TALLAHASSEE – Lauren's Kids, a non-profit organization that works to prevent abuse and help survivors heal, launched a new blog series this week to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers lurking online for children and teens. The series, called Don't Miss the Signs in the Digital World, runs through November 1 and addresses the impact of such 21st century issues as Internet predators, human trafficking and cyber bullying, while offering guidance in how parents can keep their kids safe.
The two-week campaign consists of 10 blog posts released every weekday. The posts utilize subject matter experts, counselors and authors who provide insight into these emerging and unfamiliar online issues. Every blog ends with specific resources that inform parents and caregivers on where they can get additional information and how they can open up the conversation with their children.
"From social media to instant messaging to smartphones, children and teens are exposed to more and more harmful material, and it can come from both trusted peers and unseen predators," said Lauren Book, child sexual abuse survivor and CEO of Lauren’s Kids. "This campaign brings in experts who help explain Internet-based issues affecting children and how we can prevent our kids from being victimized online."
Today almost every child in America has access to the Internet, and more than 90 percent of teens carry smartphones. The skyrocketing presence of anonymous online communities increases the opportunities for predators to prowl in the shadows, and this silent threat has the potential to follow young people around wherever they go – even into their own homes.
Don't Miss the Signs in the Digital World brings in national experts representing such organizations as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, To Write Love On Her Arms and Love146, who give advice on how to keep children from becoming victimized by these new and mounting online threats.The campaign also provides a first-hand perspective on these issues by relating personal experiences from teens who have already walked through these difficult life situations.
Online chat rooms, communities and social networking sites can be accessed from smartphones, tablets or computers and provide a place of anonymity and autonomy for children and teens, offering them an opportunity to interact with peers largely unmonitored and uninhibited by parents and other authority figures. This leaves young people startlingly vulnerable to bullying, peer pressure, community-building centered on harmful behavior, and traps set by predators. For more information, visit www.LaurensKids.org.