Even today, far too many children are lured by adults with malicious intent. Would-be abductors prey on children’s innocence in order to gain their trust. Whether playing at the park, going to-and-from activities, waiting for the school bus, chatting on-line or simply hanging out with friends, it is crucial that children remain vigilant at all times.

The Missing Children’s Network suggests that parents make safety education an ongoing dialogue in their homes. Safety education helps build a child’s confidence and prepares them for dangerous situations that they may encounter. It is possible to empower children with age-appropriate information without inciting panic or fear.

Below, you will find ten of the most common lures used by child abductors, as well as some helpful safety tips that will assist you in instilling sound safety habits in your children:

1/ Help Lure

  • Situation: An individual seems to have a problem and requests help from a child.
  • Example: “I’m looking for Maple Street. Can you come show me where that is?”
  • Tip: Teach your children that adults should ask adults for help, not children.

2/ Gift Lure

  • Situation: An adult promises to give a child a gift if he follows the adult’s request.
  • Example: “If you help carry my grocery bags upstairs, I will give you my brand new PS3.”
  • Tip: Remind your child that he should never accept gifts from anyone (including someone they know) without first asking for permission from a parent or guardian.

3/ Game Lure

  • Situation: A person touches the child in an inappropriate manner saying it’s just a game or it was an accident.
  • Tip: Tell your child to immediately speak to a safe adult if ever someone does not respect his personal boundaries. An adult that breaks boundaries is not a safe adult!

4/ Name Lure

  • Situation: A person pretends to know a child by saying his name, implying that it is okay for the child to go with them.
  • Example: “Hi Katie/Matt. It’s pouring rain today. Why don’t I drive you home?”
  • Tip: Teach your child that he must always ask for permission before going anywhere, following someone or getting into a vehicle with them. Remind your child that he has the right to say NO! in any situation that leaves him feeling uncomfortable or scared.

5/ Authority Lure

  • Situation: A person of authority (eg. police officer, coach, teacher, clergyman, etc.) takes advantage of their positions.
  • Example: ’If you don’t help me put away the equipment after practice, I will bench you for the entire next game.’’
  • Sometimes it is difficult to say NO! to an adult. In these cases, teach your child to be assertive and to try to get away as quickly as possible, even using an excuse such as my Dad is waiting for me at the corner, so I can’t stay.

6/ Threat Lure

  • Situation: An adult threatens to hurt the child or someone the child cares about, if the child does not do what they want.
  • Example: ‘’If you don’t send me a naked picture of you, I will send the picture of you in your underwear to everyone on your contact list.‘’
  • Tip: Teach your child to never comply with a threat, to get away from the situation as quickly as possible and to always tell a safe adult what happened.

7/ Compliments lure

  • Situation: An adult compliments a child profusely in order to gain the child’s trust so that the adult can do something inappropriate, such as touch or see the child’s private parts.
  • Example: ‘’You’re so pretty! With a face like yours, you should be a model. Imagine how much money you can make and your friends would be so envious to see your face in all the fashion magazines! Come and see me after class and I will take a few photos of you. It will only take a few minutes and you will be home in no time!‘’
  • Tip: Remind your child to be wary of ‘’too good to be true’’ propositions and to always make sure their parents know if there is any change of plans to their daily itinerary.

8/ Emergency Lure

  • Situation: A person claims that there is an emergency (Mom was rushed to the hospital; Dad needs to work late, etc) and urges the child to go with them immediately so that they can take him to his parents.
  • Example: ‘’Your Mom asked me to pick you up because she had to drive your Grandfather to the hospital.’’
  • Tip: Plan alternative arrangements in case any unexpected situations arise and choose a password that is known only to you and your child. Your child must always ask for this password before leaving with someone who claims to have been sent in your place.

9/ Job Lure

  • Situation: An adult offers a child or teenager a high-paying, interesting job on the condition that the child goes with him without first obtaining permission from his parents.
  • Example: ‘’I will give you $100 to mow my lawn, then we can go inside for some refreshments.’’
  • Tip: Teach your child that he must always first discuss with you any job opportunities that he may be interested in exploring. Before going on any job interview, remind your child to provide you with all pertinent information about the employer (time and location of the interview, as well as the coordinates of the person that he is meeting with).

10/ Famous Lure

  • Situation: A person leads a child to believe that they can make the child famous if the child meets with them somewhere alone or does what the adult wants.
  • Example: ‘’You have an amazing voice. Let me take care of your career and I will make you as popular as Katy Perry/Justin Bieber!’’
  • Tip: Teach your child not to respond to this type of offer. Instead, ask this person to communicate directly with your parents. Again, it is important for children and teens to understand that they must always ask for their parent’s permission before going with someone