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Tips for Protecting Children from Predators

The sheer horror of imagining your son or daughter being victimized by a child predator is enough to for any parent to break out into a cold sweat. Whenever we hear of a child who has gone missing, our hearts go out to the parents and we hug our own children ever more tightly. Yet, even though we think it could never happen to us, statistics tell a much different story. Despite the efforts of parents, law enforcement agencies, and organizations in protecting children, the FBI National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2006, there were over 660,000 missing children in the U. Those numbers are alarming, and even more so when we realize that there are steps each of us can take to reduce lost and missing children, to reduce runaway children, and to protect children from predators.

Here are three tips to guide you in protecting your children. 1. Missing child prevention. The key to protecting children is prevention. The first step you can take is to educate yourself and gather information that will help keep your family safe.

There are companies and organizations that can provide you with valuable information about child safety, and that will give you a way to talk to your children about this important issue. After all, the concept of "stranger danger" is far too abstract for most children. They don't understand that child predators are most often friendly men who look as normal as neighbors or family friends. Talking to children about predators feels like walking a tightrope; it helps to have supporting materials to guide you through the process. 2. Beware of the Internet. If you've ever watched Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator," you've felt that chill go down your spine as hordes of predators descend upon the target house. Your stomach has churned as you hear the transcripts of their Internet chats with adults posing as 13- or 14-year-olds. You've listened to their rationalizations and protestations, and you've probably thanked your lucky stars that your children haven't been victimized. Unfortunately, Internet predators aren't going away, and while the Web has volumes of useful information, it can also be a dangerous presence lurking in your home.

It's important to be vigilant, so use parental controls, keep the computer in the family room so you can keep tabs on kids' usage, and check the Web browser's history every day to ensure that you know the sites your children visit. 3. Prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, the unthinkable can happen, so it's worth your while to prepare for the worst. Although many law enforcement agencies will fingerprint your children, and some companies will collect DNA samples, those are only useful for identification purposes once bodies are found. If your child is taken, it's critical to immediately disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and to find your child before it's too late. Fortunately, there are companies committed to protecting children that offer comprehensive child protection programs for a very low fee. By taking advantage of their services before disaster strikes, you can help ensure that your child will be found quickly. The best companies store videos and photos of your child, and if you report your child missing, they will distribute color posters, videos, and information to thousands of agencies nationwide. They also provide services ranging from posting a sizeable reward and paying all expenses for a professional private investigator.

When you consider what you pay for car insurance or house insurance, the cost of protecting your children is miniscule and can give you priceless peace of mind.


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