Methods of Online Predators

Providing parents an understanding of predator’s methods helps parents protect their children. A predator’s goal is to lure and manipulate a child into believing they care for your child more than his or her parents or family. An Internet predator creates a fictitious online personality that emotionally replaces the trusted parent or guardian in a child’s mind. The tragedy of Internet victims is that they are not only physically and emotionally harmed, but they also harbor feelings of guilt and shame because in many instances they have willfully met their "fictitious friend".

Grooming
Predators view the process of finding and tracking down a child as a hunt and a game. They spend a lot of time, over many months, breaking down barriers to get the child to feel comfortable enough to divulge personal information. We refer to this process as "grooming."

Grooming includes fishing, mirroring, luring, and any other means by which a predator prepares a child to become a victim. Predators develop relationships by offering whatever a child seems to need, emotionally or literally luring them with gifts. Some children who are sad, bored, or lonely will turn to the Internet to have an emotional need met. These children are particularly vulnerable to "grooming" and need to internalize the importance of protecting their personal information.

Fishing
Personal information is much more than just a name, address, or phone number—it includes anything that lets a predator know something specific about the child: the name of their school, soccer team, favorite professional sports team, or specialized hobbies. An online predator will "fish" for information by asking basic questions, followed by more specific questions.

A combination of unrelated bits of information can direct a predator to a very narrow area. For example:

  • "The White Sox is my favorite baseball team."
  • "It hailed today at my school."

With these two pieces of information a predator can check specific weather maps and narrow down the child’s possible location to a very small area. The predator will then search for details about the area in an attempt to draw more out of the child. When the predator’s area is small enough, a simple detail such as, "My teacher won’t let me climb the big willow tree," can be enough for the predator to find the child.

Parks and schools and their surrounding areas are favorite places for predators to make contact with children; if possible, predators avoid a child’s home and street—where they are more easily identified as out of place. In some tragic cases, children were victimized during recess and returned to the playground before anyone knew the child was missing.

Mirroring
Online predators are skilled in playing back emotionally what they see in the child. This "mirroring" creates an illusion of camaraderie designed to break down the barriers of "stranger danger." For example, if a child is lonely, the predator mirrors that emotion and tries to fill the void by telling the child that he understands how it feels to be lonely and that he would like to be his/her friend. Predators mimic the child’s emotional language and play back the emotions they see in attempt to diminish his or her inhibitions.

INTERNET SAFETY TIPS

Online Shopping & Banking
10 Tips to Safer Shopping
Avoiding Internet Crooks
Bank Online Safely
Benefits of E-books
Identity Theft Rights
Identity Theft Tax Scams
Online Auction Sites
Online Classifieds - Buying
Online Classifieds - Selling
Secure Social Engineering
Digital Family Life
Addictions and ADHD
Betrayal Online
Child Online Privacy
Children & Anorexia
Children & Inappropriate YouTube Videos
Children and Internet Advertising
Children's Photos Online
Cyberbullying Tips
Dating Online Safely
Digital Dating
Digital Literacy
Family Time
Healthy Digital Family Life
High Risk Behaviors
Impact On Children
Internet Gambling
Internet Pornography
Kids & Online Gaming
Kids Posting on YouTube
Kids’ Mobile Apps
Make Money Websites
Online Gaming & Children
Online Quizzes & Surveys
Oversharing Information Online
Protecting from Predators
Read the Fine Print
Respect Online
Risky Behavior
Safe Online Photo Sharing
Safety & Social Networks
Social Networking and Friction
Teaching Privacy
Teen Asking for Validation?
Too Much Time Online
Video Games
PC Security
Argument with a troll
Block Pornography
Bots, Botnets And Zombies
Coupon Safety
Safe Linking & Attachments
Safe URLs
Search & Collected Info
Search vs Research
Secure Websites
What is Antivirus?
What is Phishing?
Getting Started
Beginners Tips
Email Hacking
Identify Theft
Malicious Software
Organize Net News
Sending Email
Strong Passwords
Technology Overload
Cyberbullying & Online Predators
Bullying
Cyberbullied
Cyberbullying Help
Cyberincident Response
Family Blogging
Harassed Online
Online Predators
Online Safety
Recognize a Cyberbully
Report Cyberbullying to Police
Report Cyberbullying to Schools
Safety: Pornography
Mobile Security
Cell Phone & Driving
Cell Phone Theft
Mobile Law Enforcement
Mobile Protection
Mobile Sexting
Parents & Cell Phones
Sexting
Tweets Archived
Ethics & Legal
Cheating & Technology
Cite Sources and Avoid Plagiarism
Download Music & Videos
Ethics
Facebook Passwords
Internet Addiction
Internet Content Copyrights
Kids & Impersonation
Netiquette
Online Impersonation
Societal Digital Piracy Costs
Managing your Online Reputation
Online Reputation
Protect Your Online Content
Protecting Privacy on Google
Teens & Reputation