What Online Predators Do To Connect With Your Kids
Pediatrician offers 5 tips for evaluating if an app or game is right for your child
This afternoon, I saw a couple of tweets from CBS 11 reporter Jack Fink that turned my stomach:
The affidavit included in one of the tweet's details an adult here in North Texas engaged in inapproapriate behavior with a 15-year old child in New Jersey.
It reads: “The victim stated he was playing Minecraft on his computer…and was contacted by a person wanting to chat.”
According to the affidavit, the conversation between the victim and the adult then moved to Skype which led to grooming, sexual messaging and even sexually explicit photos and videos being exchanged.
This is so awful I hate to even post it. But, it is so important to know what kind of predators are out there and what they are doing to connect with your kids.
Predators know what is cool. They know more than you do about what your kids are into.
They know how to reach kids and they will use whatever means necessary to connect with them.
Any app or game with a chat function that is connected to the Internet is a portal for exposure to terrible people with terrible ideas. Be aware and monitor! Turn off the chat function or have your child play in offline mode where able.
Of course, there’s more to evaluating an app or game than just the risk of exposure. Here are some general guidelines for evaluating both for your child.
About the author
Justin Smith is a pediatrician and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. His interest in communications started when he realized that his parents were relying more on the internet for medical information. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” is set to open in Trophy Club in 2017.