I just finished watching the "stranger danger" episode of "The Parent Test" on Hulu and I had to give you all something better. They spent an entire episode on evaluating a parent's ability to keep a small child from opening a door to a stranger at home alone. First of all, THESE KIDS WERE TOO YOUNG TO BE HOME ALONE!!!
Second of all, of the 2300 child abductions/year in the US that they mentioned in the show 78% of them were by a non-custodial parent and 11% were by another family member. So 11% were by strangers.
Yes it happens. Yes it is a NIGHTMARE for those parents. But it is not the primary area of abuse we need to teach our children to worry about.
The people who are most likely to sexually abuse or kidnap our children are people who they know and trust (91% of all childhood sexual abuse happens at the hands of someone our children are familiar with). and 33% of those assaults are from other children.
This is why instead of teaching stranger danger, I teach my children to keep on the lookout for strange behavior.
1. Someone asking you to keep a secret
2. A grown up giving you special attention or gifts but not to your peers in the same way
3. A grown up or a peer intimidating you, putting you down, or making threats
4. If someone gives you creepy looks, touch, or comments
5. Anyone asking you to break a rule (esp a grown up)
6. Anyone doing any behavior that violates body safety rules (Esp Pressure to show or touch or see any genital or private areas of the body, or watch videos of any of those things)
I wish this wasn't a reality we had to prepare our children for, but right now it is. Train those little to be on the lookout and to know that they can tell you ANYTHING and you will figure out how to handle it and make sure it stops.