Parents battle against 'bunny hunting'

Bunny hunting: That's what online child predators call their search for young, unsuspecting victims.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s a term you may never have heard of or made the connection. It’s called "Bunny Hunting."

That’s when online child predators search for unsuspecting boys and girls online and then try to lure them into meeting with them in real life.

Parents say it's a daily battle and often times frequent conversation topic. It’s a battle between allowing your kids space and privacy – all while protecting them at the same time.

“Online predators are a huge problem,” says father, Mark Gott.

Gott, a father of three, knows what bunny hunting is and has a very watchful eye over his kids.

“How concerned are you that your kids may be targeted by one of these online predators,” asked reporter Mark Boyle.

“I'm very concerned because there are a lot of bad people out there,” explained Gott.

The issue is so widespread, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is paying attention.

Ju'Riese Colon with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “Well the term itself sickens me. Just because, to liken going after missing or exploited children online to hunting is just very disturbing.”

Public service announcements are even going viral online because of bunny hunting. Disturbing statistics from the Department of Justice paint a grim picture of reality.

One in 25 kids received an online sexual solicitation in which the solicitor tried to make offline contact. Parents say it's up to them to be that protective shield for their children.

“You give away your power. The more you answer the more things you do the more you get dated, the more power you lose. So just don't lose in the first place,” said one parent.

Here are some ways you can protect your kids from becoming a victim to bunny hunting:

  • Block adult content with parental controls on all devices.
  • Designate screen-free zones in the house.
  • Technology use should be in public. Don't let kids have TVs, gaming systems or computers in their rooms.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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