Kidnapping and child trafficking isn’t new to this world. We’ve heard of heartbreaking incidents where parents looked away for a minute and their kids went missing. And some of those stories didn’t end well. The guilt and self-blame of not being responsible enough can start to gnaw at their very roots. It’s a place any parent would dread to be in. But what is it that we can do to prevent these incidents? We can’t be with our kids all the time. So, it’s wise to prepare them well in advance to face such things.
Tell Them Who ‘Creepy Strangers’ Really Are
Children often assume that ‘bad’ people simply mean witches, demons, or ugly looking men, just like the stories they read. However, the reality is anything but that. Creepy people come in all shapes and sizes like good looking men, well-groomed young women, and even kids who are used as bait by conniving adults. So, the first thing you should do is to make your children aware of this harsh reality.
Think Before You Post
Social media, which is an irreplaceable part of our lives, is also a breeding ground for shady predators. Mommy and daddy bloggers/influencers should refrain from sharing their child’s pictures or the location of their child’s day-care, school, or even vacations. Pedophiles are for real and they are waiting for such information to misuse it. They can even blackmail your poor little kids with some embarrassing pics of theirs and lure them toward harm. So, refrain from sharing your child’s pics, names, or any other personal details.
Re-Define The Meaning Of Stranger
For kids, the definition of a stranger simply means someone they don’t know. Thus, the first thing that a kidnapper does is to break the mold of this definition. They gradually befriend kids until a point that they are no more ‘strangers’ or unknown to them. They become your child’s ‘uncle’, ‘auntie’, didi or bhaiyya.
Explain to your kids that a stranger is any person who is not introduced by you to your kids. Tell them that their well-wishers like an aunt or uncle will always, always ask your mom or dad’s permission before taking them (kids) anywhere. If your kids have the slightest doubts, they should always ask you first before going anywhere with anyone.
Ask Them To Stick To The Instructions
Of late, strangers lure kids by acting as a messenger from parents. They either tell that their parents are waiting at some point (other than the usual meeting point) and offer to escort. Or, they pretend as if something terrible has happened to the parents and they urgently need to see the kids. Discuss these scenarios with your kids beforehand. Tell your kids to immediately contact either of the parents first on such occasions. If they are unable to reach you, they should inform their class teacher and head home as usual. They can later get in touch with a reliable relative or friend.
Make it a point to discuss similar situations regularly until it gets drilled into your kid’s mind.
Re-Look What You Teach Them – And How
Another reason why your kids might get lured by a stranger could well be the manners we teach them. Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yes. We regularly tell kids to be polite to all elders (even strangers), not to say ‘No’, accept a gift with a smile and say thank you, and not to scream in public places. Now, put all of these actions into a kidnapping scenario. The kidnapper is polite to your child (who could be posing as an elderly person too), calls your child for a walk (your child doesn’t say no), offers drug-laced sweets or a shady gift which your child accepts, and when the stranger tries to harm your kid, your kid doesn’t scream. Shocking isn’t it??
Agreed, good manners play a great role in shaping our children’s personality. However, we need to be clear in explaining where they need to be applied – like being polite with the teacher, peers, etc. If your toddler tends to scream at the slightest provocation (a natural reaction to discomfort), don’t try to curb that instinct. Instead, find out what causes that reaction and cut down on that.
Keeping our children safe in this world isn’t going to be easy. However, we can all achieve it like millions of parents who have done it before, including our own parents. All it needs is alertness and awareness about safety measures. How do you keep your child safe? Share your useful tips to help the rest of the parents in this noble endeavor.