So what can parents do to protect their children and what are some of the signs that may go unnoticed?
“In today’s world, 2020, a child can be abused without ever having been in the same room as the abuser – thanks to these devices,” said Chief Parenting Officer with BARK Technologies, Titania Jordan.
Bark Technologies is a parental control monitoring app accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. They say they’ve seen a 23% increase in online predator alerts since quarantine began back March, compared to last year, and sometimes, these alerts are triggered by conversations that may otherwise go unnoticed.
“Instead of using the words naked, or on camera, or nude, a predator could send a child just the letters ‘GONC’ which stands for get naked on camera,” said Jordan. “A parent might look at that and say ‘what is that’, but the child knows and the predator knows.”
“This has been a huge problem even before Covid,” said Major Jeff Allen, Commnder of the Mahonoing Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, who notes that parents should not think this can’t happen to them or their children.
“They mislead these kids on who they are and how old they are to start off to build trust,” said Allen. “Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they just talk to them as an adult and build trust like they’re there for them, give them advice and make the kid feel like they care about them.”
Allen encourages parents to talk to their kids, tell them the dangers of accepting requests from anyone they don’t know and if something suspicious does arise, don’t hesitate to contact police to investigate.
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