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This is an important reminder of just how easily our kids can be lured into ” sextortion ” resulting in shame based trauma as they realize they have been trapped. Please don’t under estimate the level of trauma, fear and guilt a young person processes in these situations EVEN though they have not had a physical encounter. Some teens have taken their own lives over this type of event.
We hear story after story where kids feel trapped, that they have no other alternative and they are ashamed to tell an adult especially their parents.
Denis Aguilar apparently routinely lured girls indiscriminately through social media. Some how we think kids are smarter than this. But these guys are good. They look for kids who are 1.) most likely sexually active and 2) kids who have a desperate need to be loved.
An interesting exercise for you would be to troll through your own social media sites and try to analyze from a predator’s perspective the clues left out there. It is amazing what we reveal about ourselves……….(examples)
- Feeling a little down today……….
- Jeb and I broke up
- Moms taking a vacation with (Don-boyfriend)
- This guy is really HOT!
These are all clues for vulnerability.
The good news in this case is that the girl had a strong enough bond with her parents to reveal it. And one of the most important things parents can do is NOT BE CRITICAL. Reassure her of her worth, her value to your family and how proud you are of her that she was able to overcome her fear and stand against this predator. Give her strength to be confidant in her judgement and let her know that while she has made a mistake in the first photo you are thrilled she was mature enough to grow through it by reporting it and not becoming a victim. This is especially true if it can come from a man in her life, preferably her father.
I believe that one of the keys of keeping our kids safe is putting the pride back in the relationships between parents and kids and putting SALVATION (grace) back into the home. The predator sets a trap….a Parent has the key, if they use it right. She or HE is looking for a safe place, and they fear your criticism. Think of Jesus and the woman at the well. This could be your moment.
ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) last year reported 7000 cases of on-line enticements. MY BEST GUESS IS THE REAL NUMBER IS 10 TIMES THAT HIGH. The hard part for a parent is to over come your own naivety that this could happen to YOUR kid.
I believe honest exploratory discussions are the key element in helping a young person learn to evaluate on line relationships. Start with reassurance…..”If you love him, I am going to love him”. So tell me everything you know about him. How can we verify? Does he show respect for you?
Currently I am exploring (through Million Kids) ways to help families (parents and kids) take a whole new look at on line relationships. Think of this. Virtual Relationships are different than Real Time Relationships. The seducing party can present themselves wrapped up in any kind of fantasy. And the prey falls in love with the virtual fantasy by building a fantasy of the relationship from their own perspective.
This becomes infinitely more complex if the two parties come together in an On Line Role Playing Game where NOTHING is real and there are no consequences. I am working with Dr. Andy Doan and his wife Julie and David Stewart a Riverside Based Sex Therapist to understand the role of porn and gaming addictions in these recruiting and grooming relationships.
THE BOTTOM LINE ……in all of these “VIRTURAL” relationships the trauma, the loss, the lust, the desire, are ALL REAL FEELINGS being processed as if the relationship was real…
STAY TUNED………..more to come………still working on it.
In the meantime. KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE. Talk about on line recruiters, and the difference between a relationship with respect (even a virtual relationship) and a relationship that wants to exploit. Kids need to know this is real and it happens EVERY DAY.