News

Actions

Rethinking the term 'stranger danger'

Posted at 4:32 AM, May 11, 2017
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children say it may be time for parents to "rethink stranger danger."
 
The group says the term "stranger danger" ignores the fact that most children are abducted by someone they know - and some strangers, like store clerks, police officers or other parents with kids are helpful.
 
Brittany Churukian lives in Pinellas County. She says her son Brady knows of at least one safe place outside of home. Publix, which is the store she works at.
 
Churukian is cautious - she doesn't take Brady to theme parks because of all the people and he isn't enrolled in daycare. She says when they go to the playground her eyes are planted on him, but she doesn't use the term stranger danger - partly because not all strangers are dangerous.
 
 
"So many people wear different disguises nowadays and it's so hard to tell if someone is good or bad," she said.
 
The organization encourages parents to tell their kids they need to get permission before they go anywhere with someone else, rather than telling them to stay away from people they don't know. Churukian says that was a rule her parents used.
 
"My parents for one always knew where we were. My brother and I were pretty good kids so we knew that if we didn't tell them where we were, we would get in some serious trouble," said Churukian.
 
The group also says don't tell your kids someone is bad just by looking at them - because some kids thing "strangers" are mean - the man asking for help finding his lost puppy may not be a "stranger" in their eyes.  
 
Instead, tell them to pay attention to what people do and if they start to feel uncomfortable, tell them to find you right away.
 
The group says parents should role play with their kids, practice scenarios with them, see how they react and then tell them the appropriate response.