Hardly a week goes by these days when we open the newspapers or turn on the radio and we do not hear or read news on a missing child or the finding of gruesome remains of a child. The older generation would more often than not heave a sigh and lament on how times have changed and how different things were back in their days. Well, they do have a point there as the crime rates in Malaysia have staggered upwards in startling proportions if compared to the yesteryears. Sadly, children are now a major target to these criminals and sadder still, children make easy targets due to their innocence and vulnerability, which is where the adults have to step in to make a difference.
Generally, most children look up to their parents as role models and accept instructions from them. This is where parents play a major role in ensuring the safety of their children is preserved. Many hooligans are out constantly roaming around looking for a perfect opportunity to nab children as children are their key to making a quick buck- either by demanding ransom from the child’s loved ones, selling the child into prostitution or into the begging trade or to simply vent their pedophilia tendencies. Who can forget the gruesome findings of Nurin which shook up Malaysia and caused many to query as to what is happening to the people these days?. The little girl with the angelic face was found violated and dead. This sparked a massive outcry and outrage and only enhances the point that adults need to take a more proactive step towards protecting their little ones as all types of criminals are out there.
A person’s most impressionable years are when they are children, hence this is the perfect moments in which to instill the awareness as to the importance of safety in a child. For example, a child should be taught never to approach or allow strangers to approach without either moving away to safety or getting the attention of the people nearby. A child is never too young to be taught this and adults should at every possible opportunity find ways to teach the child the importance of safety and how to protect themselves as even a slight slip could be fatal. A common yet efficient method these days are for adults to teach a child a password, which can be the child’s favorite food perhaps, say “Pancakes” and the password is to be known only by the adult and the child and is to be used every time the child is to be picked up. This way, when a random stranger approaches a child with the classic “Daddy/Mommy sent me to pick you up as they were busy,” method, the child would then ask for the password and if the stranger does not know the password, this would trigger alarm bells for the child and give the child an opportunity to escape.
An adult’s role in ensuring a child’s safety can not be stressed more during these times. Even older children are not spared, as can be seen in the case of Nayati. A fast-becoming-popular method these days is the art of self defense. Many adults find it of use to enrol their children in self defense classes so that the child has a slight advantage to the unsuspecting criminal. This method has proven to be useful in numerous occasions as there have been reported cases of children using self defense techniques to escape from their abductors.
A child’s safety is of utmost priority and should never be compromised. As responsible adults, parents/guardians should ensure that they are well aware of the risks involved and cultivate a sense of the importance of safety in the child from a tender age so that even if not eliminated wholly, the circumstances which involve criminal activities against children are substantially reduced in the coming years. If a child understands the importance of safety and takes steps to ensure that they are well protected at all times, half the battle is won.
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