Why Louisiana Parents Should Teach Their Children Situational Awareness Instead of Stranger Danger
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - Stranger Danger!
It's a phrase that parents have been instilling in their children for decades. Basically, it's the idea that any adult a child does not know could be a danger to him/her. It's meant for children to avoid being kidnapped and harmed by child predators and people with evil intentions.
But is teaching Stranger Danger enough, or even the right way to teach your children to avoid people they don't know?
Lori Fullbright - an award-winning crime reporter in Tulsa, Oklahoma - has gone viral for her thoughts on the topic as she shares what she has learned about how children react to potentially dangerous situations involving strangers. She explains how dangerously smart pedophiles have become and how they play on the inability of many children who don't fully comprehend what a stranger is, often times falling for lies such as "Will you help me find my lost puppy?" and others.
This reminds me of a clip from the comedy series George Lopez when George is worried about his son, Max, getting harmed by a stranger while on his way to school in the mornings.
Of course, the show put a funny twist on the serious topic. But, it also showed how some children don't see an adult needing help looking for a lost puppy as being a stranger. That's because, as Fullbright puts it, pedophiles do not often appear as big, bad monsters like the term stranger might suggest.
As you saw, Fullbright instead advocates for Situational Awareness, which teaching children to use critical thinking in determining who a stranger is and who is actually trying to help them, even though the child may not know the person. Some solutions for examples of Situational Awareness that she pointed out:
- Telling the unknown adult that a parent is needed before anything else is done
- Families need to have a code word
- Prepping the child for "What would you do if..." scenarios.