Founded by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, National Missing Children’s Day (May 25th) was dedicated to highlight the problem of abducted and missing children. Few situations are more troubling than when a child goes missing; fortunately, there are ways to improve the safety of children when parents aren’t around. Take25.org, a website affiliated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, suggests taking 25 minutes to talk with your child about personal safety. Opening up a dialogue with your child, regardless of age, will give you the opportunity to learn more about your child’s habits and empower them with tools to avoid dangerous situations. Below are Take 25’s suggested conversation starters; you can also download a list of additional ideas and follow @iTake25 on Twitter to keep informed on topics related to child safety.
For children age 5 to 8:
- Can you tell me our address? Our home number? My work number? My cell phone number?
- If you got lost while we were in the park or at the store, what would you do? Whom should you ask for help?
For tweens (age 9-12)
- If something happened at school that made you feel bad or scared, would you tell me?
- What websites do you like to visit? Can you show them to me?
- What kind of information do you feel is safe to share about yourself online?
- What would you do if someone approached you on foot or in a vehicle? Do you know what to do if someone tries to touch or grab you inappropriately?
Each year the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention runs a national poster campaign for 5th graders in conjunction with National Missing Children’s Day. The theme this year was “bring our missing children home.” View the national winner here, and Jaymi G.’s winning Massachusetts entry here.
Massachusetts participates in the AMBER Alert program designed to help recover abducted children. Learn the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert here and sign up for wireless AMBER alerts to help and stay informed.
Join the conversation: How do you talk to your kids about “stranger danger”?