Parents need to Take 25 to talk with tweens about child abduction prevention

Parents need to Take 25 to talk with tweens about child abduction prevention

I know that you have been teaching your children to be safe since they were babies. By the time kids are tweens, they are well-versed in stranger danger. Yet, kids, including tweens, keep getting into cars with strangers. That's why the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children encourages parents to Take 25 on May 25th to talk about safety and abduction prevention.

Seems like taking 25 minutes today may fit in a bit better with your long weekend plans, and the latest story of a child abduction in Iowa illustrates why parents, even those of tweens and teens, must have such a conversation with their kids.

In Iowa on Monday, two girls, ages 12 and 15, were walking home when a man pulled up in his pick up truck and asked if the girls would like to make money mowing lawns, The Gazette reported. The girls told the man that they needed to ask their parents before doing so, and the man replied that he would take them to their homes to do so.  The girls then got into the truck, and then saw his gun.

The man drove the girls into the country and took them to a hog confinement where he took the girls out of the truck and zip-tied their hands.

The man in the truck left his gun and took girl into the woods. The 12 year-old managed to escape, and her name has not been released. Authorities found Michael Klunder, suspected as the kidnapper, dead of an apparent suicide and the search for the 15 year-old, Kathlynn Shepard, continues.

What particularly struck me is what the 12 year-old's stepfather said: “You just don’t think that something like this will happen,” the stepfather told the newspaper. “They’re not just offering kids candy anymore. They’re giving kids logical reasons to get into their vehicle. It’s scary.”

I'm not sharing this to scare you, but rather to make you and your kids aware that there are sick people out there who seem fine and make what seem like reasonable offers to tweens. Yes, I know sick people have always been out there. Sadly, child abduction is not new. I'm not saying that we should fear the boogeyman, and our children should not either. But that doesn't mean that, as parents, we should not seize such opportunities to talk with our children and use information and even stories like this to talk with them, to make our kids more aware so that they do not become victims.

Take 25 a national child safety campaign of the National Center for Missing Exploited Children encouraging families to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and abduction prevention. It coincides with Missing Children's Day, observed each year on May 25. The campaign offers advice for parents and conversation starters for various ages, including tweens, such as

  • Do you and your friends stay together when you go out?
  • 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?
  • Do you think that it’s safe to share your passwords with your friends? Do you think it’s okay to share your passwords with your best friend?

Find more information here: www.Take25.org.

You may also like: Safety rules of behavior for parents of tweens

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