No one can say with absolute certainty why more and more children are falling victim to sex crimes. Some attribute it to the Internet, while others simply shrug their shoulders and dismiss it as an unfortunate byproduct of larger populations. More people, more problems, they say. A few even blame the judiciary or those in charge of making the laws for tolerating fiends who prey on the innocent.
That's of little comfort to parents and guardians. They read about or hear about attacks or attempted attacks on children, even as young as 4 or 5 years old, and wonder what they can do as a caring mom, dad or guardian to keep their children out of the reach of sick-minded individuals. They want to know how they can protect them from evil.
The ballot box certainly is one place. They can elect judges who show no mercy to adults who harm children and support the candidacies of lawmakers who do or will do everything that is constitutionally allowed to keep child molesters off the streets and away from children. They can vote for city and county commissioners or council members who pledge to emphasize law enforcement over budget-eating, thickening bureaucracy, which is occurring at an alarming rate in many of our cities and counties today.
All of this will help, but none of it, even when combined, guarantees a child's safety. Police officers can't be everywhere and child molesters do not stay locked up behind bars forever.
That is why it is critically important for parents and guardians to be involved in the lives of children, even doing something as simple as walking them to school or waiting with them at the bus stop and ensuring their safe return home.
Just in recent days, there have been close to a half-dozen reports in and around Atlanta of adults trying to talk elementary school-aged children into getting into a car or van.
Teach them what to do if a stranger approaches them. Remember, though, that panic is not the desired reaction. Ask police or other safety professionals for ideas on how to broach such topics to children and what to tell them without scaring them to death.
Parents of older children should make it a point to communicate with teenagers, even if it is just sitting down to a meal together once or twice a week (more or every evening would be better but unlikely in this modern world). Make the time to stay in touch with sons and daughters.
Regardless of the age of children, know who their friends are, where they are going and who they will be with, as well as why. And do not be afraid to question a sudden change in behavior.
Parents, you are the main protector of your children. Don't fail them.
-- Brunswick News