Penelope gives a very detailed explanation of how trafficking starts online, in chat around popular online video games, and how it spreads. Most of all, however, she provides an incredibly important look into what a trafficker looks for in a kid playing video games:
If you have children, please go read the whole story linked below. But, the one thing I wanted to really point out is this line from her mother: “The next day, I called the police and asked them if they publish on their webpage a list of games that predators were known to frequent. They…
Imagine, if you will, the awkward social learning that goes on at a middle-school dance, for example. Now imagine a handful of 40 year old men were in the middle of that awkwardness, disguised as teens? You’d have some serious chats with your daughter before sending her off to the dance, wouldn’t you?
What do you think the internet is for 11-13 year-olds?
Have that talk, keep open lines of communication, understand the tools they are using, and how they are using them. If anything, please do not think they are too young to have to worry about this. Clearly, they do.
If nothing else, I hope you’ll go read the article for two reasons. One, to recognize how difficult it can be to come forward, and have leaders dismiss your claims, so that you know how not to run any organizations that you and your kids are involved with, and two, to recognize how certain cultural values create a space for abusers. Churches rely on charismatic leaders, but without proper safeguards and oversight, you’ll attract some very charismatic evildoers too. Also, understand that environments with such a strong focus on sexual purity, create a culture where kids are desperate to not do the “worst thing” and are susceptible to this kind of grooming, not to mention a lot of shame around a very natural subject. That shame only increases the secrecy around sex, and again creates a place where secrets can thrive. DO NOT BE A PLACE WHERE SECRETS THRIVE!
Teach Your Kids the Red Flags of Online Predators
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I think the folks at Horowitz Law have got this right: “Most sex offenders, therefore, don’t fall into some easily-identifiable, logical category. They can be young or old, shy or outgoing, tall or short, and of course rich or poor. We wish this weren’t the case, of course. Because this reality leads to a disturbing…