Sometimes, parents have to have uncomfortable conversations with their children, but these conversations are vital to keeping your children safe. The only problem you have is figuring out how to bring subjects like sex trafficking up to your children. The following guide will help you teach your kids about this sensitive subject.
One thing you have to talk to your children about is body safety. Teach your kids about inappropriate touching. You don’t have to be graphic, and you don’t have to talk about sex to teach your kids about this. Just be sure to let them know what body parts shouldn’t be touched. Tell your kids it’s okay to follow their gut feelings in these situations. If they feel something is not right, they should try to get away from this person right away. Often, children who are not taught about what is inappropriate behavior won’t be able to recognize when an adult is getting too close to them. Parents may feel awkward explaining to a child what is okay and not okay, but giving them this basic understanding of personal space and inappropriate behavior can help them recognize when they are in a dangerous situation.
It’s important to make the distinction between girls and boys. The reality is girls are more likely to be in danger of kidnapping than boys. Of course, they both need to know the danger exists, but one is in more danger, and that is based on human trafficking facts. Talk to your girls, and make sure they understand they could be a target. Teach your children to watch out for each other and to avoid strangers whenever possible. If you have a young daughter, this could be a great opportunity for you to have an honest conversation about gender equality and the dangers posed to women in the world, both in caution and encouragement to stay safe and overcome obstacles she may face. This doesn’t have to be a scary or difficult conversation, but it will be an important one to have with your daughter.
Human traffickers use the internet to prey on young children. This is the reason you need to take steps to ensure your kids are safe when they’re online. You can teach your kids not to give out personal information online, like where they go to school or the route they like to take to go back home. Keep the computer and other devices in the common areas of your home so that you can keep an eye on your kids. There are also safety apps you can consider for your child’s devices. You should keep in mind that some apps like YouTube Kids, don’t have ad filters to block mature ad content on their platforms. Internet safety is becoming more and more prevalent as human trafficking numbers increase globally, it is more important now than ever to make sure your children are being safe online.
Make sure you always track your kids. Parents have several tools available to them that make tracking much easier. Sure, you need to know your children’s friends, and you should still know phone numbers, but you can also use GPS technology. You can have kids wear smart wearables that help you track your kids at all times. Some of these wearables look like everyday jewelry, like a cute bracelet. Let your kids know why they need to wear these at all times. Tracking your children may seem to some to be invasive of their privacy, particularly if you are dealing with teens, but the reality is people of all ages can be victims of human trafficking. Make a deal with your teens to turn on Find My Friends or another tracking app, agree to respect their privacy as long as they agree to keep it on for emergencies.
The Friendly Group
You need to tell your kids to stay with a group of friends instead of being alone. Sure, some kids like to be alone every so often, and that’s okay at home, but there’s strength in numbers when you’re out. Try to get your kids to understand that being with a group of kids can help keep them safe. Kidnappers know they have to do this act quickly, so they will target a child who’s alone rather than one that’s in a group. Teach your children which adults to trust and what to do when they are approached by a stranger in public.
Explaining the Danger
You are going to have to explain the danger. Explaining sex trafficking can be a little challenging for parents who don’t want to be graphic. The good thing is you don’t have to be. What you can talk about is how your kids might be forced to do something they don’t want to do. You can explain to them that people may try to take them away from their home and family. Explain to them that strangers are not always nice. These are ideas that children can understand. Helping them understand the danger is important because it makes them more receptive to your lessons.
Teach to Tell
Your kids must understand they can talk about this with you and with adults they trust. If a child’s space is invaded or if someone touches your children inappropriately, your children should feel comfortable enough to tell someone about the incident. It doesn’t matter who the abuser is; your children should tell you even if it’s someone they know. You want to encourage your children to talk to you about any questions they may have. If you build this level of comfort, they will feel freer to share other things with you like sexual abuse.
You can teach your kids about human trafficking smartly and sensitively. The older your kids are, the more specific you can be, but always stay within your level of comfort.