24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Text: 410-829-6143  | English:410-820-5600  | Spanish: 410-829-6143


Today, families spend more and more time online for education, entertainment, and staying socially connected. And our children and young adults have greater access to digital devices than ever before.

This increased internet usage has led to widespread exposure to online sexual abuse toward children and teens.

Parents play a vital role in keeping kids safe online. Parents and caregivers can help prevent children from becoming victims of online exploitation and being exposed to risks associated with predators and pornography.


Kids are at risk of exposure to sexual photos or sexual harassment through any device that connects them to the internet including smartphones, iPads, gaming devices, or personal computers. Some ways that predators will connect with kids is by commenting on social media, sending private messages, messaging through game sites, and sending images, or videos.

Online sexual harassment, exploitation, or abuse can cause children overwhelming emotional and psychological stress. Adolescents may become trapped in a manipulative relationship with a predator. In some cases, they may believe they are in a romantic mutual relationship, and in other cases, they may be fearful or embarrassed to share with a trusted adult what they are experiencing


Children and teens are not ready to handle this exposure and can feel guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, sadness, shock, withdrawal, and isolation.

Signs of a child’s distress may include:

  • being secretive
  • having trouble sleeping
  • experiencing nightmares
  • withdrawing
  • feeling nervous
  • difficulty concentrating in school


It’s vital for parents and caregivers to take action to ensure their child’s safety online and to understand the risk of online predators. Here is a list to

  • Monitor your child’s contacts. Their online contacts should only be with the friends they know in real life or contacts you have verified.
  • Teach your child to never share personal information or photos online with someone they do not know and trust in real life.
  • Know what online platforms your children use. This includes social media sites, gaming apps like Roblox or Minecraft, and online, text and video platforms like Discord, Twitch, and others.
  • Review privacy settings available on these platforms and adjust their settings so locations cannot be identified. Help them learn how to block anyone that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Make sure your child knows where to seek help if they encounter something online they find upsetting. Even if your child is embarrassed or they made a mistake. Remind them if they come to you with a problem, and you will help them no matter what.
  • Stay alert to signs of distress that your child may express when online or at other times of the day.
  • Keep it casual and talk with your children often about Internet and online activity.  Share your own stories about situations may have encountered online. How did you react? What made you uncomfortable?
  • Set up computers in a central location so you can see your child’s activity.
  • Check-in on their social media accounts over time.
  • Do not make safety interventions seem like punishment. Help your children to understand that you want to help them have fun and stay safe online – just as you would help them stay safe in public places.

Sources: https://mcasa.org/events/event/protect-while-they-connect-a-discussion-of-online-child-sexual-exploitation


For All Seasons, is proud to be a part of the Governor’s initiative – the Maryland Regional Navigator Program – serving human trafficking victims on the Mid-Shore of Maryland and building awareness for human trafficking risks in our community. This program connects our agency with experts across the state so our team can better support victims in our region.


Part the agency's human trafficking awareness and prevention goals includes helping parents, caregivers, and schools keep children and young adults safe from the serious risks of online predators. Learn more about our Anti-Human Trafficking program at WeSupportSurvivors.org.


For All Seasons Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center provides therapy, psychiatry, advocacy, and outreach and education to English and Spanish Speaking individuals regardless of one’s ability to pay. The Maryland Regional Navigator is one of the programs we offer to the community. Learn more about For All Seasons at ForAllSeasonsInc.org.