Gone are the days when you and your kids met strangers only on the streets. With the advent of smart phones and social media, practically every call or message can be from a stranger.
In these times how do we draw a fine line between asking them to not talk to any stranger without hampering the development of the child’s inter-personal skills?
We have a few effective and simple ways as to how…
Good-touch Vs Bad-touch
I always feel that while educating your kids about strangers it should begin with the most important ‘red flag’ element that is talking about ‘good-touch Vs bad-touch’. Many parents in India are aware that this training should begin as early as a pre-school but still feel shy doing it. We asked Dr Yashashree Poudwal, an eminent Psychiatrist in Mumbai, a simple way to teach kids about the same without feeling embarrassed and she exactly explained to us how…
Dr Yashashree Poudwal maintains, “Always tell kids about the swimsuit rule, if your swimsuit covers it, it’s a private area and no one should be seeing or touching that area. Parents should openly ask kids if someone is touching them in the wrong places because it’s mommy’s and daddy’s job to keep them safe”. Dr Yashashree says that it’s a simplified version but easier for younger children to understand and the parents to explain.
By informing children about this, we are teaching them how to identify these ‘red flags’ when it comes to a bad stranger.
Identifying safe strangers and dangerous people
Many experts believe that children have an intuition that allows them to distinguish between dangerous and safe strangers, but parents can also help their children strengthen this ability. By the time they reach adulthood, most people master the art of dealing with strangers, but it’s something that should be taught to young ones too. We can always explain to kids that a safe stranger will not do certain things like get uncomfortably physically close, ask them to keep something from their parents, hurt them or make them uncomfortable in any way.
Parents can always fall back on ‘good-touch Vs bad-touch’ and ask their kids to report it immediately.
Identifying actions that pose risks
While we have established bad touch as a red flag informing them about other such things is also important, while stating the reasons as to why they can prove dangerous.
- Eating substances offered by a total stranger
- When a stranger seems to follow him/her on a daily basis
- When a stranger strikes a random conversation with them
- An unfamiliar person asks them to go somewhere
Teaching kids that all the above actions are a sign of danger is extremely important
Phone and Cyber Bullying
Bullies and mean girls have been around forever, but technology has now given these bullies a whole new platform for their actions
and hence teaching kids cyber bullying means is really important. But it’s not always easy to know how and when to step in as a parent. For starters, most kids use technology differently than we do. They’re playing games online and sending texts on their phones being constantly connected to the internet. Today it is of utmost importance that we inform kids about cyberbullying from an early age so that they do not fall prey to these activities. Ensure to communicate to them that they can come to you for help if anything is inappropriate, upsetting, or dangerous takes place.
As per the anti cyber bullying laws in India these activities are considered to be dangerous…
- Posting any kind of humiliating content of the victim
- Hacking the victim’s account
- Sending or posting vulgar messages online
- Threatening to commit acts of violence- over phone or internet
- Stalking by means of calls, messages, etc..
- Threats of child pornography.
Dr Poudwal, an eminent Psychiatrist in Mumbai maintains that talking to children and explaining them the repercussions of these activities can be a really good way to help them understand the tenacity of these situations. As far as kids under the age of 10 are concerned parental control and following some simple things like keeping the computer in a common area of the house is the best way to deal with the same.
Asking for help
The last step that every kid should be taught is how to ask for help and when in any need police officers/uniformed people in their city are the best strangers that can be approached for help at any time of the day.
Speak to children about what a police officer is and what he or she does. Teach the students about how police help the community and fight crime. Make sure to teach the children that police officers are good and that children should not be afraid of them.
We hope that you have really gained a lot of insight into the article and have been benefitted by the same.
Keep on educating your kids,