A cop who specialises in child sex crime has gone viral after sharing the strict rules she has for her own kids in order to keep them safe from paedophiles.
Terra Avilla, who goes by the user name thegirlcop on TikTok, regularly shares informative content relating to child abuse and domestic violence.
But the US mum of three’s latest advice really got people talking, as she detailed the five things her kids are banned from doing for their own protection over two videos.
Ms Avilla, who is based in Connecticut, said while some of the tips might be “surprising”, they were based on years of on-the-job experience.
And as a result, her top rule was to forbid her kids from attending sleepovers.
“I get a lot of hate for this,” she said in her first video, but explained the popular activity was not worth the risk.
“You don’t know who’s there, or who could slip in during the night,” she added.
Number two was barring her kids from using Snapchat, given the high number of predators that use the popular app to prey on young victims.
She also revealed the app was especially risky as a users location can be viewed, and because children mistakenly believed photos sent over the platform would be permanently deleted.
“Nothing good comes from this app,” was her bleak assessment of Snapchat.
Thirdly, the officer said she never forces her children to hug and kiss anybody – including family and friends.
She said it was important that children understand only they can consent to physical contact.
“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,” she said.
The first three rules attracted an outpouring of interest, inspiring her to share a follow up clip.
In the second video, she said secrets were outlawed in her household.
“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 said, but added the caveat that it was acceptable to keep a secret for a friend if it would keep them safe from harm.
And lastly, she said she won’t allow her children to use “silly names for their private parts”, insisting they use the correct anatomical terms.
That way, it’s easier to explain a situation to authorities if something does ever go wrong.
The videos were flooded with comments, with countless parents expressing their gratitude for the safety list.
“Paediatric ER doctor child safety expert and mum here, and I agree with every part of this,” one TikTok user wrote, while another added: “I feel the same about sleepovers, never gonna happen”.