Stranger danger is the term commonly used to refer to the important topic of teaching children about the dangers they may face as they venture out into the world. Unfortunately there are people out there who prey on children so it is an important issue that all parents must address with their children.
The most important thing to remember when teaching your children about stranger danger is to instill confidence, rather than fear. You want to equip your child with the knowledge and strategies they will need to protect themselves in dangerous situations. Stranger danger lessons should be ongoing and talked about honestly and openly.
Children need to understand what you mean by strangers as not all people unknown to them are necessarily dangerous. They need to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” strangers. Examples of “good” strangers may include police officers, security guards, teachers or shop assistants. If your child ever feels lost, scared or threatened, these are the people to turn to for help.
If your child is approached by a “bad” stranger at the park or in a residential street, those easily identifiable people may not be around. In this situation if a “bad” stranger approaches them and tries to lure or physically pull them away, the best thing they can do is get the attention of other adults – whether that is by running to the nearest home or making enough noise to be heard by someone. The majority of adults will help a child in danger.
Stranger danger tips for children:
- Know your name, address and phone number.
- Use the buddy system – avoid walking anywhere alone.
- Trust your instincts – if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
- If a stranger approaches you, you do not have to speak to him or her. Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle. Just keep walking. Do not accept candy or any other items from a stranger. Never walk off with a stranger no matter what he or she tells you.
- If someone is following you try to remember the license plate of his or her vehicle and immediately tell a trusted adult.
- If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, “this is not my dad,” or “this is not my mum.”