Never in history have sexual predators been given such an opportunity to communicate so freely and directly with children. The Internet and new avenues such as social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace), chat rooms, email, instant messaging, and forums provide a dangerous medium for predators to conduct their conquests. A recent study estimates that 1 in 5 children between the ages of 10 and 7 have been sexually solicited online and anyone who watches the news has heard examples of these predators luring children offline and sexually assaulting or even murdering their victims. There are ways to recognize an online predator and things kids can do to avoid them.
There is remarkably little known about child abusers and pedophilia. What little we do know typically comes from abusers who were caught and convicted, not from persons with pedophilia tendencies that choose to not act on those tendencies. Regardless, researchers have pieced together a bit about the psychology behind a sexual child offender.
From the mouth of an abuser: Parents are so naive. They’re worried about strangers and should be worried about their brother-in-law. They just don’t realize how devious we can be. I used to abuse children in the same room with their parents and they couldn’t see it or didn’t seem to know it was happening. Read the devious methods child abusers use to “groom” their victims in preparation for the abuse.
Can you spot a sex offender in a crowd? Most likely, no. But research studies have shown that sexual offenders and pedophiles do exhibit common traits. Taken individually, most of us demonstrate some of these traits ourselves. But taken as a whole, these traits should should be considered warning signs that something may be amiss.