February 7th is Safer Internet Day, a project started by the EU in 2004 that has since expanded to more than 180 countries worldwide. Safer Internet Day intends to raise awareness of emerging online issues and concerns, including those that most impact children, such as cyberbullying, sexual predators, and cyber stalkers.
Children are particularly vulnerable to online threats. Unfortunately, they can also be more easily manipulated by adults, particularly those masquerading as children. Sometimes, this stops at inappropriate talk. Sometimes it expands to sending or requesting sexually suggestive materials, all of which can be extremely harmful to the emotional health of children. Tragically, online interactions can also lead to in-person meetings, placing children at increased risk for sexual abuse, abduction, and other types of serious harm.
The California Age Appropriate Design Code Act (Cal-AADC)
In October of 2022, Governor Newsom signed AB-2273, the California Age Appropriate Design Code Act (Cal-AADC), into law. This new law requires default privacy settings for children along with health and well-being tools to protect children from algorithmic manipulation. However, this law does not go into effect until 2024, is not federal, and may still fail to fully protect children from online predators.
You can help protect your children now by having a frank (but age-appropriate) talk with them about the dangers of online predators, monitoring their online activity, ensuring their social accounts are set to private, and limiting online activities. You can also install parent controls to make monitoring and controlling your child’s online behavior easier.
What can be Done?
If you suspect your child is being stalked online by a sexual predator, involving law enforcement is essential. Taking civil action is also possible if a predator has harmed your child in any way. The best way to understand your options is through a private consultation with one of the child sexual abuse lawyers at the Cifarelli Law Firm.
Please call our Irvine office at 949-502-8600 today to schedule a free case review right away. We represent families living in the Greater Los Angeles area and fight tirelessly to protect the safety and wellbeing of children living in nearby communities, the state, and the nation.