Children face the biggest danger from strangers if they are taken, or go willingly, to a new, unknown location. Kidnappers use numerous lures to get kids to voluntarily go with them. In order to keep kids safe, it is important for them to be aware of the most common lures. Talk to your child about these sneaky methods potential kidnappers employ and make them aware of the dangers. Here are some of the most common lures:
Even in these troubling times, it is human nature to want to help someone in need. This is especially true of children who, in their innocence, are not aware that someone could just be pretending to be in trouble. When employing this method, a kidnapper will pretend that they need help. They may ask a child to help them find a lost dog, or they pretend to be lost themselves and ask the child if they can show them the way. Another trick is to try to get a child to help them carry something to their car.
In this scenario, the kidnapper pretends that there has been some form of emergency involving the parent. Some kidnappers will say that a parent has had an accident and the child should go with them. Others claim to have the parent on the phone in or near their car, using this as a way to lure a child to their vehicle.Children are very susceptible to this lure, as it plays on natural human reactions of confusion and worry. What child wouldn’t be alarmed if they thought something had happened to their parent or there was an emergency at home? Caught up in their fear, it is easy for children to forget the rules they have been taught around ‘stranger danger’.
Although this is an obvious one, children still fall for it. Even kids who are savvy enough not to accept candy from a stranger can easily be lured with video games, DVDs and free movie tickets. Children need to be aware, no matter what their age, that accepting gifts from strangers is unacceptable and that most harmless strangers would not offer these things without talking to a parent first. Children should always ask their parents before accepting any kind of gift from a stranger and should not walk away with a stranger who claims to have a gift for them in their car or home.
Another common lure kidnappers employ is the animal lure. Kids just can’t resist cute animals! It is so easy for a kidnapper to gain a child’s attention and trust just by approaching a child whilst carrying an animal. They will often tell the child the animal’s name and ask them if they want to pet it. Once the child has been drawn into conversation and is distracted by the animal, it is easy to lure or snatch them away.
Parents are forever labelling items with their kid’s names in the hopes that lost items can be easily found or returned. But is this the smartest thing to do? Kidnappers know that if they use the child’s name, it makes them appear more trustworthy. All they have to do is check a potential victim’s jacket or lunchbox and they have the perfect way to lure the child into conversation!
This lure may require a bit more effort on the part of the kidnapper, but it works really well on unsuspecting kids. The kidnapper pretends to be an authority figure, such as a police officer, doctor, or a clergyman, knowing that most children have at least some degree of respect for authority figures. This lure works especially well if there is a uniform, as children trust people in uniform more easily than other strangers.
With today’s ‘cult of celebrity’ in full swing, this has provided another easy way for predators to lure their victims. This lure works especially well on susceptible teenage girls. The kidnapper lures the victim by promising them an audition or modeling contract, or offers to create a modeling portfolio for them. Because girls fear their parents’ disapproval or mocking, girls will often go to the ‘audition’ or ‘photo shoot’ without telling anyone. This is an extremely dangerous lure that all kids must be made aware of.
Another lure that works really well on teenagers is the freedom, or ‘anything goes’ lure. In this scenario a predator will spend some time establishing himself as a cool person to hang out with. He will make his home or den a place where anything goes. Here kids have the freedom to hang out away from their parents’ disapproving eyes. Usually it is a place where they can engage in underage drinking, smoking, unlimited gaming and so on. Little do the youngsters know that hanging out there makes them easy prey.
Social Media Lure
Social media may have made communication easier, but sadly this also applies to the would-be kidnapper. Children are very easily lured through social media, as we have seen in many tragic cases that have been reported in the news all over the world. Kids are extremely keen to appear popular on social media, which leads them to add ‘friends’ they don’t even know. They are also easily flattered by positive comments and chat messages. It has never been easier for predators to get into conversations with kids and lure them to face-to-face meetings – and they are willing to invest a huge amount of time to get to that point.
This lure works especially well on boys, who are generally more active gamers than girls. A lot of games allow people to play online with total strangers. Many have a chat feature which allows for discussion as the game progresses. However, it doesn’t take much to gain a child’s trust in this way and turn the conversation to a face-to-face meeting. What could be cooler than hanging out with another avid game fan, right? Unfortunately these contacts can lead to abduction and it is important to make kids aware of this. Sadly many parents themselves are not aware of these hidden dangers of online games.
Making children aware of the many methods kidnappers use to lure them away from the safety of home will go along way to protecting them from harm. Take a look at the links below to read other important ways to keep your kids safe from child abductors.