How can we prevent our children from being sexually abused online?

We already know how difficult it is for children to talk about being sexually abused, whether by a man or woman or by another child. When sexually abusive behavior occurs online, some children may not even realize they are being exploited; and those who do may not tell, especially if they realize they have broken a safety rule or believe their Internet privileges may be taken away. This clearly adds another barrier to children feeling able to let someone know if they are worried about their friendships online or someone’s behavior towards them. Talk frequently and honestly with your kids about experiences they may be experimenting with online, and learn the warning signs in children who may be struggling.

Some of these behaviors may be part of growing up or caused by other factors in a child’s life. If you are worried, recognize that your child may be frightened, too. Talk to someone you trust, or seek the support of a professional.

Signs that a child or young person may be the target of sexual abuse online include:

Isolating themselves

Social changes

Emotional changes

Adapted with permission from Stop It Now! UK & Ireland, The Internet and Children – What’s the Problem,

Learn More
Helpful Organizations
Organization: Netsmartz Workshop



Helpful Articles
Title:The Internet and Children - Whats the Problem
Abstract:Guidebook with safety tips for families and children and encouragement to question harmful use of the internet and new technologies.
Stop It Now! UK & Ireland
Related Files:
Title:A Parents Guide to Internet Safety
Abstract:Article by the FBI provides guidance for parents, definitions, FAQ
US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation
Related Files:
Helpful Links