Safety NET Kids
We believe it is important for children to understand simple rules that protect and prevent them from becoming victims to predators like child molesters. Parents must be informed and aware in order to enforce these rules to children.
We live in an increasingly dangerous world. Here in the Shively, PRP and Iroquois area there is often a false sense of security because some feel we don’t have the kind of crime problem as in some other areas of town. But, as the statistics of reported child abuse and abduction cases increase, it is vitally important for children, parents, teachers, caregivers and community leaders to understand the value of teaching children mental self-defense and safety techniques.
These safety techniques include teaching children to say no, teaching them about appropriate body contact and other measures to remain in power and safe at school and in our community.
The biggest thing with kids now is teaching them not to be quitters. Our studio's training method is grounded in high self-esteem thus instilling a positive, proactive attitude. This is a point we teach over and over in our school.
High self-esteem will enable your child to come to you to express any pressure they are experiencing. No child is too young or too old to hear and utilize the information taught in our school.
Sensei Rob Starks - Master Instructor (Godan)
All-City Karate Studio
SAFER SMARTER KIDS
The following are ten important issues that parents should be aware of if they have kids. The suggestions are designed to help you make wise decisions for your child’s safety. We encourage you to read it, let your kids read it and to spend time reading the material together.
It's probably unfair to say that the dangers facing our children are more severe than in any time in history. However, it is fair to say that we live in a more complicated world with more complicated dangers.
Youth have been training for self-defense throughout history. Years ago in Korea, there existed a group of young men and women called the Wha Rang Youth Group. These children were trained in many different disciplines of martial arts or Karate and weapons such as the cross bow. Their sole duty was to protect the smallest of the dynasties of Korea during the Silla dynasty.
These children were fierce warriors in body and spirit and were charged with the protection of themselves and their country. They provide an example of how we need to arm our children with the proper weapons to defend against today’s perils.
Self-esteem is the basis for every lesson taught at our karate studio. Parents and teachers should always remember to be positive and always be loving toward children. Parents and caregivers should make sure that a child knows that he/she can turn to them to talk about drugs, date rape, abductions, bad touch or any other topic in which the child needs to express him or herself.
The purpose of this section is to help save children from the terrible victim cycle and to prevent abductions.
1. Have a family Code Word
This is VITAL. Make sure that the parents and the kids pick out a good code word! Maybe it’s not convenient, but it is life saving. Most abductions are done by familiar faces - friends, co-workers, even relatives.
Decide with your kids on a word that only the children and the parents know. Something fun and silly like pizza, lipstick, Zordon — make it something unique. Make sure that the parents leave a list of people who the child is allowed to go home with at school or at a friend’s house. Have specific instructions not to release the child to anyone else.
Teach the child that anyone who comes to pick them up must have this code word. If the person does not know the word, the child must never go with the person. No code word - don’t go - no excuses. The child should not speak to the person any more if they do not know the code word. Walk away.
Abductors will make up any excuse like, “Your mom is in the hospital. Hurry let’s go!” Remember, no code word - don’t go.
2. Avoid Shortcuts
Kids should be given a routine to get home from school or a friend’s house. This route should be designed to keep the child in areas where people can easily see them.
Any time a child takes a different route home he/she is running the risk of being grabbed with no witnesses. The techniques that we teach for children to defend themselves against adults mainly focus upon denying abductors privacy, drawing public attention to the situation and deriving help from other adults.
Make sure kids know that if they are ever grabbed, they must yell and scream, “Help, you are not my Mom!” or “You are not my dad!” This will elicit a much more powerful response than just a call for help.
Don’t take shortcuts through the woods, back yards or side streets where abductions could occur with no witnesses. Encourage kids to take the same route home each day.
3. Important Information
This is important so that kids can tell the police, or other helpful adults, how to get in touch with their parents. Make sure that your children know their phone number — including area code — so they can always call home by themselves.
Teach specific drills for dialing 911 and 0 so that the kids know what to do in case of an emergency at home. Let them know how serious it is and that it is only for emergencies.
All kids should memorize their name, address and phone number. Parents’ first and last names and work numbers are also valuable.
4. Have Procedures When Lost
We all remember a time in our childhood when we got lost and were terrified. And we have all seen children screaming or crying in stores. Or we have witnessed panicked parents trying to locate lost children. This is very simple to solve.
If a child gets lost, teach them to go to the front of the store and tell someone at the register. Or find a policeman or security guard to call their parents.
Remaining calm is an important issue here. It gives kids confidence to know exactly what to do. If you are in a mall, first make sure that you or the child understands that you and the child should not leave the store you are in. If you are in a mall area, identify the information counter / Lost Child desk when you first enter the mall.
Regardless, talk to your children about procedures when lost. It will insure that they remain calm and know what to do.
5. Teach Kids To Trust Their Instincts
Kids have a very highly developed sixth sense. They should be taught at a young age to trust that sense. For instance, if a child tells you that a person gives them a bad feeling and makes them uncomfortable — believe them.
If they feel that they are being followed or someone is trying to get them, teach them to go in the opposite direction and get help.
Make sure kids know that they are never to speak to strangers — especially passers-by in cars. They can be grabbed too quickly. A good rule to teach kids is that if they can hear the person, the are too close to the car.
Teach children to ignore people who try to talk to them. This is not impolite — it’s safe.
6. Check It Out
All parents lead busy hectic lives - kids, home, jobs and social lives. Parents should always investigate new adults who will have anything to do with their children.
Do you know how many people I have had interview me and ask me what my qualifications were as a Karate instructor? Or ask if I had ever been in trouble with the law and checked out my references? Only about 5 in my 20 year teaching career.
That’s ridiculous! You can never know enough about those people who have responsibility for your children. This includes teachers, baby sitters, coaches, preachers, other friends’ parents — anyone who comes into contact with your children.
Check into their backgrounds. Their last job, references, police records and see how you feel about them personally. Ask questions! Do not trust a referral and never let someone do your job for you. You do it.
7. Give Kids Permission to Say No
It is important for kids to have the support of their parents and to realize that they have ownership of their bodies and minds. There should be no forced affection. Let them know that they have rights just like adults.
Remember what if felt like to have to kiss people you did not want to? It’s fake! If a child learns from his/her parents that they should kiss someone they do not want to kiss, then they begin to get confused about the proper limits of affection. If the situation arises when another adult tells the child to kiss or touch them, it makes it harder for a child to say no.
In your own life, make sure you honor kids. Ask them if you can have a hug or kiss, rather than telling them or just physically grabbing them. Make it their choice — their decision. The better that they get at making decisions the better chance that they will make the right one when Mom and Dad are not around and they are responsible for themselvesyourself — and do it thoroughly.
8. Build Your Child's Self Esteem
Abductors look for lonely kids on a playground or at their school. The ones who appear to be the easiest victims will usually be chosen. Abductors will always look for the easiest target. So, your child doesn’t have to be the most confident, but you should make sure he/she is not the easiest target.
It’s important to involve your kids in programs that will help them build self-esteem. There are many good programs available to kids; soccer, baseball, gymnastics, hockey, etc. Unfortunately, some of our most popular team sports may not be the best answer for your child.
Get involved. Make choices that are right for your child. Avoid making decisions that are convenient — rather choose activities that will enhance your child’s development and learning. Also remember that what is right for one child may not be right for the next!
Involve your child in programs to build their self-esteem. A child who is confident is less likely to be a victim. The more timid your child — the more you need to find activities that will build self-confidence.
9. Personalized Clothing
I am amazed when I go to the schools and see so many kids with personalized clothing on bags. When a child is approached by a potential abductor, that abductor is looking for anything — a game they are playing or a name that they can use to develop rapport. Every person’s favorite sound is the sound of their own name.
Advertising your child’s name builds recognition and familiarity. If a child’s name is called out they may immediately let their guard down and start talking. Do not teach them to say “I can’t talk to strangers!” Teach them NOT to speak to strangers. Do not allow them to get caught up in a web of conversation.
They are in much more danger if they start talking and get into a conversation. It develops a bond and also puts them within ear shot. Some perverts may start whispering, requiring the child to come closer so they can hear — and be grabbed.
10. Good Touch -- Bad Touch
This may be a sensitive subject to discuss. But it will get very easy with repetition. If the child gets used to talking about this, it will then be much easier to report it if it ever does occur.
Identify that a good touch is a hug, a kiss on the cheek, a pat on the pack or shaking hands. “Doesn’t it make you feel good when mom gives you a hug?” That feeling is called good touch. “Bad touch” is if anyone touches the private areas. Identify private areas as “where their bathing suit covers.” Bad touch can also be described as a touch that is “creepy.”
Let them know if it happens that it isn’t their fault and they should tell their teacher, mom or dad, or any other adult that they trust. Overcome the stigma of talking about this subject. This is an important step to the healing process. It’s also vitally important that you believe them and investigate. Discuss the situation with the child. Do not ignore the situation.