Inform yourself first
Before speaking with your children about online sexual abuse, it’s important to arm yourself with the facts. For example, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received over 80,000 reports of online child sexual abuse in 2022 alone. Adjusted for population differences, the data is almost identical in Canada.
While these numbers may seem high and should certainly be taken seriously, it’s important to understand that a child in the US or Canada has well below a 1% chance of being solicited by an online sexual predator, according to available data. In most cases, minors are more likely to experience online sexual abuse from peers than from adults.
Other things you’ll want to familiarize yourself with include common online locations where sexual abuse occurs and online behaviors that could indicate grooming or sexual abuse.