Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers: Protecting Your Kids

Get advice and information to help protect your children from dangers lurking in both the online and offline worlds. Learn how to contact us and report child abductions and sexual exploitation. 

How to Report a Missing Child or Online Child Exploitation 

The FBI has jurisdiction to immediately investigate any reported mysterious disappearance or kidnapping involving a child. Do not wait to report a missing child. 

Call your local FBI field office or the closest international office. You can also contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

To report online child sexual exploitation, use the electronic Cyber Tip Line or call 1-800-843-5678. The Cyber Tip Line is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in partnership with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

If your child is being abducted internationally by a family member and is not yet abroad, contact the U.S. Department of State.

For more information:

The Child ID app  allows you to store photos and vital information about your child so you can quickly share it with security or police. It also includes tips on keeping children safe and guidance on what to do in those first crucial hours after a child goes missing.  

Data and photos are stored only on your mobile device. They are not shared until you choose to send the information to authorities.

You can download the app on: 

National Sex Offender Registry 

The National Sex Offender website allows every citizen to search the latest information from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and numerous Indian tribes for the identity and location of known sex offenders.

Online Risks 

The internet, for all of its benefits, also gives criminals and predators an easy way to reach young people. The FBI most often sees crimes against children begin when an adult:

  • Forges a relationship with a young victim online and then later arranges to meet and abuse the child; or
  • Coerces a child into producing sexually explicit images or videos through manipulation, gifts, or threats—a crime called sextortion.

The most important advice for parents is to have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior. Other advice to consider:

  • Educate yourself about the websites, software, games, and apps that your children use.
  • Check their social media and gaming profiles and posts. Have conversations about what is appropriate to say or share.
  • Explain to your kids that once images or comments are posted online they can be shared with anyone and never truly disappear.
  • Make sure your kids use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.
  • Tell your children to be extremely wary when communicating with anyone online who they do not know in real life.
  • Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names and to create strong passwords.
  • Make it a rule with your kids that they can't arrange to meet up with someone they met online without your knowledge and supervision.
  • Stress to your children that making any kind of threat online—even if they think it's a joke—is a crime.
  • Report any inappropriate contact between an adult and your child to law enforcement immediately. Notify the site they were using, too.

Safe Online Surfing Program 

The FBI's Safe Online Surfing (SOS) program teaches students in grades 3 to 8 how to navigate the web safely. The age-appropriate lessons and games cover topics like cyberbullying, protecting personal information, recognizing trustworthy and untrustworthy sites, and avoiding malware. The program is available in English or Spanish.

Anyone can complete the activities on the FBI SOS website. The testing and competition, however, are only open to students in grades 3-8 whose teachers have registered their public, private, or home schools through the SOS website.

Drug Abuse and Addiction 

Chasing the Dragon is a documentary released by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration to help young people understand the risks and dangers of opioids. Watch it with your children. Start the conversation.

If you suspect or know your child is using drugs, learn more and seek the help of professionals through the resources below.

Human Trafficking 

If you believe a child is involved in a trafficking situation, submit a tip through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline or call 1-800-THE-LOST. FBI personnel assigned to NCMEC review information that is provided to the CyberTipline.

Visit the FBI’s human trafficking webpage for more information and resources.


Visit the FBI’s violent gangs webpage for more information on the gang threat and anti-gang resources.