•Pedophiles will ask the children to keep it secret from their parents.
•Ensure your children understands that if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you that it isn't because the child will get into trouble but the person who has asked them to keep the secret knows what they are doing to them is wrong.
•Since children who don't get a lot of attention are especially vulnerable to predators, make sure you are spending a lot of time with your child and that he or she feels supported. Take the time to talk to your child every day and work toward building an open, trusting relationship.
•Express interest in all of your child's activities, including schoolwork, extracurriculars, hobbies, and other interests.
•Let your child know that he or she can tell you anything, and that you're always willing to talk.
Many parents use the "good touch, bad touch, secret touch" method. It involves teaching your child that there are some appropriate touches, like pats on the back or high fives; there are some unwelcome or "bad' touches, like hits or kicks; and there are also secret touches, which are touches that the child is told to keep a secret. Use this method or another one to teach your child that some touches aren't good, and when these happen, he or she should tell you immediately.
•Teach your child that no one is allowed to touch him or her in private areas. Many parents define private areas as those that would be covered by a bathing suit.
•Tell your child to say "no" and walk away if someone tries to touch him or her in a private area.
•Tell your child to come to you immediately if someone touches him or her the wrong way.
If you notice your child is acting differently, pursue the issue to find out what is wrong. Regularly asking your child questions about his or her day, including asking whether any "good," "bad," or "secret" touches happened that day, will help open the lines of communication. Never dismiss it if your child tells you he or she was touched inappropriately or doesn't trust an adult. Trust your child first.
•Never dismiss a child's claims because the adult in question is a valued member of society or appears incapable of such things. That's exactly what a child molester wants.
•Remember that the most important thing you can do to protect your child is to pay attention to them. Assess their needs and desires, talk to them, and in essence, just be the best parent you possibly can. Bottom line to remember: If you don't pay attention to your child, someone else will.
Make sure your child knows that predators often pose as children or teenagers in order to lure children in online. Monitor your child's use of the internet, keeping rules in place to limit his or her "chat" time. Have regular discussions with your child about whom he or she is communicating with online.
•Be sure your child knows never to send pictures to a person he or she met online, or meet someone he or she is communicating with online.
•Know that children are often secretive about online behavior, especially when encouraged by others to keep secrets, so you'll need to be vigilant about staying involved in your child's online activity.
There are times when you won't be able to be present, so use other tools to make sure your child is safe. Set up a hidden camera in your home so that inappropriate activity will be detected. No matter how well you think you know someone, you need to take precautions for your child's safety.
Look for signs of grooming. The term "grooming" refers to the process the pedophile undertakes to gain a child's trust, and sometimes the parents' trust as well. Over the course of months or even years, a pedophile will increasingly become a trusted friend of the family, offering to babysit, take the child shopping or on trips, or spend time with the child in other ways. Many pedophiles won't actually begin abusing a child until trust has been gained. Some may use others opinions around them to back up their trustworthiness in order to take children shopping.
•Pedophiles look for children who are vulnerable to their tactics because they lack emotional support or aren't getting enough attention at home or will try to convince the parents their children are safe with them and that they are not going far. The pedophile will attempt to step in as the "parent" figure for the child.
•Some pedophiles prey on the children of single parents who aren't available to provide as much supervision or convince parents that they are nice enough people to supervise without them.
•A child molester will often use a range of games, tricks, activities and language to gain trust and/or deceive a child. These include: keeping of secrets (secrets are valuable to most kids, being seen as something "adult" and a source of power), sexually explicit games, fondling, kissing, touching, sexually suggestive behavior, exposing a child to pornographic material, coercion, bribery, flattery, and—worst of all—affection and love. Be aware that these tactics are ultimately used to isolate and confuse your child.
For more information on the different stages of grooming, please visit http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Child-Sexual-Abuse-6-Stages-of-Grooming/1
Pedophiles are also very adept at locating troubled or withdrawn children. This is a skill they have acquired through years of trial and error. They have come to identify what usually works and what usually doesn't. The most common technique used by pedophiles to obtain sex from children is the seduction method. This process is very similar to the classic boy/girl courtship. Though the child might be under 10-years-old, the pedophile will lavish gifts upon the target, take him or her to amusement parks, museums, restaurants and other places of interest.
A pedophile is an adult or late aged adolescent (typically 16 years or older) who’s preferred sexual object is pre-pubescent children (typically infants to 13 year old). Adolescent’s who are 16 years old must have a 5-year age difference between the child and themselves in order to be considered a child molester (DSM-1V, TR 2006).
A pedophile will usually exhibit a series of personality characteristics that are common in this type of offender. It is important to understand that these characteristics alone do not conclusively determine that a person is a pedophile. But if these indicators, combined with a pattern of behavior that arouses suspicion, are present then there may be enough probable cause to believe that the person is a pedophile.
The Department of Justice has developed characteristics and behavioral indicators of a pedophile. They are as follows:
1. Is most often an adult male.
2. Is usually married.
3. Works in a wide range of occupations, from unskilled laborer to corporate executive.
4. Relates better to children than adults.
5. Socializes with few adults unless they are pedophiles.
6. Usually prefers children in a specific age group.
7. Usually prefers either males or females, but may be bi-sexual.
8. May seek employment or volunteer with programs involving children of the age of his preference.
9. Pursues children for sexual purposes.
10. Frequently photographs or collects photographs of his victims, either dressed, nude, or in sexually explicit acts.
11. Collects child erotica and child-adult pornography.
12. May possess and furnish narcotics to his victims to lower their inhibitions.
13. Is usually intelligent enough to recognize that he has a personal problem and understand the severity of it.
14. May go to great lengths to conceal his illegal activity.
15. Often rationalizes his illicit activities, emphasizing his positive impact upon the victim and repressing feelings about the harm that he has done.
16. Often portrays the child as the aggressor. This usually occurs after the child realizes that by withholding "sexual favors" the child will obtain what he or she desires, such as new toys, clothing or trips.
17. Talks about children in the same manner as one would talk about an adult lover or spouse.
18. Often was a child molestation victim and frequently seeks out children at the age or stage of physical development at which he was molested.
19. Often seeks out publications and organizations that support his sexual beliefs and practices.
20. Usually corresponds with other pedophiles and exchanges child pornography and erotica as proof of involvement.
21. Is usually non-violent and has few problems with the law (pedophiles are frequently respected community members).
Parents often try and figure out what a pedophile looks like, what they think like, what they sound like, and more. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that they don't look any different from anyone else. As parents, we all want to protect our children from predators, but how do we keep your kids safe when we don't know how to spot one. Anyone can be a pedophile, so identifying one can be very difficult, especially because most pedophiles are initially trusted by the children they abuse. It can be a neighbor next door or the friendly parishioner; another family member or trusted co-worker. Most people don't think of mom or dad, or in the case of single parents, their significant other. This misconception has been effectively dispelled through information obtained in thousand of child sexual abuse investigations over the years. Child molesters come from all walks of life and from all socioeconomic groups. They can be male or female, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, religious or non-religious, highly educated or non-educated, or from any race.
We've compiled information from various sources to teach parents which behaviors and traits are red flags, what situations to avoid, and how to deter pedophiles from targeting your child.
You can use the US Department of Justice National Sex Offender Database (located at www.nsopw.gov/en-US) to determine whether any registered sex offenders live in your area. All you have to do is enter your zip code and do a search, and you'll be able to see where pedophiles might live.
•You can also do a search for individual names to see if a specific person is a sex offender.
•It's good to be aware of potential predators, but realize that it is illegal to take any kind of action against registered sex offender who has served his or her sentence
Being as involved as possible in your child's life is the best way to guard against pedophiles. They will look for a child who is vulnerable and who isn't getting a lot of attention from his or her parents or will convince parents they are of no danger to their child. Show up at games, practices and rehearsals, chaperone field trips and trips out, and spend time getting to know the adults in your child's life. Make it clear that you're an involved, present parent.
•If you can't be there for a trip or outing, make sure at least two adults you know well will be chaperoning a trip.
•Don't leave your child alone with adults you don't know well. Even relatives can pose a threat. The key is to be as present as possible.