Something ALL parents and grandparents need to be vigilant about – Teaching Our Children About Stranger Danger !
Toddlers through to older teenagers, need to be armed with age appropriate, stranger danger safety tips, is something every single parent should take seriously, as it can be potentially life-saving.
These Teaching Our Children About Stranger Danger safety tips below should be regularly repeated to your children so that they become second nature.
Child Abductions Are On The Rise
Recently a study done in the UK, showing just how easily young children could be persuaded to leave a park with a strange man and the results were alarming. It really does not take much on behalf of a child abductor. to sway an unsuspecting and trusting, child or teenager to follow a complete stranger. See video of this experiment here.
While some people may call this experiment scare mongering and say we can’t put our kids in a bubble, or wrap them in cotton wool, I strongly disagree.
One simply can’t ignore the facts, children, teenagers and adults are still being abducted from public places throughout the world.
According to The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children in 2014 there was 466,949 entries for missing children under the age of 18.
Why Teenagers As Well As Young Children Are At Risk Of Being Abducted
Teenagers are often easy prey for child abductors. Teenagers are now old enough to be empathetic to a cry for assistance from a stranger, but most are not yet be street-wise enough to suspect foul-play and be suspicious. They don’t ask a stranger the questions an adult would. Teenagers are too trusting.
Also, many teenagers have the feeling of being untouchable and invincible, so it wouldn’t even cross their mind to suspect danger if some stranger, who looked relatively normal, offered them something too good to turn down, or asked for help.
Child Abductors Know How To Lure Children
Remember a child abductor is not mentally healthy and has thought up many creative ways to lure away their victims.
A common one used on teenage girls is – “Hi my name is —- and I am from BLAH BLAH talent agency. We are in the process of casting for a new clothing label advertisement and you have a great look! Would you be interested in auditioning? Cool, that’s great, let me give you my card and call me tomorrow and I will give you the details( fumbles in pocket). Oh, I left my cards in my bag which is in the car, just follow me over and I will give you one.”
So simple and so flattering. If he can get the teenager to his car, all he has to do is pull her in. If not, he may give her a false card and ask her to meet him somewhere and abduct her from his chosen location. Remember it is super easy to get a ‘fake” business card made.
With younger children it is relatively simple for the abductor to lure a child to go with him. It does not take much more than a child predator asking a small child.
Here are some easy examples of things a child abductor might say to get a child to follow him;
“Hey do you like doggies, come over here and you can pat my little dog, who is super friendly.”
“Do you want to play ball, let’s just go over here and play a game.”
“Hey do you want to see this game I am playing.” ( has out his phone, shows the child and gets him interested), then, ” I can show you this other really cool game, but it in on my ipad. My ipad is in my car, just over there, come and I can show you.”
A Child Can Be Abducted In Less Than A Minute
A parent or child carer need only turn their back from their child for less than a minute and a persuasive abductor can easily lure a child away.
Below are some important safety tips to teach your children, but it is important that they first understand what a stranger actually is.
Teaching Your Child What A Stranger Is
From a young age teach your children the following – “A stranger is someone you personally, don’t know. It doesn’t mean that a stranger is bad or good, but if you don’t know a person then, DON’T TALK TO THEM. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FROM THEM e.g sweets, toys, phones. NEVER GO WITH THEM”
These tips should be taught regardless of whether you think your child/teenager is responsible or very sensible, or simply too clingy or shy to talk to strangers.
Teaching Our Children About Stranger Danger
Safety Tips To Teach Your Kids
Child Abductors Do Not Look Different
Often child abductors look very friendly and approachable and not at all as our minds would imagine them to look and this is something we need to instill in our children, that it doesn’t matter, whether the person approaching them is male, female, young or old,they are never to go with someone they don’t know.
Have A Safety Password For Kids
Find a special word that your child can use as a safety password with people they don’t recognize. Make it a word that no one else can guess e.g. a funny made-up word. For example if you can’t get to school on time to pick up your child and have to get another parent to help you out that your child may not know, give that person the special safety password and teach your child to ask that person for the safety password before they go with them.
Never Talk To Strangers
Teach young children not to talk to any teenager or adult they don’t know, no matter how friendly they are. Teach them that they can only talk to someone older they don’t know if you are another adult they know are with them. But do let them know that it is alright to talk to other young kids around their own age in the playground, as you want them to enjoy themselves and not be fearful of absolutely everyone.
Never Follow A Stranger For Any Reason!
It does not matter what they offer, or say, or ask. Teach your child to never, ever go anywhere, even if it is just a short walk across a playground, with a stranger. If someone asks for help for an emergency, teach your children to say “Sorry I can’t, I will get my Mum, Dad, Teacher, Carer to come help you.” If they say something like, “Come quickly etc…” Get your child to yell at the top of their lungs “NO LEAVE ME ALONE” or ” NO, LEAVE ME ALONE, I DON’T KNOW YOU!” and at the same time teach them to run to the closest adult or safe place they know.
If A Stranger Tries to Pull Them Away
Teach young children to scream as loud as they can “HELP, LET ME GO!” and keep screaming it over and over. Self-defense techniques are great for older children and teenagers to have under their belt e.g. Karate, Judo etc.
If A Stranger Tries To Give You A Gift Or Show You Something
Teach your children to NEVER ACCEPT ANYTHING from a stranger, if they are not accompanied by you or another adult they know. If a stranger offers them something, teach them to say “No thanks” and walk away. The moment a hand is offered to take a gift; e.g. a lolly, toy, ball or piece of paper, this presents an easy opportunity for the abductor to grab the child. Teach your children never to go over to a stranger wanting to show them something e.g. a photo on his phone, his pet, his new i pad game, soccer ball, whatever.
Never Go Over To A Person Calling Out From A Car
Under no circumstances should a child approach a stranger calling out to them from a car, or standing next to a car, no matter what reason they offer. Child abductors can trick children into getting into cars e.g. ” I am your mummy’s friend Jack and she asked me to come and give you a lift home as she is busy at work or had to go to the doctors etc.”
Make Sure Your Child Can See You And You Can See Them
Children who are at an age that needs adult supervision, should therefore ALWAYS be in eye sight of an adult. You need to be able to see the child at all times and they need to be able to see you too. Take extra care when in crowded areas or where you are easily distracted e.g. shopping centers and parking lots, train stations etc. Keep your children within arms reach, especially in parking lots, where there have been reports of child abductors grabbing children from cars, or standing next to their cars, while mums are loading up the groceries.
Never Open The Door To A Stranger
Teach your children, including teenagers, to never open the door to a stranger. Teach them to first look through a window to verify it is a person they know. If they don’t recognize them, teach them no matter who the person says they are, “I am a friend of Mummy’s,” or “I am here to fix the TV.” that they are to not open the door and to go and get a grown-up inside the house to open it. Or again if need be use the safety password idea above.
If Someone Near You Is Making You Feel Unsafe Then Move Away Fast And Yell
No matter how old or young the child is, if they feel like they are being followed, whether on foot, or by a car, or if someone they don’t know is trying to interact with them after the child has ignored them, then teach your child to run back to other adults, or back to a safe environment e.g. inside the school, the house or nearest shop etc. If they are being pursued get them to yell out ” HELP, LEAVE ME ALONE”, or ” I DON’T NOW YOU, GO AWAY!” etc..
Here is a great teaching, fun and interactive site for young children to learn about Stranger Danger –Safety4Kids
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