There’s a frightening new video which has gone viral of a social experiment carried out by an American man in a playground. He sets out to see just how easy it is for a stranger to get a young child to go with him. His main prop is his cute fluffy white dog. See https://youtu.be/gGIDHrYKJ2s
The results are pretty chilling and it’s a must watch for all parents. It’s sure to prompt a conversation with your child about talking to strangers – even those with cute dogs.
Theunis Kotze, ADT General Manager Inland Region, says the frightening thing is that in all the experiments, each mom was confident she had warned her child never to talk to a stranger and yet not only did they talk to the stranger with his dog, but they actually walked off with him.
“While parents do share safety tips with their children, they don’t necessarily advise them about the various vices that can be employed to win their trust,” says Kotze.
Here are some golden rules outlined by one of the most recognised safety experts in the world, Bob Stuber:
- Don’t Use the Word Stranger
Using the word stranger confuses kids. Nowadays, kids think a stranger is somebody they can smell before they can even see. They can spot this guy. He’s hideous. But as we know from the video, that is not always the case. A stranger can look like a normal person to a child.
- Be Smart, Not Scared
Give children specific examples of how to react when approached by a potential predator. When you’re scared and you respond out of fear, you respond in a predictable manner. Paedophiles know it and they love it. That’s how they want you. When you’re smart, you’re not predictable.
- Learn to Spot Dangerous Actions
You’ve got to teach children to look at actions, not at people. Kids cannot discern if a person is good or bad by their appearance. It’s impossible. For example, if a car drives by you and the person smiles and continues to drive, that’s OK. If the person pulls over and tries to get a child to come to the car, that’s a dangerous action.
If a child is approached by a person in a car, he or she should immediately walk in the direction that is opposite of the way the car is facing, which makes it more difficult to follow the child.
- Rules Change When a Child is in Danger
Children need to know that they do not need to display normal acceptable behaviour when they’re in trouble; they can act out and start screaming or throwing things around. If a child is in a store for example and somebody tried to grab him/her out of a store, he needs to know, ‘I can knock anything off this shelf to get attention’.
Kotze reminds parents that kids are not afraid to talk about this topic. What they’re afraid of is silence, then they make up their own scenarios. Parents need to speak with their children often, not just once a year. Schools also need to talk to their students regularly.
ADT sponsors a very effective, fun and educational safety show in Gauteng for pre-primary and primary school children using “Mr ADT”. For more information about the Mr ADT show and how you can book it for your school, email Tamryn Salemink on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors note: Bob Stuber is one of the America’s most recognized safety experts and the creator of Safe Escape, a video series that teaches parents and kids how to practice proactive safety skills. He shares his top five tactics all parents and kids should know to prevent child abduction.