Introduction by Marc Klaas
Every parent who tells their child, “Don’t talk to strangers,” is performing a disservice that probably causes more harm than good. A confining and negative declaration based on bad information, it is a holdover from a time of limited awareness. Only 14% of sexual offenders are strangers to their victims, and for male victims under age twelve, 40% of offenders were family members compared with 47% of the offenders of females under age twelve. “Don’t talk to strangers” sends a mixed message to children who watch us consistently converse with strangers, and it eliminates viable safety options such as women, police officers in uniform or other children, to name but a few, for endangered children. Click here to see an interview with Marc about this.
- I will always tell my parents where I am going and when I’ll be home and return home before dark.
- I will always play or go places with at least one other person - NOT alone.
- I know my body belongs to me. I will trust my feelings. I will say NO and run away from a situation that doesn’t feel right.
- There are certain kinds of strangers that can assist me when I need help. For instance: mothers with children, other children, police in uniform or store clerks in the mall.
- I will walk and play at places my parents said were OK. I will avoid shortcuts or alleys.
- I will not allow adults to trick or force me into going places or doing things like; help find pets, carry packages, take pictures, play games, or take drugs with them. I will always check with my parents first.
- I will not accept candy, money, gifts or rides from any adult without my parent’s permission.
- I will always lock my home and car doors. I will not tell anyone that I am home alone.
- I will learn to dial 911. I will learn to use the pay phone without money. I will learn my address and phone number.
- I will always walk against traffic on the sidewalk.
- Maintain current ID, including photograph, video and fingerprints.
- Maintain current addresses and phone numbers of your children’s friends.
- It is important to keep all doors and windows locked.
- Do not advertise your child’s name on clothing, school supplies or backpacks.