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  • Koren Norton

Beware of Cyber Predators

With the world moving more towards online communication as a result of social distancing, the cyber predators are out in their droves and the bad news is that some of them are targeting our children!!! Primary and secondary school children are online doing their homework and it's almost inevitable that they will sometimes visit social sites where these bad people are waiting to pounce on and tempt our children into doing things that are not in their best interests.

It is important to know how they work: they behave in a friendly manner to gain the trust of the children--getting to know where they live, which school they attend and who they live with. The predators, more often than not, target female children. They often lead the child to believe that she is loved and appreciated by them and then they ask for pictures and videos. Quite often, they send theirs too and they are not photos that you want your child to see. As the child begins to trust them, they ask for more and more and the child’s reluctance is often met with entreaty or with threats.

How do we protect our children against this?

  • Talk to your children about the dangers of online predators and let them know that whatever they share is likely to be shared with others

  • Give your children lots of love and attention and build their self- esteem

  • Watch out for risky behaviors in your children – such as a strong sudden interest in sexuality, etc. and discuss it with them

  • Talk to your children about “selfies” and online flirting

  • Fathers, pay special attention to your daughters so that they are not left vulnerable and needy for male attention

  • Teach your children to make wise decisions that are in their long-term best interest

  • Nurture your children’s independence so it is expressed in a positive manner

  • Ensure your children have positive social interactions – enroll them in clubs or music or drama groups

  • Help your children to identify positive role models

  • Discuss with your children who they want their future self to look like and how their actions now could affect that

  • Monitor your children’s internet use and ask them not to give out personal information to strangers

Please know that these predators do not appear as dangerous to your children; they behave like friends, agreeing with them and taking their side against parents.

If you believe that your child is a victim of a sexual cyber predator, call the electronic crimes department at 562-5730 or the Sexual Victims Unit at 462-3990, located at the Directorate of Gender Affairs. Our children must be kept safe and their innocence preserved because it is their right.

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