Ask your child always to think about why someone would need their information before deciding whether to share it.Teen dating can be tricky, but remind your child that they are much better off looking for love in the real world.We know this is a tactic that many offenders use to gain the trust of a young person quickly.It’s much harder for your child to think critically about someone if they’re inundated with ‘likes’ or compliments about how sexy or talented they are.Sexual communication with a child is a criminal offence.Make sure your child knows that adults who want to talk about sex are doing something wrong and should be reported.If they are being made to feel this way, they should tell you.Make sure they know it’s important not to trust everything you hear online, no matter how nice or flattering it sounds! At CEOP, we’ve been told by offenders that another tactic they use is to look for young people who use a sexy username, post sexy pictures or talk about sex online.
They should keep their other social media profiles and usernames private, and shouldn’t give out their phone number or location.They may try to trick a young person into believing that they are trustworthy, that they are a friend or they may even pretend that they are the same age.Many popular dating apps allow the user to share their location or chat to people in their area – this increases the potential for a ‘real-life’ meeting.Meeting and chatting to others online is a normal part of life for most teenagers, but using online dating services could put them at risk. So much of a teenager’s social life happens online and many feel really comfortable using the internet to meet people.
The opportunity to meet and flirt with people outside their immediate social circle can be hugely exciting to a young person, particularly at a time where they are exploring their understanding of sex and relationships.
Talk to your child about their online dating profile. Young people might do these things because they’re naturally curious about sex and relationships, but it can make offenders think they’ll be open to sexual behaviour and could put them at risk.