We know that sexual predators search for the child that they see as weak, sad and unhappy. It's the kid with the shuffling feet, head drooping and eyes fixed to the ground. It's the child that appears they are in need of a friend. The predator wants an easy target when the time is "right."

For the most part, predators are not interested in any kind of visible, noisy or public struggle that brings attention to their nefarious deeds.

In fact, many predators choose to befriend a child first. They are patient as they develop a false friendship. They choose to develop a dependent relationship with a child that appears to be in need of a close friend. Many times, actually more often than not, it is that sad, unhappy child. The predator then offers gifts, ideas, or simple emotional comfort that makes the child feel better. The process slowly introduces sexual context and content into their interactions and conversations.

It can happen this way online or offline.

Some predators immediately engage in sexually explicit conversation with children right from the start. Online or Internet sexual predators may also collect and trade child-pornographic images. Others online may seek real face to face meetings with the kids they emailed or connected with in chat rooms or social blogs.

Predators work with one goal in mind: trapping and abusing an innocent child. With that as their goal they are obsessed with attaining the end result by any means. There is no one way they operate and there is no one profile, either, for a sexual predator. You cannot pick them out of a crowd.

Predators cunningly exploit weakness and ignorance. They will work very hard at driving a wedge between a child and their family. Predators will even accentuate any minor problems at home that your child might have, again befriending them and driving that wedge into the family structure.

A confident child represents more of a challenge, a problem, someone who will be hard to manipulate, for the sexual predator. Confident kids will also be uncooperative. They understand better, even if they cannot articulate their feelings, that something or
someone is "just not right" and will avoid them or stay away.

Today's world is very different than when we, the parents, were growing up. It is quite different than anything seen before. It's dangerous for adults. It is very dangerous for our precious children. This sad truth is a reality however, one that you must accept and deal with in order to keep your child safe from sexual predators.

Many parents today just don't know how to keep their kids safe in a modern world. There is nothing wrong with that. They grew up themselves with their parents warning of "Don't talk to strangers!" when they were a child heading out the door to play. It was truly useless information to the child back then as it is today, but somehow made the parents feel their children were safe.

Many parents, although they are adults now, still think like this. Today, however, this kind of thinking can not only keep your child unsafe, it may put them at risk as a target for sexual predators. This kind of thinking can really endanger your child. "This guy has to be a bad stranger," or "Stay away from weirdoes!" seems like it has to help. The sad news, however, is it is useless. The fact is, many parents today have no idea how to keep themselves safe let alone teach their children safety from sexual predators.

You can't spot a sexual predator but you can add an additional layer of safety between them and your child by building self-esteem and confidence in even the youngest tot. Building confidence in your child by letting them know you are there to help them, listen to them and teach them how to listen to their innate gut instincts when around new people, are real beginnings to a foundation of safety against even the worst sexual predator.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Jackson is a child safety expert, #1 International bestselling author, speaker, trainer and consultant. FOr more information see her extensive website at Keeping Kids Safe