Each year, thousands of children are reported being missing. There are effective ways that you can do to keep your children safe from these predators.
As the parent and the most trusted person that they know of, you have to make their world a very safe place as much as you can. Never ever leave any of your children alone, even for a very short moment, especially when they are still young.
You need to be well-informed as to what's taking place in your child's life. Learn how to listen to your children in order to notice if they’re talking about anyone else who just recently existed in their world.
Create a list of procedures that needed to be followed strictly on certain things like going to and coming from school and other activities. Inform your children where to go if they don’t feel safe like a trusted neighbor's home or a police station. They should also know where things are located, or where to run or drive in case of challenging situations so that they will be able to make the best decisions in case of emergencies.
Monitor your children’s whereabouts. Inform your kids that adults who need help should not be asking any child for help, instead they should be asking other adults. Explain to your children that adults should never approach kids telling them that one of their loved ones is in great trouble and that they will take you to them. This is simply a kidnapping tactic. Children should never be asked for directions from strangers or try to help them to look for their “lost kitten or puppy”. Usually they use these cute animals to lure young kids to their trap. They need to learn how to instantly get away from anyone who tries to grab them and take them somewhere. They can quickly scream or yell for help so that people will notice them and can instantly receive the needed help.
Teach safety tips that young kids should know. Every child must know his or her name, address and telephone number, parents’ first and last names (their cellphone or smartphone numbers too for older kids). They should know that these are personal information and can only be disclosed during emergencies. They need to know how to call 9-1-1 for help as well as local phone calls. Little ones should avoid wearing backpacks and clothes displaying their names. A stranger can easily call your child and make up stories that he or she knows your kid including the whole family.
Create your own code word together with your child in case of emergency. For example, if you send a trusted friend or close family member to pick up your child, the kid will ask for that particular code first without getting inside the vehicle and in this way, it's safe to go with the adult if the code will be correct.
Children should be well instructed not to get inside any vehicle unless their parents personally tell them to do so. They should learn to stay away from anyone who follows them on foot or through a vehicle. They should also avoid being near any vehicle to talk to anybody inside. Parents should never ever leave children alone inside a vehicle, not even for a few seconds. Some parents think that it’s fine to leave their vehicle with people around just to pay inside gas pump stations while the engine is running but this is one of the worst ways because anybody can easily walk up to your vehicle, get into the driver’s seat and speed away with your kids inside.
Children should be taught not to panic in case of situations like this, instead, they have to think clearly without fear. Avoid making them paranoid, talk to them in a calm way to prepare them in case of situations like this happens. Talking about safety in a calm manner and openly without fear will make them emotionally strong every day.
Children should be taught to never go places by themselves. They should always ask their parents’ permission if they want to leave the house, yard or play area before going over to someone else’s home. They should also need to always ask permission prior going into someone else’s home.
Teach your kids that no one should ask them to keep a special secret. Advise your kids that no one has the right to take pictures or videos of them without their knowledge and permission. If someone is doing this to them, they have to tell their parents for their own safety. If you feel that your kids have been targeted or are being stalked, report this information immediately to law enforcement authorities.
Parents should instruct their kids the things that they can never do. For example, they can never get in any vehicle with a stranger. They can never let someone swear them to have secrecy and they can never go to any location with someone they don't know.
If there are clear “don’ts” and “nevers” coming directly from parents, children will learn how to decide well by themselves and will be cautious and careful to not allow somebody to place them in harm's way. Strict procedures should be followed by kids when parents will pick them up from school or at friends' homes, and among other places. It’s important to talk to your children about child abduction in a non-threatening way and in a simple manner.
Parents need to listen and observe their children especially when they talk about someone that they have recently spoken to or met without you being there. Talk openly to them about safety and encourage your kids to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone or anything makes them feel uncomfortable or frightened. Explain about security issues with them so that they will understand the need for precautions. Older children should know about the steps they can take to help safeguard themselves. Know well your children’s friends and their families. Teach your kids that their body is special and private. Let them know that danger can be in any form or anyone that can invade their personal space and privacy.
Even how busy you are as a parent, it’s your obligation to listen and also observe your surroundings when you pick your kids up from the school or other places. You have to carefully scan the area and notice if there are people lurking anywhere or located in a weird way where they don't belong. Take note that many abductions are not completely random and these people still take time to prepare for it before they attack or abduct anybody.
Let your child act and practice that kind of yell where it can be loud and long enough so that the person trying to hurt the kid realize that he or she knows exactly what to do and will not become an easy target. In this way, that particular yell will inform everyone that the child really needs immediate help. It’s important to prepare the child in emergencies like this so that he or she will not panic nor freeze but can keep on going. It’s also important to practice by taking a deep breath, in order to get more oxygen and energy to the child’s brain and muscles before a powerful yell. This type of yell can give any kid determination and fearlessness in order to get both feet moving fast in running away. Kids should run away and scream if anyone will attempt to touch/grab them, or if a stranger offers them a ride.
You also need to check and listen to what your children are doing while on the internet. Many online predators try to play the games that young children play on the internet so that they can befriend them and ask for their personal information like their names and addresses.
There are online parental control software where parents can learn how to figure out how to check for passwords and lockdowns including access to where their kids had been surfing. Take note that online predators will try get a child’s trust over the internet before setting up their face-to-face meeting offline.
Parents need to teach children to never give any information over the homephone, smartphone or cellphone including their names, age and address, or any personal info. Older kids should avoid wandering off, especially in lonely and deserted places. Doors and windows in the house should be locked and only admit trusted and authorized people into the house.
You can install a good alarm system in your home with monitoring features. Access points like gates front or back should be secured as well. Exterior lighting installation around your home can also help provide safety. Your home should be fully secured before you go to sleep and have a plan in advance in case if an intruder tries to get inside.
You can allow your children to participate as part of securing the home too. Show them how doors and windows will be locked for the installed alarm system. This will help calm their fears knowing that you’re concerned for their safety too.
There are certain rules if parents’ hire baby-sitters for their children. Parents should never allow the sitter to admit any stranger into their home. The sitter is not there to have a company to talk to but to do the work that has to be done. Parents’ should leave a number to the sitter of where they are in case of emergency. A close and trusted relative or neighbor should be easily reached as well.
You should do a background screening and reference checks on everyone who works at your home, especially the person who cares for your kids. Take note that the longer they work for your family, the more they know the whereabouts of each family member too, so make sure that you have an equivalent understanding of them as well. Be sure to take extra steps to secure personal information about yourself and be careful about personal possessions including your family’s information.
Firmly instruct the sitter that any phone use is for emergency only, and never for chatting with friends or relatives while he or she is working. You can also leave this number for the local law enforcement agency and inform the sitter to call it immediately if there are any unusual commotion or signs of suspicious activity that he or she can observe.
Having a plan, like a list of emergency contact numbers that are easily accessible is a good thing. In case of emergency, the first number on the list should be 911, and the second should be for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: The Lost, (800) 843-5678. Take note that the first few hours after any abduction are the most crucial.
Make sure that the 911 database has the correct information about you especially your current address being listed correctly in the local 911 database. If you’re not sure, call your local police department to find out how they compile their 911 database. If their database contains an incorrect or old address, immediately request that your address be updated. Usually, authorities may ask that you put your request in writing so send it the earliest time possible so that in times of an emergency, you want law enforcement as well as paramedics to be able to find your family’s residence.
Prepare your children how to recognize danger. When somebody they don't know or don't trust who try to befriend them and asking them to do something they don't want to do, they should not panic but look for ways where they can find help in a calm way. Strangers can be anybody and they don’t need to look scary, weird or creepy. There are many children who are abducted because they trust these people and they can even be those very close family friends or acquaintances.
Your children should also be aware that nobody should touch them inappropriately or invade their personal space and privacy. Instruct your kids to self-protect especially if someone asks them to go to a location where they are not familiar with, even if they are being promised that this place is enjoyable with lots of kids and toys to play with. Teach your kids that they should always place themselves where there are many people around them to avoid being approached alone by a stranger.
Kids should know that it’s absolutely fine for them to say NO. They should never worry about being polite especially if they already feel something is wrong or are in danger. They have to be quick in moving to the opposite direction and at the same time scream and ask for help. You can practice this with your kids by asking them how they would react in particular situations like this. Test them what they would do if they are near at a school bus stop and a vehicle just suddenly pulls up offering them a free ride.
Build a strong communication with your children about anything that they don't feel comfortable talking about. This is so important and by simply listening to them, you’ll be able to know and feel if there is something wrong. Trust your instincts because it can save your kid’s life.
Parents should ensure school bus stop safety issues for their children. If you can’t give your kids a ride going to and coming from school every day, a trusted adult should be there to wait for your kids at school bus stops. Kids should be informed by their parents to never try to walk through those short cuts via alleys, woods, parks, or other areas where they could suddenly be alone.
Report any suspicious vehicle that will keep on roaming near schools or school bus stops. Memorize then write down the license plate number. You can give it to school and law enforcement officials. Tell your children to avoid near the bus stop and never allow themselves to even come close to from any vehicle that stops nearby.
Children should be instructed by their parents to run away from anyone pointing a weapon. Making a lot of noise, yelling, kicking, biting, just to avoid going along with the kidnapper because once your kids will be taken away, the chances of survival will suddenly decrease. No matter what the abductor says, kids should make a lot of noise and attract as much attention as they can.
Children should be instructed at a young age not to be afraid to tell their parents or any trusted adult if they feel threatened. They have to know that if they are victimized, it’s not their fault. This is something that they should never be ashamed of from their parents or trusted caregivers.
Kidnappers has many tactics to lure your children into their vehicles, and if this happens, you have to teach your kids to run the opposite way the vehicle is facing. In this way, it will force the abductor to turn around to chase the child. The victim can still run into a public place yelling for help that someone is trying to kidnap them. Even if the kidnapper points a gun at your child, it’s still better to run anyway because many kidnappers don’t want to draw any attention by firing a gun. If ever they will decide to shoot, then it’s better to be wounded and be left to get help from others than to go off with a kidnapper.
If your kid will be grabbed, he or she should know how to twist his or her whole body with all the strength and start screaming for help that he or she is being kidnapped. Most abductors will force kids into the front seat of a four-door vehicle and try to threaten them by telling them that if they escape, their loved ones will be killed. The child should not listen to the threats of the abductor but instead, always concentrate on escaping, for example, by instantly jumping into the back seat, open the rear door and run away.
Sometimes abductors take their victims into a store. If this will happen, victims should knock a lot of things down then start yelling and screaming that they have been kidnapped. There’s a great chance that the kidnapper will simply run and the victim will be free!
Avoid using a seatbelt as this can make the escape time slow. The child can also instantly grab the keys from the kidnapper’s car and throw them out the window so that he or she will not be able to take the victim in the place where he or she already prepared. The victim that’s already inside the car, should never eat nor drink anything what is given because this can contain drugs that can instantly make him or her sleep.
The kid can also step on the accelerator during traffic and in this way, the car can crash into the car in front of it, making it stop and create some chaos. This can make the kidnapper panic and a good way to escape because people will ask questions and the victim will be able to ask for help. Another way is to honk the horn and try to force the kidnapper to wreck the car.
Some kidnappers place their victims in the trunk of a car. If this happens, even kids should know how to look for the emergency trunk release lever, pull it and then get out. The victim can also pull out those tail light wires located on both sides of the trunk. In this way, these can draw attention to this particular vehicle once the stop lights don’t work. Concerned parents can also inform police officers that their kid had learned how to do this safety getaway procedure, so therefore, they’ll be watching for those vehicles with defective tail lights.
If the victim is held in the kidnapper’s house, he or she can flash the lights on the front porch off and on, signaling help. Always try to escape before it’s too late and take the opportunity to use a phone to call 911 and ask for help if possible.
Parents should discuss and explain these important things with their children. It’s the parents’ responsibility to teach them the information that they need to help them successfully escape should they be taken by an assailant. Proper information can truly save the life of any child.
Kidnapping can also start online. The dangers that kids face every day on the internet is growing. Predators are growing in numbers online, and some parents just have no time to sit beside their kids closely watching every keystroke and click that they make. If you are one of these parents, you can avail the “parental control software” that can keep a close watch instead. This type of software can record activities and block those materials that are unsafe for young audiences while still letting them take advantage of the great resources online.
In this way, as a parent, you can still have very specific controls over what you allow your children to look at online. Through the “parental control software”, you’ll be able to determine whether they will be able to access specific keywords, games and websites. Parents can easily block activities that can get children into dangerous situations with tools like instant message monitoring and file transfer blocking. Some of these software applications log keystrokes and will therefore send email messages if the child tries to access something that could be inappropriate or dangerous.
Look for parental software that compiles detailed records of your children's computer use. This will include screenshots, keyboard strokes, accessed websites and online searches. There are even software applications that can capture usernames and passwords for social websites like Twitter or Facebook. Check for software applications that are simple to install and manage. The best parental software will let you monitor your kids' internet behavior without them even knowing. Some advance features include easy password access and schedule monitoring times. Take note that the best parental control software is compatible with a range of mobile phones and operating systems.
Parental control software is a modern way to protect kids and this will also offer peace of mind to parents. Examples of excellent software applications include Net Nanny, WebWatcher and McAfee Safe Eyes. As parents, we must update ourselves too because the established ways that many of us lived by, during our childhood, will no longer apply in today’s modern world. But the most important of all, is that, parents should always know where their children are at all times, whom they’re with, never let them go places by themselves and let them feel that they are being loved.