Cell phones and online networks have made it even easier for pedophiles to connect with teenagers. According to the Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit, 67 percent of all victims of sexual assault as reported to law enforcement were under the age of 18, and 1 in 33 children received an aggression solicitation through calls, texts or e-mails, asking to meet somewhere. Parents are powerful influences in the fight against this growing threat. There are many things that you can do to help police catch pedophiles who text or contact their teens.
1 Establish an open relationship with your teen built on honest communication. The Au Pair Clearinghouse says that pedophiles prey on children who have low self-esteem or those who are looking for love and affection. If your teen or another teen you know is being targeted by pedophiles, they need to feel comfortable coming to you without fearing that they will be criticized or lectured for their choices. Creating a relationship in which teens can talk to you about sensitive matters can encourage them to come to you if a pedophile contacts your teen.
2 Monitor your teen’s phone and all her Internet accounts. If you don't know who is contacting your teen, there is no way for you to know if a pedophile has become a threat -- unless your teen tells you. Unfortunately, teens aren't always going to be the best judges, because they can be manipulated by predators pretending to be teenagers. By monitoring your teen's phone, you can see her texts and emails so that you can make a more informed judgment about the kind of people who are contacting her.
3 Access all accounts. Don't stop at merely reading texts and listening to voicemail. If your teen has a smart phone, log in to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks that can be accessed through the phone. A pedophile might be contacting your teen through multiple outlets.
4 Collect evidence. A Florida woman made headlines when she pretended to be her 11-year-old daughter and sent a pedophile a picture that she clipped from a department store ad. The man then sent nude pictures of himself, which she promptly turned into police and had him arrested. You can adopt similar strategies and pretend to be your teen to collect more evidence, such as incriminating texts or photos. Print out any evidence you get or save it to a hard drive and take it to police.
5 Contact the police. Collect phone records showing the times of all calls and texts that have been received, as well as printouts or electronic versions of any texts, emails and other communications. Submit these to police and follow their instructions for how to proceed.
Items you will need
- Teen's phone
- Phone records
- Go to the police as soon as you have evidence that your teen is in contact with a pedophile.
- Do not attempt vigilante justice by meeting the pedophile in person or attempting to make a citizen's arrest. You risk putting yourself in danger or becoming arrested for your own unlawful activity.
- Never send real photos of your teenager in an attempt to trick a pedophile.
- Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit: Statistics
- Mobile Media Guard: U.S. Sexting Laws
- Au Pair Clearinghouse: Warning Signs of a Pedophile
- FBI: Child Predators: Online Threat Continues to Grow
- The Tampa Tribune: St. Pete Woman Goes "Undercover" to Protect Daughter on Facebook
- 10 News Tampa Bay: Mom Nabs Alleged Sex Predator, Michael Bradley, Who Targeted Daughter
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