Keeping Your Kids Safe From Predators
Whether there are actually more predators trying to harm kids, or whether our awareness as a society of these predators has actually increased, more parents are becoming aware of their need to protect their children. Part of the problem with protecting your kids from predators is that, like a lion that sneaks up on its prey in the wilderness, child predators are often good at blending in and not raising people’s suspicions.
There are things you can do to keep your kids safe from predators. Following these guidelines might require you to make some lifestyle changes, but you and your kids can still lead a full and fulfilling life while staying safe at the same time.
1. Know what your kids are doing online. Child predators often try to contact their victims online, right in the safety and comfort of your own home. You can do several things to keep your kids safe when they are using the Internet. Place the computer in a common area of the house, with the screen pointed in a direction where anyone at any time can see it. Talk to your children constantly about the dangers of giving out their information or posting pictures of themselves online. You should also go through your Internet browser’s history on a weekly basis so you know what sites your kids are visiting.
2. Be suspicious of phone calls and other contact from strangers. If your child is suddenly receiving phone calls from anonymous men, long distance calls or receives mysterious packages or letters, you need to be asking questions. Predators often lure their victims with frequent phone calls and by sending them expensive presents, making kids feel like they are obligated to meet up with them. Contact your local police department if you suspect the phone calls or other communications are coming from a predator.
3. Teach your kids to never get into a car without your specific permission. This includes people that your kids know such as neighbors and family friends, since many times abductors know their victims well. If someone in a car asks your kids a question, instruct your children to not go near the car and to get away as quickly as possible.
4. Teach your kids that adults should not be asking them for help. Many predators use tactics such as asking kids if they can help them look for a lost pet. Your kids should not be giving directions to adults who say they are lost, since that is also a common predator tactic.
5. Don’t allow your children to walk alone, even to a friend’s house only a few houses away. Your kids also should not play in the yard completely alone, even in the backyard. Instruct your kids to always use the buddy system, or even better to stay where a parent or guardian can see them.
6. Teach your kids to fight if someone tries to take them or force them to do something they do not want to do. Many predators do not want to deal with kids who will resist, so tell your kids to hit, kick, bite scratch and even gouge out attackers’ eyes. You should also teach your kids to make noise and scream things like “help” and “this is not my dad/mom” so witnesses know the adult should not be taking your kids anywhere.
7. Let your kids know that they have the right to tell an adult no. Sometimes parents ignorantly teach their children to always follow what adults say. Such teachings work to an adult predator’s advantage. Instead, teach your kids that if something makes the uncomfortable, or if they have a bad feeling about something, that they have the right to tell an adult no. This includes teachers and other authority figures, since sadly they sometimes are the predators.