New Data Solutions Help Parents Fight Online Predators

Big data is playing a big role in shielding vulnerable children from online abusers. This is important because the rate of online abuse is higher than previously believed.

Internet predators are a serious problem that isn’t going away any soon. Polls have shown that around 20 percent of children have been solicited online. Parents need to understand the risks and equip themselves with the tools they need to safeguard their children from online abusers.

Studies have shown that predators aren’t as calculating as previously thought. Only five percent attempted to deceive their victims about their age. This is good news for informed to parents that want to keep their children safe and bring online predators to justice.

There are a number of tools and strategies that can help parents monitor children’s activities and make sure they are safe. Here are some ways that big data has helped.

Data mining social networking information

Predators frequently use social media to connect with potential victims. It is worrisome how receptive children can be to them. Nearly 4 out of five children have accepted a friend request from someone they had never met or heard of before. Studies have also shown that 43 percent of children that have accepted a friend request from someone they didn’t know later agreed to meet them in person.

This is a huge risk because they can easily lie about their identities. It is up to parents to learn everything they can about the people on their children’s social networks, in case they don’t listen to their concerns.

Fortunately, there is a number of social media data mining tools that make it easier for them to perform background checks on the people talking to their children. These tools can uncover the following data:

  • The age of the other person’s account
  • The level of activity on their account
  • Whether any information on their account can’t be accurate (such as attending schools that were shut down)
  • Whether they have a confirmed email address
  • Demographic information associated with their email address

There is a lot of information that you can uncover from social data mining tools. You just need to know what to look for to identify potential predators.

Monitoring Content Children Exchange with Strangers

Your children may not always heed your warnings. Fortunately, there are ways that you can at least monitor the content they share with others online. Snapchat spy tools have become popular for concerned parents since the image sharing site has gained market share with teenagers.

Identifying Risky Websites

Some websites are obviously risky. You can use tools such as NetNanny to block your kids from accessing them on their desktops. However, there are many other sites that are not intended to be inappropriate but can pose a risk to children. They often are social communities that are poorly supervised and are a frolicking ground for predators. Using tools like Distill is important to understand websites, especially if they change over time. This is more common when sites are flipped to new buyers that decide to use them to promote adult content.

Victoria Kempf of Patch discussed this in an article around the time Amanda Todd committed suicide after being bullied by an online predator.

“Chatrooms are predators’ dream come true and are the predominant online location where predators meet kids. Sites like Omegle that invite kids to talk to strangers are a parent’s nightmare. Teaching your child not to talk to strangers is one of the first lessons in life that a parent gives their child. There are hundreds of these sites. Kids are naturally curious and many kids visit them thinking it’s no big deal. Kids should not be on these sites, period.”

Big data has made it easier for parents to research the content of various sites and keep their children from accessing any that are clearly risky or inappropriate.

James is a freelance writer, blogger and an all-round computer geek. He loves to write on tech and data management.