Every year, thousands of children are reported missing, many of which never return. Don't let your child become just another statistic. Read on for tips on preventing your kids from being abducted.
Don't presume that if you don't have a huge bank balance, your child is safe from harm. Kidnappers don't kidnap only for ransom. There are enough sick men around who kidnap children to satisfy their perverted sexual needs. Such people are known as paedophiles, and are usually habitual child abusers, constantly on the lookout for children.
Teach your children that if a stranger comes up to them and asks them for help, it's okay to refuse. Explain that there is no reason why an adult would require help from a child. When refusing help, they should not bother about what strangers think about them, about hurting feelings or about being rude. Teach them to say 'NO!' loud and clear.
They should never accept candy, sweets, chocolates or money from a stranger.
A bad person doesn't have to look like a monster - a kidnapper could be very well dressed and pleasantly turned out. Your child should not judge a person by his looks.
Sometimes even a person your child is familiar with - like a neighbour - could turn out to be a kidnapper or child abuser. So tell your children if a person invites them over - even if it is someone they know - they should REFUSE, no matter how nice the person seems, or how much he insists. Your children should come home and tell you about any such incidents immediately. They should never, ever enter anyone's home without your permission.
If any adult tells your child to 'keep a secret', your child let you know. Explain to your child that secrets are kept between children themselves. No adult - not even a close relative like an uncle - should ever ask a child to keep a secret.
Make it a point to know where your child is at all times. If your child goes to Aryan's house, and from there they decide to go to Sameer's house, he should call and inform you of the change in plan.
If your child is in the building garden, he should not be allowed to step outside the gates without your permission.
If a car pulls up close to your child when he is walking on the road, he should immediately increase the distance between himself and the car.
In addition, teach your child to:
- Never take short-cuts through deserted alleyways.
- Never accept lifts from strangers, no matter how many times their friends have done it and swear that it's 'cool' and safe.
- Never leave the building garden, school yard or playground without your permission.
- Memorise his full name, parents' full names, complete postal address and telephone number.
- Meet you at a fixed place if he ever gets lost in a mall or crowded shop.
- Say NO without hesitation.
- Never go up to a stranger's car on being called to ask for directions or on any other pretext. If the stranger calls your child to the car, your child should just IGNORE the request and walk on.
Safety on the net
Child abductors are using new ways of choosing their prey' - which includes the internet. After all, thousands of children log on everyday, and come in contact with strangers. The internet offers anonymity to a kidnapper, and after all, is preferable to hanging around a school yard trying to decide which child to kidnap! Monitor the sites your child visits.
Encourage him to browse the net - not to chat on it. Make sure the computer is in your bedroom or in a common family room - not in the child's bedroom.