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Online Safety: Talk about it Early and Often!


Today, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) joins many organizations across the globe to celebrate Safer Internet Day 2023. As the internet rapidly grows and options of what you can do online expand, it’s important to talk with your children now about how they can make responsible decisions online.

So, What Are Kids Facing? 

These days, it often seems like kids are facing a new online threat every day. Currently, one of the biggest dangers we’re seeing here at NCMEC that’s impacting kids around the world is sextortion, a form of child sexual exploitation where children are threatened or blackmailed online. Recently, NCMEC has seen a dramatic increase in sextortion cases being reported to our CyberTipline, especially in financial sextortion, where the offender demands money from the child. 

If this happens to your child, they may feel overwhelmed or like there is no way out, but there is hope. Visit our website for tips on how to talk about sextortion, red flags that could be indicators and watch our newly released sextortion PSA below: 

Although sextortion is making news, it’s not the only thing kids are facing. In 2021 alone, NCMEC received over 29 million reports to our CyberTipline of suspected child sexual exploitation. To learn more about the dangers of child sexual exploitation and online enticement read our blog, “What is Child Sexual Exploitation?”

Okay, It’s Time to Talk. But Where Do I Start?

We understand that conversations like these can sometimes be daunting and we’re here to help! If you’re not sure where to start when you sit down with your child, check out our NetSmartz resources, an online collection of materials for families and students grades K-12. Maybe your child loves posting their latest on social media, or is into every gaming platform out there, or maybe you just need to know how to start a general conversation about internet safety—no matter what the topic, NetSmartz has it all! 

In addition, if your child is 10 and under, consider having them participate in NetSmartz interactive online safety program: “Into the Cloud”. Presenting real online safety information and facts, “Into the Cloud” sets out to teach your kids about safety in an age-appropriate and entertaining manner. 

Watch the Season 2 Trailer below: 

At the end of the day, it’s so important that you don’t wait to have these important conversations with your family. Although we celebrate Safer Internet Day today, let’s set out to make every day in 2023 about “coming together for a better internet.” 

For more information on NCMEC and the work we do to keep kids safe online, visit: