Keeping Your Family Safe Online
Many parents ask us how to keep their family safe when going online. We asked Private Investigator and star of Missing In Alaska Jax Menez Atwell to give us the scoop of online safety…
Jax, are internet predators and stalkers a rare occurrence online?
My personal rule of thumb is any face less person that I encounter via the internet is given the “guilty until proven innocent” mantra. I don’t think you can ever be too careful. I don’t think you have the luxury of assuming that you will not be that small percentage that actually has a predator that takes the next steps. I think being vigilant and diligent in protecting your family should be paramount.
How do they find children and families online?
The first part of this is just acknowledging that unless you can somehow get yourself completely “off the grid”, we leave digital fingerprints everywhere. The amount of ways that someone can find you or wiggle their way into your life is really endless.
The second part of this is social media. The social media platforms have grown so much over the recent years that this makes everyone involved susceptible
Many teens send nude photos to one another through texting and apps. How can this get into the hands of a predator? Does this happen often? How can parents be vigilant?
It isn’t just a predator you need to worry about but also people who might cause emotional trauma to your child in these situations of pics and sexting. These could be friends and classmates. The first part of it is please talk to your children so they can understand the lifetime ramifications of these actions. Secondly, in this digital world nothing is ever truly deleted. We aren’t burning VHS tapes anymore this stuff can stay live or hide and pop up in old caches years later.
This happens a lot more frequently than people would admit and report. When it does happen the person is embarrassed and doesn’t want more people to know about it. If it isn’t reported the offender is free to do it again and usually the offender is now more brazen. They can learn from that experience and make the next occurrence more serious.
Being vigilant and staying on top of your children’s digital footprint is very important. I think parents should have access to all their children’s electronic devices and they should be checked on a regular basis. I’m sure I will have plenty of parents think that this is an intrusion into their child’s personal affairs. I disagree fully and I will state emphatically that no parent that had a child victimized by a predator would ever say they wish they had done less.
Worst case scenario is your child catches you and they get mad. I’m sorry I’d rather my child be alive or not become a victim of any kind. I truly think your child will forgive you when they are older. Remember we are to be parents first, the friend stuff will come as they get older and especially into adult hood.
How can we keep our children and teens safe online?
I suggest this five step process. You definitely can go a lot deeper with all this but is a very important to have a base to start with:
- The most important thing you can do is talk with your child.
- Familiarize yourself with the electronics that they have access too.
- Set your data plans and devices up accordingly so you can have access as an administrator to not just your child’s devices but also their applications they use on those devices.
- Leave no stone unturned and ask questions!
- Finally, I’d suggest installing a basic key logger onto computer systems so you can maintain a watchful eye on conversations and transactions.