10 Essential Pieces of Advice for How To Protect Your Child
Before allowing your child independence, you should take steps to ensure his or her safety.
Today Bright Side will tell you how to teach your child correct behavior around strangers. You should show these illustrations to your little one and discuss all the dangerous situations together.
Not revealing your child’s name
Do not write your child’s name on his or her personal belongings; do not attach a name fob to their backpack; do not put your little one’s name on his or her lunch box or thermos. Your child’s things shouldn’t give strangers access to private information. When addressing a child by their name, an unfamiliar person immediately wins his or her trust, which can lead to all kinds of dangerous manipulation.
A much better idea is to write your phone number instead — this will prove helpful if anything gets lost or stolen.
Running away from cars in the opposite direction
We teach our children not to get into cars with strangers, and that’s important. But your child should learn one more rule: if a car pulls up near you or starts to follow you with people inside the car attempting to draw your attention, you should run quickly in the direction opposite to the movement of the vehicle. This will help you buy time to call for help.
Inventing a family password
If someone says to your child, “Come with me. I’ll take you to your mom and dad!“ the first thing your little one should do is ask this stranger, ”What are my parents’ names? And what’s our family password?" We advise you to invent with your child a code phrase for emergency situations (for instance, in case you need to ask an acquaintance to collect your child from daycare or school). Use something unexpected (and, therefore, impossible to guess), like “Fluffy Orange.”
Installing tracking apps
Thanks to their GPS function, such apps allow you to monitor your child’s precise whereabouts and the battery level of his or her phone.
Wearing an emergency button watch
Gadgets with an inbuilt emergency button come in the form of watches, key chains, bracelets, or medallions. By means of a special mobile application, parents can constantly keep an eye on their child’s location. And if the child presses the button, the signal is received by the parents or the police.
Shouting "I don’t know him/her!"
Tell your child that, when grabbed by a stranger, it is more than ok to behave “badly“: to bite, kick, claw, and try to attract attention at any cost, even if the situation is very scary. Also, your child should keep shouting loudly, ”I don’t know him/her! He/she wants to take me away!"
Breaking off conversations and keeping a distance
Your child should know that he/she is not obliged to talk to strangers, so, if the conversation lasts longer than 5-7 seconds, it’s best to leave and head for a safe location. While the conversation lasts, a child should always stand at a distance of 6.5-8 feet away from a stranger; if a stranger tries to come closer, it is important to take a step back. Practice this situation with your child, show him/her what a distance of 6.5 feet looks like, and stress that it should be maintained no matter what.
Avoid sharing the elevator with strangers
Teach your child to wait for the elevator with his/her back to the wall so as to be able to see anyone approach. And, if it’s a stranger or someone barely familiar, your little one should invent any excuse not to enter the elevator with this person. The best options are to pretend to have forgotten something or to go and check the mailbox. If the person persists in his/her invitations to step into the elevator, your child must politely reply, "My parents say that I should only ride the elevator alone or with our neighbors." Tell your child that if a stranger tries to drag him/her inside the cabin by force or to gag his/her mouth, it is crucially important to fight, scream, and bite until adults come to the rescue.
Not letting strangers know that their parents are away
Explain to your child that if there’s a call at the door yet no one can be seen through the peephole and no answer comes to the question "Who’s there?" he or she mustn’t open the door even the tiniest little bit to see what’s going on. Also, a child mustn’t let a stranger know that his/her parents are away — not even if the stranger claims to be their friend or says that he/she is a municipal worker. If a stranger is very persistent and starts trying to break in, the child must phone their parents or neighbors at once.
Avoiding meeting online friends in person
Warn your child that, in today’s world, criminals can find their prey via the Internet and that if someone online says he’s "Mike from next door," this person might not necessarily be the 10-year-old boy he claims to be. Innocuous online chat can make us vulnerable to dangerous individuals. Your child must remember never to tell strangers, not even children, his/her phone number, address, or name. Nor should your little one send personal photos to online pals or tell them when and where he or she likes to hang out. And your child should always decline invitations to meet in person.
Illustrated by Natalia Popova for BrightSide.me