Are we preparing our children to be cautious enough?


90 seconds. That’s all the time it takes for your child to be abducted.

Now before you think you’ve prepared your child for the kind of situation where they might be coerced into leaving with a stranger, you need to watch this video. To say it is chilling, is an understatement:

What do you teach your kids?

This experiment, conducted in a public park in the UK, is a terrifying example of how easy it is for a child to be tricked and subsequently taken away by a complete stranger.

Even in such an openly public space, the children involved didn’t even question the man they’d never met before. Quite simply they went with their first instinct, which was to help.

When we were younger we were always told to ‘never get into a car with a stranger’ or to ‘take lollies from someone that we didn’t know’.

As a result, I can guarantee nearly every child of the 80s was programmed to scream and run a mile if a man in a van pulled upside them cradling a handful of jellybeans.

Not once would it have crossed our parents mind to tell us to watch out for what appeared to be friendly people asking for help.

So as parents, are we preparing our children to be cautious enough? Especially now that we know potential predators are getting not only smarter in their approach, but also sneakier.

It’s a fine line. We certainly don’t want children to be fearful of every new person they meet but we do need to teach them that some people can and will do them harm.

More importantly, we need to instil in them the knowledge and techniques they need to identify these kind of evil people.

Two years ago, Mamamia’s Kate Hunter spoke with Bruce Mordombe, whose son Daniel was abducted and murdered in 2003. He has dedicated his life to helping kids stay safe and shared the following five tips.

1. When you can, stay with a friend. Even if you have a fight with your mate, don’t go off alone.

2. Be observant. Notice who’s around you and what they’re doing.

3. Have a family password. Something like your favourite food – lasagne, for example. If a person says they are meant to pick you up, test them on the password.

4. With your parents, make a list of 5 adults you trust. If you ever feel uneasy about anybody or anything, tell one of these people and know you won’t get into trouble. If you feel you’re not being listened to, try someone else.

5. Don’t share information about yourself, like your hobbies or the name of your school with people you don’t know, online or in real life.

You can go here to read more about Bruce Morcombe.

What do you teach your children about stranger danger?