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Children do not know what behaviour makes up a stranger and tend to believe stereotypical men with beards will try to snatch them, a Daybreak experiment has found.
Children identified an older, emaciated man with a beard as someone to be wary with and thought teenagers would not harm them.
- Who's who: Help to reinforce the idea that a stranger does not always look sinister. A recent survey showed that children aged between five and eight thought 'strangers' looked scary or villainous.
- Don't go, say no: If your child is approached by a stranger teach them to say 'no' to raise the alarm.
- Plan ahead: Give your child your home, work and mobile numbers so they can reach you at all times and stress they should never talk to, accept gifts or walk off with a stranger.
- Time to teach: Teach your child stock phrases, for example if they are offered sweets by a stranger, tell them to say: "No thank you. Please leave me alone".
- Practice makes: You can practice scenarios with your child and have a conversation regularly about the dangers of strangers.
A parent who volunteered to be part of ITV Daybreak's investigation into what children would do if approached by a stranger said the results were a "rude awakening".
Natasha said she had not slept for two weeks since the experiment and has been much more vigilant.
An investigation by ITV's Daybreak has looked at what a child would do if they were approached by a stranger.
The show recruited volunteer parents, whose children did not know they were being filmed, and a close protection officer, who played the part of a stranger.
Nine children were approached in a park by the 'stranger' and as Daybreak's Daisy McAndrew reports, a worryingly high number of them left with the man.