WRITTEN BY SHIRLEEN TAN
Are you a parent who has a teenager who uses the internet? If you are, do you know that your teenager may run into trouble online? Their chances increase when they are using the internet to socialize with friends or make new friends. Your child may unintentionally fall victim to a child predator online, or they may be harassed by those that they know online. But, would you know if your child is in trouble?
For your convenience, there are four signs that your child may be in trouble online. If any of these signs apply to your child, you may want to take action right away.
They Get on the Computer at the Same Time Everyday
Many parents do not realize that children and teenagers can quickly become targets of online child predators. Many also do not realize that this process doesn’t always happen overnight. Some child predators pretend to be the ages of their targets. They then work to gain the trust of those targets, which can take a few days or a few weeks.
You may be able to tell if this is happening, though, if your child gets on the internet at the same time every single day. This strategy is a good sign that they communicate directly with someone who may not have pure intentions.
They Are Secretive When They Use the Computer
How does your child act when they are using the Computer? Does your child try to hide what they are doing online from you? If they automatically shut off the Computer or put a game on the screen, they may be trying to prevent you from seeing what they are doing online. This method is a good sign that your child may be doing something they shouldn’t be doing online, like having direct, personal conversations with a stranger who may be a child predator.
They Are Very Happy When Getting Off the Computer
If your child is overly happy when they sign off the internet, they may be on the path to trouble. This sign can be a little bit tricky, though. Your child may be happy because they just finished a long school project, but you honestly never know. If your teenager is communicating with someone online, they may be in the process of starting a relationship, which they are happy to be in one. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize that anyone can hide behind a computer. That is why you must talk to your child about the dangers of starting an online romance.
As previously stated, your child may be thrilled when using the internet, but another warning sign is that they are depressed, especially when they sign off the Computer. What many parents do not realize is that other teenagers use the internet for harassment. If your teenager has a falling out with one of their friends, they may find themselves getting harassed online. If that is the case, your child may seem very down, depressed, and withdrawn.
“Unfortunately, many teenagers do not realize that anyone can hide behind a computer.”