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Your children and mall predators – how to prevent your worst nightmare from coming true

Too old for the playground and too young for the bar, one of the most popular places for pre-teen kids of this age to hang out is the mall. However, this appeal also makes it a place where child predators like to lurk as well. While the chances of encountering a threatening person may be small, you may want to make sure your kids are well aware of these tips for resisting and avoiding potential dangers. Here are some suggestions to relay to your not-so-little ones.

Stick together
Predators may try to isolate a single child, so it's important for pre-teens to stay in large groups. Even if their friends want to split up and do separate things for a short time, staying with two or three others will help deter a stranger from approaching.

Check in
While they might be out of sight, that doesn't mean that you have to refrain from exercising a remote form of supervision over your children's activities. In this age of smartphones, you may want to equip your pre-teen with a phone to check in periodically and use in case of emergencies. Arranging a specific meeting place and pickup time at the mall will help ensure you don't lose track of your son or daughter for long.

Scream bloody murder
Kids are often told to keep their voices down in public, but if a predator approaches who won't leave them alone, your children shouldn't be afraid to shout for help. Strangers hope that targets will be too shy or meek to make a scene, so you may want to encourage your kids to scream or yell loudly to attract the attention of an authority figure who can intervene.