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Teach your kids to identify pedophiles

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
04 December 2021   |   4:09 am
As the United Nations commemorates 16 days of activism on Gender Based Violence, identifying and shaming sexual predators are a part of the drive to ensure that more children especially the girl child stays safe.

As the United Nations commemorates 16 days of activism on Gender Based Violence, identifying and shaming sexual predators are a part of the drive to ensure that more children especially the girl child stays safe.

It is therefore pertinent to constantly teach your children about their existence, which are usually not strangers but people who have developed and earned a level of trust for the child.

According to Vivian Okoye, a parenting coach and advocate, sexual predators are everywhere and can appear in any form. They do not carry any special identity; they are the child’s friend or even coach. Sadly, the fact is that statistically the greatest danger to kids comes from adults they already know.

While it is necessary to end this menace, what is key is ensuring that children are able to identify those who are sexual predators and those who means well. Tell young children that if a grownup (even someone they know well) offers to share anything with them, they need to check with you first. Predators groom their prey, using gift giving, providing emotional support and being a shoulder to lean on.

Teach older children (starting at around 7 or 8) how a potentially dangerous situation might unfold. Explain that no adult should ever tell them an explicit joke, show them explicit pictures, or encourage them to keep secrets of any kind from you.

Teach them that it’s okay to question adults or disagree; children should be taught early enough to question adults. The teaching ‘respect your elders’ can be detrimental, because this older person in question can be a predator. Getting involved in your child’s life will help you understand your child better. Make sure you know who your child spends time with; the adults they come in contact with on a regular basis or what they are doing at a friend’s house.

Pedophiles look for children who appear to be on their own or whose parents don’t pay much attention to them. Pedophiles participate in activities where children are, so getting involved in your children’s life can help set up a barrier between your children and a pedophile.

Sexual abuse and exploitation of children can take place anywhere and at any time, so it is important to be aware of the people who live in your community, and watch those who seem to have an unusual interest in children.

It is important to ensure your children know the proper name of their anatomical parts. Pedophiles often adopt cute names for the ‘sexual’ parts of a child’s body, and if your child knows the proper name, it may prevent a sexual attack. A well-informed child projects authority and will scare off a sexual predator.

Teaching your children to pay attention to their intuition, as it’s an important trait. It is a natural defense system and as we grow older, it becomes more refined. It is designed to protect us from harm or dangerous situations. Hence, you should make sure your children understand this that if they feel uncomfortable in a given situation, and then they need to get out immediately. If they feel unsure about doing something, or do not want to go with a certain person, then they should follow their intuition.