Children spend a great deal of their time online which is why parents need to be vigilant regarding their activities on the internet. Through two way communication and positive parenting techniques, mishaps online can be prevented. However what would happen if your child does fall into such a trap? In such instances, parents need to step out of their comfort zones and take the action needed to keep their child safe.
Every situation is different which is why it needs to be handled in a different manner. The following are some examples which have occurred and which parents can learn from. A couple recently tried to save their 15-year-old daughter from making the mistake of marrying a man she had met on Facebook and who was twice her age. With the help of family and friends, they tried to stop the marriage.
The man was 30 years of age who met the girl through an app on the social media website; they met in April on the website and interacted with each other after that through a number of online channels. The parents got to know about the relationship in June and tried to talk to their daughter regarding the consequences of such behavior but she didn’t listen to them which caused the parents to take away her laptop and blocked her Facebook account. The mother of the girl, however, continued sending the man messages pretending to be the daughter and at the end, they decided to meet at the family house of the girl. When he showed up, the father of the girl along with friends who were waiting for him locked him inside the house and handed him to the police. The man now is facing child rape and kidnapping charges.
Through the incident, a number of things can be learned regarding proactive parenting for instance:
- parents should know how to protect their children over the internet so as to avoid such difficult situations
- if they find their teen to be trapped by an online predator, they should discuss it in a rational way with their child first
- they should try to include their child in their confidence and explain to them the dangers of getting involved in a relationship over the internet with someone who they don’t even know
- If the teen starts to get violent or gets rebellious, parents should take away any liberties provided to them and should even take away gadgets which are the only source of communication they would be having with their predator
- Apart from taking away their virtual freedom, parents would also have to keep a check on the physical activities of their child
- The local police department should be contacted who can help find the predator and get him arrested
- Close friends, family and community members should also be asked for help
Parents need to develop a trusting communication with their child irrespective of gender. If parents listen to their child then the child will also listen.