These are tips to keep you and your family safe online.

When communicating with someone you do not know in real life, you should be cautious of some common tactics used by online predators to win your trust and create a false sense of security. The following are examples of what is called “grooming” Does the person you’re chatting with make you feel ‘special’ Give you excessive compliments? Make promises of gifts and/or money? Make you believe that they understand you like no one else does? Say you are the only one for them – that no one else matters? Offer you ‘real love’ or say you are their ‘soul mate?’ Seem to have everything in common with you? Make you feel bad if you are not available to chat?

When someone you do not know in real life uses any of these methods to tempt you to do something inappropriate, you are being ‘groomed’. By creating a false sense of trust, the predator breaks down your suspicions and defenses. If someone says he is 13 or even 17 years old, how do you know he isn’t really 45 or 50 and just pretending to be a teen?

Dads/Parents it is up to us to educate our kids about this issue. Watch them carefully and ‘teach’ them about safety. It doesn’t just come automatically that your child can recognize these signs. We have a responsibility as Dads.