John Cowan - Keeping Children Safe

Publish Date
Friday, 3 February 2017, 11:41AM

There are problems I wish didn’t exist, but they do. For example, predators and paedophiles. Without wanting to overstate the risk to make you and your children afraid to get out and enjoy life, you do need to put some layers of safety around your children, and safety messages inside their heads. Here are just a few tips.

Putting on a swimsuit is a very natural opportunity to explain which parts of their body are ‘private’ – no one (except a doctor with mum or dad present) should touch them wherever their swimsuit covers their body. Explain that it is okay to say, “No! I don’t like that!” even to an adult, if someone is doing something that doesn’t feel right to them. Also, they should always tell mum or dad – assure them they won’t be in trouble.

Paedophiles can exploit a child’s innocent sense of loyalty by swearing them to ‘secrets’. Avoid having ‘secrets’ in the family – rather, have ‘surprises’. Give your children a family password. Practise what they should do if a stranger asks them to go with them without knowing the password.

Know where your children are at all times. Right through into the high school years they should check in with you – where they will be, with whom, and when they will be back.

There’s more you can do, but these are just a few basics. I hope these precautions are never needed, but just being hopeful isn’t enough!

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