There is nothing more important than a child's safety. That's why parents and grandparents alike need to be extra vigilant keeping tabs on their online adventures. To try and help, we recently warned you about secret "sexting" codes that children are using.
Cyberbullying, online predators and even the risk of internet addiction are just a few other things to watch out for. Now, we've learned that predators are preying on kids through social media accounts.
Warn your kids about these social media predators
With more and more kids being exposed to smartphones and the internet at younger ages these days, the chances of them running into a digital predator is high. There's a troubling phenomenon circulating now on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram targeting teens.
We're talking about fake "model scouts." They are using social media to trick teen girls into sending them personal information, money, and you won't believe this, explicit photos.
The fraudulent recruiters tell victims that they can get them into the entertainment and fashion industries if they submit certain items.
One legitimate model agency director, Sarah Doukas, told the Guardian, "The rise of social media has impacted greatly on why modeling agency scams are increasing. Firstly, a lot of young people's Instagram accounts are not private, and consequently, they are easy to approach. Secondly, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated because of social media generally.
"We are getting more scammers posing as 'friends' of the model agency and offering an introduction to us, and this is not legitimate. There was on example recently, which went on for several months, where a vulnerable girl was invited to a shoot and she ended up taking her clothes off. She had been approached by a fraudster claiming to know me."
Some of the scammers begin by telling the girl they need to send a certain amount of money to get their portfolio started. Others begin by convincing the girls to send explicit photos first. Then, they try and extort the victim for money, threatening to release the compromising images if they don't pay up.
Here are suggestions to keep your kids safe:
Speak to your kids
Having an open dialogue with your children and grandchildren is the most important step to keeping them safe. Making them aware of digital threats like this will let them know what to watch out for. Tell them to let you know if they are approached by someone claiming to be a model scout on social media. This way you can research the agency to see if it's a scam.
Set parental controls
Take advantage of the parental control settings on your child's gadgets. These will help keep them from accessing inappropriate content online.
Install security software
You can prevent some online risks with security software. It can even help you block certain apps from being installed on your child's gadget.
Speaking of child safety, here are 3 ways to keep your kids safe online
The internet is filled with tons of information, but there are several gutters that are easy to slip into. It's hard enough for adults to avoid these sites, but it's even tougher for teens and kids. Here are three steps every parent should take to protect their kids from online threats.