How to protect your child from predators

12 October 2018 - 11:14
By Naledi Shange
Security expert Kyle Condon said a gut feeling should never be ignored.
Image: Gallo Images/iStockphoto Security expert Kyle Condon said a gut feeling should never be ignored.

Maintaining your child’s safety involves total vigilance as a parent‚ says security expert Kyle Condon.

He has compiled tips on how parents could keep their children safe‚ following the alleged rape of a seven-year-old child at the Dros restaurant in Silverton‚ Pretoria‚ last month.

“Use technology to your benefit‚ using cellphone tracking apps or GPS watches‚ although admittedly this only benefits those who can afford it. Remaining aware of your children’s whereabouts is an absolute requirement‚” advises Condon‚ MD of investigation and risk consultancy company D&K Management Consultants.

All South Africans‚ he said‚ could also adopt the concept of ubuntu towards children. “From a community perspective‚ we must band together. The old adage ‘if you see something‚ say something’ cannot be more appropriate. It used to take a village to raise a child‚ now the village needs to work together to keep its children safe.”

Condon said parents should also inspect facilities and services.

“The key is to maintain accurate information about where children are‚ who they’re with and the level of security at their schools or daycare centres‚” he said.

“The best way to maintain their safety is to teach them to be savvy and street-wise; prepare them for how to respond in a threatening situation; and avoid unnecessary risks. At the very least‚ don’t trust [cab hailing services] as a transport service for children on their own‚ vet the security measures at your child’s school‚ ensure you know your children’s friend’s parents before allowing unsupervised playdates or sleepovers‚ and don’t send them on solo errands without adult supervision‚” said Condon.

A gut feeling should never be ignored.

“If it smells fishy‚ it probably is. Avoid situations and people that make you feel uncomfortable – you may be wrong‚ but if you’re right and you ignore your suspicions‚ the results could be devastating‚” Condon added.

The company's risk assessments revealed that children from more relaxed communities‚ such as informal settlements‚ who are often sent on errands alone‚ face more risk. This lack of supervision provides the perfect opportunity for criminals to strike.

“Sadly‚ many of the cases we see relate to children who are being raised in informal settlements or very poor areas. These children are often seen as a soft target‚ with perpetrators knowing that there will be little to no media coverage. These cases are often (grossly) seen as a ‘squatter camp problem’. This is a mindset that must change if any progress is to be made in combating these types of crimes‚” said Condon.

While much focus has been placed on suspected human and child trafficking carrying people across the border‚ experts believe murder and crimes of a sexual nature pose a far more imminent threat.