Protecting Your Kids From Sexual Predators
It's a shame, but as a pastor in the 21st century it is absolutely necessary to provide some counsel to my congregation on this matter. Our society is filled with sexual predators. Every day kids are getting molested -- usually by older brothers, cousins, uncles, neighbors, baby-sitters, etc. And it usually happens when the kids are away from Mom and Dad -- summer camp, while Mom and Dad are on a date, or at sleep-overs, etc. To protect your kids from sexual predators, or from being sexually molested, I advise you to carefully consider adopting the following policies for your family:
- In the neighborhood, do not allow your kids to go inside or to the backyard of a neighbor's house unless you are with them. And I don't care how nice your neighbor is. These crimes are usually committed by the people you least expect.
- Don't leave your little ones home alone with an adolescent boy. Period. Even if the adolescent is an older brother, or a committed Christian with a wonderful reputation. Male baby-sitters are just a bad idea.
- Avoid just about all sleepovers where there is a man or an adolescent boy present. In other words, don't allow your kids to spend the night at Uncle Henry's house, or if teenage-cousin-Derrick will be there, or if the dad of your kid's friend will be there. In fact, sleepovers are almost always a bad idea unless you can go with your child.
- Don't allow your kids to be alone with a man, or to go to a place where a man can isolate them and get them alone. Again, I don't care how nice the man is.
- Avoid summer camps and retreats and camping trips for elementary and middle-school kids unless you can go with your child.
- Keep your child off the internet. Kids are being preyed upon by online predators through games like Minecraft. Don't just warn them about online predators. Keep them off the internet for goodness sake! Your kids don't need a mobile device, tablet, or gaming system in the first place, and they certainly don't need to be connecting with strangers online.
- Don't give your child a phone. If you must, only give it to them when they are away from you, but then take it back when they return home. And be sure to check their call history and text history to keep up with all their communications.
- Be very careful about who you allow to spend the night at your house. Christians are supposed to be hospitable, but not stupid. Your first priority is to protect your kids. At the very least in this situation let your kids sleep in your room with you.
- No secrets. Teach your kids that keeping secrets from Mom and Dad is inappropriate, and if someone (especially an adult) ever asks them to keep a secret from their parents, this is a sign of danger!
Bottom line, parents, to protect your child you are pretty much going to need to keep your children under your supervision at all times. I know this sounds extreme to some of you, but it is not. If you violate these policies you are playing with fire. You are taking a risk. And it's not a risk worth taking. Your child's innocence and future are too important. Twenty or thirty years ago maybe these policies were unnecessary, but in this day and age the game has changed, and so the rules need to change as well. Remember this: Most of the time children are molested because parents are naive and underestimate the evil of this current age. Don't be that parent. Wake up. Educate yourself. Protect your kids.