- I AM THE BOSS OF MY BODY! Kids should understand that no one is allowed to touch them in any way that makes them feel disgusted, weird, or uncomfortable. And no one should try to play any kind of “touching games” with their Private Parts… not an adult, a teacher, preacher, counselor or another kid.
- I know my NAME, ADDRESS, & PHONE NUMBER and my parents’ names too. (Don’t forget: kids need to know their parents’ cell phone numbers!)
- Safe Grownups Don’t Ask Kids for Help!! (They go to other grownups if they need assistance).
- I never go ANYWHERE or take ANYTHING from someone I don’t know. Children should stay with their group of friends or classmate all the time, especially on field trips and outings. Even if they’re bored or restless, it’s not okay to go wandering off somewhere else.
- I must “CHECK FIRST” with grownups for permission: before they go anywhere, change their plans, or get into a car even if it’s with someone they know. If they can’t check first, then the answer is NO!
- Everybody’s bathing suit areas are PRIVATE.
- I don’t have to be POLITE, if someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. It’s okay to say NO… even to a grownup, if they have to. Don’t be overly insistent on enforcing our “culture of respect”, not all uncles, aunties, elders, etc. are safe for your kids. They don’t have to “help” anyone who approaches them needing assistance (directions, carrying packages, looking for lost pets, etc.). It’s OK to say “Sorry can’t help you today.” Asking a kid for help is one of the oldest tricks in the book!!
- I don’t keep SECRETS… especially if they make them feel scared or uneasy. (No adult should tell a child to keep a secret).
- If I ever get LOST in a public place, I can FREEZE & YELL or go to a Mom or Dad with Kids and ask for help.
- I will always pay attention to my Special Inner Voice, especially if I get an “uh-oh” feeling.
More Safety Rules…
A 12-Point Checklist for Parents & Kids to Review.
For everyone: Put out a vibe that says you’re not an easy target. DISTRACTION means “easy target” to a perpetrator. Every kid should know the following:
- No headphones in their ears, no talking on the phone or texting. A perpetrator has the upper hand if he can take them by surprise.
- Do a visual inventory & stay ALERT. Are there risky spots along their route: alleys, doorways, parking lots, empty lots or deserted buildings? If so, they should avoid whenever possible or be extra attentive if they must take that route.
- Disengage… “Cut the conversation” and MOVE ON. The longer they keep talking to someone who’s trying to get them to do something, the more likely they’ll eventually be able to talk them into it, which means: #5 below!
- Know Your Exist Strategy and GET OUT OF THE “Danger Zone” immediately. They should remove themselves from the perpetrator’s easy access once they get the chance. Change direction, cross the street; go into a nearby store or business.
- Have established “Safe-Stops” along the way where they can go quickly if they’re getting an “uh-oh” feeling from anyone. (Especially for kids who walk home from school every day!)
- Stay Out in the Open. No shortcuts through secluded areas where they cannot be seen.
- Go “Bananas”! If they’re grabbed or accosted, they should start yelling… “Help, This is not my parent.” Drop your belongings, run, and kick. Do whatever they need to do to call attention to themselves.
- Don’t Obey The Perpetrator! If someone says “don’t run/don’t yell” – they should RUN AND YELL. That perpetrator is actually telling them that if they RUN and YELL, chances are he’ll have to stop trying to victimize them.
- Never, ever get into a vehicle with someone they don’t know, or even with someone they know, unless they’ve gotten permission ahead of time from you, their parent. Sometimes a perpetrator is a stranger, but sometimes it can even be someone known to the family. A kid’s response should simply be: “Sorry, not allowed”.
- Have a “FAMILY CODE WORD”. If anyone (even someone they know) tells them they were sent to pick them up, ask for the CODE WORD. If that person doesn’t know it, it means they’re lying. Get away quickly.
- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. That “Uh-Oh Feeling” is the best barometer for letting them know something’s not right. Don’t ignore it!
Tell your child clearly: YOU are my #1 priority… and I will always stand by you and believe you if you are scared or sad about any experience. You can tell me anything & I’ll support you. PARENTS: YOU HAVE TO LET YOUR KIDS KNOW AHEAD OF TIME THAT YOU HAVE THEIR BACKS, NO MATTER WHAT.
Remember: practice makes perfect. Go over the safety rules and scenarios time and again. Keep the dialogue light but clear.