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Why Stranger Danger Is Not Always the Case?

Why Stranger Danger Is Not Always the Case?
There’s a pervasive, widely known term that kids have been growing up listening - “stranger danger.” Parents, guardians, school teachers and even the media have been using this term to educate young kids about the potential dangers that unknown individuals pose before them. The term tries to convey a simple advice to kids - “Never talk to strangers.” It’s just like the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” that we have lately come to teach kids after becoming aware of the rising prevalence of child sexual abuse.
But the catch lies in determining how well kids understand it and how dedicatedly adults practice it. Believe it or not, teaching kids the concept of stranger danger hasn’t helped the way like how we expected it to. Most children may not interpret it correctly—something that many child safety experts have come to believe in recent times. They believe that it’s time that adults change the way they teach their kids how to be safe. That’s because of the following reasons:
1. Not all strangers are dangerous
The term “stranger danger” is like a seed of distrust planted in children towards strangers in general. The fact is, not all strangers have an intent to kidnap, abuse or murder children. For children, the term “stranger” may mean anybody other than their parents, guardians, teachers or anybody they know. But there are times when children need the help of these “strangers,” such as a grocery store owner or a police officer. As such, teaching “stranger danger” to kids makes it difficult for these young minds to trust anybody and ask for help.
2. Kidnappings don’t always happen
Adults teach kids about stranger danger to make them aware of the possibility of abduction by unknown people. That’s because there’s this general culture of fear prevailing among adults; they think children are abducted in large numbers every year. However, that’s actually not the case. While there are child molesters and kidnappers lurking around here and there, the number of cases has fallen as compared to the past. In fact, many among the missing children have run away from home.
3. The perpetrator may be someone children already know
In a huge chunk of child molestation cases, the perpetrator is somebody children already know. It can be a friend, relative, caregiver, or an immediate family member. Child molesters and kidnappers are unseen monsters for parents, but the truth is that these monsters are sometimes within the same space as the children. So, just telling children not to interact with strangers is does more harm to children because it renders them incapable of forging a trust-based relationship with others as adults.
So, instead of teaching kids about dangerous strangers, adults can teach them about bodily safety. They should teach them about body parts and physical boundaries at a tender age so that kids can understand how to spot dangerous people and situations and know how to protect themselves.