Spending three hours on a Monday night talking about pedophiles wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my time, but in order to volunteer at my son’s school I had to take a class called “Protecting God’s Children.” My son attends kindergarten at private Catholic school (hence the “God” part). If I want to do anything outside of everyday routines (like reading to the class or going on a field-trip) I’m required to take this class as well as get fingerprinted. While I dreaded taking the class, I’m really glad I did and I’m thankful my son’s school requires it.
Watching videos of children talk about their horrific experiences and listening to actual pedophiles talk about what they did, was sobering. Not only do these sick people exist, but technology has opened up a new door for these monsters. Our smart phones and tablets are such awesome tools. Sharing knowledge and information is amazing, but with the good comes to bad too. Not to mention, all these devices have cameras. Think about that for minute. It’s amazing how a picture can be seen around the world in just seconds.
After the class I wanted to run home and delete my Facebook page, but while I probably won’t end up actually doing that, I will be making some big adjustments in how I use social media as well as my iPhone and all the other gadgets we have.
Here’s some important information from the VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” class I learned that I would like to share with all of you…
Know the Warning Signs (of a perpetrator)
- Discourages other adults from participating with children
- Always want to be alone with children
- More excited to be with children than adults
- Gives gifts to children (often without permission)
- Goes overboard with touching
- Always wants to wrestle or tickle
- Thinks rules do not apply to them
- Allows kids to engage in activities their parents would not allow
- Uses bad language or tells dirty jokes
- Shows pornography
- Check references/screen childcare
- Know your child’s friends and parents
- Know your child’s schedule
- Keep computers in an open access area
- Monitor computers and phones, etc.
Monitor All Programs
- Phones and computers
- After school activities
- Family gatherings, etc.
- Talk to your children
- Observe your children
- Listen to what your children tell you
- Believe what your children tell you
- Teach your children where their private parts are
- Talk to your children about protecting themselves
- Teach them what to do if someone tries to touch them or makes them uncomfortable
- Be alert to changes in your child’s behavior
Communicate Your Concerns
- Pay attention to your “gut feelings” and communicate your concerns
- Talk to the person involved, a school/church official, call an abuse hotline or contact your local police
Some MYTHS about child sex abuse…
- Strangers are responsible for most child sex abuse. False.
- Most sexual abusers are homosexual. False.
- Children usually lie about sexual abuse. False.
- Priests abuse children because of their vow of celibacy. False.
I hope this information is as powerful to you as it was to me. While we want to protect our kids from the bad, unfortunately, we can’t prevent everything. We can, however, make a commitment to be ever present in our children’s lives.