As we all quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are spending more time online. As we see websites and apps increase their visibility and access through free trials, the ability for our children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to reach (and be reached) by anyone in the world has also increased. The FBI recently issued a warning to parents, educators, and caregivers to be vigilant in practicing internet safety to protect youth from online sexual exploitation.
In Hawaii, 1 in 3 who are sex trafficked were recruited online. There are several precautions that can be taken to stay safe.
ENCOURAGE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
- Communicate about what is important to you and encourage your family to share what is important to them. Identify shared values that you can commit to together.
- Create a strong sense of trust through demonstrating honesty and creating a safe space for your family members to be honest. This will help your children feel comfortable coming to you if they need help.
- Spend quality time together.
CREATE A SAFE SPACE ONLINE AND OFF
- Set parental controls on devices in your home. Go to Bark-o-matic for tutorials on devices, apps, and games.
- Create an agreement with your children and make a commitment together on what type of behavior is safe.
- Add a monitoring service. HNP is proud to be a Bark Affiliate. Bark is dedicated to helping keep kids safe online and in real life with their groundbreaking products for families. Bark helps families manage and protect their children’s digital lives. Their award-winning service monitors 30+ of the most popular apps and social media platforms for signs of issues like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, online predators, threats of violence, and more. Plus, Bark offers web filtering and screen time management tools that empower families to set healthy limits around the websites and apps their kids can access and when they can visit them. Use this link to try it free for 7 days or visit Bark.us to learn more.
This is an opportunity for us to recognize that our community can work together to take care of one another. We can look for healthy ways to connect with the people we care about and spend quality time with them so that they are less vulnerable to predators and more likely to be safe and experience a promising future.
Be part of the solution! It’s with the dedication of our supporters that we are able to prevent sex trafficking and provide care for children who have been exploited. Whether you want to volunteer your time, voice, or resources, we’ve made it easy find a way to get involved with Hoʻōla Nā Pua.
Donations to Ho`ōla Nā Pua support prevention, intervention, empowerment, and healing for our youth. Our Federal ID number (EIN) is 46-5139164. Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income.