It's every parent's worst nightmare: the children's coach who turns out to be a sexual predator. Sports Illustrated writer Bill Mack, who just wrote a cover story for the magazine on the subject, and FBI special agent Ken Lanning offered some advice to parents on CBS This Morning.
Don't drop your kids off for practice unless you know who's coaching the kids, advises writer Mack. He estimates that as many as 400 incidents of sexual abuse have occurred in school-affiliated sports teams and extracurricular sports in the past 18 months.
Parents can protect their children's welfare by doing criminal background checks and visiting police departments to look at sex rap sheets, he suggests.
But keep things in perspective, he says. Most coaches out there are not pedophiles. A good way to avoid becoming paranoid or frightening the kids is to go to some practices, he says.
FBI Agent Lanning agrees. "If you're going to address this problem, it cannot be viewed as some 30-minute check-off list you're going to do with your kids and forget about it," he notes.
The following are some preventive measures that parents can adopt:
Open lines of communications: It basically comes down to good parenting.
Be sure that you talk to your kids, especially about sex, which people find difficult to talk about. And be sure you let your kids know that you love them.
Understand the seduction process: Be suspicious of adults who give lavish gifts.
Pedophiles seduce kids the same way adults seduce each other - with kindness, attention, affection, gifts and money. Be curious about anyone who wants to be with your children more than you do.
Monitor team activity: Stay involved and informed about your child's life. Make sure you know where they are, where they go and whom they go with.
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