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Cyber Predators

Signs of Predatory Behavior

Grooming

Predators take advantage of [your] natural vulnerabilities, such as the need for attention. “Grooming” is the process through which predators play on these vulnerabilities by offering gifts and attention.

It does not happen overnight. Grooming can be a long process that a patient, tenacious predator has planned and perfected to gain your trust. This grooming may lead you to meet the person with whom you are chatting. Offenders will try to encourage a face-to-face meeting by:

  • Exploiting natural curiosity about sex
  • Lowering your inhibitions by gradually introducing explicit images and child sex abuse images
  • Using his or her adult status to influence and control your behavior
  • Offering attention and affection
  • Betraying your trust by manipulating your emotions and insecurities

David Finkelhor, Kimberly J. Mitchell, and Janis Wolak, Online Predators and their Victims: Myths, Realities, and Implications for Prevention and Treatment, American Psychologist 63 (2008): 116.

Teen Resources

What to do if ...

If you think you have a cyber predator stalking you, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

 

1.  Don't delete the text, post, email, etc.  Save it as evidence.

Click here  to see how to save it on different sites (Youtube, Facebook, etc.) 

2.  Don't reply.  Sending a response will likely encourage more unwanted attention.

3.  Contact an Adult:

  • Your counselor
  • An assistant principal
  • Health Center counselor
  • A trusted teacher
  • Your parents

4. If the predator threatens to approach you or hurt you, contact the police right away!  Telling the police about a predator will help others avoid getting into a dangerous situation.

 

If you think a friend is being stalked by a cyber predator, there are some things you can do to protect your friend.  Encourage them to: save the evidence, not to reply, and to tell a trusted adult.

How to prevent becoming a victim

  • Don't give out personal information to people you don't know.
  • On your profile, choose security settings that keep your information private.
  • Don't accept friends that you don't already know.
  • Don't flirt with people you don't know.
  • Stay on trusted sites.