Following the tragic disappearance of little April Jones, scores of parents in England are enrolling their children, some as young as five, in self-defence classes. But are fears of abduction really founded, or will it just make parents and their kids more paranoid about attackers?
According to an article in the UK Sun, a class in Derby teaches youngsters "what to do in dangerous situations."
At the first session, parents were reportedly given “abduction packs” in which they were encouraged to record their kids' vitals, from blood type, along with a hair sample and a recent photo.
During the two-hour session, the children were talked through possible scenarios and then shown how to strike a potential abductor.
“It is so important that kids realize that, even in a seemingly safe area like their own street, they need to be aware of possible dangers," said Jo Ditheridge, mother of 10-year-old son, Chad.
“The first three hours are crucial in finding an abducted child and, if the police have the information in the packs, then that time can be spent searching rather than finding the information," said Ryan Lawson, owner of the school. “I have two children myself and kids have to know that it is OK to use some of the things we teach them in a particular situation."
No doubt martial arts classes can be fun and confidence-building for kids. But is it right or necessary to put the fear of assailants into the minds of our littlest ones? Will they practice these kickboxing moves against each other in the playground?
Is it not enough to teach the golden rule of not talking to strangers? Is this helicopter parenting taken to another level? Would you sign your kindergartner up to such a class?