Awareness of Stranger Danger for Children
It goes without saying that one of the most important things for children to learn about is “Stranger Danger.” It is not easy to educate children about this danger. “Stranger Danger” really is not an accurate description of the very real danger facing our children. Children are still being abducted right from the safety and security of their own home or school area. Remember, most children become a victim of a crime because of two main reasons: they can’t recognize the danger and they fail to take the action needed in the crime committed.
The best place for teachers and parents to start is with some basic awareness:
•Children should not talk to strangers nor accept anything. If the child feels uncomfortable about a situation, they should tell someone they trust.
•Children should know what okay behavior is and what is not because children will not automatically know these things; they need to know the difference between “right” and “wrong,” touching and conversation.
•Children should not give out personal information such as addresses, telephone numbers, parents’ work addresses or the names and locations of the school without parents’ permission.
•Children should check with their teacher or parents first when meeting strangers.
•Children should know how to recognize their natural “fight or flight” response that is built in them.
•Children should know that they are empowered to tell an adult “NO” and run away from a stranger and they should know it’s OK to make a scene, if they sense danger or grabbed by screaming out “Help!” or “Fire!” loudly!
•Children should not have secrets in the family but COMMUNICATE with parents and teachers who can help!
•Children who are old enough should know their complete address, telephone number and know how to call 911 or 0 for emergency.
•Children at home alone should know also the ground rules, emergency contacts and responsibilities of what to do.
•Children should be aware of their surroundings when walking home, going through parks, at large shopping malls or amusement parks.
•Children should never tell a caller that no one is at home.
•Children should never open the door to anyone except people they know and their parents have agreed on.
•Children should be taught how to lock and unlock different types of car, truck and home doors and windows.
•Children should avoid going into public restrooms alone.
•Children should always try to stay with a group of friends.
Teachers and parents should always pay attention to the news to realize that child predators of today are coming up with ever more sophisticated means of abducting children. Give children examples from every possible scenario that you can think of that strangers can do like offering candy, “can you help find my puppy” and “your parents said I can pick you up because they are at the hospital with your sister who was hurt.” Make sure that the child understands that whatever scenario comes up, it can be a danger to them.
We are going to continue looking at other dangers. Next week. Part 6 about internet dangers!