Goffstown - 21 September 2016 by Brian Balke, Superintendent of Schools:
"I need to correct some information". Today, WMUR incorrectly reported that while riding on a bus, Goffstown students witnessed a lewd act by a motorist. Actually, the students were from another School District and were being transported to Goffstown High School for a field hockey game. No Goffstown students witnessed this deplorable act. The bus was not from the Goffstown Truck Center. The deviant motorist was from Massachusetts and followed the bus for quite some time ultimately ending in Goffstown.
This situation gives me the opportunity to talk to and educate all Goffstown and New Boston parents about protecting our kids from sexual victimization. Teaching kids about personal safety begins when they are very young and doesn’t stop until adulthood; arguably, not even then. However, times have changed. When our kids are young, we focus on protecting them from exposure and contact from a sexual predator. As parents evaluate risk, consider the following:
· An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.
· About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.
· Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.
· Not all perpetrators are adults—an estimated 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.
The following resource provides information for parents who want to learn more about sexual predators:
The following link will take you to the State of New Hampshire Sex Offender Registry; you can search any town in New Hampshire: http://business.nh.gov/nsor/
Parental vigilance changes as our kids get older. The need to protect our kids from unsolicited physical contact changes and our need to focus on online safety increases exponentially. Consider the following alarming statistics:
· 26% of teenagers and young adults say they have participated in sexting.
· Approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations.
· 9% of youth Internet users had been exposed to distressing sexual material while online.
· 1 in 25 youths received an online sexual solicitation in which the solicitor tried to make offline contact.
· In more than one-quarter (27%) of incidents, solicitors asked youths for sexual photographs of themselves.
· The most common first encounter of a predator with an Internet-initiated sex crimes victim took place in an online chat room (76%).
· In nearly half (47%) of the cases involving an Internet-initiated sex crimes victim, the predator offered gifts or money during the relationship-building phase.
· Internet-based predators used less deception to befriend their online victims than experts had thought. Only 5% of the predators told their victims that they were in the same age group as the victims. Most offenders told the victims that they were older males seeking sexual relations.
· 15% of cell-owning teens (ages 12–17) say they have received sexually suggestive nude/seminude images of someone they know via text.
· Of respondents to a survey of juvenile victims of Internet-initiated sex crimes, the majority met the predator willingly face-to-face and 93% of those encounters had included sexual contact.
· 72% of teenagers and young adults believe that digital abuse is something that should be addressed by society.
· 11% of teenagers and young adults say they have shared naked pictures of themselves online or via text message. Of those, 26% do not think the person whom they sent the naked pictures to shared them with anyone else.
Parents are encouraged to:
• Talk to your kids about their online activity – look at their devices
• Talk to your kids about sharing pictures and videos of a provocative nature
• Monitor your kids online activity closely
• Require devices to be out of bedrooms at night
• Create a contract for social media accounts such as Instagram - email me for a sample
• Track social media accounts – require login information
• Look through the device often – look at photos – check contacts – monitor searches
• Set limits with your kids – also, through your phone provider, you can monitor and restrict use – contact your provider and find out more
Remember, having a phone or other internet-enabled device is a privilege not a right. With this privilege comes expectations and personal responsibility. We are working on scheduling a parent information session focused on online safety; details to follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. For additional information, you can also contact the Goffstown or New Boston Police Departments.
Superintendent of Schools