Learning about trust and safety 

Children run into unknown people all the time – on the street, in stores and in the park. In most cases the people they meet are very nice.  However, there is also the chance they will come across people who are not, so it’s very important that children know how to recognise situations that may involve risks with strangers.

Who is strange and who is not?

The fact that a person is a stranger to a child does not mean they are dangerous, so it is important for children to be able to  differentiate between unknown people who are better to avoid, and people from whom they do not need to doubt.

Keeping safe and getting help

At any given time, our children may find themselves in a situation where they need to enlist the help of a stranger, for example, if they are lost.  Children need to know how to identify situations that might be dangerous, how to detect signs of risky or suspicious behavior, and how to get help.

Where do I start?

Please read on…Storyberries provides free online children’s books, and parenting tips on how to have discussions with kids around safety.

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Teach kids to be suspicious, and seek immediate help, if a stranger:

Invites them for a car ride
Offers them a gift
Tries to convince them to do something without permission
Asks them to go and help with something
Asks them to keep a secret
Tries to touch the child, or asks the child to touch them
Bothers them in any way

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Four Steps to Remember

To prevent your child from facing risks with strangers, make sure they are prepared to follow these four steps if they face any of these situations:

Say “no”.
Get out of there immediately.
Scream loudly for help.
Tell a trusted adult what has happened

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Safety in numbers

Motivate children to play in a group; it is always better for children to accompany one another.
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Identify safe zones in advance

Explain to kids the difference between a safe place and one that is less safe, and show them examples.
Show them places where they would be less likely to encounter trouble.
Encourage them to trust their instincts. When we do not have a good feeling about a person or situation, it is better to move away.
Tell them where to go for help.
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Staying safe online

Another very important issue is to supervise and protect children’s use of the Internet, as social networks can hide many dangers. Children can face the malicious intent of adults who try to manipulate and deceive them, and it is important to offer them guidance, information and strategies on the safest ways to negotiate appropriate online spaces, and to monitor their activities.

Instruct kids where to go for help

Instruct them to first find someone wearing a uniform, preferably a police officer, a guard, or a store employee. If they do not see anyone in uniform, it is best to look for people accompanied by children, or someone elderly. 

Also, teach that it is best to ask for help in a public place. It is also important that children recognise the houses of friends and family, as well as shops and restaurants in the neighborhood, where they can go to get help if needed. 


Some Free Books About Stranger Danger and Keeping Safe At Storyberries

Best free books at Storyberries
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Danger Worm

Papa worm is often telling the worm children about the dangers of being outside (there are birds, frogs, and even children with big welly boots!). A super story for introducing kids to the importance of keeping safe when they are playing outside.
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The Runaway Pig

Lalita the pig goes on an adventure when she sees the garden gate left open! She has such a merry time exploring! A super, entertaining, story offering opportunities to talk about the fun of adventuring, balanced with the need to keep safe.
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The Mystery of the Cyber Friend

A story (broadly aimed at 7-12 year olds) that deals with the dangers of online deception. As this story deals with potentially adult themes, please look at it to assess whether it is appropriate, before showing it to your child. Offers valuable and important messages about online safety.

Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers

Luzmery Child Psychologist Storyberries

Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy. 

Storyberries parenting portal author and mindfulness coach Fleur Rodgers

Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com