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Worried About A Family Friend's Behavior. How Do You Identify A Sexual Predator?

Published: October 10, 2012
Dear Worried About A Family Friend's Behavior. How Do You Identify A Sexual Predator?,

Hey, I was just wondering if you had any tips on identifying sexual predators? Specifically online and ones that might be targeted towards a 16 year old girl. This is why I'm asking: My dad plays in a band and has since long before I was born. It's kind of a family band, the leader is the dad (who is my adopted grandpa haha) and his three sons who are like my uncle's. Anyway, one of the sons (adopted uncle) and I have been talking more over Facebook. We never really talked much before, now its everyday. He usually just talks about the weather or sports.. except the couple of times that made me feel a little uncomfortable. The first time was when he asked me for my email. He said "and don't worry, I'm no sexual predator or anything." Just the fact that he said it was what worried me. The second time was yesterday when he asked if I have a computer in my room and if I have all this "fancy webcam stuff." I said no to both. I mean, am I being crazy here? Just sometimes the way he talks and acts makes me uncomfortable. But he's been like an uncle to me my whole life, so I don't really know what to think. That's why I'm asking for tips on how to identify a sexual predator, in case he has anymore of these "questions.."

Dear Worried About A Family Friend's Behavior. How Do You Identify A Sexual Predator?,

TeenHealthFX thinks that there are definitely signs to look for and things to be aware of when it comes to protecting yourself from sexual predators, but the thing we really want you to pay attention to right now is your intuition. If your gut feeling is that something is off with this situation and that certain questions being asked by your “adopted uncle” feel inappropriate – it probably is. There can definitely be purpose to our fears and anxieties – they can act as warnings when there is potential danger so we can take any necessary steps to protect ourselves. If your gut is giving you a warning, FX thinks that it is important for you to take steps to make sure you stay safe:

  • Let your parents know about your “adopted uncle’s” questions about your email and webcam and that they have left you feeling uncomfortable. It is important your parents are aware of the situation so they can make sure you are not in any potentially problematic situation with this person. They can ensure you aren’t alone with him and help you come up with appropriate responses for some of his inappropriate questions.
  • Do not give any personal information out about yourself to this person and set clear boundaries. If he asks for your email, tell him that you only use your emails for friends your own age – that might give him the hint that he needs to remember some appropriate age boundaries with you. And do not give him any pictures of yourself, or engage in any kind of sexual behaviors with texts, the webcam or anything else.
  • Do not put yourself in a position where you are alone with this person.
  • Talk to your parents about how to handle being Facebook friends with him. FX thinks it would be better for you not to be Facebook friends with him so that the information he has about you and what you are doing is limited.

For more information about recognizing the signs of a sexual predator, staying safe from sexual predators, and what to do it you think a sexual predator is trying to pursue you or has done something to harm you, you and your parents can read the following: