Protecting Kids From Predators
The best protection is teaching them to protect themselves
It’s commonly known that what kids been exposed to becomes a possibility for them. For example, a child who is exposed to a cohesive family that is considerate, responsible, and fun to be with, literally models for a child what a good family can look like. A child exposed to this “safe” family is more likely to strive to create a similar family in her future, and far less likely to tolerate a dysfunctional family. A child exposed to the careers of lawyers, social workers, teachers, nurses, etc., are more likely to hope for one of those careers. This is why “take your child to work” days are so powerful.
Unfortunately , what is true for good possibilities is also true for potentially tragic possibilities. For example, a child who is raised in a chaotic environment is likely to create a chaotic environment in her future. A child raised in a dysfunctional home by abuse people is far more likely to create dysfunction than the average person because dysfunction is her “normal.” And it is commonly known that a child who is close to someone who commits suicide is far more likely to consider suicide as an option when searching for ways to overcome the inevitable challenges of life.
Therefore, one of the most powerful things we can do to protect kids from willingly participating in sexual acting out behavior, including exchanging sex for money, food, drugs, a place to stay, or a sense of belonging with traffickers, is to expose them to what good relationships look like, and to create good relationships with them. THE most powerful thing we can do to empower kids to protect themselves is to give them dignity by recognizing and celebrating the good characteristics about them. By living right in front of kids and in good relationships with the kids in our influence, we expose them to the good stuff of life. And just like Secret Service agents are trained to recognize counterfeit money by studying what genuine money looks, feels, and smells like, when we show kids what good relationships look and feel like, they won’t seek out the counterfeits.
While you’re developing good relationships with kids, consider these terrific, FREE tools to use with all the kids within your influence:
idthecreep.com is a game that has been created by the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (available in both English and Spanish), and teaches kids how to identify the "creeps" on e-mail, chat, and IM. It simulates conversations kids might have using different characters kids can select.
NetSmartz.org is a program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children which provides age-appropriate videos that model for kids how to best protect themselves.
wiredsafety.com is a non-profit organization that offers tools to keep children safe from online bullying, sexting, and sexual exploitation. Your kids can safely check out their games and quizzes.
We’d love to hear YOUR ideas for keeping kids safe.