Protecting Children From Predators: Essential Steps to Ensure a Happy, Safe Childhood

As a parent, you try to keep your children safe from all forms of harm. No one likes to think about the dangers lurking online and in our neighborhoods, but it’s always better to be prepared. If you are a guardian, teacher, or parent, you have to know how to protect children from predators. 

Some child predators are very smart, and their tactics are very clever and deployed over a long period of time. Children can also be easily tricked into a false sense of security, even after being taught about “stranger danger”. 

Many of the tips our parents gave us are obsolete today as the world has changed dramatically since we were young. 

How to Protect Children From Predators 

There will always be predators and nefarious people that want to do your children harm – and they may not look or act in a way that you expect. In many cases, both parents and children are groomed by the predator, which is why you need to remain vigilant. Protecting children from predators always starts with educating yourself and your children. 

Don’t Focus on Stranger Danger

It’s important to tell children to stay away from strangers, but it’s important to explain exactly what a stranger is. Predators know that parents warn children not to trust people they don’t know, which is why they would approach a child in a friendly way and say that they are friends, neighbors, or co-workers of the parents. That can be all it takes for a child not to see someone as a stranger. Explain to your child that it doesn’t matter whether or not they recognize the person or whether they seem nice or not. They should never leave with someone (even a friend of the family) unless they are given express permission by their parents. 

Don’t Overshare

Mommy blogs and influencer Instagram accounts have normalized sharing every detail about your life with total strangers. It’s important to keep your child safe from predators by not sharing their real names and details about their school, friends, or teachers online. These details can be used to build trust with a child over time and even track their location. Some parents make a policy not to share their children’s images online either. It’s a good idea to carefully check who can see and follow your personal social media accounts and to stay as private as possible to protect your child from predators. 

Teach Children That Adults NEVER need their help

Keeping child safe from predators means educating her or him about boundaries and tactics predators may use. Teach children that adults never need help from kids and that it’s wrong for them to ask them to help them with a sick puppy or to carry something to their car. If they are approached and asked to help, they should fetch an adult right away. We may never know how to keep kids safe from predators altogether, but we can give them tools to protect themselves at all times. 

Use Code Words

Share a code word phrase or emoji that kids can use to confirm that a parent is allowed to pick them up from school. Similarly, if your child is at a playdate or sleepover and feels uncomfortable for any reason, they should text you a random emoji to let you know. This will act as a code for you to make up an excuse to fetch them wherever they are. Children don’t want to offend or disappoint their friends, so make sure that you are the “bad guy” in the scenario. You can respond to the text by saying, “I see you didn’t do your chores before the sleepover like I asked – I’m sorry, but you’ve lost your privileges, I’m coming to get you.”

That way your child doesn’t have to tell their host that they are uncomfortable or scared. 

Now that you know how to protect children from predators, you have to keep learning and stay ahead. Always follow safety precautions and try to stay informed about the latest tactics. If you are concerned about another adult’s interest in your child’s life, use a platform like Radaris to look up their information. It’s a small step that can provide peace of mind.