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Signs Your Child Might Be Exploited Online: Insights from an Anti-Trafficking Advocate

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Signs Your Child Might Be Exploited Online: Insights from an Anti-Trafficking Advocate

By Movieguide® Contributor

As online child abusers continue to find new channels to target kids, anti-sex trafficking advocate and author Christine Caine offers advice to help parents discern whether their child or teen is being exploited online.

She shared what parents need to watch out for:

  1. Appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that cannot be accounted for.

  2. Seems upset or withdrawn after using the internet or texting.

  3. Starts to become isolated from peers and not mix with their usual friends. They also may become estranged from the family.

  4. Changed physical appearance – lost weight, wearing more or less makeup.

  5. The child has lots of new phone numbers, texts, or email addresses.

  6. Displaying secretive behavior when asked what they are doing.

  7. Receiving an excessive amount of texts/calls.

  8. Leaving home without explanation and going ‘missing’ for periods of time or regularly returning home late.

Caine is the founder of A21, a non-profit that prevents human trafficking, conducts research, advocates for victims and helps restore their lives.

She wrote, “@A21 in 2023, we saw online recruitment methods continue to expand. The recruitment process can happen quickly or take place over a long period anywhere, utilizing online platforms like gaming platforms, social media, and apps that most of us use every day.”

According to A21’s website, there is an urgent need to prevent trafficking. One in four human trafficking victims are children, and “there are more people enslaved today than any other time in history.”

Movieguide® previously reported Caine’s comments on pornography and media:

“I’ll tell you how to stop human trafficking, sex trafficking overnight,” Caine said, “if people stop watching porn… Just stop it.” Caine isn’t off-base. Studies have linked porn to violence, and sometimes it is accessible to children. She also spoke of her frustration and related it to the current pop culture conversation, stating, “Here I am trying to put traffickers in jail, and you’re watching GAME OF THRONES.”

The same month of Caine’s appearance at the conference marked the series finale for the last episode of HBO’s adult fantasy series. Previously, Movieguide® warned readers that the show is jammed-packed with lewd content, including explicit nudity, incest and rape scenes. Despite all the gratuitous elements, a record-breaking 17.4 million people watched the premiere episode for the final season in April 2019.

Stop it Now, another organization that helps prevent child sexual abuse, adds further observations that can help parents determine if their child is being abused online. It says exploited children may also stay up later at night, become possessive over electronics and have and increase in “outbursts of anger or irritation.”

Former NFL star Time Tebow and his foundation have also put in work to fight trafficking. WCJB reported that, on Wednesday, Tebow appeared before Congress to advocate for funds to fight child sexual exploration.

“Tebow appeared before a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee to push forward legislation for a different kind of MVP: Most Vulnerable People. The bill would fund efforts to identify an estimated more than 50,000 children being abused, raped, and tortured according to the Tim Tebow Foundation,” WCJB reported.

“This bill really has one goal: To build a rescue team,” Tebow said. “Because there’s so many front-line warriors and heroes, but there is just not enough of them, and we need to support them. We need more of them to get to these 50,000 boys and girls.”

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.