1 in 5 children who touch a digital device will be sexually solicited online
The FBI this week announced that parents should be weary of increased threats to child safety during school closures and social distancing, echoing a message South Florida-based nonprofit Lauren’s Kids has been sharing with families since early March. To help families with children of all ages stay safe from online and in-person predation, Lauren’s Kids is making print and digital resources available at no cost.
“We know that 1 in 5 children who touch a digital device will be sexually solicited online,” says Lauren Book, founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, a Florida State Senator, and a survivor of child sexual abuse herself. “Those who seek to abuse and exploit children online frequent the very same apps, games and social media sites as their intended victims – gaining trust, then exploiting it. It is critical for parents to be educated about these dangers, and what they can do to reduce the risk to their child.”
Lauren’s Kids is focused on helping parents decode digital safety and help keep technology use secure by providing the following resources to families:
Developed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office Digital Safety Team and the Lauren’s Kids foundation, this tip sheet provides basic steps for digital safety – especially useful for parents of elementary and middle school students.
Designed for families with children from K-12, the Lauren’s Kids Safety Toolkit Generator provides tips, lessons, activities, and videos tailored to your child(ren)’s age(s) and level(s) of development. Just answer a few quick questions to help us pull together your custom toolkit, and get started on safety learning today! *Digital tool free for all
The Lauren’s Kids Blueprint for Building Safer, Smarter Families interactive activity pack helps families teach their elementary school aged children the basics of personal safety and the strategies needed to prevent abuse – all from a place of fun, not fear. Adults receive their own “parent pack” to use with their child, while kids follow along in their own workbook complete with crossword puzzles, word searches, crafts, roleplay scenarios, games and other entertaining activities. *Printed tool free for Florida families, available for purchase nationally and internationally; order at shop.laurenskids.org
This time is challenging on many levels…stress about physical and mental health and wellness, childcare, income and economy, and more. For survivors of sexual abuse, this extreme stress can trigger PTSD, anxiety, and depression related to past trauma and abuse — and with school closures, childcare pressures, and perhaps more time than usual on digital devices, it is important to be mindful of safety.
Lauren’s Kids offers FREE-for-Florida K-12 child sexual abuse, human trafficking, digital safety, and personal safety education curriculum, now being used by classroom teachers, guidance professionals, and district leaders to teach safety lessons as a part of online learning efforts statewide.
In addition to the resources above, Lauren’s Kids shares resources daily on its Facebook and Twitter pages – from free art lessons by popular children’s book illustrators and live digital story time with Florida firefighters to information for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and how to cope with PTSD triggered by the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauren’s Kids also continues to offer its Guide to Hope & Healing at no cost to survivors and their families (free in print for Floridians, available digitally for all, printed copies available for purchase outside of Florida).
In the coming weeks, the organization will host live safety programming including a reading of the Lauren’s Kingdom children’s book, safety lessons from the Blueprint for Building Safer, Smarter Families activity pack (see bullet above), and a live lesson and Q&A with law enforcement specializing in digital safety and online exploitation to allow parents to participate and pose questions in real time.