When talking to young children about strangers who could pose a threat to them, parents should strike a balance between taking precautions and avoiding being over-protective.
Stranger danger is the awareness communicated to children that sometimes people you do not know may have the intention to harm you.
In recent months, an eight-year-old disappeared from a wedding party she was attending with her parents in the French Alps. Maelys de Araujo’s fate remains unknown after she was last seen in the early hours of August 27.
Police have charged a local man, who was at the wedding, with kidnapping though the suspect denies involvement.
Although such cases of stranger danger raise alarm and fear, most abductions usually involve people who are familiar with the child, says Ms Christina Teh, a lecturer in the diploma course for early childhood education at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
The adage about never talking to strangers may be counterproductive.
Ms Teh says: “It would be impossible to identify all ‘bad’ and ‘good’ strangers. It is important not to frighten children unnecessarily as we also want them to be sociable individuals.”
Here we offer some tips for parents on ways to address the issue with their children.