How do online predators operate?
There is no one single method in which online predators work. But there are several methods that can have been identified as how online predators locate their victims and get them to do what they want, whether it is meeting them in person or simply engaging in some kind of online/on the phone sexual activity.
These are some typical methods online predators use:
- Find kids through social networking, blogs, chat rooms (even monitored, kids chat rooms), instant messaging, e-mail, and other Web sites, often using information in their targets’ personal profiles.
- Seduce their targets through attention, flattery, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These types of manipulation will cause kids to lose their sense of awareness, and help the predators to get from bad intentions to sexual exploitation (this is called “grooming”, and may continue over extended time periods).
- Are familiar with the latest music, hobbies, fashion, etc. that are likely to interest kids.
- Look for children that are emotionally vulnerable due to problems at school or home.
- Listen to and sympathize with kids' problems, while building a pseudo friendship, taking the kids side vis-à-vis their parents or teachers.
- Gradually introduce sexual content into conversations or show sexually explicit material that may even involve children engaging in sexual activity – in order to convince kids that this type of behavior is acceptable.
- If the victim tries to cut off communication, predators scare the victim into continuing the relationship by convincing them that they will tell their parents what they have been doing online and that they have viewed pornographic pictures, etc.
- May impersonate other youths in order to convince minors to meet with them.