We’ve heard about this on the news, read about it on social media and now more & more stories are surfacing around the issue of child sex predators and pedophiles in Malaysia. Parents play a crucial role in curbing this issue. What can you do to save your child from becoming a victim?
Sunway Medical Centre’s Clinical Psychologist shares her thoughts on this.
Research shows that about 16% of children have been approached by strangers online. One of the most common platforms for this to take place is online gaming. Nearly half of the children who make friends online go on to meet them in real life and 1 in 4 goes alone.
Children are naive about the people they meet online; they often assume strangers online are who they say they are. As parents, we need to begin conversations about Internet safety as soon as we allow our children on the Internet. Educate them with real-world examples about strangers online, but also empower children with personal safety skills.
Give them clear rules and consequences about using the Internet. If they don’t follow the rules, they lose their computer/technology device privileges until they can prove that they can make safe choices in other areas for a couple of days.
Using “block filtering”, “monitoring tools” and ensuring the computer is located in a central space of your home helps too. Address the “that will never happen to me” mindset; predators often work on gaining their target’s trust and making them feel comfortable.
Talk with our children about healthy boundaries: how much they can share about themselves online (e.g., whereabouts, pictures), who is allowed to touch them, when, where and for what reasons.
Strong relationship and coaching from parents empower children to learn what to do and feel secure talking to parents about their concerns.