As school lets out and children are at home more, accessing phones, internet, and games, it is critical to know how to keep them safe. With the number of CyberTipline reports increasing 35% from 2020 to 2021, kids and youth of all ages are at-risk.
This month, we have rounded up key resources for kids, teens, parents, and caregivers to give you the information you need to prevent exploitation from happening to the youth in your life. We’ve sorted these resources by format to help you access and learn however best fits you!
Podcast – In the Ending Human Trafficking Podcast, episode 270, listen in as digital leaders, Thorn, discuss how parents can protect their children through equipping themselves with knowledge and resources. They dive into research on child sexual abuse materials and look at studies demonstrating the difficulties youth are having navigating an increasingly digital environment.
Videos – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created Netsmartz and Kidsmartz that offer videos that present digital safety lessons in a fun and age-appropriate manner. Youth want to hear from youth, and NCMEC has created a library of resources that does just that. The Into the Cloud series for elementary students offers two seasons packed with information about online safety, cyberbullying, online exploitation, reporting and more. Videos specific to middle and high school students equip and empower them to recognize and prevent victimization online with educated choices.
Articles – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is a leader in the field addressing sexual abuse and exploitation legislatively. Check out their recent articles on the danger of cyberspace, the messaging app Discord, and the subscription-based platform OnlyFans.
Websites – With endless information available, knowing where to start can be difficult. Knowing what topics to focus on can help. Learning what sexting is and how that can lead to sextortion, or the dangers of online gaming, can be a great place to start.
Webinar – Hear from experts in the field about what they are encountering in the Shared Hope webinar series Internet Safety Basics: How Predators Identify, Groom and Exploit Youth Online. You will hear how traffickers and online predators are taking advantage of youth’s reliance on the internet to sexually exploit them at an unprecedented rate—all from behind a screen.
Guides – Knowing how to talk to youth can be hard. A21 has created a student safety guide with practical examples and steps that illustrate to youth the vulnerabilities that exist, what red flags to look for and how to have safe communication when chatting online. Parents and guardians can equip themselves with LOVE146’s guides and webinar that help them to keep youth safe from child trafficking. For an internet-specific guide, Shared Hope International offers a safety guide to technology.
Reporting – The vulnerability to traffickers and predators that youth face as they are online continues to increase. Discover how you can make reports of “suspected online enticement of children for sexual acts, child sexual molestation, child sexual abuse material, child sex tourism, child sex trafficking, unsolicited obscene materials sent to a child, misleading domain names, and misleading words or digital images on the internet” by reporting to the CyberTipline.
Key Takeaways: 1. Be the safe person a youth can talk to. 2. Monitor the apps and websites your children use. 3. Know what to do if you suspect a youth has been sexually exploited online.
For many more links and resources, check out our Online Safety Toolkit that highlights over 60 resources like the ones above, directing you to the information you need to get equipped to protect the youth in your life.