Parents and Grandparents
In particular, all parents, and grandparents, now is the time we must band together. As well as guardians, in banding together we can stop online predators and the sexual exploitation of children. This issue is a scourge on society. Ladies and Gentlemen, We as a society have declared a war on drugs and gangs. Granted, we need to fight both of these. Yet, declaring war on those who seem to thrive on hurting our children has not happened. It would seem the government has put this issue on the back burner. That is to say, it is not on a high priority list. In addition, Law Enforcement is facing budget cuts.
Online predators, are stalking our children when they are online. Many of our children do not know that this is happening. Online predators will search for a child’s information and get to know the child before ever making contact. We as parents and grandparents and even as a guardian must do what we can to protect our children, grandchildren and those in our care from online predators.
Unfortunately, the issue of sexual exploitation of our children has nothing to do with their race, religion, or economic backgrounds. Online Predators do not only look for one type of child. While many will seek a child that is most vulnerable, some will target others. The vulnerability of child can be found with issue in the home life. These cases could be:
- A child living in foster care.
- Children living with their Grandparents or other family members.
- A child from a single parent home.
Because of these situations, children may feel that they are unwanted or unloved. Children who are placed in this type of situation can be more susceptible to the advances of an online predator.
The issue is our children are under attack. Under attack every time, they are online, from peer pressure and even neighbors and family members. The time has come for us as parents and grandparents for us to get our head out of the sand. We can no longer choose to ignore the issue or have nothing to do with creepy neighbors and family members.
Our Role as Parents, Grandparents, and Guardians
Our roles are simple in life, protect, and educate. We must protect our children at all times. Part of our protecting is through education. We must educate our youngsters to recognize online predators and how to report them. We need to let them know that we are there for them. The description of a good parent is one that takes the time listen to their child. When a parent listens or even a grandparent, they will learn a lot about the child. We as parents and grandparents cannot sit by and scold our children or praise them over grades. By simply taking, the time to listen to what our children are saying will tell us more about what the child is feeling.
Because, no two children are alike, they will not have the same tendencies while online. In addition to this, one child may see something wrong in sending pictures while another may not. This is similar to two kids growing up in the same household, with one turning to drugs and alcohol, while the other stays clean and sober.
Guardians and Foster Care
Unfortunately, foster care is in disarray. Accordingly, runaways from the foster care system are more likely to become a victim of sexual exploitation. While I do understand that the foster care system is overworked and in many cases understaffed, things need to change. We need a better system of checks and balances. In reality there are just not enough people that are willing to be foster parents. In some cases the rules are, if some one has a felony conviction they cannot be a foster parent.
Because of this rule, many who would make good foster parents are turned away. We must look at what the conviction was for, before deciding. There are many who have been convicted of a felony that go on to lead a productive life and mentor our youths. Our foster parents must be better trained and willing to accept that this is not an easy way to make money.
When one becomes a parent, foster parent, or guardian, they take a responsibility to that child. A child, who needs to be nurtured, loved and taught. While we feel the overall good of the foster care system, we can only hope that things can be changed for the better.
Our law enforcement agencies are constrained. These budget cuts have forced staff reductions and reorganizations to our police departments. In addition to budget cuts and reorganizations, our police are relying more on volunteers. For patrols, staffing and even operating computers and chat rooms looking for online predators. In view of this, they have to limit the number of volunteers, because they do not have funds to purchase more computers.
For this reason, Our Children First (http://ouryouthfirst.org) seeks to become a full non-profit. In doing so we will be in a position to make grants to these departments and aid the officers. Because of this, we will be aiding them to stop these online predators and pedophiles from ever being able to make contact with our children.
Our Youth First
While Our Youth First in no way have all the answers for parents and grandparents, we do our best to keep you informed. Our Youth First, is a group of parents, and grandparents. We understand the struggles of our children and the issues facing parents.
Parents and Grandparents
As parents and grandparents, we know that should our child be sexually exploiting it would be devastating. This is something I do not even want to think and cannot image what a parent goes through. Therefore, we all can agree that online predators must be stopped.
What Will You Do?
Are you willing to stand up and let everyone know that enough is enough? Today is the day; tomorrow could be too late for hundreds of children. Even more so, the average age of our children is 12, when targeted. Because of this, the time to put an end to online predators NOW.