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Keeping kids safe against pedophiles
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Convicted child molesters and other persons who have the potential for molesting or abducting children live in most every community. In Ceres for example, according to the Megan's Law website, there are almost 80 registered offenders listed, of which seven are in "violation" of their court-ordered requirements. These people do not have any particular looks that distinguish them from every other "ordinary" person. Mentally, however, they differ because of their prurient or otherwise inappropriate interests in children.

Besides the individuals who have been caught and convicted of their crimes against children, there are yet more who have managed to stay clear of the law. And whether any of these people have been arrested or not, studies suggest that their proclivity towards kids is beyond their control and manifests for most of their lifetimes. That there are these kinds of people among us is a fact of life that cannot be eliminated. It is therefore important that parents teach their kids how to stay safe from these threats, and steps must be taken to ensure the safety of their children.

Unattended kids are vulnerable. You should assume that someone with ill-intent is probably watching any unattended children, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Whether they are at a store or public gathering place, or playing at a park, in the yard or if they are walking to or from school it is important to watch your kids.

When dropping a child off at school, make sure that school personnel are already on site and that the child is noticed and will be watched. Dropping children off too early is a mistake and leaves them vulnerable. Small children should be walked to the school grounds where paid staff can take over supervision of them. Older kids can walk on their own, but should be watched until they safely reach the school grounds.

Kids need to be taught to never go with strangers, no matter what. One abductor tactic is to tell kids that they are friends of the parents or that their parents asked them to give the child a ride home. This has to be an absolute for children: kids must know to never go anywhere with or to talk to strangers. After-school programs are a good alternative to having kids walk home alone, allowing parents to pick them up at the end of their work day.

Technology can also assist with keeping children safe. Some cell phone service providers offer a "family locater" feature that can notify parents with their kids' arrival and departure updates. It is also important to keep your school emergency contact information up-to-date at all times, along with the identities of persons who are authorized to pick up your child. The schools also need copies of current custody orders, if applicable.

Kids should also know their home address and parents' phone numbers. Even the very young are capable of memorizing this kind of information as long as parents take the time to teach them and to explain the basics of why it is important for them to know. And finally, parents can get an idea of any persons who may live in the neighborhood, along the routes to school or near other places where their children frequent by checking the Megan's law website at