"Don't talk to strangers."
These words have been standard training instructions given to kids for many generations. You would think that our kids have learned the lesson by now.
Sadly, a few videos have gone viral in recent days that show how careless children and teenagers can be. The filmmakers used hidden cameras and staged situations to show what real-life kids will do when lured by a predator. The results aren't very encouraging.
While these clips are disturbing to any parent, we should see them as incredible teaching tools. With my kids, I'm afraid that all my lectures don't fully communicate how vulnerable they can be when they are not guarded. In this day and age, a brief video can help drive home the message.
I have attached a few clips below. They can be easily used by parents as "role playing" tools with their kids. (Note: some are for young children; others are for teenagers.) Simply sit down and watch the videos with your kids and talk about what the kids did wrong. Let your kids share what they would do in a similar situation and why. Discuss how serious these issues are. Finally, give your kids coaching on what not to do.
Don't let the sun go down today before watching a few of these with your kids.
My 7 year old and I watched this one just yesterday and I feel like it drove home some good, safe practices better than ever before.
This one is terrific for illustrating how easy it is for a "bad guy" to lure a child into a vehicle.
This one shows how a predator might use something innocent (like a puppy) to lure a child away.
Watch this if you are concerned that your teens might be careless on social media. (This one is horribly troubling.)
This one can show your teenage girls how they need to diligently guard their drinks in social situations.
Don't assume that your kids know better. In almost every case in these videos, the parents were confident that their kids wouldn't do foolish things. In almost every case, the kids put themselves at risk.
Watch a few of these videos with your kids and further drive home the guidelines for "stranger danger" that you have been teaching them all these years.