Keeping PA’s Children Safe from Online Predators

COVID-10 pandemic.

In Pennsylvania, the prevalence of sexual predators using social media to lure minors is a growing concern. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, there were 1,360 reported cases of online child exploitation in the state in 2020, an increase from the previous year.

Online predators can use various methods to connect with minors, including posing as a peer or using flattery to gain their trust. Once trust is established, the predator may request inappropriate photos or arrange to meet in person.

Here are some examples of how predators may try to lure a child online.

  1. Faking a common interest: Online predators may pretend to share the same interests as the child to gain their trust. For instance, a predator might create a fake profile as a teenage boy or girl who enjoys the same hobbies or activities as the child. The predator can then initiate conversations with the child and gradually build a relationship based on shared interests.
  2. Offering gifts and rewards: Predators may offer gifts or rewards to children to gain their trust and entice them to meet in person. They may offer things like free concert tickets, gift cards, or money in exchange for the child’s personal information, photos, or meeting in person.
  3. Creating emotional connections: Online predators may attempt to create an emotional connection with the child, which can make it harder for them to recognize potential danger. They may pretend to be a supportive friend who listens to the child’s problems or offers compliments and validation. They may also offer support for the child’s personal struggles and pretend to empathize with their difficulties.
  4. Using threats and intimidation: Some predators may use threats or intimidation to manipulate children into doing what they want. For example, they may threaten to harm the child’s family or friends if they don’t comply with their demands. They may also use blackmail, such as threatening to post embarrassing photos or information about the child online if they don’t comply.

It’s important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the tactics used by online predators and to educate their children about the dangers of online interactions.

Parents should monitor their children’s internet use and be vigilant for any signs of suspicious behavior or communication with strangers. They should also teach their children about internet safety and set guidelines for safe online behavior, such as not sharing personal information or photos online.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office also offers resources for parents and children to learn about online safety and report any suspicious activity.

Law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania are working to identify and apprehend online predators, but it is important for parents and children to also take responsibility for their own safety. By being vigilant and taking appropriate precautions, we can work together to protect our children from the dangers of online predators.


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James H Pentz obituary 1944~2023

Mr. James H Pentz, 78, passed away Thursday, March 23, 2023. Services will be held, 2 p.m., Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home.