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First person: Children without smiles

We cherish the smiles of our children, capturing them in photos and our hearts. Perhaps they appear when sharing the birth of baby Jesus, opening a special birthday gift or the giggles and laughter a swing set can bring.

Unfortunately, there are children without smiles around the world, who are forced into a life of sexual abuse and trauma, which enables individuals to click on a pornographic website or receive images by other means to feed their hunger for perverted ungodliness.

Adult pornography is legal, but often, individuals viewing what is legal become curious about child pornography, which is illegal in the U. S. It may cause a person to sexually desire children, which increases the risk for child molestation. All pornography is ungodly and affects all walks of life, including some sitting in our pews. Ps. 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I was shocked to learn there are 92 countries without laws to protect children of all ages, including infants and toddlers, leaving them helpless to this sickening abuse. In the U.S., it is rare for a child to be abducted or for a parent to subject their child to such a horrific life. The most vulnerable age groups in the U.S. are preteens and teens with predators seeking them out on the internet through means like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Craigslist, chat rooms, Kindle Books and others.

The victim is deceived into sending a few photos of one self, possibly with a promise to secure an exciting career, like modeling. The victim will be praised for the photos sent, with subsequent requests demanding them to be more explicit.

This process can take place over weeks, days and even hours. When the victim realizes they are being exploited and refuse to send or pose for more photos, they are often blackmailed by threatening to disclose the received photos with their parents. The victims are afraid and feel ensnared in a web of darkness with no escape. It is sad, but we must also caution our children about “trusted individuals” as well.

When purchasing communication devices for your children, they should be age appropriate, guidance given on operating the device safely and placing the appropriate restrictions on their device. Keep in mind their friend’s devices may not have restrictions and your personal devices of which your child may have access.

Parents, you can research suggestions on how to safe guard your child in this age of technology. Recommended filters include, but are not limited to, CovenantEyes and the Qustodio App.

A loving family with open communication is essential if you expect your child to share the receipt of a fiber communication that made them feel uncomfortable, without the fear of losing their device. Would your child fear being ridiculed or reprimanded, if someone you respect and trust made them uncomfortable?

Questionable communication tips can be reported to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which also manages the Amber Alert program. An analyst will work to determine the origin of the suspicious communication. The center can be reached at 1/800-The Lost, or visit www.missingkids.com.

This agency is a key resource for victims, families, law enforcement and others. It is a reputable organization and worthy of support.

As you enjoy and treasure the smiles of your children, remember and pray for the children without smiles, enduring a life of pain, emotional trauma and humiliation. Our prayers should include cleansed hearts for the individuals searching for child pornography, which fuels this perverted industry.

Children, male and female alike, are victimized to produce millions of pornographic photos and films. Viewing child pornography is a vile activity, and in my personal opinion, viewers are as guilty as the pornographers.

I sincerely appreciate the information provided by Assistant Special Agent in Charge Adam Whitney of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for this article.

Author: Teresa Linn

Member, Ethics & Religious Liberty Comittee, Member, Mustang, Chisholm Heights

View more articles by Teresa Linn.

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