet activity monitor for your teen? Let us know in the comments.