There are an assortment of risks associated with adolescents and their use of technology. The Internet has changed the way that individuals communicate with their families, friends, and peers. Young people utilize well-known web-based media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, etc. to keep in contact with one another. This increased use of technology opens the door for online predators to exploit children. Even on sites outfitted towards adolescents, there are adults who hope to connect and prey on children. In the most extreme cases, this can lead to things such as exploitation and human trafficking.

Furthermore, there are an estimated 500,000 online predators active each day. According to the F.B.I., over 50 percent of the victims of online sexual exploitation are between the ages of 12 and 15. This means that every time a child logs on to the internet via their phone or computer, they are susceptible to predators. It is crucial to remember that everyone you meet on the internet is not your friend. You never really know who you are talking to on social media.

However, there are many ways that you can protect yourself online. Never give out any private information, do not agree to meet strangers face to face, and keep all of your social media accounts private. It is important that if someone that you do not know reaches out to you or makes you feel uncomfortable that you speak with a teacher, parent, or another trusted adult.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of an online predator, please click the link below to fill out an incident report. This information will be sent to the Mobile County District Attorney's Office's Youth and Family Services Department.

Important Resources

FBI Hotline Number:  1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324)

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC):  www.missingkids.com.

FBI Cyber Alerts for Parents and Kids:  www.fbi.gov.

The state’s website for reporting Human Trafficking and Exploitation is:  www.enditalabama.gov

The Alabama Fusion Center also has a place to report these crimes:  www.alea.gov