Don’t Miss the Signs in the Digital World: Blog Introduction by Lauren Book

The Lauren’s Kids foundation is proud to present the ‘Don’t Miss the Signs in the Digital World’ blog series, which will run on Monday, October 21 through Friday, November 1. The series will feature experts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, To Write Love on Her Arms, Protecting Children Online, 211 Crisis Hotline and more.

We know that you’re a good parent. And because you’re a good parent, you do everything in your power to protect your child from the dangers of the outside world. We know that you lock all the doors in your house before you go to bed and that you make your child eat vegetables. We know that you tell your child to never talk to an unfamiliar person (stranger danger!), that you meet their teachers before the first day of school and insist that your child wears a helmet when they ride their bike, even though it’s “totally un-cool.” We know that you do these things because your child is the most important part of your life and you would do anything to protect them. We know that you’re a good parent.

But in the 21st century, the biggest threat your child faces cannot be locked out or protected against by a helmet. It cannot be arrested, tried, or convicted. It is the Internet and your child probably knows more about it than you do. Most online platforms lack positive monitors, or any monitors at all, and in an area where anonymity rules and consequences seem non-existent, children and adults feel free to say and do whatever they want. But what they do not realize is that consequences are never fully suspended and an hour online can have a real impact on their lives, perhaps forever.

It is a scary but true fact that one in five minors is sexually solicited online. It is equally scary that in 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offender used their social networking site to gain information about them. While your child may know the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram better than any adult in their world, you as a parent know for a fact that nothing online is private and that every detail your child posts can be used against them. But what use is that fact in a world of hashtags, selfies and sexting? In a world where one in five teens have electronically sent or posted online nude or seminude pictures of themselves and think that it will never come back to haunt them?

We know you need help navigating this new online world – a world that your child is engaged in for an average of 44.5 hours each week. That’s why we’re launching the ‘Don’t Miss the Signs in the Digital World’ campaign during the month of October. ‘Don’t Miss the Signs in the Digital World’ will provide parents and caregivers information about how to guide your child toward positive, safe online behavior. The overall message of this and all our campaigns is that presence and communication are the keys to prevention. We know that you’re a good parent and it is our hope that following our ‘Don’t Miss the Signs Campaign’ will make you an even better one. Please join Lauren’s Kids in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children so that your own child can be as safe in front of their computer screen as they are when your watchful eyes are on them.