Child safety expert, Christy Keating with Savvy Parents Safe Kids, is on the show to share her tips on keeping our kids safe. How do we start these tough conversations with our kids ensuring they are knowledgable and confident when it comes to safety with others, privacy, and in the online world.
Welcome Christy back to Memories in Moments!
Today’s conversation is hard. It’s not a conversation anyone wants to think about, let alone talk about, but it’s a necessary one to have as parents. It’s our responsibility and duty as parents to face these issues, talk about them and educate our kids. This is also not an episode I’d recommend listening to with kids in the room. Not meant to be scary, just talking about some adult content that you’ll want to preview before introducing your kids to.
Safety School with Christy
When we’re talking about safety here, we’re mostly talking about sexual safety. We don’t have the right to decide as parents that we’re too uncomfortable to have these conversations. What other area in life do we just hand over to our kids and say “good luck?” We don’t. But for some reason, because we are unsure of how to do this with sexual safety, we keep it secret and leave it up to them to figure out…and that’s scary to me. SO we’re going to face this head on together.
Basic Body Rules
Kids need to know their body parts, privates included, by their scientific name. Christy has a bunch of resources on her website for books that help with this too.
Kids need to know that they have total control over their body- who touches them and where. This is something that kids get mixed messages over all the time. We force them to kiss grandparents, sit on Santa’s lap, do things we want them to do because it’s socially appropriate, but it’s teaching them that they actually don’t have consent.
One way to ensure this? Back them up. Tell them they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do with their body, and follow through on this. We do this for the time when someone does NOT respect their boundaries, their red flag goes up and they know it’s not okay and something isn’t right.
Bathing suit areas and mouths are private. No one gets to tell them what they can do with those parts. This is the easiest for kids to understand and advocate for.
Stranger danger is not useful to teach our kids. 93% of sexual abuse happens from someone the victim knows. This could be adults in their life or often older kids in their life. So with this, stranger danger doesn’t apply. We also don’t want our kids going around life thinking everyone they don’t know is bad, scary or going to hurt them.
What do we teach instead? Tricky people.
A tricky person could really be anyone…BUT they are someone who makes a child break a safety rule or makes them feel uncomfortable. Model that uncomfortable feeling for them, tell them what that feels like when you experience it, maybe they will experience the same feelings or can identify.
Bottom line? Have the conversation. These are not one time conversations we have and forget about it. We have them over and over to keep communication open and safe.
And remember, predators do NOT like equipped, knowledgable, confident, self assured kids. Those kids usually have a direct line of communication with their parents, making them a risky choice to take advantage of. Knowledge is power and in the end, it can end up keeping out children very safe!
Now, more than ever, our kids are online. They’re doing school online, they’re connecting with friends and family, and even if they’re doing school or responsible things, they have a higher chance at being exposed to something we don’t want them exposed to.
You are only allowed to communicate with someone online that you know, would play with and have a relationship with.
Make a clear line in the sand about what they can and cannot see online, and explain to them why it’s appropriate for kids. The book Bad Pictures and Bad Pictures Jr. help support these conversations too!
Do things online with them, or approve the content they are viewing first.
You are the parent, not the friend. It’s your job to keep them safe and to protect their childhood. Monitoring their chats, emails, content is necessary, not an invasion of privacy. It’s the family’s device, not the kid’s device.
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CONNECT WITH Christy AND SAY HI!
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