Child Abduction Prevention: A widely circulated video showed a male trying to drag a 13-year-old girl across the floor and out of a Dollar Store with the mother attempting to intervene and to save her daughter. Frequent reports from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children [NCMEC] of stranger abduction attempts emphasize that no parent should ever leave children unattended in a public place. KIDSMARTZ is a website parents can use to teach their children some very effective abduction prevention tools.
In my world, "Knowledge is Power." I want my clients to be empowered, and I want their children to be empowered as well. Prevention is key to keeping your kids safe.
Image from NCMEC
Before I get to the wonderful tools for families on the KIDSMARTZ website, though, I want to describe a terrific message I heard on the news the other day. As a little girl was walking home from school, she was approached by a man she did not know. He offered her candy. She said "No." He then said "Your mother has been in an accident and I am supposed to take you to see her."
The child said: "What's the secret code word?" The man stood silent. ""If we don't have a code word when anybody comes up to us, we won't go with them." The man fled the scene. More about this prevention tactic here. [ABC NEWS] What a clever, clever way to stop a kidnapper in his tracks!
KIDSMARTZ is a website developed under the auspices of NCMEC through grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice, there are some pretty smart ways to empower your children. KIDSMARTZ suggests that lecturing about "stranger/danger" might be a poor way to teach your children to recognize danger.
"Although “stranger danger” seems like an easy way to teach our children basic personal safety, it actually puts them at a disadvantage. Children who are taught stranger danger may:
- Be afraid to ask helpful strangers for assistance when they need it
- Not know how to recognize and avoid risky situations
See "Rethinking Stranger Danger" here. Don't leave that page until after you and your children have explored the interactive part:
KIDSMARTZ has some great tools, for example videos, parent tips, and role-playing scenarios to help your children practice their abduction prevention skills. The more children practice, the better prepared they will be to respond to an emergency.
The video referred to above may be seen on ABC here.