The New York Times today printed a truly chilling piece today about the psyche of pedophiles using the web. Now, I want you to understand that I am not the sort of person who is given to alarmist views or paranoia. I don’t pass on alarming e-mails about people who want to take away your religious freedoms or use your cell phones to target marketing to you. I know that stranger kidnapping is extremely rare and think the number of people in low-risk areas who don’t want their kids to play outside because of the danger is ridiculous. In almost all areas I tend towards minimizing threats. However, this was the scariest thing I have read – perhaps ever.
The Times conducted an investigation into online sites, chat rooms and such directed towards pedophiles. What they found were people who were working awfully hard to convince themselves and re-assure each other that they were not deviants who posed a danger to children. In their view they are working to free children to be the sexually expressive creatures they were meant to be with themselves as the lucky recipient of children’s sexual expression. The end result is people so delusional that one poster expresses surprise at the violent angry reaction of boys who are told of a political party in the Netherlands which seeks to make sex between men and boys legal. These online discussions could easily “normalize” behavior and thoughts in the mind of the pedophile which he would otherwise seek to repress. Once a behavior is seen as normal or even good, he would likely be less inclined to resist temptation and act on his impulses. Honestly, I don’t even know if I should recommend that you read it because it’s a look into the face and mind of evil without any way of doing anything constructive about it except becoming angry, paranoid and distrustful. However, there is a piece of useful information contained in the article which you absolutely should pass on: pictures of jewelry and symbols used by pedophiles to indicate their identity to those in the know. Here they are:
Top row, pendants symbolizing “boy-love.”
Second row, “girl-love” pendants.
Third row, logos representing “boy-lovers,” at left; “girl-lovers,” at right.
Fourth row, logos for “child-lovers” at left; and at right, for “online pedophile activism.”
I’m not sure what one could do if you saw someone using these symbols except keep your children very, very far away. As a related aside for those of you who read the article and are now contemplating never allowing your children out of their room again, the Center for Missing and Exploited Children does not recommend teaching your kids “stranger danger”, but rather encourages parents to help their kids be confident enough to recognize signs of danger and act quickly should they ever be faced with a dangerous situation. Kids who are confident and self-assured don’t make good victims. Being good parents, fostering familial bonds and self-confidence are better protection against predators than locking your child up and never letting them out of your sight.
Hat tip to Education Wonks for pointing out the NYT story.