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    May 27, 2008
    Protect Your Children From Sexual Predators

    Img_0280A few years ago, I reconnected with a friend from high school. He and I were pretty close, back in the day. We had lost touch when I moved down here, but he found me through- ya know, I don’t remember. MySpace, most likely, or possibly Classmates.com.

    So for the past couple of years, we’ve talked on a fairly regular basis and he even came down here once to meet the family.

    But recently I found something out about him that changes that friendship entirely. He’s a convicted child molester. And thanks to some internet detecting, I’ve found out he’s lied about several other things like his job and where he lives.

    There’s nothing like finding something like that out to change how you feel about someone. Ack. It makes me remember- sexual predators look like everyone else. They can be your friend, your uncle, your pastor. They can be anyone.

    How can we protect our children from sexual predators? I personally have one steadfast rule: I never let my children be alone with any male who is not directly related to me. And even then, I use caution. Number of men my children have been alone with: 2. Their dad and my dad.

    But that’s not all you can do to protect your kids, and I admit that is a bit overprotective. However, you can’t be too careful. Here’s a list of 8 things you can do to protect your kids from sexual prdators:

    1. Know who your friends, family, and neighbors are. If I had looked my "friend" up in a sexual offender database, I would have known years ago that he wasn’t who he said he was.

    2. Know where your kids are, and who they are with. My kids don’t generally go places without me, but when they do, it is with a select group of people I really trust.

    3. Talk to your kids about what kind of touching is not okay, and talk to them often about what’s going on. It is very common for kids to be molested, know it is wrong, but they feel like there’s nobody they can talk to about it, or that their parents wouldn’t care or wouldn’t believe them. Give your kids a safe forum to be able to talk about anything.

    4. Heavily monitor their internet usage. My younger kids aren’t allowed to use messaging programs at all, my older son does, but I spy on him. He’s still not allowed to have MySpace, much to his chagrin.

    5. Even at places that seem to be safe, like family gatherings, make sure you know where your kids are and what they’re doing. It’s easy to assume that kids are safe at Uncle Jim’s fish fry, but they just might not be. Keep watch.

    6. Don’t force your kids to give hugs and kisses to people- even relatives- if they don’t want to. What kind of message does it send to your kids about their bodies belonging to themselves if they are made to give creepy Aunt Edna a hug and a kiss if they don’t want to? Give them the decision to hug or kiss someone if they’re comfortable. If they’re not, don’t push it.

    7. Teach your kids the correct names for their body parts and play "What if" games with them. Give the kids scenarios and ask them what the right thing to do would be. Let them come up with their own scenarios.

    8. Have a plan. We have a family password. If someone came up to them when I’m not around and said I said to come get them, that person has to know the password in order for my kids to go with them. Even if it was my best friend. Even if it was a police officer.

    These days, you never can be too careful. My recent experience has illustrated that better than anything I can possibly tell you. Be careful, the world’s a scary place.

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    Comments

    I know from what Ihave seen in the news that not all sexual preditors are men there have been several women (teachers) that have been convicted of sexual crimes against our youth…look on the state registry and you will see women as well as men so you cant really trust anyone with your children!!!


    Totally agree Mark!

    I agree with the post and it is amazing to me how much of this isn't obvious to so many parents.

    Of course, one thing that is also obvious to but seems to always be missed by these articles is that this sort of thing isn't just one-way when it comes to the sex of the offender.

    To quote and correct: "They can be your friend, your uncle, [your aunt], your pastor, [a teacher]. They can be anyone."

    That last sentence is the most key, but even people like this who think they are taking precautions tend to miss.

    I totally understand the fear that this causes many parents, but it makes me really sad (and sometimes angry) to see men discriminated against because they are feared, while women (who i acknowledge are a smaller statistical set of offenders) often get free passes and are allowed to put children in situations that no one should be allowed to do.


    Thanks for the website. We are committed to watching our kid like a hawk — combo of family history and location of house has really raised our awareness — but it's always good to have more tools.


    I have a similar story. One of the kids I was good friends with in 4th grade and grew closer to throughout high school was the subject of local and national headlines a few years ago when he was caught in ‘relations’ with a pretty well-known reality TV star’s underage son! It was consensual, but at the same time – ick.

    This is a good topic to talk about. My blog focuses on this issue. If you are looking for an inexpensive and very efficient tool to help monitor, I suggest monitoring software like our PC Pandora. There are many titles out there with varying degrees of power and cost. Ours focuses on monitoring so parents can KNOW what their kids are doing. Blocking and restricting can cause angst… but you can monitor silently and let your kids still grow up, all the while making sure that if the wander off the safe path, you can help them… Check us out: http://www.pcpandopra.com


    Stop It Now's mission is to prevent the sexual abuse of children before a child is harmed and before an adult, youth, or child acts in a sexually inappropriate manner towards a child. We give adults the tools (a 1-888-PREVENT Helpline, educational materials, workshops and training, and our website) to take action before children are harmed. Visit our website at http://www.stopitnow.org/mn and check out our "Talking to Kids" information which provides more tips on how to protect children. Even more important read up about how to recognize and respond to worrying behaviors in adults and youth you know. To prevent sexual abuse, we have to be willing to entertain the possibility that someone we know and often care about can also be sexually inappropriate with a child.


    Lock your children in the basement. Remove all access to the outside world. No television, no computers, no telephones. Make sure you give them wholesome things to do like reading books and encyclopedias! That way when they turn 18 they are the smartest children around. They might have social issues, but they will have brains. All this because you did your best to stop any chance of sexual predators. Reward yourself with Yukon Gold french fries from Artic Circle.


    Thanks for reading for comprehension, Jill.


    Stumbled upon your site.
    I understand and agree with your post Ivy, but you have to lose the focus on males as offenders. It can be anybody. The statistics don't matter for the (relatively) fewer kids that are abused by women. I was that kid and never saw it coming because of the way we're all socialized. I was on the lookout for the creepy old guy. It wasn't a creepy old guy.


    If anyone comes near my daughter I will end their existence!