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April 2, 2008

Sexual Predators vs Parenting 101

So a few nights ago I was lingering in yahoo chat when an interesting subject matter came up. Apparently one of the chatters is a registered sex offender. According to what I saw he was convicted of forceful rape of a minor 13 to 15.

The ensuing discussion was in regard to his crime. The people who defended him based their defense on what he had told them about himself, now 17 years after the fact verses those who condemned his actions based on his crime and the facts that they found out via the World Wide Web.

I often am reminded that we really don’t know the people behind the screen. They can be anyone or do anything, often time without fear of being detected. With television shows such as “To Catch A Predator” or groups such as “The Cyber Angels” a division of “The Guardian Angels” who seek out those who might wish to do our children harm, one would think that people of the caliber of the fellow from last nights discussion would be leery of wandering into a chat room full of those who are sworn to protect, i.e. a police and fire chat.

I’ve seen on the shows where often times the “bait” is a perceived young child who is looking for a “friend” to come visit them. Those men and women, who are shown showing up to engage in “special time” with a child, will say it’s their first time however I think it’s just their first time being caught. While they might show they are remorseful for their actions, in truth I believe their remorse is over being caught.

One of the points made during the discussion was that sexual offenders can be rehabilitated. I do agree that they can be, however like with any addiction, lets take alcohol as an example, you might be a recovering alcoholic but you will never be cured, you are bound to slip up and do we really wish to put children’s lives on the line for the slip up of a “rehabilitated” sexual predator?

On the other hand, living in California I’m not surprised that many children who are indeed underage are approached for sex by adults. I say this because as I see it parents really need to know what their children are up to, who their friends are where they are going and with whom.

More and more children are latch key kids who are growing up faster than they should. Growing up in single parent households or in a home where both parents work, our children are learning about “the birds and the bees” from their friends and people online, instead of learning about it from their parents.

Having coached several team sports, I often times wondered at the lack of concern many parents of blended families had over their children. One young man I coached was the oldest of a blended family where his mother and step father felt the best way to deal with his issues, was to toss money at him and let him figure it out.

Our children are basically raising themselves, they are ill equipped to deal with peer pressure to look older, act older, and have sex earlier. From the cartoons that target children, from their sexual nature to their disrespect of adults, to music telling children that it’s ok to act the part of a ho or thug, to what they read on the web, are sent in emails and text messages it’s not hard to see where many online predators can step in and offer the perceived love and support that many of these children are seeking.

So my hope is that those who are parents will take the time to look into who their children are friends with, where they are going and how they are getting there.

Remember being a parent is more than just giving birth to a baby. It’s being there to listen and talk with your child, to give them guidance on life. To monitor those who they might consider a friend, to protect them from those who wish to do them harm. To give them the tools to grow into adults who can make educated decisions about life, be able to distinguish friend from foe and most importantly to raise their own well adjusted children.

Filed under: Life,Rants by Kat at 2:37 am


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