Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are we putting our kids in danger??

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We may actually be putting our kids in danger by the contradicting messages we send.
We tell them not to trust strangers, yet
-we drop them off at ball practice with coaches we may never have met
-we allow them to stay after school because they will be with their teacher

-we send them to dance lessons
-scout meetings
-play groups
-daycare centers
-friends' homes
-movie theaters
-even to the doctors office
without making sure that they are able to recognize when they are in danger

All of these places and circumstances are full of people they do not know & we do not know. Full of possible child predators.

We teach our kids not to take candy from strangers, but on Halloween, we often make exceptions, especially if it's in our own neighborhood, where sexual predators may lurk or reside.

And while we tell them not to even talk to strangers, we make an exception there too for police officers or other representatives of authority.
However, sexual predators have jobs in every profession.
There are no exceptions; they are white collar professionals, blue collar worker, & unemployed individuals.
It's impossible to tell sexual predators from the rest of the population. They are everywhere.

Instead of picking out a group of people to whom our kids can turn to when they are in trouble, such as police officers, we need to simply & openly teach children how to know where to turn.

They have to be trained to use their own intuition about people & use it in conjunction with the information that we have provided to them.

Predators can easily gain the trust of a child, instill in them a feeling of security, & often lead them astray by convincing them that they are mature enough to make their own decisions.

That is why we need to teach children, starting from a very early age, the vitally important information to help them take the power away from the predator.

*Children need to be aware that predators can & will approach them in broad daylight, & on the internet, anywhere at anytime.

If we can instill in our children the need to be completely aware of their surroundings on a much higher level than we generally do, then it's a start.

If we let children know at a young age that people older than them cannot always be trusted, that someone may try to talk to them about things like secrets & special friendships & that children need to tell on them, then we are making some progress. If we explain openly & honestly that there is nobody that can be crossed off the list of people to follow the rules about, then we might just get through to them.

Kids are resilient. They are smarter than we think. Giving them the tools to protect themselves at an early age is wise because it will come naturally to them as just another lesson in life.

I want to help you, as parents, educate yourselves & your children about these predators.

Without education, we will fail our children.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Protecting your kids online

Friday, October 15, 2010
1. Limit the amount of time children have interactive access to the internet to 2 hours a day. This is after homework. According to research, the risk of a child being exposed to predators, pornography, or cyber-bullying goes up dramatically beyond that daily exposure. The more time a kid has to roam around cyberspace, the more trouble they can get into. If a kid knows they only have 2 hours, then they are going to get down to business & do what is high on their priority list(downloading music, chatting with friends, etc) instead of chatting with strangers.

A note to the wise also, experts say that if a child sees mom & dad spending excessive amounts of time online & meeting other people in chat or in person, they will do the same.

2. Computers with internet access should always be in an open area of the house. You should be able to look in from time to time & see what your child is doing, what they are looking at, & know who they are talking to. It's good for them to know you are paying attention.

3. Remind children that online people are not always who they say they are & that there are real-life consequences should they give out personal information that could allow a predator to find them & take advantage of them.

4. What you post online stays online forever. Don't post anything online that you wouldn't want to be seen by your parents, a principal, police, or predators.

5. Beware of the cell phone, digital camera, or web came showing up that you as a parent did not purchase. If you see one of these items, it could mean your child purchased it without your permission or that someone else, possibly a predator, provided it to ensure he will get photos from your child.

6. Guard your passwords. Nothing good can come from fellow students being able to access your child's personal information or their social networking site. A person who may be your friend today may not be next month. That is how it works in today's adolescent world. Better yet, change your passwords regularly.

7.Set up any social networking site so that only people you invite & approve can enter.

8. Know the chat rooms your child is visiting.

9. There is a fine line between spying and respecting your child's privacy, but it's okay to take a look at their computer every once in awhile. Ask them to show you their friend list. Just as you should know the first & last names of the friends they hang out with, you should know the identities of those they are talking to online.

10. Is your child forming an addiction or obsession to the internet? You can check the archive of who your child has been talking to. If there is an unusual amount of time with one person, especially one you do not know, you need to pursue this.

11. Develop trust. Your child needs to know that if they are approached online by anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable that they can come to you openly & honestly & you will not overreact. They need to know they will not be punished. Remember, the child is always the victim.

12. Know where to go if a predator has approached your child online. You should never be shy about calling an internet provider to report something. Many police departments have youth officers who specialize in this area.

13. Do not delay reporting a predator incident. It probably isn't the first time the guy has tried to solicit a teen. If you do not do anything, you are only giving him the opportunity to do it again.

14. Interactive games like World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 Live, etc allow players to communicate with each other in real time, without a reliable way of logging these conversations. This creates the potential for predators to use these games to groom or meet teens. If your child is staying up all hours playing he could be exposed to conversations with people from all over the world.

15. Do not ever allow your child to use their real name as a screen name in a chat room.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meet Kacie Rene Woody.......

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
She might be a girl just like you or she might be just be like your 13 yr old daughter.
Except she was killed on December 3, 2002 by a man she met online who was posing as a teenage boy.
Kacie Rene Woody lived with her single father & her older brothers in Arkansas. She met lots of people online in Christian chat rooms & talked to them online. Sometimes she even gave them her phone number & chatted with them on the telephone as well.
Kacie met the wrong person online & it ended up costing her her life.

Kacie's computer was in the living room. Her father, Rick, knew she chatted in chat rooms. Rick felt the internet was harmless. He was afraid of what might happen outside the house not inside it. Rick would even look over Kacie's chat conversations. Nothing was out of line.

Kacie met 47 yr old Dave Fuller from San Diego in a yahoo chat room. He claimed he was a 17 yr old boy. Not only did Kacie chat with him, but so did her friend. They both spoke with him over the telephone too. It was stated that he did not sound 47.
Dave lied his way into Kacie's sympathetic heart. He said his aunt was in Arkansas dying. Kacie had lost her mom & was extremely sympathetic to this.

Dave never asked to meet Kacie. He never talked sexually to her. They just chatted about everyday things. School, parents, messy rooms, etc. Except these things weren't really normal for Dave since he was 47 & a child predator grooming Kacie.

On December 3, 2002, Dave showed up at Kacie's house & kidnapped her. She was home alone. Her father was at work at the police station.
Police later found Dave in a storage unit he'd rented a month before in Arkansas. They found Kacie naked, chained to the floor in the back of his van. She had been raped & shot in the head.
Dave Fuller shot himself before police could get inside the storage unit to arrest him.

Police believe that Dave traveled to Arkansas twice before actually kidnapping & killing Kacie based on credit card receipts. He was a true predator. He waited her out for the perfect timing in his head.

Now keep telling yourself this doesn't happen.
Keep thinking this won't happen in my small town, not to my little girl. Because that is exactly what Rick Woody thought.
The internet does not discriminate. It doesn't know small town from big town. Online predators are everywhere.
The only answer is education.



Monday, October 4, 2010

Codependent People.

Monday, October 4, 2010
After a conversation I had this weekend, I felt the need to write about codependency.

10 signs of a codependent personality:
1)relationship addiction- this person has no sense of themself or feel they are of value so they must continually be in a relationship to feel that high. In other words, they are just an extension of that other person instead of being their own person.

2) Lack of boundaries- codependents have a habit of lacking emotional boundaries. They are like a chameleon. They change emotionally to fit the situation.

3)Value is placed on what people think of them- They will apologize for things they cannot control. They figure out what a person wants & give it to them.

4)The feel indispensable- they feel that people wouldn't want them around if they are not giving something.

5)What do you think- a question you will often hear from codependent people. Do not trust in own thoughts or opinions.

6)Center of Universe- codependent people are self-centered but in a different way. They bring stuff around to be their fault. They are constantly apologizing. They create drama.

7)Emotional walls- Due to a codependents need to help & take care of others, they neglect themselves. They do not have own emotions.

8)Liar- most people lie to get themselves out of trouble. They lie to others to get themselves out of uncomfortable situations or confrontations. Codependents lie to self about own feelings. It's hard for them to face true feelings.

9)Fear of abandonment- codependent needs to be involved in ever aspect of significant others life & if not they perceive it as abandonment. This is usually rooted from something in their past.

10)Control & judgement- codependent people crave control & it comes from deep seeded fear. Codependent people are very judgemental of others.

Let's use romantic relationships as an example.
When in love, you either fit or not. You do not change yourself to fit.
Codependents change themselves to fit every relationship.

I have more on codependency that I will post very very soon.
This is a heavy subject on my mind right now.