Given the nature of physical harassment which has been prevalent in Sri Lanka, especially towards young children, we feel its important for us to respond to the situation; for the next two weeks we will be posting information about protecting your children from strangers. Have a look;
- Who is a stranger? A lot of people imagine a certain stereotype- think dark, hooded figures. Make it perfectly clear using simple terms to your son or daughter. For example, simply say ‘a stranger is someone we don’t know’
- Not all strangers are bad: A follow up to #1, its necessary to teach children that you can’t judge a book by its cover.. Help little ones identify who are strangers they can trust: this could be a policeman, a teacher or a server who works in a local store.
- Identify and inform them about unsafe places: Dark streets, parking lots, areas without proper lightning or other people are areas which no child should ever venture alone. In addition, teach kids that it’s important to be smart about going online; establish basic ground rules such as never giving your name, photos, address or contact number to anyone online.
- Tell them it’s OK to say ‘NO’: If someone tries to harass your son/daughter or tries to grab them, teach them to be assertive and say no. Show them that asserting themselves is important to keep kids safe, and that you won’t punish them for yelling at a stranger.
- Got an adult who asks for help? Teach your children that adults will not ask a child for help. Popular examples include asking for directions, asking to go for an ice-cream together or looking for a lost pet. Tell them to ask an adult instead or come to you (their parents) so that you can handle the situation.