Updated: Feb 27
It's a Real Threat in Rural America
As a former educator, I understand the importance of protecting children from the many dangers that come simply by living in present day society. One unfortunate danger is human trafficking. According to the Polaris Project, "1 in 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims". These statistics are concerning. We are talking about children being abducted and sold into sexual slavery. The thought that this is even possible in the United States blows my mind on a daily basis. However, never doubt the fact that it is occurring--and it's occurring all around us here in a free nation.
Why are kids so at risk? Simply put, kids are accessible due to the increasing use of technology such as social media and smartphones. These items allow children to communicate on platforms with friends, family--and yes, even strangers. Some strangers are very cunning. They pretend like they are friendly. Some even change their age to make them more appealing. They build trust between them and their victims. Once trust is established, they attempt to lure victims into their trap.
Apps such as KIK are dangerous in the hands of children because of the ability for users to remain anonymous. For proof of this allegation do a web search using the words "KIK unsafe". You will find countless information about why KIK is such a dangerous platform. There is no reason for someone to remain anonymous while sending and receiving messages in a social setting--unless there are bad intentions.
Other apps such as Snap Chat can be dangerous as well. Snap Chat allows senders to send photos and information that can disappear (unless the receiver saves or takes a screenshot). Similar to KIK, there is no reason for a child to have an app that doesn't leave a record of conversations. This only increases the ability for those involved in trafficking to capture another victim with little to no evidence left behind.
There are several other apps that are dangerous in the hands of a child. The health center has recently published a list of these apps on our Facebook page. Furthermore, familyeducation.com offers information as well relating to internet and social media safety. Understand that we all need to educate ourselves regarding the latest technology--as this technology serves as a doorway into our homes. It's a scary thought. However, we can no longer sugar coat the fact that certain apps are dangerous, especially if used unsupervised.
Sadly, human trafficking is an active threat that continues to evolve. As new doorways are introduced into millions of homes across America (apps), trafficking becomes a local problem impacting both city and rural areas.
Know what doorways exist in your home. Don't be afraid to close them if it puts your family in danger.