How Predators Lure Kids

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- It's not uncommon to hear about a teen who has run off with someone she met on or other social network sites.

"Whether they are on the internet or on the street, most child predators are master manipulators," said Lucy Smith, a therapist and clinical director of the Midland Rape Crisis and Children's Advocacy center.

Smith says predators are targeting teens that have low self esteem or who stay home and aren't very social.

"Its that grooming process and it takes a while, to build the trust," but she says that's what predators do they build trust,"These kids have a desire to be accepted by somebody and it's all fantasy based and so these predators feed that fantasy."

She says most kids she treats claim their parents don't listen, she says unfortunately a predator can fill that void for kids. Smith recommends keeping the computer in the living room to help monitor who your child talks to online, and try to get your kids involved in activities they will be good at, because she says kids who have good self esteem are less likely to become victims.

"This sounds really far fetched but its not, it's real," she said.

She tells parents to watch for behavioral changes, and to keep track of what comes in the mail, she says predators have been known to send gifts to win affection.