Why Kids Need To Learn About “Tricky People” Over Stranger Danger

September 3, 2018

Ex-police officer’s second book ‘My Tricky Eye Spy’ teaches children how to stay safe

In the lead up to Child Protection Week (2 – 8 September 2018), former police officer Kate Power has released stranger awareness book, My Tricky EYE-SPY! – The sequel to her best-selling children’s safety book, My Underpants RULE!.

As a police officer for over fifteen years, Kate Power dealt with her fair share of tough cases and found those involving the abduction, sexual abuse or physical abuse of a child to be the most disturbing.

The mother of three’s first book, My Underpants RULE!, co-authored with her husband Rod, helps educate children against sexual abuse. Since then, a number of high profile child abduction cases in both Australia and overseas, and the increased reporting of “near miss” stranger danger incidents by schools, police and the media, have influenced parents to express concerns that the lessons being taught to children about stranger danger aren’t getting through to them.

“Simply telling your child ‘don’t talk to strangers’ is not enough. Stranger danger is a difficult concept for young children to grasp – we can’t always tell from someone’s physical appearance if they are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Children can be easily fooled by a manipulative adult who may mask their intentions by initially asking for help, saying they know the child’s parents, or by providing some form of inducement in the form of a sweet, puppy or other distraction,” said Kate.

“While strangers are minority offenders when it comes to child abduction and abuse in Australia, children under 12 represent a high-risk category because their age affects their capacity to respond to an unfamiliar situation. Many social experiments have shown that most are prepared to leave with a stranger within 30 seconds, despite parental warnings not to speak to strangers. So, if they ever do come into contact with someone who means harm, for their own protection it’s essential our children know in advance the tricks that may be used against them.”

Rather than communicating that all strangers should be feared, My Tricky EYE-SPY! helps children identify ‘tricky’ stranger behaviour through an easy to remember rhyme:

Tricky EYE-SPY Rhyme
I’m ready to spy with my Tricky Eye

Anyone fooling me,

Anywhere, when or why

Some strangers have danger –

AWARE I will stay!

I’ll watch what they DO

And hear what they SAY!

Offered treats, asked to HELP,

Or WITH them go?

‘Til “Yes” from SAFE grown-up

The answer is NO!

And if they grab me

I’ll make a BIG SHOW

Scream out “I DON’T KNOW YOU!

NOW, LET ME GO!!”

I’ll head straight for safety

From Tricksters I fly

My Tricky Eye’s spied you – Goodbye!

“Children learn best through fun and engagement, so injecting humour, bright colours and rhyming language are important for the message to cut through. The book teaches children to be confidently aware and reinforces that they always need to speak to a safe grown-up before they do anything a stranger asks of them,” said Kate.

Aimed at 3 to 8 year-olds, My Tricky EYE-SPY! is the sequel to Kate and Rod Power’s first book, My Underpants RULE!, which has already sold over 50,000 copies world-wide. The next book the couple plans to add to the series will focus on online safety for children.

“We make it clear that the principles within My Tricky EYE-SPY! also relate to remaining safe online. However, since the hazards of the internet go well beyond stranger danger and we believe in making complex subjects simple, the most effective way to ensure children’s overall protection is to make online safety the subject of our next book,” said Kate.

For more information and to buy your copies of My Tricky EYE-SPY! and My Underpants RULE!, go to https://mytrickyeye-spy.com.

Sobering statistics about child abduction and abuse:

  • 3 in 5 missing people’s reports related to a child or young person under the age of 18 during 2011-2015. (Missing Persons Australia 2015).
  • Children aged 0–12 represent a high risk category because their age affects their capacity to respond to an unfamiliar situation or environment. (Missing Persons Australia 2015).
  • 1 in 5 children in Australia will be sexually harmed in some way by their 18th birthday, or 59,000 Australian children each year. (Braveharts)
  • Every day in Australia there are more than 186 substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect. (Barnados)
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