NUMBERS THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU
According to the February 2018 Kidnapping Statistics, a child goes missing every 40-seconds in the United States. During an eight-hour workday, NINETY children go missing and over the course of a year, it is estimated that 460,000 children go missing. Of those missing children, close to 1,500 have been kidnapped.
- Of the estimated 1,435 kidnapped children, 86% of them where abducted by a family member.
- 80% of those children were between the ages of 12 and 17.
- Most of the children abducted were females living with single parents.
What Can YOU Do About This?
Communication is key.
Verbal communication is a small part of the equation. Keep in mind their body language and their online profiles.
APPS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Talk to your children about their friends, their family members and monitor their online behavior. A simple search on Google about “Kids Apps I Should Be Aware Of” will pull up a list of the Top 10 apps that kids are using that may pose some serious issues.
TRUST THEIR GUT
Let your children know that it is perfectly okay not to help a stranger and not to worry about hurting their feelings. Strangers will use numerous lures to abduct a child, including asking the child to help them find a lost dog. We’ve been conditioned to override our “Fight or Flight” instincts in order not to offend people, but our instincts are meant to help us survive. Let your child know that if they are approached by a stranger, that they should seek out an adult that they know and to get away from that person as quickly as possible.
Secrets are a big NO. As mentioned above, 86% of kidnapped children know their abductor. Encourage your child that under no circumstances should they be keeping secrets from you and reassure them that they can talk to you about anything without fear of punishment. If your child is being asked to keep a special getaway trip a secret by a family member or if they are receiving gifts/money and being told not to tell anyone about it, they should come to you right away with the information.
Do you have a “MAGIC Word”? If you’re picking up your child, but another family member or friend of the family goes to pick up your child first, they need to supply your child with the “MAGIC Word” so your child knows that it is okay to go with them. Again, 86% of kidnapped victims know their abductor. Set your “MAGIC Word” and test them!
Finally, an abductor is looking to control the situation. They will instruct the target to be quiet and that is the last thing you want your child to do. Screaming “THIS IS NOT MY PARENT” or “FIRE” will draw attention to the situation and now the abductor must worry about onlookers that may step in or be able to identify them.