Gen Z spends more time online than any other generation. With that comes increased dangers from online predators. While you may have had conversations with your teen about online dangers, it is important to revisit the topic and check-in with teens regularly.
Encourage your teen to practice caution and recognize predatory behavior through the following signs:
- Does a person regularly ask for pictures, personal information or to video chat?
- Are they overly persistent or controlling?
- Do they constantly push boundaries or send your teen gifts?
- Is the person vague or reluctant to share their own personal information?
- Do they create feelings of guilt?
If your teen is victimized by online predators, it is important for you to remain calm. Take a deep breath and react with compassion. Thank them for trusting you. They may feel too guilty to seek help and may need to hear the words, "You are not at fault." Let them know that if this ever happens to them, or is happening to them now, the blame falls on the predator. They are the victim in the situation and the negative emotions they’re feeling towards themselves are misplaced. Encourage your teen to extend grace to themselves and let them know you’re there to support them. Talk with them about ways to prevent future victimization online.
To read more, check out Axis' blog.