gmhTODAY 12 gmhToday Jan Feb 2017 - Page 106

Kids Want to Be Loved, Not Exploited A Written by Beth Edmonds In 2015, former Britton Middle School Principal Glen Webb invited Beth Edmonds to conduct a prevention training for the entire school. Webb recognized the program for rais- ing student awareness of warning signs and revealing tactics used by sexual predators, and for providing practical directions on what to do if someone tried to exploit them or other students. The program included staff and parent previews. “The video and discussion literally had the students’ complete focus and attention,” Webb said. “They had an innate recognition that this issue is real … the information provided to students was crucial to advancing their safety.” 106 s I write this article on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I’m listening to my daughter play “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on the piano. I can’t help but relate that song title to one of the most pressing social issues we parents and grandparents face today—protecting our kids from unhealthy, unloving relationships. The need to be loved and to belong is on the third tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that motivate human behavior. Only our most basic needs for sustenance and safety take precedence. From the moment we are born, we have a deep desire to connect with others in loving relation- ships based on trust. First, with our parents, other caregivers and extended family, then our circle widens to include teachers, schoolmates, and so on. When Kids Look for Love Online But what happens when our kids put their trust in the Internet and social media to widen their circle of connections and to find acceptance and love? While digital technology is a key enabler of 21st century education, there is a dark side to the Internet where people aren’t always who they represent themselves to be and “relation- ships” can turn abusive. Kids may encounter this on Facebook and other social networks, but they can also be victimized by people who use online marketplaces to buy and sell sex—all too often, the demand is for minors under the age of 18. This is a form of human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, and it is a federal crime punishable by imprisonment. Some years ago, this issue touched my heart. I wanted to protect my own kids from becoming victims, either directly or indirectly, of human trafficking. I began to volunteer with Community Solutions of Santa Clara County, a non-profit human services agency, in the Solutions to Violence Department, focusing on victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Human Trafficking. I also became a volunteer and took a training with Shared Hope International (SHI), a non-profit dedicated to bringing an end to sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. Since completing the SHI training, I have had the opportunity to provide trafficking preven- tion education to local schools as well \KB][]H[Z] X\Yܙ[^][ۜˈ\\š[YYܘ[\]]ۈZYH ]HZY [H[]YY]\SH8(SԑSS8(SPTS\ [H[ܙ[[X\H][ZYH[][]H][ۜ[H]^B[][ۈ[[X[YX[ˈHܝ\ݚY[[ܙHو\Hܘ[\[ M˂ۛHYY•YX\\HX\XH[YHY[Y[Z[HY[H܈X[X[][ۜ\ˈ^B\][\XHYH][Z\ۛ[BZ][܋[YYX\\YHYYšۛHYY][X]H^H\HZ[¸'\Y8'H܈۝YHHYX\H[Y[›\ZYH[YY[۝\][ۋ^H[X\X]HYY[œX[\[\[^H[\HZ\Y[[˜[^\Y[\˂YX\܈Z[ܜۈX[]ܚ[Z\ZYܚ[] [\B[H]Z\\وX[ۋݙKY[\KHYK]YH[H\YH\ݙ\BYX\\XZ[[X[[YYYY \\Y\[[ZY][ۋX][[[H˜۝܈\HY\Y[ˈYX\œ[X\[H\]Y M LMYX\وYx%[Y]HYH[\[[K[[[YHpݙH]8&\\[[˂܈Yۜو\X[X\HX\\X\Z\\܈][^Z[YX[\™HHY[YH\\X]B[Hو\^X[^YZ][܎[]\X[]\وZ[]]ۋ\\Y \XY ܈ݙ\H\Y[\Y[X]XZ[›܈][و[ۙ^N[ٙ^[]B\X\ܚY\\܈H]] ۙB^HYX\^HZ[HZ\X[\N[\YY[܈]Y[]H]\[Y\[Nœ[܈^[X][\Y\܈[œYۜو[Y[X][ۋ\\Y\\\’Y[HY[Y[ۙH[Hۛ\Z[YXY X\H[LLHY]8&\[[Y\[K][܈\ܝH\ [p][ۘ[[X[YX[[H] H  H M܂^08'QYx'p N܈۝XH][ۘ[[\܈Z\[[^]Y[[]KN UKS X\[ܙHX]H\X\œݚYYH[][]H][ۜ[\YH[\][ۘ[ \][][]\][ۜ˛ܙ˜[\YKܙ˂\YYYHݙY[[ۙ]Z\YY[]\H^]Y HYYܚ]\Y\YX[]و\[][]H[[\YHYKSPTKёPPTH M™Z^K