Viet Nam News -An 11-year old boy in the central province of Bình Thuận was reportedly kidnapped for ransom and later killed in early April. The death has highlighted the importance of teaching children life skills to keep them safe from harm.
Police arrested kidnapper Nguyễn Bảo Vũ, a close friend of the victim’s brother, who admitted the crime to the police.
According to his statement, Vũ told the boy that his parents had asked Vũ to take him home after his martial arts class. Upon realising that Vũ was not heading home, the boy started crying and resisting. So Vũ took him into the roadside woods.
The boy kept crying. Vũ was afraid of being caught. So he strangled the boy with the belt of the boy’s martial arts uniform, then buried the body at the site.
In late March, social network rumours about child kidnappings in big cities like Hà Nội and HCM City concerned many parents.
The rumour was later denied by police. But the incident left parents anxious. So they took measures to protect their children.
Lê Thị Sinh, the mother of a four-year-old boy in Thanh Xuân District, said she got scared when she read a number of news reports on child abduction and children getting lost on the street.
Sinh and her husband tried to keep a close watch whenever their son went out. They took the boy to his class every day and asked teachers not to let anyone pick him up from school, without their consent.
“Many dangers in society made people feel insecure,” said Nguyễn Thành Lê, the mother of two girls in Hà Đông District.
“I let my elder daughter cycle to secondary school for about two weeks. Then I decided to take her to school by motorcycle, after she was injured in a traffic accident,” she said.
In addition to getting injured in traffic accidents, children might be kidnapped and abused by others, Le said.
Nguyễn Thu Phương, the mother of a third-grade student in Từ Liêm District, agreed.
“Despite the fact that my husband and I are so busy with our jobs, we manage to pick up our daughter at school every day,” she said. Her house is only three hundred metres from the school.
Of course parents need to care for their children and do everything possible to protect children from potential dangers. But this could make the children become passive.
Nowadays, parents in big cities spend too much time taking their children to school, to extra classes, and home. Parents do all this to prevent people with bad intentions from harming their children. And children have few opportunities for outdoor activities.
Because of all these preventive measures, parents are tired. The dual responsibilities of working and caring for their children exhaust them.
“I was stressed from taking my two children to school in the morning before going to work and from bringing them home at noon, ” Le said. She repeats this process on school afternoons. She does this five days a week.
In the past, children often went to school alone or with friends. Even children as young as first graders did so.
Parents need to brainstorm a workable solution for this problem. Children should be taught survival skills so they can protect themselves when their parents aren’t around.
It’s important for children to understand that they shouldn’t talk to strangers or accept gifts from them.
In addition to teaching children how to deal with strangers, children should be taught self-defence for emergencies, and how to call for help.
In many countries, children are taught life skills and how to respond to difficulties.
Japan is a good example. Elementary school students in Japan learn to hide under their desks, in case of an earthquake. People across Japan hold drills every year.
The Philippines, a country hit by 20 typhoons every year, has integrated disaster preparedness into primary and high school curricula. Filipino children are also taught to store all school records, manuals, books, and electronic equipment in a safe, elevated place, in case of floods.
It’s time for Vietnamese parents to teach their children life skills, such as how to protect themselves. As people often say: “Prevention is better than cure”. — VNS