Stranger Danger – Are Our Kids Still Aware Of The Issue?
With it becoming more and more common for people of all ages to make new friends via online platforms, are our children still as aware of the concept of Stranger Danger as they were, say, 10 years ago? Whilst parents today go to great lengths to instil in their children the understanding that people on the internet are not always who they say they are, is as much time still spent ensuring our children know to be wary of strangers in the real world?
There are a few things that all children should be taught, to help them keep themselves safe from potential harm.
Help them to understand exactly what a stranger is.
A stranger is anyone they, or their family, do not know well. A stranger could be someone they have never seen before, but it could also be the man or woman who lives down the street – that they’ve never spoken to. It is also important for children to understand that potentially “bad” strangers, will not necessarily look like the “bad guys” they see on TV and in the movies. A pretty stranger can be as dangerous to them as someone who looks like a baddie.
Show them who the ‘safe’ strangers are.
However, it’s also important to note that children should not learn to fear everyone they see in the street. There are also strangers who are there to help them should they need it. It’s good practise to point the “good” strangers out – like police officers, firemen, or where relevant; teachers. Teach your children that should they need help, these are the first people they should look for, if they are unable to find one of these safe strangers, they should go to a public place, like a hospital, library or supermarket, and ask someone who works there to help them – in full view of other people.
Teach them the warning signs.
If an adult, or another (normally older) child, asks them to disobey their parents, asks them to do something they know is wrong, or wants them to keep a secret, they should quickly remove themselves from the situation. If they are ever made to feel uncomfortable in any way, whether it’s by a stranger or an adult they already know – they should seek out help from another known adult or a ‘safe’ stranger.
Teach them ‘No. Go. Yell. Tell.’
This concept was thought up by the NCP, and is the process your child should follow if they ever find themselves in an uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situation.
If they are asked to do something bad, or that makes them feel uneasy, they should say no straight away.
They should run away from the person in question, and seek out a safe place to ask for help.
Whilst they are running, they should shout for help. Making more people aware of the situation will make it easier for them to find someone who will be able to help them.
They must tell a trusted adult about what happened.
Agree on a Password.
Agree on a password with your children, in case if you ever need to send someone to meet them that they may not already know. If a stranger were ever to approach your child in the street, and tell them that you (as their parent) had asked them to pick your child up – they should then ask for the password. If the “stranger” does not know the agreed upon password, your child should follow the ‘No. Go. Yell. Tell.’ process.