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Sexual Predators That Prowl Our Neighborhoods

Aug 17, 2007
Predators are difficult for most of us to recognize. Any parent will gladly stand guard in their yard or take their turn patrolling the street in front of the house watching out for predators. However, watching out for sexual predators searching for your child is just not that simple.

First of all, the media does all of us a disservice. Yes, it is trendy to blame the media for all kinds of ills. When it comes to predators, we are not blaming the media for a problem, as much as alerting you to the shortcomings of movies, television shows and yes, even newscasts.

Movies and television shoes depict predators as if they came from Mars. We see dirty, leering, filthy adults that would make sewer rats cringe, as they slink and lurk behind garbage cans.

Newscasts have become focused more on ratings and selling advertising than hard real news. There are just too many confusing pieces of information and messages out there for most parents to filter through. Unfortunately, a lot of the information on child safety, although well intended, is old, outdated, useless or just plain wrong. Many ideas and notions about sexual predators are just plain wrong, too.

Who are these predators and how can you recognize them? You really can't. If there is one message for you to understand, it is this one. Sexual predators look like everyone. They look like your neighbors. They look like the people at the grocery store. They look like everyday, normal individuals.

What to do about stopping sexual predators comes from knowledge and education. It's all about having a trusted source that can filter through the maze of information and disinformation for you. We're that filter for you.

First, sexual predators are difficult to spot. Not only do they look like us but they drive vehicles just like we do, too. They drive family vehicles that are like every other car on the road.

What we are saying is this: there is no real way to go about your daily life and be able to spot sexual predators. This is why we teach kids the added advantage of keeping themselves safe. This is why we arm kids with all kinds of tool and techniques so they can deal with people, people in general, so that if in the end they shed their disguise as normal people and reveal the hidden sexual predator, your child can be safe.

The Jeffrey Dahmer's, John Wayne Gasey's and Ted Bundy's of this world were described as "the nice guys next door." All of them were prowling predators no one spotted.

We know that sexual predators search for the child that they see as weak, sad and unhappy. It's the kid with the shuffling feet, head drooping and eyes fixed to the ground. It's the child that appears they are in need of a friend. The predator wants an easy target when the time is "right."

For the most part, predators are not interested in any kind of visible, noisy or public struggle that brings attention to their nefarious deeds.

In fact, many predators choose to befriend a child first. They choose to develop a dependent relationship with a child that appears to be in need of a close friend. It could be a sad, unhappy child. The predator then offers them gifts, ideas, or simple emotional comfort that makes the child feel better. The process slowly introduces sexual context and content into their interactions and conversations.

Some predators immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children right from the start. Online or Internet sexual predators may collect and trade child-pornographic images.

Others online may seek real face to face meetings with the kids they emailed or connected with in chat rooms or social blogs. There is no one profile. Predators cunningly exploit weakness and naivete. They will work very hard at driving a wedge between a child and their family. Predators will even accentuate any minor problems at home that your child might have, again befriending them and driving that wedge into the family structure.

A confident child represents more of a challenge, a problem, someone who will be hard to manipulate, for the sexual predator.

Confident kids will also be uncooperative. They understand better, even if they cannot articulate their feelings, that something or someone is "just not right" and will avoid them or stay away.

Today's world is a dangerous place. Today's dangerous world is very different than anything seen before. It's dangerous for adults.

It is very dangerous for our precious children. This sad truth is a reality however, one that you must accept and deal with in order to keep your child safe from sexual predators.

Many parents today just don't know how to keep their kids safe in a modern world. There is nothing wrong with that. They grew up themselves with their parents warning of "Don't talk to strangers!" when they were a child heading out the door to play. It was truly useless information to the child back then as it is today, but somehow made the parents feel their children were safe.

Many parents, although they are adults now, still think like this. Today, however, this kind of thinking can not only keep your child unsafe, it may put them at risk as a target for sexual predators. This kind of thinking can really endanger your child.

"This guy has to be a bad stranger," or "Stay away from weirdoes!" seems like it has to help. The sad news, however, is it is useless. The fact is, many parents today have no idea how to keep themselves safe let alone teach their children safety from sexual predators.

Telling your child not to talk to strangers or telling your child any neighbor can be trusted is a recipe for danger. If you go around like this you are playing with odds that you child will not be the one ever approached by a sexual predator. That is roulette with your child's life. Teach you child to be safe from all strangers and how to engage a Cirlce Of Safety to do it.
About the Author
Joyce Jackson is a child safety expert in northern California. For her extensive website and information see Keeping Kids Safe and a free special report at STOP Predators COLD!
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