safety

Child Predators: Where They Lurk

Child predators can gain access to your child in a number of different ways. Parents and guardians should educate themselves and become aware of some of the most popular venues used by adults who would harm their children. They should also research ways to combat the heinous crimes committed by these predators. Here are some of the popular places and ways predators find children and some expert opinions on how to prevent your child from becoming a victim.
By Alan and Shonna Hammond
Child predators gain access to children in many ways. Where there are children, there are predators. As a result, parents and guardians should educate themselves and become aware of some of the most popular venues used by adults who would harm their children. They should also research ways to combat the heinous crimes committed by these predators. Here are some of the popular places and ways predators find children and some expert opinions on how to prevent your child from becoming a victim.
 
The Internet. It is widely known that the Internet is the preferred location for child predators to establish electronic contact and, in many cases, physical contact with children.  frequent online and join public and private discussion groups specifically tailored for children, often while posing as children or young adults. They are usually adept at gaining the confidence of children, sending instant messages, obtaining E-mail addresses, and getting telephone numbers and addresses. After gaining the child’s trust and contact information, it is a small step to arranging a physical meeting. One reason the Internet has become so popular with predators is likely the ease with which contact and conversation is established and conducted.  
 
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are several ways parents can reduce the risk of their children being exposed to a child predator. First, parents can make a family rule never to provide personal and contact information online or in any public forum, as instant messages and chat groups can now be conducted by the use of a cellular phone. Second, should never post pictures of their children on websites that are viewable by the general public. Simply put, that would be akin to placing a bull’s-eye on your home. Third, become just as proficient with the services your children use as they are. That may sound difficult, but there’s a lot riding on it.  Lastly, make sure your children know that the person on the other end of the email or instant message may not be who they profess to be. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good start to educating yourselves in the online protection of children.
 
The Park and The Mall. The park is a wonderful place for children and families to relax and enjoy their time together. It’s unfortunate, but in this day and time parents can no longer enjoy relaxation at the park, because pedophiles are just as drawn to parks and playgrounds as parents, albeit for different reasons. Child predators stalk their victims, waiting for the perfect opportunity to get closer to them, talk to them, and again, gain their confidence. Victims in this setting are often abducted, however, the openness, and to an extent, the anonymity, provided by a park setting can supply pedophiles the opportunity for videotaping or photographing children. All parents, guardians and caregivers who have supervised a child in this setting know that a child can escape them if they look away for one second, literally, one second. Child predators know that fact as well as parents.
 
The shopping mall is another place where a child can easily, perhaps more easily than in a park, escape their caregivers. Without a tether from parent to child, children can leave a parent’s sight between the racks of clothes (where they love to play the most), in the food court, the arcade, virtually anywhere in a slightly crowded mall. Again, pedophiles and would-be abductors are well aware of the difficulties you face in maintaining visual contact with your children. They look for any opportunity to approach a child.
 
In order to combat the potential danger of parks and malls, indeed most busy public places, parents and caregivers can learn to spot some characteristics of child predators. They often present themselves as being just like the child. When interacting with children, they speak and act like a child. Child molesters will exploit a child’s need of attention by flattering them in meaningful ways. Oftentimes predators may stare at a child, make excessive eye contact and provide the child with small gifts, which in a public setting may take the form of candy, money or a small toy. As earlier stated, these are only a few methods and they barely scratch the surface.
 
Child predators crawl from underneath every slimy rock imaginable. They manipulate children and adults alike. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Polly Klaas Foundation are excellent places, full of all manner of information, to begin your education and prevent your child, and other children, from abuse.

Biography
Alan Hammond is a law enforcement official, freelance writer and former educator. Shonna Hammond is a master teacher, writer and consultant.  The Hammonds reside in Lexington, Kentucky and they can be reached in care of this publication or at ashwriting@insightbb.com.


No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2006

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  • Please get out the word on the skating rink
    I have reason to suspect someone MAY (no proof)
    be using that one in my own family to stock victims

    Lesslie

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