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How To Talk To Your Child About Online and In-Person Stranger Danger

online and in-person stranger danger

While we as parents should be talking with our kids often about stranger-danger, it’s a subject that is often overlooked or dismissed as scary or as a difficult conversation to have.

Many parents rely on the school system to help educate their kids about imminent danger, both online and offline. Professionals encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open and talk with their children often about the dangers of befriending new people in-person and online.

This article provides tips on how to get this most important conversation started. Don’t stop there. Make it a topic of conversation often. Don’t think kids will know it all the first time the subject of stranger danger comes up.

How To Talk To Your Child About Online and In-Person Stranger Danger

Let’s start with the beginning.

Ask the School What They are Teaching and When

Know what the schools are teaching your child about sex, human trafficking, cyber security, human trafficking, abuse, self defense and more. Be aware what they are teaching, at what age, and what might be missing from this line up.

If you know your child has sex ed for a semester, lean in on that and have your own talk with your child. If the school is offering a self-defense class during PE, aks your child to demonstrate some moves and ask them when they should use self defense. Build upon what your child already knows about stranger danger and online danger to star the conversation.

Be Clear, Honest to the Point

Don’t go into too many details when talking about difficult subject. Be clear, honest and get to the point quickly.

Use Easy to Understand Words

At the same time, use easy to understand words and a vocabulary that matches their age. Don’t use hard to understand words unless you are willing to repeat yourself over and over. Explain things in simple ways.

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Encourage The Kids To Ask Questions

Take time to listen: Once you’ve explained something about stranger-danger or cyber security, stop to listen. Ask the kids if they have any questions!

Make It an Ongoing Conversation

Talking about stranger danger and online predators is not a one-and-done conversation! Use news stories are a catalyst to bring it back up and to continue the conversation. Let your children read news stories that talk about cyber security, human trafficking, especially if the cases are about kids meeting strangers online. Talk about what went wrong.

Use Examples of What Can Go Wrong

Use real life examples to talk to kids about what can go wrong. Being abducted, opening the door for strangers, meeting someone online who is not who they say they are. Trusting strangers. Don’t ever lay the blame with the kids: always make sure your child knows to come to you with concerns for themselves or a friend.

Talk Not Just About What to Do, But Also About What NOT to Do

It’s easy to say “do this, do that”, but be sure to emphasize what NOT to do! Especially if you talk about using technology to keep kids safe: talk about using security cameras, an alarm system and the importance of phone tracking and being in touch with family members at all times.

Be in the Non-Judgement Zone

No matter what stories you read online about kids being kidnaped, hurt or deceived, don’t judge them in front of your child. Your child needs to know they can come to you even if they’ve made a mistake!

Keep Your Door Open For Follow up Questions

Last but not least – always, always, always keep your door open for follow up questions! Kids are curious and might need clarification. Stranger danger and the danger online predators pose won’t disappear just because you’ve mentioned them to your child. As your child grows into their teenage years, continue education them about these topics.

Arm your child with knowledge, confidence and self-defense tactics!

Heather of Strand Security teaches self-defense classes to kids, teens and adults on the Grand Strand. Email heather@strandsecurity.com for details, and check out Myrtle Beach Self Defense today!

Call Strand Security in Myrtle Beach at 843-318-6392

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