These days it is more important than ever to be diligent in teaching our children about safety. It’s easier to keep kids safe when they are with you, but as they get older and attend school, they will need skills and stranger safety information that you provide to be safe outside the home.
Modern technology has made it easier for predators to find and reach children. However, as parents, we can use that same technology to provide a safe environment for our kids.
Talk to Kids About Stranger Danger
Talking to your kids about the dangers of people they don’t know can be challenging. You don’t want to scare them or make them afraid of the world, but you also don’t want them trusting everyone they come in contact with and being at risk or getting into dangerous situations.
Here are some gentle tips for talking about strangers with your kids.
Don’t Talk to Strangers – let your child know that before they talk to anyone they don’t know, they should come to you first and that only “parent approved” adults are considered trusted.
Don’t Take Candy From a Stranger – inform kids, especially really young children that they should not take anything from anyone except their parents, babysitter or another family member.
If You Get Lost Find a Policemen – let children know that they should seek out a person in uniform with a name tag if they get lost in a store or mall. Generally, a person of authority will know how to find you and how to keep the child safe until you are reunited.
Make Safety Fun – act out scenes to teach your children what to do if they are in a situation with strangers and you are not reachable.
Keep Kids Well Informed
First, you want to be sure even young children know and memorize their home address and phone number. If they are in a situation where they feel scared, they need to be able to contact you quickly and easily.
The best prevention is communication. Help your kids to feel comfortable talking with you and coming to you if they feel uneasy with something someone else does or says to them at school or in your neighborhood. If they sense you feel awkward, they will be less inclined to divulge information.
Use Technology To Keep Kids Safe
Regarding sexual harassment prevention, you can do a lot by just being involved in your child’s life, keeping the lines of communication open and getting to know everyone in their world. Choose caregivers wisely and do your homework; don’t be afraid to run a background check on someone to make sure you are trusting the right person with the safety of your children. Monitor social media and technology communications to ensure you know everyone who your kids are talking to and what about.
What You Can Do as a Parent
The Internet provides some helpful resources for ensuring the safety of your family. If there is someone you don’t know well, or you have suspicions about, you can use a lookup service to check for public records including criminal records, sex offenses and other public information to help you avoid being a victim.
Make yourself available to your kids and teach them how to set boundaries for themselves. Let them know saying “no” is ok when they are in uncomfortable situations. Answer all their questions openly and honestly. Establishing trust in you will make it easier for them to come to you later.
It is also a good idea to talk to your kids about what they see in the media and on TV. People and situations may be misrepresented, and you want to make sure your kids get the real truth from you without a sensationalized slant.
Information is Power That Can Keep You Safe
Educate yourself on the warning signs of sexual predators and other child-related dangers. Early detection now may prevent a tragedy later.
The more you prepare, and the more you know, the better you will be able to protect your family. Information is power, and you have vast online resources at your disposal to educate and inform yourself and your family of the potential dangers that exist in the world outside your front door.