Today’s world is very different than the world I grew up in as a kid. I remember walking home from school alone and even take public transportation alone without fearing strangers. Now that I am a mom I fear our world because my kids are so young. I know how important it is to keep them safe but even more important to teach them how to be safe.
My daughter is very chatty. She is the social one in our family. She will make friends wherever we are whether it be a line at the market or on the train to the city. I’ve worried since she was able to talk that she would get into some sort of trouble. She is just happy to talk to anyone.
Recently, she shared what our plans were for the day with a complete stranger on the plane. She also decided to share her brother’s name and last activity they did together— play WiiU. While it may seem harmless and very random thoughts of hers to share, they can be dangerous if the wrong stranger gets a hold of that information.
After hearing her over share I knew it was time to talk to my kids about Stranger Danger. Stranger Danger in specific to predators and being aware of their surroundings. While my kids are only preschoolers. School starts this fall so it’s never too early to talk to them about strangers. Here are 10 tips to help kids with stranger danger.
Be friendly but don’t over share 1 of 10
It’s nice to smile and say hello but don’t share things that don’t need to be. Strangers don’t need to know anything about you. I told little lady unless I ask you to share don’t share anything.
Be aware of your surroundings 2 of 10
If you are playing or out on a walk be sure you see what or who is around you. I tell me kids always it’s my job to make sure your safe so I keep an eye on you. You need to do the same always make sure you know where dad or mom are.
Don’t take things from strangers 3 of 10
Never take things from strangers. Especially food or candy from people you don’t know unless mom and dad say it’s ok and they are physically with you. This is one of my favorites to share. Even before talking about stranger danger I told the kids you don’t put anything in your mouth unless I give it to you. We never know what can be in something we eat that can harm us and make us sick.
Keep personal information private 4 of 10
It's important to keep your information private. Phone numbers, email address and other personal information are commonly seen as unimportant. These all can be gathered to find our where you live and your full name. Strangers out to harm can use little pieces of your private information to find out more about you including where you live and what your name is.
Never share your address with a stranger 5 of 10
My little cousin learned their address and were so proud. They also chanted it all the time that a few people began to learn their address too. It was definitely not safe and that information needed to be private. This is especially important on the internet.
Don’t wear name in public 6 of 10
Whether it’s a name tag or label on your back pack never display your complete name. Some strangers will use the information they see to their advantage to pretend they know who you are. This can be very confusing and scary to come across not to mention very dangerous. Instead try using initials to label your children's belongings.
Don’t be loud in public 7 of 10
People are always listening and can hear what you are talking about even when you don't think they are. Any information can be harmful for others to hear because we don’t know their intent. Remember that if you aren't asked to share maybe you shouldn't.
Don’t go anywhere with strangers 8 of 10
If you are asked to go somewhere with someone you don't know tell an adult. Even if the person asking you to go somewhere says mom and dad gave you permission to go with them. Unless you are told by mom and dad don't do it!
Not all strangers are bad but be mindful 9 of 10
I don’t want to scare the kids and say all people are bad and mean harm but we do need to be realistic and live with a little caution. I tell the kids when it's ok to approach people they don't know and I explain why. My son was terrified of Ronald He didn't even want to take a picture. While I understood his caution I reassured him It was ok to take a picture and that Ronald was ok to smile about.
Hugs and Kisses are only for family 10 of 10
It is not ok for any stranger to touch you. This is very important because my daughter lets others touch her hair, her hands and even hold her. This throws me over the edgy every time and I’ve had to ask people to please put my child down. I like to tell my kids that hugs and kisses are only for mom and dad. It's important to stress that having strangers come into to their space is not ok. They should tell a parent as soon as something like this happens.
Have you talked to your kids about stranger danger?
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican