Ignoring strangers or staying silent may not be the best way to teach our kids about "stranger danger". Find out more in this article...
My three-year-old son is at that beautifully trusting age where he loves everyone. He even shouts out a merry “hello” to our not-so-merry neighbour every time he sees him. I love that my little boy is so friendly because I think the ability to smile and talk to anyone is a great quality to have.
I loved that he is so friendly and trusting… until I saw this video.
This video (a.k.a. a mum’s worst nightmare) posted by YouTube prankster Joey Saladino has had millions of views and left an equal number of terrified parents in its wake, including myself.
However, Saladino has been criticized for unnecessarily scaring parents around the world – he has not cited his sources for one, and has, according to the BBC, neglected to fact check his numbers.
The other important point he fails to mention is that when it comes to child abduction and sexual abuse, the danger is more from people the child knows – horrifically often family members/friend/relatives – than strangers. In the US, for example, only a tiny fraction of child abduction cases involve complete strangers, according to a Time news report.
Saladino’s video is, nevertheless, a good eye opener to the dangers that lurk in society and the very real threats to the safety of our children.
After watching it (and getting over my initial panic), it made me think that instead of teaching our kids not to talk to strangers, we should be teaching them HOW TO TALK correctly to strangers. Because not all strangers are nasty and waiting to kidnap your kids. In fact, it could be a stranger who saves your kid’s life.
Stranger danger: How do you teach your child the difference between a “good stranger” and a “bad stranger”? Find out on the next page.