Teaching children “stranger danger” can actually put them at risk
Did you know that according to a study, 93% of crimes involving children were committed by people they actually know and thought could trust?
The phrase “stranger danger” is one of the most popular parenting adage, but did you know that teaching kids this can actually be detrimental to their safety?
At least that’s what Child Rescue Network believes.
Said a Mirror report: “They believe that teaching children about 'stranger danger’—a common practice over the last few decades with abductions being widely publicised in the media—might not be enough.”
This is because according to their study, 93% of children who have been victimized actually know their abusers. What “stranger danger” teaches these children to accept abuse from people closer to home.
“By putting the focus on ‘strangers,’ children are actually MORE susceptible to silently endure abuse from those they already know and trust,” the network said on its website.
“Instead of scaring children into silence, let’s help kids make safe, positive, self-esteem building decisions whether they are dealing with a cunning stranger or responding to a familiar face.”
There are also four important tips that Child Rescue Network wants parents to teach their children.
Read on for more tips to protect your children
Don’t keep secrets
Abusers often ask children to keep something a secret. It’s important that children never learn to hide things to their parents. Instead, they should say, “No, I don't keep secrets from mum and dad.”
“That simple statement can actually stop a predator in his tracks as they often use secrets to test the boundaries of a child they are 'grooming' for possible abuse.”
Agree on a family code word
It’s easy to trick children into following strangers especially under the guise of picking them up in their parent’s stead. To prevent this from happening, parents should come up with a code word that only members of the family are privy to.
“That way, your child can keep a safe distance and ask for the code word. Then they'll feel safe knowing you sent the person,” said the Mirror report. “If that person doesn't know the code word, advise your child to tell a trusted adult.”
Play the “freeze” game if lost
Parents need to teach their kids what to do when they find themselves lost in a public place. A good trick is to remain on one spot until they’re found by their guardian.
This method "eliminates the need for your child to try to determine who is good and who might be a threat,” said Child Rescue Network.
On the occasion that another adult approaches them, a child should tell them, "I'm playing the freeze game until my mum and dad get back. Can you stay with me?’," instead of coming with them.
Teach them to call for help
CRN says: "Take the lost scenario one step further and teach your kids that if someone does ever try to force them to go somewhere to yell, 'This is not my daddy, HELP!'
"A crying or even screaming child can be misinterpreted as a tantrum, but a child yelling for help will trigger a reaction from anyone nearby."
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