A US child crimes investigator has revealed the two most common ways predators groom children, and the best ways to protect children from the tactics.
The mother-of-three said abusers often groom a child by suggesting a “tickle game” or using fear-based tactics, such as threatening to hurt a pet or a family member.
Terra Avilla, who is known as thegirlcop on TikTok, advised parents that the best way to keep kids safe is to talk to them so they know what’s appropriate.
The officer stressed the importance of being a safe place for your child so they know they can talk to you if they’re not comfortable with something.
Scroll down for video
US detective Terra Avilla (pictured) revealed the two common ways predators groom children and the best ways to protect children from the tactics
The mother-of-three said abusers often groom a child by suggesting a “tickle game” or using fear-based tactics, such as threatening to hurt a pet or a family member. She advised parents that the best way to keep kids safe is to talk to them so they know what’s appropriate and they can talk to you.
“These are the two very common things predators tell kids to get them to obey, listen to and talk to your kids,” Terra said.
She revealed that the most important thing predators tell kids is to get them to play “some sort of tickle game.”
Terra recommends talking to your kids to make sure they know safe adults don’t have secret games and don’t tell you to keep secrets.
“No one really should be tickling you if mom and dad aren’t around and kids shouldn’t be tickling an adult either,” she said.
“No adult should tell a child it’s weird.”
Fear is a second common predator tactic.
The agent outlined that predators will often threaten to hurt a child’s pet, parents or siblings if they disagree with what the abuser wants.
“Have an age-appropriate conversation with your kids so they can come to you no matter what and if someone threatens them, you’re a safe place,” she said.
Children will often say nothing about abuse because they are afraid of getting into trouble or not being believed.
Fans love Terra’s informative videos.
“I watch this with my seven-year-old. She likes to listen to you. She takes you seriously. Thank you,” said one mother.
“We talk about it so much in our household. It’s an ongoing open conversation and always has been. I wish schools could tackle it too,” said another.
Common ways child predators groom children:
1. Invite a child to a “tickle game”
2. Threatening to hurt a child’s pet or loved one if they disobey
The Connecticut-based agent previously revealed the five things she would never let her children do to protect them from predators.
She shocked her followers with the high-risk situations she doesn’t involve her kids in, including sleepovers and using the wrong terms for body parts.
Her number one rule was that she would never let her kids go on sleepovers.
“I get a lot of hate for this,” she admitted, but explained that it was too risky from her experience.
“You don’t know who’s there, or who might sneak in at night,” she said.
Terra Avilla previously revealed the five things she would never let her kids do
Terra’s second no-go was Snapchat, explaining that many of her sex crime cases come from predators using the app.
She believes it is particularly dangerous because your location can be seen when you use it and children think that photos sent will disappear.
“Nothing good comes out of this app,” she said.
Her third rule was never to let her kids hug or kiss people they don’t want, including family members.
Instead, she teaches them that they have a right to consent to people touching them.
“I know it sounds really mean but it’s their body and if they don’t want to say goodbye they have a right to do so and set boundaries,” she said.
The rules got so much attention that the officer uploaded a second video sharing more of the rules she and her family follow.
Terra said she would never let her children have secrets.
“There’s a big difference between keeping a secret and keeping a surprise. Children need to learn that an outside adult should not tell a child to keep a secret.
She also recommended telling kids that it’s okay to share a friend’s secret if it protects them from danger.
Her final rule was not to let her children use “silly names for their genitals.”
The mother advises children to learn the correct names for their body parts, because if something were to happen, it would be more difficult for children to explain what happened to the police without the correct terms.
A child sex crime investigator’s top five rules for protecting children:
1. No sleepovers
2. No Snapchat
3. No forced hugging or touching
4. No secrets
5. Use the correct words for body parts
Many parents were delighted to hear the rules, and several have already implemented part of the list, most notably the anti-sleepover rule.
“No hate from me, I agree 100 percent with this list,” said one woman.
“I feel the same way about sleepovers, that’s never going to happen,” another commented.
“You’re doing everything right!” said another.
“Paediatrician in the ER, child safety expert and mom here, and I agree with every part,” another commented.