For sure, it is a challenging world for teenagers, who are trying to fit in and enjoy their lives. At the same time it is a tough world to balance for parents, who are trying to keep their young adults safe while gradually allowing increasing independence. And I am only referring to managing the digital world of teenagers!
Traffickers, who specialize in preying upon the vulnerable among us, are masters at using digital social media Apps to find and lure unsuspecting teenagers. The “playing field” for traffickers is exactly where the majority of teenagers spend so much of their time: on their mobile devices! Specifically, teenagers spend a tremendous amount of their time on their numerous digital social media Apps, which are downloaded to their mobile devices. To make the environment even more delightful for the traffickers:
- The availability and variety of digital social media Apps changes continually.
- Parents are often at a great disadvantage in monitoring their young adult’s digital social media App activity because most Apps are different and continually changing.
- A very high percentage of teenagers have a dangerously high false belief that they are safe using digital social media Apps for socializing. Therefore, they “over-post” highly personal information – much to the delight of the traffickers.
- The traffickers are very digital savvy because the monetary dividends of their trade are huge: approximately $50 to $100,000 per year per teenager they traffick for sex or labor (or both). They know their “target market” is readily exposed via digital social media Apps.
In all, education and awareness efforts regarding this issue aimed at teenagers and parents/ guardians are part of the front line work of numerous individuals, groups, and organizations (like Countless Joys, Inc.). These grassroots efforts have historically proven positive results at achieving their stated purposes. This is one of the approaches Countless Joys is directly involved with for the teenagers in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. We are educating teenagers in our 15 high schools about becoming Social Media Savvy & Living Safe. It matters in matters of living safe, living wise, and living long.
Join us in educating yourself about the vulnerabilities and dangers inherently involved with digital social media Apps. You do not need to be an expert in each App; just be aware of the most popular Apps from week to week. Keep abreast of which digital social media Apps are used by the traffickers to lure teenagers away from the network of safety and love you are trying to provide for your young adult. You will never regret learning more and staying in touch with what is happening in the digital world of mobile and social media Apps -as this applies to the young adults you love.
Interrupting Human Trafficking of Teenagers,