The Predator Next Door

Jul 05, 2011

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When you heard the word "Predator" do you think of the creature from the movies? I know I tend to do so. Of course with this type of image in one's head it is easy to be scared or want to turn and run the other way. But what if the Predator we are talking about looked like the neighbor? Would you know how to tell who is a Predator in your neighborhood? What about online?

There are many types of Predators out there - all wanting to take advantage of someone else. Some are more obvious than others. I suspect most of us when we think of an Online Predator think of the creepy guy hiding out in his basement trying to lure girls away to a secret location to take advantage of them. Or even the boy in his early 20's trying to take advantage of the preteen girl. But what about the female down the street, married with children? Yes, she too can be an online predator.

I am not an expert by any means, but I suspect all of these sexual predators have one thing in common: an addiction to pornography. It is a slippery slope from a picture here and there to wanting to act things out in real life.

I unfortunately know firsthand a victim of a predator. She was 14 at the time. He was in his mid-twenties. Her parents didn't learn of the problem until she was 20 years old. The man took advantage of her for six years! Had her parents monitored her Internet or phone usage, they would have known what was going on long before she finally told them. This young girl will have scars for the rest of her life because of a predator. As will her parents because they were unwilling to acknowledge that it could happen to their family. They thought they had raised a smart young lady who wouldn't succumb to a predator but they were wrong. This man appeared to be the boy next door. Yes, this fits into the boy in his 20's trying to lure away a young girl and it probably happens much more than any of us realize.

Here are a few reminders of ways to protect yourself and family members from predators:

 

  • Know your neighbors
  • Know who your family members are interacting with
  • Talk with your family
  • Use internet filtering software

Predators are real. They aren't just in the movies or the news. We need to keep an ever vigilant watch out for them in our lives.