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Parents must take initiative to protect their children

It seems to be a common disturbing event.

Each day on the news there is a report of a missing child somewhere in the country.

Kyron, Sylar and Alisa are just few of the names of children who have gone missing in the past few months.

Recently, an abduction of a teenager occurred in our area.

In Jackson, a 15-year-old was coerced into a vehicle with a stranger, allegedly posing as a basketball scout, who then drove off with him.

The teen was returned after a few hours and law enforcement has since arrested a suspect, who allegedly showed the young man pornographic material.

While this case was resolved and it appears the young man was not harmed physically, things could have turned out much worse.

Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent asked parents to be vigilant about whom their children are associating with and it is advice that a parent should always heed.

These crimes always heighten parents’ worries and fears, but in the end they should always have the insight and be prepared for the unknown.

This recent incident goes to show that any child of any age can be taken or coerced by the wrong person in a blink of an eye.

Predators are always looking for that chink in the armor; an opportunity to move in and convince children (and even adults) to go against their better judgment. But this can be prevented if we rely on the instincts taught to us by our parents.

It is up to parents, solely, to arm their children with the knowledge of what could happen and how their children should react to a stranger engaging them in conversation or soliciting them.

It takes nothing more than a few minutes of sitting down with your children and explaining to them how to avoid situations that could result in a kidnapping. Simple advice such as not talking back to a stranger and walking away to a safe place or running to the nearest adult and telling them or calling law enforcement if need be.

Another unfortunate aspect of kidnappings is that it is sometimes a person the child knows–a neighbor, friend and even relatives.

That line of communication needs to be open so that children can feel comfortable with coming to their parents about any uncomfortable feelings they are having.

And while there still are incidents of crime that are seemingly unavoidable, protecting your children begins at home with you because parents are the first line of defense against all predators.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.