As a single parent, child safety is the highest priority that you should have when dating someone you’ve met online. Dr. Jim explains what a single parent should do when first meeting singles online and what can be done to protect children from potential child molesters. Get great tips about Internet Safety for single parents.
Internet Safety: How can I be sure that a man I meet online is not a child molester?
The safety of children is a high priority for every parent. I wish that I could report that every contact with someone via an online Christian service is with a confirmed mature Christian without any concerns for safety. Unfortunately, the risk is even greater in my opinion for you to meet someone who is not who they present themselves to be if you are using the Internet. You should be concerned about your personal safety as well as the safety of your children.
I wrote an article sharing some advice about internet safety and dating for those who are single parents. You can find this article here: Dating With Children. There are some additional thoughts that I would like to share as it relates to the potential of someone you meet that may have a history of child molestation.
“The safety of children is a high priority for every parent”
Internet Safety: Your children first.
As a single parent, it is a dream to find someone who values your children and who wants to include them in activities – even volunteering to care for them or take them to special activities. In most cases I would hope that when you find someone who does this they are being honest and not using the children to get to you – or to take advantage of the children.
I would not allow the new person in your life to even meet the children until you have had several dates and had ample time to check out the other person and know that there is a potential to this relationship. I would keep the children informed that you are getting to know someone and that you will share IF anything develops. Do not give them a play by play of your emotions as you are sorting them out.
Internet Safety: Request Pastor contact info and police check.
Before there is a meeting with the children (and they begin to bond emotionally), I would ask the man to provide you with the name of his Pastor and for his permission to contact his Pastor. In this call, I would share with the Pastor that you are getting to know ______ and that you have his permission to speak with his Pastor. Tell the Pastor that you have children and ask if he/she knows of anything that you should know with respect to their ability to interact with children.
If the Pastor does not know the person or not enough to give you a recommendation, I would consider contacting the local police department where this person lives. Most police departments will readily make public the information regarding known child molesters. I suggest that this is not a sign of distrust, but an act to confirm trust.
“This is not a sign of distrust, but an act to confirm trust.”
Internet Safety: Go slow, be prudent for the safety of your children.
Even after receiving confirmation from others, I would move very slowly to place this person in situations where they would be alone with any of your children at ANY AGE. It is prudent to take your time in this area to ensure the utmost in safety for your children.
“Ensure the utmost in safety for your children.”
Internet Safety: Put your children’s best interests in mind.
It is my prayer that single parents are led by God to meet men and women who not only accept them, but also readily embrace their children, with the children’s best interest in mind. This is an area of trust that must be earned over time and not just given on the verbal word of another.
May God’s Spirit give you extra discernment when something is wrong, or could be wrong, to spare unnecessary harm to your children. Do not look upon every man as a potential child molester. However, any mature and wise Christian man should understand your need to protect your children and should readily supply whatever information and time is necessary to prove his value to you and to your children.
“Time is necessary to prove his value to you and to your children.”
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”
Matthew 10:16b “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”