If a stranger tried to lure your child away from the playground and into a van, your child would know better than to follow him, right? Don't be too sure. In "The Predator Test," an upcoming Raising America special on HLN Friday, Kyra Phillips puts 20 children to the test. A producer brings his dog to a playground, engages each child one by one, and tries to lure them to his car (with the parents' permission, while they watch). He succeeds with several of them. He even gets one child to crawl into a cage in the back of the "stranger's" car.
It's terrifying for a parent to watch -- and that's the point. The mother of that boy who gets into the cage admits that she hadn't talked enough with her son about dealing with strangers because she didn't want to scare them. But some experts say you should scare your kids -- sometimes scaring is necessary and effective in keeping your children safe.
Unlike a lot of other news reports that scare the bejeezus out of parents and then move on to the next story, Raising America promises to also give parents the tools to better prepare their kids for so-called stranger danger. For host Kyra Phillips, it's personal. She says, "As a mom, my child’s safety is my number one concern. And my greatest fear is abduction. So not only do I take this special personally, I think every family will learn from it and it will create a really healthy discussion at home.” Rebecca Bailey, therapist to kidnapping survivor Jaycee Dugard, will give parents tips, including new language to use when talking with their kids about staying safe around "people they don't know."
So okay, we need to prepare our kids for confrontations with strangers. But most kidnappings and assaults are committed by someone the child knows. The main suspect in Alanna Gallagher's murder is her neighbor. What about that? Well, the special will also feature self-defense tips kids can use in any situation, whether it's with a stranger or another adult who suddenly becomes a threat.
I have to admit, I haven't done a whole lot to prepare my own son about dealing with adults they don't know. I've given him a couple of lectures, but that's about it. I'm hoping this special will give me some substantial tips for preparing us for something I hope he'll never, ever have to confront.
"The Predator Test" on Raising America With Kyra Phillips airs on HLN on Friday, August 2, at 12:00 E.T.
Do you feel like your child is adequately prepared to deal with a threat from an adult they don't know?
Image via HLNTV.com