San Diego, California - Now that students are all spending more time online due to distance learning and COVID-19, they are a captive audience for would-be human traffickers making contact on social media, which means we have to expand our efforts to educate them to prevent them from falling victim to predators.

These red flags are common with some adolescents that should be taken seriously:

  • Teenager or child may be acting secretive of their online activities
  • Hiding what is on their computer screens
  • Out of sight or behind a closed door when online
  • Vague talk of making new friends with little to no details
  • Agitated behavior when answering their phone or needing to take calls in private
  • Sneaking out of the house and/or untruthful about who with/where
  • Dressing/wearing make-up to look older
  • They get home late
  • Unexplained expensive gifts/money/clothes

What can parents/guardians do to protect children online?

Parents/guardians are also on the frontlines when it comes to all forms of child abuse and exploitation, whether online or in person - children and adolescents often do not feel vulnerable or understand and appreciate what risks they may face form online or in person victimization.

Click here to read some important recommendations from the FBI, to help parents keep their children safe online.