Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members, and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. The primary motive for non-family abductions is sexual. Each year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions, taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the intent to keep.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) wants to remind the public that National Missing Children’s Day is May 25th. The organization wants parents to know there are things they can do to keep their children safer and it urges parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about their safety. NCMEC has produced these safety tips as a part of its Take 25 national child safety campaign.
Everyday activities like coloring, playing games and singing songs provide the perfect opportunity to help teach kids about safety.
Map out the Neighborhood
Choose a sunny day to take a stroll with your child through your neighborhood, pointing out the homes of trusted adults, as well as potential street hazards. When you get home, you and your child can draw a map based on what you’ve seen. Be sure to add the names and numbers of neighbors your child can contact if you can’t be reached, and safe places to go if he or she needs help.
Have a Puppet Show
If you have a younger child, you can use favorite puppets or stuffed toys to communicate important safety rules. Sometimes children may say something or respond differently to a puppet or doll than to you. Listen carefully to how they interact, and be prepared to respond. If your child enjoys crafts, you can create characters using lunch bags, paper plates or socks.
Engage in Role-Play Games
Use "what if" scenarios to help children think of how they would respond to potential dangerous situations, such as "What if the school bus is late?" or "What if someone comes to the door when I’m not home?"
For games, rhyming songs and activities that help kids learn about safety, visit www.NetSmartz.org.
Teach them about password protection
Give students guidelines for creating a strong password, advising them to:
• Make it at least 8 characters long
• Use a random mix of letters, numbers, and special characters
• Avoid using words and names
For a group exercise, come up with a password like "brit2009cougars" and explain why it is too revealing. ("Brit" could be short for Brittany, “2009” speaks to her graduating class and age, and “cougars” could be the mascot for the school she attends.) Then, have students create their own passwords. Talk with them about how no one but their parents or guardian should know their password.
… Find out more at http://www.take25.org/page.asp?page=68
To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its web site at www.missingkids.com.