The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unfortunate boon for online predators. Kids are online all day and night because of school and trying to stay in touch with their friends and that means they are much more vulnerable to online predators. The uptick in online time has led to an uptick in predator cases that the FBI in El Paso Division is investigating.

The way online sexual predators get to your kids is through gaming and hook-up apps. They tell your child that they are a teen as well and after they get your kid to get comfortable, they start asking for explicit pictures. After the victim sends a photo, the predator asks for more. When the victim refuses, they then turn on the victim saying that they will post the photos that have already been sent by the victim to social media or send them to their family and friends. The predator will also tell the victim that once the photos are online, they'll live forever and cause them huge embarrassment.

Tero Vesalainen

The FBI says the thing the predator is counting on is the humiliation and panic your child will feel knowing that either you or their friends will see what they did. They're hoping your child will keep quiet and keep sending photos. The FBI says that where you come in. You need to not only keep a close eye on your kid's social media but you need to remind them that as good as they are at photo and video editing, predators are also good at it. They can either alter a photo or video to appear younger or hide behind a totally fake online profile.

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Make sure you talk to your kids and teens about online predators and as tough as a subject as it is to talk about, make sure they know that should they find themselves in a situation like this, they can come talk to you. They need to know that they don't have to be held hostage by a disgusting online predator and that you will help them get away from a situation that could spiral out of control.

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