It’s almost routine to turn on the news to see yet another child predators 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. These unthinkable acts committed against these vulnerable kids often fill us with disbelief and outrage.
Many people feel deep desires to do more to stop child predators online. As a parent, you need 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 offline and online predators. However, he warns that all parents “must watch everyone in their child’s life.”
According to Dr. Phil, the typical child predator has a very immature intimacy level. 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 that a child predator becomes dangerous.
Dr. Lawlis, mentor and a 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. But because of their immaturity, they simply can’t. So they find a weak child or one unable to resist their advances physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Child Predators Alert: Common Characteristics of a Sexual Predator
Sexual predators are generally narcissistic by nature. Their egotistical attitudes make it hard for them to hide their predatory ways. These are some of the warning signs that a person is quite possibly a predator:
- Sense of entitlement
- Need for control and power
- Unable to build intimate relationships with other adults
- A troubled childhood, often including sexual abuse
- Blames circumstances and others for failures
- Very low self-esteem
- Lack of compassion and empathy for others
- Deviant sexual attitudes as well as behavior
- Refusal to take responsibility for own personal actions
Common Traits of Pedophiles 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:
- Pedophiles are notorious for being likable, kind, friendly, engaging, and nice.
- Child molesters directly target their prey. They’ll become major parts of the lives of their victims through hobbies, church, family, and sometimes even school.
- Pedophiles are bona fide expert con artists. These scammers are professionals when getting families and the children within these families to trust them.
- Child molesters have a knack for making adults trust them. However, kids often get “bad vibes” from them, which parents can notice through distant and stand-offish 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 who they communicate with online? Well, the FBI’s Department of Justice division has published “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety” to help parents protect kids online.
According to the downloadable guide, these are some of the telltale signs that your kid is possibly at risk of becoming victimized by child predators online:
- 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, often men with long-distance numbers
- Receives packages, gifts, and mail from strangers they met online
- Whenever you enter the room, your child changes the monitor screen quickly or shuts off the computer altogether
- Becomes very withdrawn from real family and friends while eager to build online relationships with strangers
- Uses an online account that 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, and explain that you are suspicious that they are dealing with one.
- Review your child’s online activity regularly. Learn how to see what’s on the computer without your kid knowing.
- 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 the con artist can’t call your child anymore. You can also reject anonymous calls, so predators can’t trick you by blocking their numbers from showing up on your caller ID. Lastly, you can block your number so it doesn’t appear on other people’s caller IDs.
- Monitor access your child has to all electronic communications. This includes email, instant messages (IM), online chats, etc.
- 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 pornography online or through any other media
- Someone who knows that your child is younger than 18 years old and solicits them 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
If any of the above actions of child predators happen, turn your computer off immediately. Make sure to keep it off. This preserves evidence of child predators’ activities and communications with your child. Wait for instructions from your local law enforcement agency; they usually have an assigned department or officer dedicated to child predators cases.
Also, remember that education and communication are the keys to ending child predators alerts in your home. First, educate yourself on how to handle online child predators. Then, communicate openly about the subject with your child, so they can take part in protecting herself/himself online from child predators.