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          Is Your Child Being Groomed by a Predator?

          July 12, 2006

          The FBI estimates that there is one child molester per square mile in the United States. The majority of molested children are victimized by family members, close relatives or people who have easy access to them. Is your child being groomed by a pedophile? Dr. Phil offers the following warning signs:

          • You’re vulnerable if you are a single parent and lack time to spend with your child.
          • You’re vulnerable if you are desperate for help from outsiders.
          • If your child is from a broken or unstable home, pedophiles recognize this, and use it as a way to get inside.
          • If there is someone in your life who has a really unusual, too-good-to-be-true interest in your child, it probably is too good to be true.
          • If someone lavishes gifts on your child, and the person has unusual knowledge of kids’ popular interests ” what shows they like, what music they like ” pedophiles brief themselves on those things.
          • Your child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you don’t know.
          • If this person shows up without a child at child-intensive events and locations, that’s a problem.
          • If you’re dealing with a person who always offers and angles for alone time with your child, you need to be very concerned.
          • Is your child spending large amounts of time online, especially at night?
          • Does your child use an online account that belongs to someone else?
          • Have you found pornography on your child’s computer?
          • Your child receives phone calls from men you don’t know or is making calls to numbers you don’t recognize.
          • Take notice if your child turns off the computer monitor quickly or changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.
          • Is your child withdrawing from family?

          Common Child Molester Strategies:
          — from A Profile of the Child Molester

          • Befriending parents, particularly single parents, to gain access to their children 
          • Offering babysitting services to overextended parents or caregivers 
          • Taking jobs and participating in community events that involve children 
          • Attending sporting events for children or offering to coach children’s sports 
          • Volunteering in youth organizations, offering to chaperone overnight trips
          • Loitering in places children frequent: playgrounds, malls, game arcades, etc. 
          • Spending time in Internet gaming and social communities, learning the online interests and lingo of youngsters 
          • Becoming foster parents 

          If you suspect someone is a pedophile and molesting children, please call the authorities or the Child Protect Services agency in your area.

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