- Jun 6, 2012
I applaud both of your posts, you obviously put a lot of thought into it. Do I think those things can help with some of the more obvious cases? Absolutely. Do I think that will keep predators away from kids in this industry? I'll share what my now adult kids that were the first out of the gate with SM and tech have now confessed what they and all their friends did....Guess I'm not done. Oops, hope everyone was in the mood for my novels today.
Look, I don't think a gym alone can prevent this completely and agree that parents need to be involved. However, the gym gives them access. These coaches don't magically appear and immediately have the trust of the athlete and parents... They get in, spend tons of time and slowly groom these kids (and often the parents). If some 25 year old approaches a 15 year old in a parking lot or pool, that's gross and weird and most kids are not giving them the time of day. But when the 25 year old is like "family" and coaches you and spots your tumbling and helps you reach your goals, suddenly it's not as creepy.
There is no magic answer to stop this. It's a collaboration between parents, gym owners, EPs, and a real governing body to at least minimize these risks and educate everyone. Right now, we have an industry that values money over the safety of the athletes and that right there is the biggest problem.
They had access to phones, ipods, and tablets 24/7. For those that say, "Not my kid,".... funny, but mine weren't allowed 24/7 access either. I was informed by my now adult kid's, they found old tech to keep hidden in their rooms. Grounded or not allowed to have tech? No worries, friends would find and provide old tech for them. Fun fact, a bunch of kids set up an "old tech device donation day" at their HS and got permission from their parents to donate their old tech....and, then they passed them out to whomever "needed" them. These kids created their own emails and established fake names to be on SM they're not allowed to be on...My kid's kept those apps on old tech, so when I checked their phones, it was fine. They were on dating apps "just for fun" and to see who "liked them back." They pretended to be older to see who would be interested in them. Evidently, a lot of people looovvvve cheerleaders. My kid's said this was common practice and not something just a few of them did. This is literally how naive I was to my generally very obedient kids.
This isn't about a creep just showing up in the parking lot. This is about the creep your kid has been talking to on SM media for months, without your knowledge, and that creep already has their trust and they're meeting for the first time on that parking lot. FYI, my kid's were and still are the kid's that allow me to track them no problem. My kid's were always honest about where they were going....just, not always honest about who they were with.