As we become more of an electronically-connected society (and, when is that increase ever going to end?) potential dangers to our children, via the internet, are enhanced. Our children spend more and more time online, for activities such as their schooling, gaming, socializing, and other group meetings. In fact, according to the FBI, “(t)he internet, for all of its benefits, also gives criminals and predators an easy way to reach young people.”[1]

The FBI most often sees crimes against children begin when an adult:

  • Forges a relationship with a young victim online and then later arranges to meet and abuse the child; or,
  • Coerces a child into producing sexually explicit images or videos through manipulation, gifts, or threats—a crime called sextortion.” [2]

The FBI suggests that “(t)he most important advice for parents is to have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior.”[3] Other advice to consider:

  • Educate yourself about the websites, software, games, and apps that your child uses.
  • Check their social media and gaming profiles and posts. Have conversations about what is appropriate to say or share.
  • Explain to your kids that once images or comments are posted online they can be shared with anyone and never truly disappear.
  • Make sure your kids use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.
  • Tell your children to be extremely wary when communicating with anyone online whom they do not know in real life.
  • Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names and to create strong passwords.
  • Make it a rule with your kids that they can’t arrange to meet up with someone they met online without your knowledge and supervision.
  • Stress to your children that making any kind of a threat online—even if they think it’s a joke—is a crime.
  • Report any inappropriate contact between an adult and your child to law enforcement immediately. Notify the site they were using, too.” [4]

Overall crime has dropped in the USA, over the last few decades.[5] This trend, however, does not speak to the new and increasing ways that our children find themselves to be vulnerable. My parents shooed us out-of-the-house, to play all day. Since this was way before the existence of cell phones and locator devices, they had absolutely no idea where we were at any given period of time when we were out of their sight. And, yet, we felt safe, because we were exposed to only our neighbors and local town or city folk.

Today we have a more mobile society, so many of us do not know our neighbors. That fact keeps us from being able to trust their motives and intentions. And so, we often feel the need to be more vigilant regarding our kids, their whereabouts, activities, and safety.

Sometimes, despite that vigilance, parents feel like they need more protection, such as a court order, when a specific threat of harm materializes, through another’s words and/or actions. Thankfully, there are legal remedies available to protect our family members, including our children, from those dangers. Contacting a Family Lawyer, to discuss those legal remedies, is often the first step in obtaining peace of mind.




[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.


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