Last night I experienced a parents worst nightmare. I caught my daughter talking to someone online who was clearly lying about their age. What should I do?

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Sarah, VT
6/3/2024
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No matter what you do to protect your kids online, unfortunately incidents like this are all too common.

Follow these steps to ensure your kids are kept safe from potentially harmful connections:

  1. Screenshots. Screenshots. Screenshots. Save any and all communication your child has had with the person. Don’t delete anything.
  2. Report the communication to local authorities or use the NMEC CyberTipline at 1-800-THE-LOST. The local authorities will advise as to whether or not to block the communication, and when & how to alert the platform it occurred on.
  3. Keep dialogue open with your child. It's imperative your kid knows to come to you if they're ever in doubt about the conversations they're having online.
  4. Don’t feel guilty. It’s common for parents to blame themselves in the aftermath of something like this but you are not alone.
The important thing is to keep calm and ensure you're building and maintaining trust with your child.

Read our guide Stay safe when chatting online: a guide for parents and families for more resources and tips.

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