The Importance of 'Stranger Danger' Devastatingly Demonstrated

There's a video that every parent needs to see, even though it will send shivers down their spine. In a social experiment conducted in America, a man asks parents in a public playground if he can test their child's knowledge of the rule 'never go with strangers', having first received an assurance that their child knew the rule, and would be unlikely to disobey it.


Every parent in the video is proved to be wrong. Every child in this video does the exact opposite of what their own parent and you, as a parent, hope they would do. Armed only with a cute dog and a playful demeanour, Joey approaches their child and within just a few moments leads them away hand in hand from the crowded playground, their parent, and safety.

It's truly frightening just how easy it was for Joey - a complete stranger who the child might have, at best, seen talking to the parent for thirty seconds beforehand - to win over the child in every case. What can be done to minimise the danger that this might actually happen to a child?

When raising children, it's natural to teach them to be polite and respectful and to obey adults and those in positions of authority. Yet at the same time, they also need to be made to be aware of the dangers that some people may pose to them. And it's not just people completely unknown to them. There may be familiar faces - people your child sees every day - that you would not want them to trust enough to go somewhere alone with them.

How to help them navigate between being well-mannered and staying safe and out of danger? There is some very useful information on just this topic on the ReactNow.org website and, in particular, an article specifically about what to teach your child about strangers.

The guidance includes useful information such as:
  • not all strangers are bad and that, in fact, some strangers can be samaritans and the best people to talk to if a child finds they are alone or feels scared;
  • how important it is for children to understand who they can trust;
  • when it is appropriate to ask for help from people they don?t know;
  • how to help your children to recognise 'safe strangers' by pointing them out when you?re out and about; and
  • the importance of teaching your children to find public places to ask for help and to avoid dangerous areas and situations;
  • the 'No, Go, Yell, Tell' strategy that helps children to understand, recognise and react to bad situations.

Have you heard of the password technique? This is such a simple idea, but one that is justifiably gaining popularity and being widely shared on Facebook and other social media. It?s as easy as it sounds. You just tell your children that they do not need to ignore people they do not know, but they must not engage in conversation with or go anywhere with anyone that does not tell them the 'special' word that only immediate family members know.

This article was created in collaboration with Sunny-D. Find out more about activities with kids on their website.
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