THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA, PREDATORS

BBB WARNING

Child predator email scam preys on concerned parents.

Buffalo, NY. Fake email warnings about a child predator being in the neighborhood are the latest methods scammers are using to steal personal information, warns the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York. These “community safety” alerts are designed to look official and come right to your inbox. 

WHAT CAN I DO AS A PARENT

As parents, it is always our job to protect and make sure our children are safe, especially from the dangers of social media. The best thing that you can do to fight against the negativity that social media introduces to your teens is to talk to them. Explain to them that social media’s views on things like body image, popularity and sex isn’t something that is particularly correct. Parents should be fully aware of the things that their children experience online, whether their children are boys or girls. Here are a few things that parents should keep in mind. Communication with your children and monitoring their use of social media is the best way to make sure that they are safe, healthy and happy.


POPULARITY

Typically, social media’s effect on tweens and teens is considered to be something that only girls must deal with when trying to be popular. This idea could not be further from the truth. In fact, boys tend to have just as much trouble when it comes to social media popularity as girls do.


NEGATIVE INFLUENCES

Body Image is something that both boys and girls struggle with. They are able to see these images all over social media. While young girls will often compare their bodies to those of other girls and to women that they see in magazines, movies, music videos. Boys will compare themselves to other boys on social media or even men that they see on TV and in print ads. Today’s boys and girls have access to even more images of undressed adults than they have in previous generations.

Today's developing issues with body image, with things that they have seen through social media from offline experiences., such as from the high school weight-room / local gym to television like football, baseball, soccer the sky's is the limit, body image is everywhere drawing them into finding friend's to fit in through social media. However, not everyone has these traits. For those who are not athletic and may exhibit strengths intellectually in other areas, this can be something that affects their self-confidence. Our youth may feel as though they will never be popular unless they adapt and build their athleticism to fit in society.


SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS EFFECT ON BOYS

Boys are also negatively affected by social media when it comes to being influenced to partake in bad activities. For example, they may be more likely to begin drinking or taking drugs because people that they admire on social media sites are doing the same. Sex is also something that boys can be influenced to try because of social media. These sites tend to emphasize the sexual roles that men play and young boys may feel as thought they must have sex with as many people as possible in order to become a man. These circumstances are both very dangerous and could introduce the boy into very dangerous diseases and illness. Never before in the history of the media of telecommunications in the United States has so much indecent and obscene material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restriction.

HOW THE SCAM WORKS

You receive an email alert with the subject line “Pedophile alert” or “Alert: There is a Child-Predator Living Near You!” The email typically states “you are receiving this email because there may be a risk of sex offender activity in your area,” or “a child-predator just moved into your neighborhood.”

Included in the message is a link to click that says it will take you to the information. Clicking on the link takes the user to a series of redirected sites to land on the website for Kids Live Safe,a service that sells localized reports on Sex Offenders but this spam isn't actually affiliated with Kids Live Safe.

Once you click on the links, it will infect your computer with malware that will attempt to search for stored information such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers. BBB advises people to never click on links in unsolicited emails. For more information about the URL destination - use your browser to search for information before you click.


HOW TO SPOT AN EMAIL SCAM


CHECK OUT THE “FROM” FIELD. Scammers can mask email addresses, making them appear to come from legitimate sources. Look out for email addresses that don’t match the organization name used in the message.

TYPOS AND GRAMMAR. Organization logos and email formats can easily be copied, but bad grammar and poor writing typically indicate that a message is a scam.


CHECK YOUR URLs. Hover over a URL to determine its real destination. Usually, the hyperlink text will say one thing and the link will point somewhere else.


PERSONALIZED EMAILS. Scams often pretend to be personalized, but it is actually blast emails. If the receiver never signed up for custom email alerts, the person should not be receiving them.


BE CAREFUL WITH “UNSUBSCRIBE” OPTIONS. It’s better to just delete this type of solicitation. If you choose unsubscribe, you could open yourself up for more unwanted spam email.


To get information on registered Sex Offenders in your area, check out the FBI’s directory of state databases.


Note: KidsLiveSafe.com is a BBB accredited business.