Sexual Predators Online – “Form The Norm” For Your Child

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????There it was. Stone cold. Staring me squarely via Twitter DM (a.k.a. “direct message”).

Last week, a young girl reached out to me and asked, “What’s up, girlfriend?” I returned her message, politely thanking her for the follow. (For those of you not on Twitter, people “follow” one another to connect.) Coupled with a few other remarks she offered, “I’m just 12-years old”. Well, my protective instincts quickly kicked-in and I shot a DM back, reminding her that the minimum Twitter user age is 13 (for good reason!). I then asked if her parents were aware she is “Tweeting”. She replied, “Of course they know and I turn 13 in just a couple of weeks.”

Well, this isn’t my first rodeo. I know that her parents either: 1) do NOT know she is on Twitter; or 2) know she has an account, but are not actively engaged in her online safety, as evidenced by the provocative pose in her profile picture.

As I become a frequent Tweeter, I am alarmed to see first-hand so many young children with profiles void of safety controls. Kids truly don’t understand their vulnerability to online sexual predators. The availability of social media provides all-too-easy access for predators to unsuspecting children, tweens and teens.

While sexual predators do attempt to personally meet kids with whom they’ve connected online, it’s even more common for them to introduce sexual content to those children in the form of online conversation, photos and videos. This proves dangerous, especially for children and tweens whose sexual exposure and knowledge base is a virtual blank slate — that lewd exposure begins to establish a sexual baseline for those kids.

Parents, teachers and caring adults: PLEASE, PLEASE take note!

70% of children ages 8-18 report unintentionally stumbling across pornography online. In fact, the average age for a child to be exposed to pornography is only 11 years old. I learned some alarming facts about a year ago at a child abuse conference. Porn these days is no longer of the ‘vanilla’ variety… much of it involves child molestation, torture and zoophilia.

For children with little to no knowledge of the social standards for normal sexual behavior, these images form their norm… their baseline understanding for how they *think* sex and relationships are supposed to be. In fact, several reports have suggested that exposure to pornography and sexually explicit images, regardless of whether those images were accidentally or deliberately viewed, impacts a child’s sexual attitudes and can lead to unsafe or risky sexual behavior.

A recent survey by the parenting site Netmums.com states that parents are generally unaware of their children’s online activity and indicates many kids are viewing websites of disturbing topics such as self-harm, violent pornography, animal cruelty and eating disorders. Over 25% of the children surveyed admitted to pretending they are older to access certain sites… case in point, my Twitter follower of last week.

This is an international problem. The Children’s Commissioner for England Dr. Maggie Atkinson brilliantly summarized this issue when she remarked:

“We are living at a time when violent and sadistic imagery is readily available to very young children… even if they do not go searching for it, their friends may show it to them or they may stumble on it while using the Internet. For years we have applied age restrictions to films at the cinema, but now we are permitting access to far more troubling imagery via the Internet. It is a risky experiment to allow a generation of young people to be raised on a diet of pornography.”

Bottom line… know what your kids are doing online. Implement measures to monitor their activity. Talk with them about relationships and age-appropriate sexual behavior. Address questions they may have openly and truthfully. Your diligent involvement is crucial in helping establish normal baselines for their future growth and development.

ABOUT GINGER:
Raising awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse has become Ginger’s life mission. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, she can be reached via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at www.gingerkadlec.com.

Add a Blog

35 COMMENTS

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  2. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  3. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really recognize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my web site =). We could have a link trade agreement between us!

  4. I’d should check with you here. Which isn’t something I usually do! I get pleasure from studying a publish that may make individuals think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  5. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  6. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  7. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  8. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  9. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  10. It’s the best time to make some plans for the longer term and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I could I desire to counsel you some fascinating issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write subsequent articles regarding this article. I wish to read more things about it!

  11. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Superb work!

  12. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site :)

  13. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  14. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Cheers

  15. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web log!

  16. Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  17. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  18. Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specifically the last section :) I maintain such information a lot. I used to be looking for this particular info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

  19. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  20. Throughout the great pattern of things you actually get a B+ with regard to hard work. Exactly where you actually lost us was first on your particulars. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And it couldn’t be much more correct at this point. Having said that, let me reveal to you what did give good results. The authoring is actually quite powerful which is probably why I am making an effort to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, despite the fact that I can certainly see a jumps in logic you come up with, I am definitely not sure of just how you seem to unite your details which help to make the actual conclusion. For right now I will, no doubt subscribe to your point but wish in the foreseeable future you connect the dots much better.

  21. hello!,I love your writing very so much! proportion we be in contact extra about your post on AOL? I require a specialist in this house to resolve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

  22. you’re really a good webmaster. The website loading speed is incredible. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a excellent job on this topic!

  23. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I am happy to find numerous useful info here in the post, we need work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here