LOS ANGELES —When I started this series on child abductions a few months ago, the subject seemed extremely important. It was just after the Samantha Runnion murder and Elizabeth Smart was still fresh on our minds. Now, even though I'm sure other children have been abducted since then, it just isn't newsworthy with everything else going on in the world. Well, that's not going to stop me. So far I've covered teaching children safety tips and what parents and communities can do to create safeguards for our children. This month I've got a couple more thoughts:
That being said, there are states that are quite organized with their sexual offender lists, and others that are not. Many have registries online, giving us easy access to these lists. Check out the state listings here to find information for your state. However, depending on state laws and regulations, sex offenders may not even need to register, don't have to update their listing, etc. So, sex offender registries are not the total answer until states get tougher on the laws and requirements for them. Letter campaigns to our senators and representatives such as the one found here (to make online registries for every state mandatory) are something that we need to become involved in.
STOP CHILD PORNOGRAPHY: This is the stuff which pedophiles feed off of. I believe that viewing child pornography becomes an obsession and for many of the sickos out there, they have to act on the feelings they get from looking at pictures. A point is reached where looking is not enough and thus this is a huge reason why more needs to be done to ban child porn. How can that be done? I have no idea. As magnificent as the Internet can be, it is also a quagmire of filth. Shutting down sites isn't necessarily the answer because it's not getting the people making and/or using the site where they belong; behind bars. Then you've got these guys who prey on kids in chat rooms. The whole thing is sick.
I found a wonderful site at pedowatch.org. This is a great place to start for information and more importantly for reporting sites and activities that you may unfortunately stumble across. But, this really is an uphill battle. When our own government basically allows provocative pictures of children as long as no sexual acts are involved as well as allowing "virtual" porn, what are we parents to do? Of course, contacting our U.S. Government officials is a start. It is also crucial to educate our children on the do's and don'ts of the Internet. A good site for information on that is cyberangels.org. Filters can help weed out some of the scum but they aren't perfect and thus children need a heads up on how to be safe on the net.
Well, I don't know if I've accomplished anything through writing these articles on child abductions. Have I kept one child safe? Have I helped empower a parent in this battle against evil? If I have, then mission accomplished. In any case, it is important that none of us stop doing what we can to keep our children safe. Headlines may have switched to Iraq and sniper attacks, but our children will always be in danger from predators.
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