Protect your kids. Talk with them Today.

by cathy

Danger, sickness and evil visited our neighborhood this week.  Two young sisters ages 8 and 10 were molested by a 43 year old deviant disguised as a family friend.  The danger in this case, as with 90% of all sexual assault cases involving minors, came from NOT a  from a stranger, but from an individual trusted by the family.   The silver lining in this story is that the perpetrator is in jail because the girls told their parents.  The mother of these girls regularly spoke with her daughters about their bodies, appropriate behavior and how to handle situations that made them uncomfortable.  Because of these talks, the girls immediately reported the event.  This enabled their parents and the police to quickly act, thus protecting them and most likely other children from further harm.

Momgadget is sharing this story because we think its important to remind parents that most dangers faced by their children do not come from strangers, but from people they know.  More important, we’d like to encourage you to talk  to your children today.   Creating an environment of trust and open dialogue is one of the most important things you can do to protect your children from most dangers.

The following links go to articles that will give you more information about ‘how’ to talk with your kids and protect them from more than just strangers.

How to Talk to Your Child About Molestation

This is an excellent article with very specific suggestions and wording to help you talk with your children about their bodies, secrets, and appropriate behavior.

Keeping Children Safe: Rhetoric and Reality

The facts about where dangers lurk.

Talking with Kids about Tough Issues: Talk with your Kids before everyone else does.

A nice directory of articles specifically targeted to talking with your children about : Drugs & Alcohol, Relationships & Sex, Violence, What They See on TV, Divorce and other issues.

 

 

 

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mariana May 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thanks a lot for sharing such useful information. This woman has really done a great job teaching her children to take care of their bodies.

Gina May 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Since many children under 10 have cell phones and facebook pages (even though you have to be 13 to be on facebook), child predators have been using the anonymity of the internet to victimize our children. And many of these predators have been doing so sucessfully. Predators may create fake social networking profiles in which they pretend to be children themselves. This way, they are able to trick young children into thinking they are talking to someone their own age. The predator may, in turn, get access to their potential victim’s personal information (where they live and go to school, or even their cell phone numbers!). It is very important that kids NEVER post any personal or identifying information on their social networking profiles.

I have two daughters (Mandy is 10 and lisa is 13) who both have cell phones and facebook profiles. I was guilted into letting Gina have one when I finally allowed Lisa to set one up. However, now I am wishing I never let either of them on facebook. First of all, they each look much older than they are (especially Lisa). They are both so innocent and tend to trust strangers. Without thinking, Lisa posted her email address on her facebook page and made her profile public (which means she does not have to approve visitors to her page and give them permission to view her information – a very dumb move!).

Naturally, because lisa is very pretty and looks several years older than 13, she received a sexually suggestive email from a 28 year old man. Luckily, she was scared and came to me with the email right away. I was mad at her for making her facebook profile public but also very scared for her safety. I have been looking into parental control software for monitoring emails and phone text messages but none of them could have prevented Lisa from getting that predatorial email.

Do any of you moms know of any monitoring/filtering services that could have stopped that bad email from getting through?? Does something like this even exist?

Thanks,
Gina

Rajasthan Tours May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi i found you blog on google and found it both interesting and lnformative about your children about their bodies, secrets, and appropriate behavior.

cathy May 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Hi Gina,

Thank you for your response. You’ve identified a huge issue for most parents with children looking to join their peers with online profiles. I don’t know if there is a monitoring/filtering service that could have stopped bad email from getting through. I have posted your question to my network and will follow up when I get replies. As the mother of a 9 year old who looks like she’s fifteen and wears a size 9 woman’s shoe, I can really relate. Best, Cathy

Andy May 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Hi Gina and Cathy,

There is free product offered by Safe Communications inc. called Mousemail that does exactly what you asked. Mousemail scans all a child’s incoming and outgoing emails and text messages for inappropriate/harmful/hateful content. If a message is flagged for bad content, it is sent (diverted) to the parent for review before it reaches the child. Parents review the flagged messages and decide whether or not their children will be allowed to view them.

Not only does this product keep parents informed of instances of cyberbullying and sexting or advances made by sexual predators, but most importantly, it saves a child from experiencing the pain of receiving hateful emails and texts. Similarly, it protects kids from the legal consequences of sexting since inappropriate texts/photos are intercepted by parents (so they never reach their intended recipients). And it is totally FREE!

I have 3 teenage girls (if you could possibly imagine that) who are always texting and chatting online. My oldest daughter (Jessica – 16) tried to send a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend the other day. Luckily (since kids have been charged with the distribution of child porn for doing this) the picture came to me and never made it to her boyfriend. If it had gone through, he could have forwarded it to friends and got my daughter in a lot of trouble at school and possibly with the law. Thank god for Mousemail! It is literally a life saver!

Here is a link to the website: http://www.mousemail.com/

Good luck,

Andy

Gina May 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Thanks Andy! Sounds like Mousemail is exactly what I am looking for! I am really surprised that I have not heard of it…seems like a very unique service. I will certainly give it a try. I have nothing to lose since it is free!

Thanks for the suggestion. I will write back after I have tried out the service and let you know what I think of it.

Cathy you should check it out too!

Gina May 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

So I signed up for mousemail and I finally have achieved some piece of mind! Every email or text that my daughter tries to send or receive get scanned for bad words, threats, sexual or bullying language etc. If a message contains bad content, it is sent to me instead of my daughter. I can review the message and let it continue on to my daughter if I think it is appropriate. Like if somebody sent my daughter a text calling her a bitch or something, my daughter would not have to see it.

So this service provides protection from cyberbullies, sexual predators, and the legal consequences of sexting.

Thanks Andy!

P.S. Where did your post about Mousemail go? Did you delete it? Please repost for others to see!

Gina

Andy May 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm

So glad my advice helped you Gina! I’m not sure what happened to my previous post so here is my explanation of mousemail.com

There is a free product called mousemail that scans all your child’s incoming and outgoing emails and text messages for inappropriate content. If a message is flagged for inappropriate content, it is diverted and sent to the parents for review instead of going to the child as it normally would. Parents can review the flaggd messages and decide whether or not the child will be allowed to see them.

Not only does this product keep parents informed of instances of cyberbullying and sexting or advances made by sexual predators, but most importantly, mousemail protects children from pain of receiving hateful emails and texts. Also, as you mentioned Gina, mousemail protects kids from the legal consequences of sexting since an inappropriate photo would be intercepted by parents.

Andy

mike July 1, 2011 at 7:21 am

first of all there should be a better and firm law for it ,another thing is that we should keep eye on kids ,talk to their friends and lastly teach them how to defend themselves.

http://everytopcis.blogspot.com

Irma July 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

Your post is really puzzling and eye opening. Apart from reinforcing our laws, parents should always be ready not only to talk to their children but also to listen to them. They can open up without any notice.

Perla Prieto July 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

A timely talk with your children can make a huge difference on them. We should talk to them openly and aboveboard. The future of our children is in our hands, their safety is our responsability.

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Assertief July 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Nice article! I totally agree with you and I love to see playing children. Save them!

DJ September 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I totally agree with this blog. It is important for parents to talk to their children reguarly. Even though we think that strangers are the ones that their chidren should watch out for, there are cases like this that it is not a stranger however a family member. In this case since the mom always communicated to their children, they felt comfortable enough that they did tell her. There are situations were children don’t tell their parents because they have that fear of them not believing them. Creating an open communication and building that trust will prevent situation like this one to continue to happen.

lori September 17, 2011 at 5:41 am

I will check out Mousemail today. I also keep up to date with what’s going on by subscribing to a newsletter from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
This site was recommended by daughter’s school. They also have an iphone app for checking movie and tv shows appropriateness and age recommendations.

grocery coupons September 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Thanks for the tips. It is tough to speak to kids about these subjects, so any help is great. I find it hard to bring up at times, but my kids are at the age where they need to be spoken to about such things. It is so creepy to think that most molesters are trusted family friends. Wow.

Thank you.

Rajasthan Holidays October 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

I have two daughters (Mandy is 10 and lisa is 13) who both have cell phones and facebook profiles. I was guilted into letting Gina have one when I finally allowed Lisa to set one up. However, now I am wishing I never let either of them on facebook. First of all, they each look much older than they are (especially Lisa). They are both so innocent and tend to trust strangers. Without thinking, Lisa posted her email address on her facebook page and made her profile public (which means she does not have to approve visitors to her page and give them permission to view her information – a very dumb move!).

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