Children need safety strategies

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

PARENTS are living with a false sense of security if they are relying on mobile phones as babysitters for their children, local Gladstone principals are warning.

Clinton State School principal Yvette Dawson said children needed to be taught strategies to ensure their safety at home and at school.

'Parents sometimes think that if their child has a mobile phone they can ring them if they're in trouble, but my concern is that this doesn't let children develop good strategies for self-preservation and gives parents a false sense of security,' she said.

Ms Dawson said the message from parents and teachers needed to be consistent, and that children should be given open-ended questions about what to do in potentially threatening situations rather than told what to do.

'It's like teaching children about fire safety or road safety, it has to be discussed at home and different scenarios need to be put forward so that children know what to do if something happens,' she said.

Kin Kora State School principal Bob Brandis said protective behaviours, including elements of stranger danger were talked about with students on a regular basis.

'We employ a variety of protective behaviour discussions to teach students various strategies to implement if they don't feel safe,' he said.



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