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Stranger Danger too silly?
Stranger Danger! Stranger Danger!
"Don't talk to strangers," is often what parents tell their children to warn them of the bad that is out in the world hoping it is enough. Sometimes it is not enough. Children are being taught the wrong thing. They need to know the danger out there and not just what adults soften up for them. While schools have programs such as Stranger Danger to help protect your children by informing them of what could happen. These children are someone's daughter, son, sister or brother. They have a family too. When a child is taken it effects not just the kid itself but the family and the community as a whole. Between the parents of children and the schools the children attend, all that is left to say is, Is there such thing as too much softening of these programs? Does it really work? And who are these strangers they warn this generation about? Are children safe, or could there be something better out there for them to learn?
As the program describes a stranger is anyone you do not know and they can be men, women, and even teenagers. The program makes it seem that strangers are the only kind of people who take children. There is a difference between a person you meet and isn't going to hurt you and a kidnapper. Kidnappers are criminals and have been named kidnappers for a reason.
Unfortunately they look just like everyone else. I can remember as a child walking through a park, skipping merrily and sometimes stopping to look at a sign with a man wearing a black trench coat hiding behind a silhouetted tree. This is how they portrayed the evil people to run away from. This is what they taught me when I was young and small. That was all I could remember other then the cheesy videos about made up situations with actors to see what kind of things could happen. Even the coloring books were silly looking, completely taking a serious matter and making a fool of it. It is as if they wanted us to not take it seriously when we were kids.
Kidnappers are nothing to joke around with they are completely dangerous and they are not as blunt as simply saying "Hey can I kidnap you?" These individuals use rouses and trickery to attract children to them, gaining trust while separating them away from everyone nearby. The most common and heard of these tricks, ones we have all been told about one time or another by either parents or other adults. The Candy rouse is often goes as they want to know if you want candy ,and its in their van or car you have to follow them to receive some. Another small example of a rouse known is the lost dog routine saying that they lost their precious dog, and if you would follow them back to "look" for it wherever they "lost" the dog. These acts are used to isolate and control the situation. Criminals like these are not unintelligent on the contrary they are smart and are able to plan, meaning that children should take the time and think what would they do if this ever happened to them?
In all fairness the way they teach children at schools about kidnappers or strangers such as those you hear about on the local news all the time can be a little beneficial. The stranger danger program uses a entertaining and fun way to teach young children, which could help in remembering important facts. Facts do not always cut it when you need to know what to do in a split second. True silly and exciting doesn't always tell you how scary the world really is, or how dangerous these people are,but adults do have a right to allow their children to participate or not in certain events at school with permission slips. Programs such as Stranger Danger uses a character in costume, such as a trench coat. The actors hide behind a trees waiting for you and then jump out with a loud 'Boo'! Unlike in real life where kidnappers don't actually look like that. They come and ago in age and appearance. They do not usually act childish and silly with their rouses. Though it is understandable that adults do not want to scare the young generation, but does this prepare them at all for what might not even happen? Personally I agree with the saying, "Better safe then sorry."
In the real world though, it is nothing like the coloring book or the videos they show you. It doesn't just happen to one child every year it happens to many children not only across the United States but all over the world. By cushioning this generation of children, we are not giving them the needed lessons to protect themselves. With more crime causes more fear and when these children grow up they will cushion these programs even more for the next generation. Exposing them to criminals and making them more vulnerable to these kidnappers.
Another thing these kidnappers can be more than someone you don't know. It is only one piece of the puzzle of the many different kinds of people who take children. The program focuses on the people children don't know, and it is better than nothing. But that exposes children, making them more vulnerable to potenial kinappers who children might know more and see everyday. These people you probably trust more and see everyday, a neighbor who looks exactly like everyone else, and you probably believe maybe that they are not capable of such a crime.
* According to the U.S. Department of Justice every forty seconds, another child becomes missing or lost.
* " Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victim or "family kidnapping" (49 percent), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or "acquaintance kidnapping" (27 percent), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or "stranger kidnapping" (24 percent). "
* 70% of Stranger Kidnapping victims were taken from outdoor areas like parks and playgrounds, and 7% were taken from public buildings like shopping malls.
The fact that a kidnapping can happen anywhere. If it happened to someone you might know could you imagine the pain and loss that the families of the victims. Knowing some of these criminals were never caught in the process for justice? Families who have gone through the pain of losing a child, a sister or brother know exactly what it is like, and can feel the pain and hope each day their missing family member will show up on the doorstep. Pain that has happened to their family, and many remaining family members blame themselves. They hope that maybe, just maybe, that their child will come back to them safe and sound. Families who have lost someone due to a kidnapping sometimes never find their family member and never even know what happened to them. A roller coaster of emotions from hope to depression you could not be imagine or understand unless you have felt each of them.
The saying Stranger Danger is incomplete because there is more danger then just people you do not know. To help educate this generation of children about these people might just be as simple as changing the way they are taught. A possibility that does not include a comedic stranger jumping out behind trees and coloring books.
Replacing it with a proper education video that is simple and to the point. A video about who and what these people are capable of, preparing this generation to be able to lead the next and continue the chain. Making the videos less childish and still just as interesting, but not silly could greatly improve the chance of keeping the attention span of young children. With the videos you can change them depending on what grade level of the children you are showing it to. That way they can understand and be able to comprehend but not be bored with the low level words of the video.
With the programs like stranger danger that come around in schools , you could add self defense in the physical education program keeping the kids strong and in top physical condition while having a game plan for their future and it just might happen that they wont need it in the future. Having both sports and self defense in the physical education program can give them even ground and stimulation keeping them intrigued.
Given the chance children could and might use the opportunity of using it. If it was included in the public school curriculum that way people with less money than others could still give their children the opportunity as everyone else.
School's are not to blame alone and neither are the Stranger Danger programs or the parents of this generation. The Stranger danger are just trying to help the smaller kids but showing teenagers the same video you would show a third grader does nothing but benefit neither. Adults who do not warn their children about the world outside their house are just as much to blame. Children look up to schools and family to help them learn how to make their mark in the world and personally I think no family wants to be another statistic of children who have been kidnapped.
These programs are soft and funny to keep children interested in them enough to remember the video but not really think about what it meant. Like reading the ending of a book and not the beginning. With theses programs they could make new ones that are more serious and maybe for physical education classes offer more than just sports or running maybe a couple times a week introduce some self defense specially to children certain appealing ages to Kidnappers like small children and teenagers. With little changes you can change a lot by preparing children for what might not happen but its better than trying to think of what you could have done before they are gone and how many children that go missing does it take to change something.