Child Predators Are Typically Manipulative and Patient
The Internet is a special world with its own rules, more dangerous than we could think, especially for children. We wouldn't send our children to a suspect neighborhood in our town, to an inappropriate movie or to a sex-shop. But all of these venues are a one-click distance away via the Internet. We used to think our home is our castle, our sanctuary. We used to feel protected there, but not anymore. Children are extremely exposed. They can not see a lurking predator online. Such sex offenders are manipulative, cunning, and very patient; they are good psychologists. They know what teenages need and they are ready to offer it. Any person needs attention, company, affection, someone to listen to them. Teenagers, in an age of questions and incertitude, are easier victims. Youngsters are fond of fancy gadgets, so a predator who offers cell phones, webcams, trips or even money can get a lot closer to their potential victim. Most of their gifts are to get images of teens in sexually explicit situations.
Remember that minors are incapable of consenting to sexual contact under current law; such consent is always illegal.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in cooperaton with NetSmartz has provided an information series about compliant victimization. Watch this video to learn how offenders manipulate and "groom" teenagers; learn how to protect your child from victimization at: http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/videos/dr-victimization.htmDr. Sharon Cooper says that "Online predators are willing to spend however long it takes to entice your child to comply with their wishes and even leave your home to meet with them in person. Many predators use the guise of understanding and romance to entice your child into what may result in a kidnapping or abduction, a sexual assault, pornography production of a minor, or worse."
In an overwhelming percentage, the outcome of an offline meeting with an unknown from the Internet, will almost always be a sexual encounter.
What can we do? Communication is the key, even if it sounds like a cliché. Communicate with your children and show them where the boundaries are, what is a predator and what is unacceptable behavior. They need to know that their family loves them; we should all do our best to earn their trust so they will come to us no matter what their concerns. If sex is a taboo subject at home, they are easier victims. So communicate, communicate, communicate!
For information and tips on how to protect your children online, see Travis Morgan’s book titled “Catch Me If You Know How - Internet Edition” or visit the “Catch Me If You Know How” website at http://www.CatchMeIfYouKnowHow.com
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