Yesterday, it was announced that law enforcement in several countries had broken up a child pornography ring that circled the globe. They arrested nearly two hundred men and saved over two hundred children from sexual slavery. This bust was the result of a three-year investigation and is a major coup for the good guys, but these arrests are, sadly, only a drop in the bucket. Millions of predators are still out there, and they want your child, too.
I lived in Kansas City for about ten years, so another news story caught my eye. A man there was arrested for child molestation. He had drugged little girls, ages six to thirteen or so, with doctored ice cream and soda. Then he molested them. This monster kept a “how to” manual describing how he attracted and attacked these girls. He’s in jail now, but his bretheren in depravity are still out there. And they want your child, too.
I am blessed with a lovely family. I, as any parent, love to brag on them and share their milestones. My oldest won a spelling bee; my middle two are doing great on their reading; my daughter is a lovely Daddy’s girl; the baby is the apple of everyone’s eye. I would do anything to protect them. I suspect that if you are a mother or a father, you understand exactly how I feel. So I am going to give you a quick tip on one way that you can help protect your children. Because they want your child, too.
DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILDREN’S PICTURES ONLINE.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s great to show how cute your daughter looks in her princess costume. You love to share the picture of baby’s first tooth. And who can resist that adorable shot of your son on the big-boy slide at the playground? You can’t resist it. Know who else can’t resist it? The pedophile who spends hours and hours each day, trolling the internet looking for a beautiful child, girl or boy, to look at. To become attached to. To obsess over.
Oh, you’re being paranoid, you say. Well, yes, yes I am. But you know that saying: Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean that someone isn’t really out to get me. These animals are not casual purveyors of porn. They make it their life’s work to acquire images of children that are available online. In addition to visiting the hard-core secret chat rooms and websites, they look for images readily available on Facebook and other public sites. They are out there, and they want your child, too.
I only send pictures of my children to my direct relatives, and usually only as an email attachment. They know my rules and they don’t share around the pictures or post them elsewhere online. For the rest of the world, even though I know 99.9% of you are wonderful and I love to share my simple life with you, you have to be content with words, not pictures. I just am not willing to take the risk. It’s a small risk, but it’s an easy thing to do, or in this case, to refrain from doing. Please, I ask you as a mother, remove any pictures of your children that you have online. Once you put them out there, you can never get them back. And some pervert living in his mom’s basement in Toledo might be a friend of a friend that you don’t know about on Facebook, and those pictures of the family reunion where your child looked so cute in his cowboy shirt might find their way onto his hard drive, and he’ll sit and look and think lustful thoughts about your precious child. It’s a small risk, but the consequences are so so horrible. Because they are out there, and they want your child, too.