How to teach your child about body safety

Explain these body-safety rules to your child and help them grow into poised adults who’ll interact confidently with others.

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If there’s anything we can learn from the recent Joshua Robinson (aka MMA paedophile) case ― a 39-year-old man who used social media to prey on minors for sex ― it’s that it’s easier now than ever to for predators to lurk behind a veil of anonymity and target vulnerable youths.

Many children who are the target of sexual predators online are as young as 12 years old. Offline, sexual abuse can start from as early as toddlerhood usually by a stranger, school caretaker, neighbour, family friend, and sometimes, even a relative.

Child sexual abuse is on the rise, says the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The numbers have almost risen from 56 per cent in 2014 to 82 per cent in 2015. As much as we want to shield our kiddos from harm, we can’t. What we can do is to help them protect themselves and this needs to start from a young age. 

Just like teaching our little ones about home, road and water safety, we also need to teach them about keeping their body safe. Start off with simple rules such as:

* There is a difference between a safe and an un-safe touch. 

* Always ask for permission before you go anywhere, take anything from anyone or touch anyone. If they say “no”, that’s the end of the story.

* It’s okay to help strangers with small tasks like opening the door or picking up something of theirs that has fallen down. However, never follow a stranger ― man or woman ― because they say they need help looking for a lost pet. Anything that requires you to move away from mummy or daddy is a big “no no”.

It seems like an intimidating topic, but don’t hesitate to talk to your children about body safety. And don’t wait too long either, because then it might be too late. Use the illustration if you need help crunching down the facts in a way junior might understand.

Infographic: Rachel Lim

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Main photo: iStock

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