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Hiding in the depths of the internet and social media, online predators lurk, searching for their next victim. They deceive people over the internet to meet up with them and kidnap them or force those people into human trafficking.
These predators are very dangerous and are people who:
- Act very, very nice to lure in children or teens
- May ask personal information that isn’t safe to give to a stranger (such as birthday, name, address, school, etc.)
- Will try to speak in private on a one-on-one apps like Kik, Messenger, text message, WhatsApp, Google Hangout, etc.
- Monitor online activities
- Stalk family and friends
- Will try to double as a therapist/someone to talk to. The more information, the better
- Isolate their victim by turning the person against their friends
- Offer gifts
- Ask for pictures or video chat
- Ask for their existence to be kept secret or hidden from friends and family
- Make their victims feel very special
These strangers online are not to be trusted. They are dangerous and harmful. When dealing with a potential online predator, tell someone else about it so they know what’s going on, recognize suspicious behavior or requests, and save your conversations with the potential predator.
If the stranger starts becoming persistent, notify an adult and the administrator of the website or app.
Block them and change your user name immediately. Do NOT accept gifts or money from them. It’s best to contact the police and ignore any of their attempts to contact you.
Remember, these people can be very dangerous, so choosing not to notice the signs can be costly. Not every stranger or person from the internet is a ruffian and there are plenty of people who are very good people, but bad people still exist and need to be heeded.