Recently I was talking with a potential Online Wellness Association member who was having difficulty understanding what the problem is about online predators and how it affected her potential clients. It was a good opportunity for me to step up on my soap box about the caution that needs to be taken in our wellness fields and the responsibility we, as wellness practitioners, have to protect our potential clients. Wekepedia states that an “online predator is an Internet user who exploits vulnerable people, usually for sexual or financial purposes.” The key word here is ‘vulnerable’. While adolescents and the elderly are reported to be the most victimized online by predators, the numbers of ‘others’ is difficult to know because of under-reporting by the victims. Victims that have been dooped by online predators tend to be in shame and/or fear over the victimization, so they do not report the incident. Social networks are now also used by online predators to seduce their targets. Very lonely people looking for love in all the wrong places turn to these sites for attention. What we want to do is be available online to have these vulnerable people access services. As wellness practitioners we have an obligation to make our internet presence credible. A vulnerable perspective client looking for direction and comfort is not going to take the time to check credentials, or to sign up for access to directories. The OWA SEAL OF APPROVAL offers an immediate visual that the website owner is in good standing with Online Wellness Association. When clicked on, the SEAL opens stating: ‘This practitioner has met the standards and criteria to be a member in good standing with the Online Wellness Association.’ NOTE: Clicking DOES NOT take the potential clients away from the website. As the Online Wellness Association Professional Directory is populated, marketing will educate the public on what exactly the OWA SEAL represents. Marketing our wellness sites online is no longer just a matter of building it so they will come. We now have an ethical responsibility to make the world of the internet as safe as we possibly can to insure the safety of our potential clients. Can you meet the standards necessary to become a member of ONLINE WELLNESS ASSOCIATION? Check out the qualifications at: http://www.onlinewellnessassociation.com/index.php?v=requirementssub.
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