Parents being “too comfortable” & Why they need to stop

I have literally had it with social media.

I am so sick of seeing friends and friends of friends and family members and people I care about post pictures of their children without clothes on onto the internet.  A tasteful bathing suit on your child is fine.  Food your child spilled all over herself/himself is fine (as long as I can’t see ANY private part)  But if your child is naked or almost naked – COVER THEM UP – before posting to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter about how “cute” he/she looks without clothes on.  There is NO NEED for the internet world to see your child in that manner.  Period.  I don’t want to see your 3 year old daughters “blueberries” and I don’t want to see the back of your five year old boy’s butt because for me, it makes me nervous and uncomfortable because well, I live in reality.

My friends, I am a mental health nurse.  And what comes along with being a mental health nurse is a slap in the face with some harsh statistics.

  • As many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. 1
  • Most perpetrators are acquaintances, but as many as 47% are family or extended family. 1
  • In as many as 93% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse. 2

You doubt my sources?  Those statistics are coming from the United States Government.  And I am sure even these stats leave out a significant amount of children that will be molested in their lifetime. http://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/FactsMythsStatistics?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

You want to know what breaks my heart? Working with a patient population in which 75+ percent have a history of sexual abuse.  And today they’re being treated for major depression, schizophrenia, bi polar disorder, etc.  The struggle is real, folks.

Trust me, it’s a crappy subject to learn about and it sucks and it’s awkward and I HATE THAT I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT THIS.  But parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents – you have the responsibility to educate yourselves on what is going on in this world and learn how you can take little steps to prevent your child from becoming prey whether real life sexual prey or online prey.

Now, aside from NOT posting questionable pictures of your children on the internet, I’d like you to do me another favor.  Please talk to your children about what IS and IS NOT okay for someone to do to them because let me throw out another fact — many sexual acts on a child (in any manner) go unreported until the child is much, much older.  Why?  Because he/she is a child.  Your son or daughter probably doesn’t quite understand (or understand at all) what is happening.  They might have a feeling that it’s not right but they’re too scared to say anything.  They think they might get in trouble.  They’re kids! They’re innocent 😦

Parents, you must talk to your children about what IS and IS NOT okay for ANYONE to talk to them about or do to or with them.  Don’t shy away from this because you’re embarrassed or it’s awkward or you think it’s an inappropriate talk to have with your child.  Don’t put it off until “later” when they’re “older” because part of being a predator means you prey on someone weaker than you.  In many cases, little children.  Children who haven’t quite learned about sex yet.  Maybe when you were a child your parents didn’t talk to you about your body but it’s the year 2014 and people want quick satisfaction and with the internet, predators have ways of creeping on children, spying, stalking.  Protect your children.  Talk with them.  Make sure they know what is and isn’t appropriate.  Remind them. And then remind them again.

And please.  Draw the line on posting pictures of your children.  I wish we lived in a world where we could all smile and chuckle at the cute real-life picture of the dog biting the little boy’s diaper and exposing his butt.  But, we don’t live in that world anymore.  And if you think we do you’re only fooling yourself and putting your child at risk.

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