Private Investigator

Dan Ribacoff Talks About the Warning Signs of a Child Predator

July 20, 2020

Dan Ribacoff has been exposing child predators for 30 years, whether it be through his Private Investigation company or through his Polygraph company. He has shown his skills on catching predators and child abusers through his work on The Steve Wilkos Show as the Lead Polygraph Examiner. In this blog post, he will be sharing the biggest signs and red flags of child predators.

1. Spending more time with children than peers

Spending a lot of time around children is possibly the biggest warning sign of a child predator, especially if he or she is not the child's parent. If the person spending lots of time with the child is the child's parent, it can be a bit more difficult to tell, as he or she could just be a caring and protective parent. It is important to keep a close eye on any suspicious behavior that may occur and to talk to your children regularly about what is currently going on in their lives.

2. Not respecting privacy/personal boundaries

This can go for someone not respecting privacy of an adult or a child. Predators normally have no regard for personal boundaries and will often not even be aware that they are being intrusive, so this can be an easy-to-spot marker of it. Not being aware of others' personal space, entering other people's bedrooms without knocking and trying to enter the bathroom when someone else is using it can be easy giveaways.

3. Inappropriate sexual comments regarding children

Often times when someone makes a sexual comment that involves children, people will usually think "It's just a messed up joke" or "He/she just has a dark sense of humor". While this may be the case, it is definitely a warning sign of a child predator. Human beings naturally want to express themselves and share how they feel with others, so what may seem like a joke may actually be true intentions or desires for someone. 

4. Having kid-friendly toys/hobbies when they do not have children of their own

Engaging in child-like activities is one of the most common ways that predators try to meet and develop relationships with young children. Going to a park/playground when you have a child is a normal thing to do, but someone going there without having any children of their own is most definitely not. If you see someone engaging in childish activities with your child, ask them where his or her child is and try to have the children meet so that you know he or she is telling the truth about being that child's parent/guardian.

5. Having a favorite child/student - which may vary from year to year

Whether it is a teacher, coach, or camp counselor, showing favorites is a warning sign that one of these people may have a special interest in your child. If you notice that your child is getting special treatment from any adult that oversees them in addition to other children, it is important that you talk to your child about his or her relationship with that person to make sure that there is no funny business going on.

6. Seeks opportunities to be alone with a child

Under no circumstances should you ever allow your child to be alone with an adult that is not a trusted family member or family friend that has proven to be a safe and stable guardian. If someone is actively pushing to spend time with a child in a situation where the parents/guardians would not be present, it may be a clear sign that their intentions are not appropriate. In the end, you have the best judgement of who is a safe and a responsible person to leave your child alone with, so use your brain and your instincts before making a decision.

7. Giving gifts for no reason

Giving a child gifts when there is no special occasion or reason can be a warning sign of a predator that most people don’t pick up on. The reason why predators do this is because younger children are often materialistic and will automatically have a liking for anyone who gives them presents. This allows the predator to gain a relationship with the child and also trick the parents into believing that he or she is good and kind to their child. This is certainly a red flag to keep an eye out for.

8. Encouraging a child to keep small secrets

Before even attempting to engage in inappropriate activities with a child, a predator may ask a young child to keep small and meaningless secrets as a test. Parents should actively remind their children to not keep secrets and should also encourage their children to notify them if an adult asks them to keep a secret. In doing this, you can stop any harm from being done to your child before it even happens.

9. Being quick to become romantic with a single parent

If someone seems to only date single parents with young children or finds having children to be an attractive quality in others, it can be a major red flag. By being romantically involved with a parent, these predators automatically have a relationship with the children and therefore have an excuse to be around them alone. As a parent, it is important to run background checks on people that you become romantically involved with before they meet your children.

10. Offering to babysit or transport a child as a "favor" to parents

Busy parents beware! Appearing stressed with having to take care of your children at the same time as other matters will make you and your children a bigger target for predators. While their intentions may seem helpful, be sure to figure out their true motive for doing you a "favor", as it may be some alone time with your child/children. If someone does babysit your children or transports them from one place to another, you should always ask your child what they did with that person in the time that they spent together.

11. Attempting to weaken a parent/child bond

Child predators will often try to tell children things about their parents that may harm their parental relationship. By doing this, they cause children to build a relationship with them that replaces their relationship with their parents. It will also cause children to not be honest with their parents about what is truly going on when they spend time with that person. If your child seems to be angry or cold with you for no reason or if they are upset with you for things that they would have no way of knowing, it is likely that someone is trying to destroy the bond that you have with them.

12. Suggesting that a child is problematic or prone to lying

Every child is known to stretch the truth in one way or another sometimes. Predators sometimes tell parents that their children are prone to telling lies to build a distrust for the child in the parents' mind. When parents don't believe what their children say, it allows the predator to get away with their actions because the parents do not take any action against them. Remember that you know your child best and that you should not believe adults who tell you that your child is problematic or prone to telling lies.

13. Presenting themselves as a coach or scout for a talented or athletic child

This is less common than the other signs that have previously been discussed, but it is still a genuine warning sign. By telling the child and parents that they are a scout or coach, that person displays themselves as someone who can provide opportunity, which makes them that much more dangerous. They are then able to get away with more because the family will not want to lose the "opportunity" that is being presented to them and they may think that the person has the child's best interest at heart. Before allowing your child to work with a scout or coach, you should perform a lengthy background check on them to make sure that they really are who they say they are.

14. Communicating privately with a child

In this situation, the younger the child, the worse it may be. There are almost no scenarios where it is normal for an adult to communicate with a young child without the parents knowing about it. Someone who engages in such an activity is clearly hiding something and is not a safe person for your child to communicate with or be around. Being able to spot this happening is the tricky part. Parents should make sure that they stress the fact that their children should not talk to strangers. Also, if your child has a cellphone, remember that the device technically belongs to you, so you have full rights to check their phone and text records for conversations with adults.

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