Nearly every day we read or see something on the news of a child missing or kidnapped. It's scary how often we now hear about these things and having social media in front of us at all times makes it even worse because those news headlines stare at us as we scroll through our newsfeeds.
Being a parent is hard, scary and worrisome. I don't think any mother can say that they don't worry about their child and I'm sure it's true that we worry even more when our child isn't in our own care. Whether our children are going to the movies with grandparents, hitting the arcade with school friends or browsing down aisle 3 in the grocery store while you're on aisle 23 - not having your child near you puts a fear in us no matter what. No matter how old they are, I'm sure that fear is there; the hope of safe return is always there.
I was shocked recently to learn that majority of kidnaps are committed by a family member. Yes, you read that right. Granted sometimes these may be messy custody issues, but still...a kidnapping is a kidnapping. Approximately 203,000 kidnaps are committed by family members, 58,000 kidnaps are committed by close acquaintances and 115 kidnaps a year are committed by a stranger. That last number shocked me honestly since I just assumed MORE kidnappings were committed by strangers than that!
My four year old recently went to the movies with her grandmother and I decided it was a good time to really have the stranger danger talk. I had done this some before, but not quite as in depth. I told her a few key things 1) NEVER walk away from the person you are with just because someone calls you or says they have something to show you 2) A person who asks you to come get candy, go pet a kitty, etc...is trying to trick us 3) Always hold the hand of the person you are with 4) If someone is trying to take you scream and fight as LOUD as you can 5) If you get lost, find a mommy with kids or find a worker
I then drilled her and asked her what she'd do in different scenarios to which she answered correctly each time. I felt better having this discussion and still bring it up when she is going somewhere without me or when we are going somewhere with lots of people. It scares me to death to think about the "what could happens..."
I believe that speaking to your children at an early age is key to making sure that they understand the dangers that can take place any time, any place. I can sit here all day and talk about how we need to be mindful and not distracted as parents, but I think the majority of us know this. So instead, I thought I'd share some statistics to help you more aware of what's out there, how it happens and how to prevent it.
- Summer months, June-August, see the highest precent of kidnappings whether family or non family abductions
- 53% of abductions happened between 3:30pm - 10pm
- 45% of abductions took place on a Friday or Saturday
- Seasonal holidays have a slight increase in abductions
- Common lures for kidnapping include bribery, pretending to be in distress, pretending that the child's parent (YOU) are in trouble, name lures (stemming form monogramming bags and the like), animal lures, social media, gaming and authority figures (someone in a uniform)
It goes without saying that our time and era poses a whole new threat because of the digital age. For the longest we rarely posted photos of our children on our personal Facebook pages, but seriously, someone can find a photo anywhere I'm sure. However as a blogger and social media influencer, I do usually take off face photos of my kids that go on my public accounts or I watermark over their sweet, little faces. Please be mindful of your children and the Internet. Young and vulnerable minds are the perfect bait for the crazies out there!
Want to keep your kids safe? We all do. I think it is every parents main goal in life probably. I want to share this amazing site with you, KidGuard, where you can learn and read about SO many startling statistics, ways to prevent kidnappings and what to do should the unfortunate event arise. This site breaks it down to who to contact and how to work with authorities. I highly recommend bookmarking this page to use a reference should the event ever arise or even if you're traveling out of the country (there's some handy info on that as well!).
What is KidGuard? Probably something that EVERY parent needs! KidGuard is the #1 call monitoring and cell phone/message/gps tracker. It's goal is to allow parents to keep an eye on what is going on in the virtual world of their children as well as providing a means to track a phone in the event that a child is missing. What I love about this is that cyber bullying scares the heck out of me. I have two young girls and I can only imagine who cruel kids may be by the time they are in school. Cyber bullying really scares me and I think a tool such as this is a great way to keep track of things on your young, adolescent teens that still need a parent's watchful eye over them.
Thanks so much for reading, and tell me...how do you speak to your little ones about stranger danger? Share your tips and advice below!