Child sex crime investigator lists the signs parents need to look out for to protect against predators
SUSANVILLE, CALIFORNIA: A child sex crime investigator has listed the most common ways children are groomed by predators and outlined the best ways to protect children from their tactics. Terra Avilla said abusers often suggest a "tickle game" or use fear-based methods such as threatening to hurt a family member or a pet.
The mother of three, who goes by @thegirlcop on TikTok, advised parents that the best way to protect their children was to engage in conversations with them about what was appropriate and what was not. She highlighted the importance of being a safe space for one's child so they knew their parents were approachable if they were in discomfort about something.
"These are the two really common things predators tell children to get them to comply, listen to these and talk to your kids," Avilla said in a recent TikTok post. The law enforcement official revealed that predators primarily tell their target they were going to play "some sort of tickle game." She recommended talking to one's children so they know they don't have to keep secrets from their parents. "No one should really be tickling you if mommy and daddy aren't there and children shouldn't be tickling an adult either," she said. "No adult should be telling a child to tickle them it's weird," she said.
The cop said that fear was the second most common tactic employed by predators. She explained that abusers would often threaten to hurt a child's relative or their pet if they did not comply with their demands. "Have an age-appropriate conversation with your kids so that they can come to you no matter what and if someone threatens them you're in a safe spot," Avilla said. Furthermore, children often hide instances of abuse fearing they will get in trouble or won't be believed. The Connecticut-based cop previously outlined five things she would never allow her kids to do in order to protect them from predators.
Avilla shocked her followers when she said her Number 1 rule was to never let her children go on sleepovers. "I get a lot of hate for this," she admitted, but insisted that sleepovers were too much risk from her experience. "You don't know who's there, or who could slip in during the night," she explained. Her second rule was to restrict her children's' access to Snapchat, noting that a lot of sex crime cases come from predators using the app. She said it was particularly dangerous considering one's location was visible while using the app and children think they were safe because pictures sent will disappear. "Nothing good comes from this app," she stressed. The cop's third rule was to never let her children hug or kiss people they don't want to -- and that includes family members. She said that she taught them they had the right to consent to people touching them, adding, "I know that sounds really mean but it's their body and if they don't want to give a hug goodbye then they have the right to do that and to set boundaries."
Avilla's rules became so popular that the officer shared a second video with more rules she and her family follow. She said she wouldn't let her children have secrets with other adults. "There's a big difference between having a secret and keeping a surprise. Kids need to learn that an outside adult shouldn't be telling a child to keep a secret," she advised. The cop also said that children must be taught it's okay to share a friend's secret if it will protect them from danger. Her final rule was that she doesn't let her children use "silly names" to refer to their private parts. The concerned mother said it was important to teach children the correct names for their body parts because they would otherwise find it difficult to explain an abuse incident to police without the proper terminology, the Daily Mail reported.