Because of the vast advancements in social networking technology over the last decade, there is a large lack of understanding and communication between children and their parents about current social networking trends and the dangers of them. Many children as young as 11 are using these applications daily, and there have been numerous cases of sexual abuse and assaults as a result of the child not comprehending that the person on the other end of the chat may not actually be who the claim to be. Predators use social networking to abuse children over web cams (known as grooming), or to lure them to meet them in person and assault them in worse ways. Many parents today who are aged 30-40, and may have children as young as 11 or so, are not familiar with these social networking applications, because they are outside of the targeted marketing group for them, and see no use or reason to learn “yet another” social networking platform. However, parents of children need to realize how important it is to talk with their children about what social networking applications they may be using, and make sure that their children understand the dangers of them, just as they would talk about drugs or sex with their child to have them understand the dangers of those things.

Key Points:

  • 1Predators are online posing as children and enticing children to do things that can never be undone or deleted.
  • 2Children need adult guidance to navigate their online worlds safely.
  • 3Adults need to start conversations about technology with children and learn new technologies that are intimidating to the older generation.


In this talk, Bortnik discusses the issue of “grooming” — the sexual predation of children by adults on the internet — and outlines the conversations we need to start having about technology to keep our kids safe.

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