Tips for protecting children from online predators

United States Attorney Andrew Birge offered tips to help keep children safe from online predators, commenting: “With schools and entertainment facilities closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, kids are using the Internet more and more. Unfortunately, that means online child sexual predators have increased access to them,” he said.

1.  Discuss Internet safety with children. Many do not realize people may not be who they claim to be online; or that someone who seems like a friend online could have a deviant motive.

2. Consider limiting young children to communicating only with people you have personally met. For older children, consider limiting them to communicating only with people they have met in person.

3. Set limits around devices and applications. Online child sexual predators often use new technologies to avoid detection by law enforcement. If your child is using an application you have not heard of, consider researching it online or testing it out using your child’s account.

4. Many devices and programs allow parents to set parameters around which applications children may use and for how long; and many programs allow parents to see what children are doing while using those applications.

5. Children who are sexually exploited are often embarrassed and hesitate to tell parents. Pay attention if your child is withdrawing or changing their mood while their Internet activity increases.

6. If you believe your child has been sexually exploited online, contact the United States Attorney’s Office, local F.B.I. office, or report at

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