It’s almost becoming routine to turn on the news to see yet another child predator alert. Some of these alerts relate to a child being abducted and abused. Others are even more tragic, with the story ending in the murder of a child. Often these unthinkable acts committed against these vulnerable kids fill us with disbelief and outrage. Many people feel a deep desire to do more to stop child predators online. As a parent, you need to educate yourself to recognize sexual predator warning signs. Then, and only then, can you effectively protect your children from becoming victims of child predators.
Warnings Signs of Child Predators Online and Offline
Dr. Phil dedicates himself to helping parents protect kids from both offline and online predators. He warns that all parents “must watch everyone in their child’s life.”
According to Dr. Phil, the typical child predator has an intimacy level that’s very immature. They crave closeness. However, they lack the skills needed to feel trust and satisfaction. This leads to feelings of frustration, which tends to explode into anger. It’s at this point when a child predator becomes dangerous.
Dr. Lawlis, mentor and leading consultant to Dr. Phil, explains the acts of desperation displayed by child predators online and offline. They attempt to care for themselves and connect with themselves intimately. However, because of their immaturity, they simply can’t. So they search for a weak child – one unable to resist their advances physically, emotionally and/or psychologically – to use for their gratification.
Child Predators Alert: Common Characteristics of a Sexual Predator
Sexual predators are generally narcissistic by nature. Their egotistical attitudes tend to make it difficult for them to hide their predatory ways. These are some of the warning signs that a person is quite possibly a predator:
- A sense of entitlement.
- A need for control and power.
- An inability to build intimate relationships with other adults.
- A troubled childhood, often including sexual abuse.
- A tendency to blame circumstances and others for failures.
- Very low self-esteem.
- A lack of compassion and empathy for others.
- Deviant sexual attitudes as well as behaviour.
- A refusal to take responsibility for own personal actions.
Common Traits of Paedophiles and Child Predators
According to A Profile of the Child Molester, these are some of the signs to look for when concerned that someone you know is a child molester:
- Paedophiles are very notorious for being likable, kind, friendly, engaging and nice.
- Child molesters directly target their prey. They’ll become a major part of the lives of their victims through hobbies, church, family, and sometimes even school.
- Paedophiles are often expert con artists. These scammers are very skilled when it comes to getting families and children to trust them.
- Child molesters have a knack for making adults trust them. However, kids will often get “bad vibes” from them. Parents can notice this through distant, standoffish body language and attitudes.
Child Predators Alert: A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety
Does your child spend a lot of time online? Do you monitor what your child does on the Internet? Are you aware of whom he or she communicates with online? Well, there are some tell tale signs that your kid is possibly at risk of becoming victimized by child predators online:
- Your child spends hours at a time online, especially during the night.
- You find downloaded pornography or evidence of visits to porn sites on your child’s computer.
- Gets phone calls from or makes calls to strangers. These calls are from men with long distance numbers.
- Your child receives packages, gifts or mail from strangers she or he has met online.
- Whenever you enter the room, your child changes the monitor screen quickly or shuts off the computer altogether.
- Your child becomes very withdrawn from family and friends, while eager to build online relationships with strangers.
- Your child uses an online account that actually belongs to someone else.
How to Handle Suspicions of Child Predators Online with Your Kid
What should you do if you suspect that your kid is communicating with an online predator? Here are some basic tips for protecting your children online:
- Be open and honest with your child about the situation. Educate your child about the dangers of child predators online. Explain your suspicions to your child and have a frank conversation about it.
- Review your child’s online activity regularly. Learn how to see what’s on the computer without your kid knowing. Although only do this if you are sure it is necessary; it might be very upsetting to your child to find out that their online privacy has been invaded by you.
- Control your caller ID options. If you find out that a child predator is calling your kid, determine whether your phone company offers a feature to block the number so that this criminal can’t call your child anymore. You can also reject anonymous calls. By doing this you prevent predators from tricking you by blocking their numbers from showing up on your caller ID. Lastly, you can block your number so it doesn’t show up on other people’s caller ID.
- Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI and your local police department if any of the following occurs:
- Someone sends your child any pornography online or through any other media.
- Someone who knows that your child is younger than 18 years old and solicits him or her for sexual purposes.
- Your child receives sexually explicit photos or images from a person who knows that your kid is younger than 18 years old.
Child Predators Alert Tips
Should your worst suspicions be confirmed, turn the computer off immediately. Make sure to keep it off as this preserves evidence of the child predator’s activities and communications with your child. Wait for instructions from your local law enforcement agency, they usually have an assigned department or officer dedicate to child predators cases.
Also, remember that education and communication are the keys to dealing with the risks posed by child predators. Educate yourself on how to handle online child predators. Then, communicate openly about the subject with your child so he or she can take part in protecting herself/himself online from child predators.