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Teach Your Kids The Dangers of Speaking to Strangers

Your children encounter strangers each and every day of their life.  Most people are harmless but it is the minority that we must take seriously.  It is important to remind your children about the dangers of speaking to strangers and what to do if they are approached by someone they do not know.

Explain what a stranger is to your kids...

Many times children think of strangers as scary people who look different.  It is important to explain to them that strangers are ordinary people and that you can not tell by looking at them whether they are bad or good.  Remind them that a stranger is anyone that your family does not know by name.

You must explain to them that there are safe strangers and these include policemen, and firefighters.  Let them know safe places to go if they ever need help for instance: home of a neighbor, a local store or restaurant, a post office or library.

How to handle dangerous situations...

Talk to your children about what to do if your child is approached by someone they do not know.  Key points to stress include:

  • Never approach a vehicle of someone you do not know.

  • Do not talk to a person that they do not know.

  • Always tell a responsible adult what happened if they have been approached by someone.

  • It is OK to say "NO" to adults if you do not know them.

  • Run away as fast as you can and yell as loud as possible for help.

  • Never keep a secret from your parents

  • Never listen if someone tells you to disobey your parents or do something without permission

  • An adult, you do not know, should never ask a child for help.

  • If you feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way run.

An easy way for them to remember this is "No, Go, Yell, Tell".  If your children feels threatened or uncomfortable they should say no, run away, yell loud and to immediately and tell a responsible adult.

Equip your child with strategies needed to keep them safe...

Every parent explains the details of strangers to their children and you think that they understand. You then see TV shows with hidden cameras, where they set kids up to see how they would react in the situation with a stranger, and the kids fail.  You should take the time to role play with your children and help them come up with a strategy to protect themselves in each scenario.  Examples of a few possible scenarios:

  • A man in a car holding a piece of paper ask you child to come over and help him with directions.

  • A woman carry a dog's lease approaches for help looking for her lost puppy.

  • A stranger in your neighborhood invites your child to come in for some cookies she just baked.

  • An adult approaches your child in the park and ask for help locating a soccer ball that went into the woods.

  • They think they are being followed home by someone.

  • A stranger in the mall approaches and ask them if they would like to come for a free promotional meal at the fast food restaurant in mall.

  • An adult that they know says or does something to make them feel threatened or uncomfortable.

  • You talk to someone in a chat room on the internet and they want to meet for ice cream.

Other ways to protect your children...

  • Know where they are and who they are with at all times.

  • Talk to them about safe places to play in your neighborhood and places to avoid.  Set firm rules regarding what they are allowed to do and what they can't do.

  • Teach them to follow their instincts and run if they feel threatened.

  • Always have a buddy with them if they are walking or riding a bike.

  • Play in a group not alone.

  • Never be afraid to say no if you feel threatened.

  • Stay in touch via cell phones.

  • Keep important emergency numbers posted and readily available for your kids.  This includes police, fire, work numbers, parent's cell phone number, and the number of a neighbor and/or relative.

  • Be sure your children are mature enough to handle the situation that you put them in.

For detailed information in dealing with all types of safety issues with your children please visit the National Crime Prevention Website.