Photo Credit: TheSafeSide.com
With so many kidnappings being reported lately, I’ve pretty much become fearful every time my children leave my direct line of vision. Kids are being abducted while walking to school, riding their bikes, and even from their own backyards. My paranoia escalated so high recently, that I felt the need to accompany my son across the lawn, en route to a playdate with the neighbor.
This is when I popped in a DVD, and let somebody else make my point. In The Safe Side, a collaboration of John Walsh and Julie Clark (creator of Baby Einstein), the main character – “Safe Side Super Chick” - encounters juggling gorillas and a killer Chihuahua to help deliver the movie’s message. I don’t have those kinds of teaching aids at my disposal, but when I push PLAY, my kids pay attention.
Viewers are introduced to three types of people: “Safe Side Adults,” “Kinda’ Knows,” and “Don’t Knows.” Kids are told who to seek when lost in a store, and how to scream when approached by a stranger in a public place. The movie even reveals tricks that predators use to tempt children, and lure them into dangerous situations.
Of course, it’s not enough to show them the movie and then call it a day. After the movie was over, I gave my children scenarios which were intended to gauge their understanding of “safe vs. unsafe.” I tested them with no-brainers such as, “Is it okay to go somewhere with Grandma?” to more challenging questions like, “What do you do if a teenage girl asks you for help finding her lost kitty?” As Safe Side Super Chick explains, dangerous people can look just like you or me. The conversations are worth having and the videos are worth watching.