Virtual Reality & Online Safety
The Roosevelt City Police Department would like to take the opportunity to share some important information and resources for parents, that can be used to help keep children safe in the ever-changing environment of gaming technology and social media.
Predators are aware of the fact that children are spending more time online and unfortunately exploit that. With the rapid advancement of technology and the proliferation of new apps and games programs that you may never consider to be hazardous, such as virtual reality platforms. Virtual reality apps have a number of features, including chat rooms and games. Users can create avatars of themselves and can portray whatever image they wish, meaning you have no way of knowing their true identity. Chats can be moved into a “private room”, out of sight of other users. This enhanced visual environment could potentially be used to encourage young people to share information or images without fully knowing who they’re them sharing with. As with all social media platforms, parents must engage with their teens and set ground rules on the use of screens. Tablets, phones, smart TVs, and gaming devices have more features than most of us realize, and young people are very savvy in using this technology, and often can conceal the nature of their activity if they wish.
The first step to helping your children practice internet safety is understanding it yourself. Find out what apps your children are using and learn how they work; this includes any apps they may use for online schooling as well as games and social media. included on this page is a list of popular apps that predators can use to gain access to children.
Knowing which apps your child is using is only half the battle. Parents also need to know how to identify if their child might be the target of a predator. Grooming is the process during which a child sexual offender draws a child in by gaining their trust in order to abuse the child while maintaining secrecy. The offender may also groom parents by persuading them of his or her trustworthiness with children. Sexual Grooming happens in six stages.
1) Targeting a Victim
2) Gaining Trust
3) Filling a Need
4) Isolating the Victim
5) Sexual Contact
6) Maintaining Control
Talking with your child is a powerful tool for their safety. Check in with your child regularly about how they’re doing, and what is going on in their life, especially online. If they’re not talking to you, they may be talking to someone else.
We want parents to be well-equipped to protect their children online. Please see the sidebar to the right for resources for online safety in the age of social media, including a link that can help parents choose the right software to help them monitor their child’s online activities.
Please do not hesitate to contact your local police department if you have any concerns about your child’s online activities or safety.