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Concerned you may have online predator? This is how you handle it
Posted in Trauma and Abuse - 0 Comments

how to handle an online predator

In the modern world, the Internet has become a constant presence both in one’s professional and personal life. However, just as in the world at large, there are unfortunately those who choose to use a less than honorable means in how they communicate online. Therefore, you should use the same discretion and caution in how you interact with others on the web as you would in any other case. If suspicious behavior does arise, as in the case of an online predator, you should be prepared to respond appropriately and effectively.

If a conversation occurs online that you are concerned about, whether in a chat room or other such instant messaging service, then you should be sure to save a copy of it. There should be an option to save such a file to your computer where it can be found easily. If this is not an option, then you should copy and paste the file into a Microsoft Word document. This should be done for any statements that cause a reaction of disgust, anger, shock or distress. You may be able to present this later to an authority figure if such instances quickly escalate.

You should also be sure to block the person from contacting you further. There’s no reason to feel you are in the wrong for doing this if someone has made you uncomfortable. Simply state that you need to go and then enable the block option from there. This will stop the individual from being able to send you messages or view your status. As a precaution, you should not accept any webcam invitations from them either. Disable your webcam if they attempt to show you an obscene visual and block in this case as well.

Depending on the seriousness of the encounter, you may choose to report it to the police. This may help prevent others in the future from experiencing what you have experienced. You may also choose to report it online at a website that includes a form for reporting abuse. Do your best to only use sites that you know are safe and reliable, while keeping in mind how to respond in emergencies. Also, never send photos or agree to meet in person as a means of getting the person to leave you alone. You should also change your email address and your phone number as well if they know it.

Proactive tips

There are some proactive methods you may practice so that an online predator is less likely to make a target of you. For instance, you may choose a generic user name that does not draw any unnecessary attention. If your friends, family or others are made aware of what your user name is, then it really doesn’t matter what a person randomly glancing at different user names thinks of it. You should also strive for anonymity in profiles that you create. Determine which information is actually important to share, for the same reasons that you should be generic with your username. Once again, those who know you personally should already know certain details such as your hobbies, so it’s not necessarily relevant to include all these details for a potential predator to be made aware of and to try to use in a manipulative way.

Additionally, you should never accept downloads from an unknown source. Such downloads are more likely to be sexually explicit or otherwise offensive. Steer clear of chat rooms or other areas that appear to be suspicious. Obviously, if antivirus program warns you about a site in particular, then you should avoid it. Such websites, much like online predators, have malicious intent to harm or infect your computer. Also avoid posting personal photos, as this may obviously trigger someone to contact you based on their personal preferences of attraction. Otherwise, just make sure you are regularly aware of what is taking place when you are online, so that you are prepared in case a worst case scenario does occur.

Written by Ryan McMaster, Sovereign Health Group writer

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