Stranger Danger
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Say No to Strangers (1981) – a movie produced by the House Workplace and proven throughout the UK

Many dad and mom keep in mind the “Stranger Hazard” message given to kids through the 1970s and 80s. Authorities movies warned kids to not speak to individuals they did not know. However a brand new message is being trialled within the UK, which its creators suppose is best at retaining kids secure.

“I attempted to get the [old] Stranger Hazard message throughout to my son a number of years in the past and it backfired badly,” says Suzie Morgan, a main faculty instructor who lives in Fareham, Hampshire.

He obtained frightened and confused, could not sleep at evening and was nervous someone was breaking into the home.

Like all guardian she needed to maintain her youngster secure.

However she felt the Stranger Hazard message she was educating – which she herself had grown up with – was unhealthy for her six-year-old son, making him too afraid of the world.

“I did not know the place else to go,” she says.

So she was hopeful when her son’s faculty piloted a brand new security message. It is referred to as Clever Never Goes and was devised by the charity Motion Towards Abduction.

It goals to make kids much less afraid of the world, by giving them the boldness to make choices about their very own private security.

Morgan says it has given her son extra freedom and independence.

Nevertheless, it’s a message that has not but been totally evaluated by specialists within the area, a few of whom have reservations.

And for a lot of dad and mom the brand new teachings could also be tough to simply accept. The Stranger Hazard message remains to be deeply ingrained of their psyches.

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Police went into colleges to debate Stranger Hazard movies

The outdated message was promoted by the federal government through the 1970s and 80s, in a collection of hard-hitting movies commissioned by the House Workplace.

It adopted a spate of high-profile abductions and killings, together with the Moors and Cannock Chase murders.

There have been stark warnings equivalent to: “You do not wish to find yourself lifeless or in hospital, say ‘No’ to strangers!”

Kids had been advised to “stay away from individuals you do not know”.

The movies got to the British Movie Institute and you may watch the 1971 and 1981 movies on-line.

However there have been reservations amongst civil servants on the time and a few nervous kids’s fears had been being heightened to an unhealthy diploma, in line with Geoff Newiss of the charity Motion Towards Abduction.

Newiss researched Stranger Hazard as a part of a gaggle assembled by the Nationwide Crime Company 4 years in the past. It impressed him to plan a brand new security message for kids, which he thinks is fitter for function – not least as a result of the vast majority of abductions are dedicated by an grownup already identified to the kid.

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The workshop is aimed toward Key Stage One pupils, aged 5 to seven

With approval from the police and youngsters’s security boards within the county, greater than 150 colleges at the moment are signed as much as educate Intelligent By no means Goes in Hampshire.

A key message of the workshop is that interactions with strangers will not be essentially harmful.

As an alternative, the second kids should be cautious of is when an grownup, together with ones they already know, asks them to go someplace with them unexpectedly. That is what police name “the lure”.

In an interactive class, kids are launched to a personality referred to as Intelligent the Robotic. He has a particular energy for recognizing hazard, with a dial on his chest that reads “Secure, Hmmm?, Unsafe”.


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Be taught extra about Intelligent By no means Goes within the newest People Fixing the World podcast from the BBC World Service


Kids watch a collection of movies exhibiting eventualities with adults approaching kids, they usually must resolve the right way to react.

Some scenes are harking back to the outdated Stranger Hazard movies. A person pulls up in a automotive and presents some sweets and a journey. In fact the clear message stays that that is unsafe and youngsters should transfer away and discover a trusted grownup.

However there are additionally eventualities the place interactions with strangers are described as benign.

A person approaches a baby in a park and chats about his canine. Pupils within the workshop are requested if that is OK, and the reply given is that this isn’t an unsafe scenario although kids would possibly really feel a bit “Hmmm?”.

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Intelligent By no means Goes

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Geoff Newiss of Motion Towards Abduction performs the position of the dog-walking stranger

In a later video the state of affairs is prolonged with the stranger asking kids to come back with him to stroll the canine.

Kids are taught issues have now turned unsafe, “as a result of he is requested them to go together with him and that is not good, Intelligent By no means Goes.”

There may be one other scene the place it’s a girl who’s providing a carry – the message is to not go, if this isn’t pre-arranged, even when it’s the mom of a pal.

Within the outdated Stranger Hazard movies, the strangers had been portrayed by males.

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Intelligent By no means Goes

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Strangers are additionally performed by feminine actors within the new security message

The brand new message “triggered one thing in me, main again to once I was a guardian elevating kids,” explains Jacky Halton, headteacher at Crofton Hammond Toddler Faculty in Hampshire, the place the workshop has been developed over the previous two years.

“I did not need my children to be cautious of each stranger they met.”

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Headteacher Jacky Halton was impressed by emotions she had as a guardian

Because the instructor tells the category of five- to seven-year-olds, “A number of persons are strangers that we do not know, however a number of persons are very type and pleasant individuals and we are able to speak to them and be pleasant.”

Somebody who’s used to delivering the outdated Stranger Hazard warnings is PC Maria Carrick, who leads engagement with colleges for Hampshire police.

She was by no means totally comfy with the message.

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PC Maria Carrick misplaced religion within the Stranger Hazard message

“It simply felt very complicated for kids to grasp what a very good stranger is, or a foul stranger.”

The outdated message tended to demonise all strangers and this isn’t essentially useful for the kid, she says.

Whereas dad and mom have a pure concern of the predatory stranger, she thinks, Intelligent By no means Goes addresses a extra practical danger.

“We now have to stay centered on the truth that a lot of the high-profile murders we all know from the previous 10 years had been kids who knew their killer.”

By specializing in the second of “the lure”, Intelligent By no means Goes goals to deal with this subject.


Youngster Abduction in England and Wales: Latest figures and estimates

1,189 youngster abduction offences had been recorded by police in 2017/18

20% of abduction offences are dedicated by a member of the family

40% are dedicated by strangers (most are tried abductions somewhat than accomplished abductions)

40% are dedicated by individuals identified however not associated to the kid

(Notice: Abductions by individuals identified however not associated embody points equivalent to sexual exploitation, compelled marriage, revenge assaults and monetary disputes)

Sources: ONS, Pact and Motion Towards Abduction


Intelligent By no means Goes can also be designed to assist with the rising risk of on-line strangers.

Many laptop video games well-liked with primary-school-age kids contain dwell on-line chatting.

Individuals you meet this manner won’t really feel like strangers, the workshop warns, however you by no means comply with go wherever with them in actual life.

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Intelligent By no means Goes

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Intelligent By no means Goes additionally covers on-line security

There’s a consensus amongst specialists in kids’s security and improvement that the Stranger Hazard message is outdated and due an overhaul.

Intelligent By no means Goes is definitely a step in the fitting path says Dr Gina Sherwood, principal lecturer in Childhood Research at Portsmouth College.

However she additionally has some reservations.

“The tag ‘intelligent’ implies it’s the kid’s accountability to maintain themselves secure and in the event that they did make a mistake it will be as if they aren’t intelligent.”

She has issues this may very well be a difficulty serving to a baby to get better after an abduction.There may be additionally probably a hazard in permitting unsupervised contact with strangers to construct up over time, she says.

As an illustration, a dog-walking stranger might chat to kids in a park on a number of events, with out asking them go wherever. This might construct up belief malicious particular person would possibly capitalise on.

The hope is that kids who undertake Intelligent By no means Goes ought to nonetheless be resilient to this grooming, in the event that they keep in mind to not go together with anybody unexpectedly, even when they’re acquainted faces.

With out analysis the brand new message can’t be endorsed by lecturers, says Dr Sherwood. The subsequent stage is to guage it.

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Geoff Newiss is the driving drive behind the Intelligent By no means Goes message

However can kids, who dwell in a magical world of Father Christmas and tooth fairies, actually be trusted to make superb distinctions between secure and unsafe strangers?

“Completely,” says Halton. “We’re failing in our job if we do not give kids accountability for their very own actions.”

She is cautious of a pattern in direction of “lawnmower dad and mom”, who kind out all the issues in entrance of their youngster, so kids by no means have to determine the right way to do issues for themselves.

Newiss agrees that we’ve got to offer kids the instruments to handle their very own danger.

Whenever you look again on the Stranger Hazard message, he says, there was a way that “a little bit of concern will not do them any hurt”.

“I feel that is improper. Concern simply knocks their confidence.”

Dougal Shaw is on Twitter: @dougalshawbbc

Be taught extra about Intelligent By no means Goes within the newest People Fixing the World podcast from the BBC World Service