7 Tips to Keep Children Safe from Predators
It is probably every parent’s greatest fear: that our children will be abducted or be harmed by a nefarious predator. The mere thought of it is enough to send chills down one’s spine and to turn one into a dreaded helicopter parent. But apart from the fact that this is not a healthy way of raising a child, it certainly is also not practical.
There is simply no way that you can always be with your child without taking your eyes off them for a second. A much healthier approach is to educate and empower your child. Make them aware of the dangers without scaring them and give them the necessary tools so that they know what to do when they are being threatened.
Here are some practical tips to help keep your child safe from predators:
- Forget the old adage about “stranger danger”. We often prepare our kids for a scary boogeyman, where, in truth, predators are often very charming, seemingly safe, and even familiar people.
- Instead, teach your children that their bodies are their own. They are allowed to say no to hugs, tickles, and kisses. Respect their decision.
- Also, teach them that it is completely fine to say no to an adult and to scream, yell, or make a fuss when an adult makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.
- Know when predators are more likely to strike. We often think of abuse happening at night and in the dark. The truth is that most abuse happens in the afternoon hours between 15:00 and 18:00. This is after school but before parents get home. Think twice about leaving children unattended during this time.
- Monitor your children’s online activities. This does not necessarily mean you have to watch every single thing they do. But be aware of the sites they visit and the apps they use and block risky sites if necessary.
- Be sensitive to warning signs. Children find it very difficult to talk about abuse. Listen to your child and talk to them if they suddenly say they do not want to be in the company of a particular person. Also look for other red flags, such as a sudden change in character or in eating patterns.
- Earn their trust and encourage open conversation. Do this by showing them you will not get angry if they are telling the truth. If they feel that they can talk to you about anything, they are more likely to tell you when something bad happens.