Every 40 seconds a child goes missing somewhere in the United States.
There are more than 400,000 missing children each year. Of those missing children, almost 1,500 of them are kidnapped (this kidnapped number being an estimate since not every case gets reported, especially as it pertains to family member abductions)
According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 424,066 National Crime Information Center entries for missing children.
Also, in 2018 the CyberTipline received more than 18.4 million reports
, most of which related to: apparent child sexual abuse images; online enticement, including "sextortion;" child sex trafficking; and, child sexual molestation. Females aged 12-17 were the most commonly abducted group by strangers
. Among those females, a majority of them did not live with two parents (either biological or adopted)
. Children age 12 and over are the victims of kidnapping in more than 80% of cases
As many as 2.8 million teens run away from home each year
. The typical age of runaways is between the ages of 10 and 18, and more than 75 percent of teen runaways are female.
Today, the world is filled with child predators, especially online. These predators aim to establish contact with kids through conversations in chat rooms, instant messaging, e-mail or discussion boards
. Many teens use "peer support" online forums to deal with their problems. Predators, however, often go to these online areas to look for vulnerable victims.
Online predators try to gradually seduce their targets through attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts, and often devote considerable time, money and energy to this effort. They are aware of the latest music and hobbies likely to interest kids
. They listen to and sympathize with kids' problems. They also try to ease young people's inhibitions by gradually introducing sexual content into their conversations or by showing them sexually explicit material.
Some predators work faster than others, engaging in sexually explicit conversations immediately. This more direct approach may include harassment or stalking. Predators may also evaluate the kids they meet online for future face-to-face contact. Kids feel they are aware of the dangers of predators, but in reality they are quite naive about online relationships.
In focus groups conducted by the Media Awareness Network, girls aged 11 to 14 initially said they disguised their identities in chat rooms. They admitted, however, that it was impossible to maintain a false identity for long and eventually revealed personal information when they felt they could "trust a person." Building this "trust" took from 15 minutes to several weeks -- not a long time for a skillful predator to wait.
Several U.S. police departments have circulated a list of 14 Apps that parents should know about
. Here is the list and information/warnings that police departments are sharing about each:
It is similar to the popular dating app "Tinder." However, it requires women to make the first contact. Kids have been known to use Bumble to create fake accounts and falsify their age.
It is a live-streaming video app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can find out a broadcaster's exact location. Users can earn "coins" as a way to "pay" minors for photos.
It is known for cyber bullying. The app encourages users to allow anonymous people to ask them questions.
It is one of the most popular apps. While the app promises users can take a photo/video and it will disappear, recent features include "stories" which allows users to view content for up to 24 hours. Snapchat also allows users to see your location. (In addition, screenshots of content can be taken and saved.)
It is a self-proclaimed "addicting" video chat app that allows users to meet people all over the world in just seconds. Reviewers say they have been confronted with racial slurs, explicit content, and more.
It is only one of several secret apps used to hide photos, videos, files, and browser history.
It allows anyone to contact and direct message your child. Kids can bypass traditional text messaging features. KIK gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
It is an anonymous social network that promotes sharing secrets with strangers. It also reveals a user's location so people can meet up.
HOT OR NOT:
It encourages users to rate your profile, check out people in their area, and chat with strangers. The goal of this app is to hook up.
A free online chat website that promotes chatting anonymously to strangers.
This app is designed to allow teens to flirt with each other in a Tinder-like atmosphere.
Allows anyone to post anonymous rumors about people through audio, messages, texts and photos.
An app that allows users to compare kids against each other and rate them on a scale.
Many kids are now creating fake accounts to hid content from parents. Kids also like to text using Instagram because messages are deleted once a user leaves the conversation.
From Him, Through Him, For Him (Romans 11:36),
Paul J. Staso
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