This post is in support of the efforts of MugWatch.org. More on MugWatch at the end of this post
“Stranger danger” is an important topic of discussion. Beginning when your children are very young, you need to begin talking to them about strangers. Here are some things they should know and how you can approach the topic in a constructive manner.
Who are Strangers?
In order to teach your kids about stranger danger, it’s most important that you teach them exactly who strangers are. The word “stranger” is elusive, and it generally conjures up images of scary, menacing figures. Your kids need to be taught that a “stranger” is anyone they or you don’t know very well or at all, and that they can look like anyone. It’s difficult to tell if a stranger is good or bad just by looking at them. It’s important to stress, however, that most strangers are not bad.
Which Strangers are Safe?
Your children should know that people like police officers, firefighters, teachers, and librarians are safe strangers that can help them if needed. If your child needs help, like if they’re lost or don’t know anyone nearby, they should try to ask a safe stranger to help. If they don’t see a safe stranger, they should ask any stranger, but preferably a woman with children. They should always go to a public place with lots of people to ask for help from someone.
When are Strangers Dangerous?
You should go over common dangerous scenarios with your children. Let them know that an adult should never ask a child for help, and they should never go anywhere with a stranger, even if that stranger is a safe stranger. They shouldn’t get in – or even go near – a car with someone they don’t know. They should not talk to or go with any strangers, even if they seem nice or okay. If someone is bothering them, asking them to go somewhere, or following them, they should find a safe stranger to ask for help. If they think they are in danger, they should scream loudly.
Trusting Their Instincts
It’s very important to teach your children to trust their instincts. Let them know that their instincts will guide them, and they should never doubt them. If they have a bad feeling that a safe stranger is dangerous, they should listen to it. If they have any bad feelings about strangers, they should get away from that stranger as soon as possible and ask for help.
Do some role-playing with your child to reinforce the lessons you’re trying to tell them. Act out different scenarios where you are a stranger, and help your kids practice reacting to different situations, such as being asked to get inside a car. Let them practice screaming loudly, too. In a public place, you can even sit and discuss with your child what they would do if a stranger approached them right there. Where would they go? Who would they ask for help? Help them assess their environment and surroundings.
Because of my own passion for protecting children from abusers, I started a new blog that is in the earliest, infancy stages – MugWatch.org. I need the help of the armies out there to gather news articles of people who have been arrested for sex offenses and abuse crimes against children. Check it out and if you would like to become an advocate who publishes news pieces and mugshots, let me know. I’d be happy to increase the efforts.
MugWatch was developed because I have personally seen how quietly horrific sex offenders are arrested, bailed out and begin to play the justice system with continuances and delays with excuse after excuse. When an arrest record appears in a small town paper – and most people get their news from Facebook, it’s easy to see how a violent sex offender, released on bond can slip back into society and fly under the radar without their neighbors knowing what horrible monster lives next door.
MugWatch is a place to track those arrests and make those names Googleable. The intention is to post arrest records, mugshots and news surrounding sexual offenders to where they will be searchable by state, area, town/city and name. Readers will have the ability to share those posts through social media to ensure sex offenders know they can no longer fly under the radar.
Because we do believe in fairness – IF a person is found innocent and proof is supplied, ALL posts involving that individual will be updated to reveal that status.
MugWatch will work both ways – but ultimately, the victim is thought of FIRST. If someone is wrongfully arrested, we will make it known. This is to be a system where the victim is NO LONGER victimized and a spotlight is placed on the perpetrator!
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