The Internet provides incredible opportunities for children to learn, explore, connect, and create – but it’s also a playground for predators.
Did you know?
- 1 in 5 children who touch a digital device will be sexually solicited online.
- Kids’ increased reliance on digital devices during COVID community closures has exacerbated the threat of online predation: According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there has been a 97.5% increase in online enticement reports in 2020 compared to that same 12-month period in 2019.
Lauren’s Kids has created two PSA videos to highlight the fact that even innocent communication can turn dangerous quickly. Those who seek to abuse and exploit children online frequent the very same apps, games and social media sites as their intended victims – gaining trust, then exploiting it.
Establishing an Internet code of conduct is important for children of all ages. Help children and teens understand their behavior online should mirror their behavior in the physical world. Questions to consider include:
- Does your child understand that once something is posted on the Internet, texted, tweeted, etc. it is permanent – even if it is deleted from their device?
- Does your child know not to post any personal information about themselves (pictures, address, email address, phone number, etc.) online?
- Does your child understand that communicating with someone they do not know is very dangerous online because they never know with whom they are actually communicating?
To help families with children of all ages stay safe from online and in-person predation, Lauren’s Kids is sharing a round-up of print and digital safety resources:
Safer, Smarter Families Safety Toolkit Generator
Designed for families with children from K-12, the Lauren’s Kids Safety Toolkit Generator provides tips, lessons, activities, and videos tailored to your child(ren)’s age(s) and level(s) of development. Just answer a few quick questions to help us pull together your custom toolkit, and get started on safety learning today! *Digital tool free for all
The Lauren’s Kids Blueprint for Building Safer, Smarter Families interactive activity pack helps families teach their elementary school aged children the basics of personal safety and the strategies needed to prevent abuse – all from a place of fun, not fear. Adults receive their own “parent pack” to use with their child, while kids follow along in their own workbook complete with crossword puzzles, word searches, crafts, roleplay scenarios, games and other entertaining activities. *Printed tool free for Florida families, available for purchase nationally and internationally; order at shop.laurenskids.org
Lauren’s Kids and Broward Sheriff’s Office Digital Safety Resources
Lauren’s Kids has partnered with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to develop resources to help parents and caregivers teach digital safety to children and teens, and to set up safe practices for use of digital devices.
- Click here to access a digital tip sheet developed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Digital Safety Team and the Lauren’s Kids foundation to provide basic steps for digital safety – especially useful for parents of elementary and middle school students.
- Click here to watch a digital safety discussion between a BSO Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Detective and Lauren’s Kids Founder and CEO Lauren Book.
In the digital age, information about these and all other topics are only a keystroke away…but so is misinformation and the possibility of predation. When it comes to safety, conversations do not have to be scary or uncomfortable. Instead, bring kids to the table and empower them with rules and tools to navigate the digital world safely, securely, and with confidence!