At What Age Should We Teach Our Children About Sexual Abuse?

“I spaced…. I didn’t know what to do.”

These were the words of the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach at Penn State who worked at the University for 32 years. Sandusky sexually abused multiple victims including his adopted son and the ensuing trials and cover-up by Penn State cost the University millions of dollars.

The goal of any parent is to protect their child from harm. The sad reality is that cases of child sexual abuse at the hands of perpetrators like Sandusky are a global problem. This begs the question — when should kids be taught about child sexual abuse?

Studies have shown that children are most vulnerable to abuse between the ages of 7 and 13. This statistic shows that it is never too early for children to be made aware about preventing child sexual abuse at younger ages.

But teaching a concept as complex as child safety to a child of 4 to 5 years is difficult to do for most parents and teachers. This is where tools like the videos created by How To Tell Your Child come in. The videos are pictorial and bright, while the content is very easy for young children to understand.

Child safety is taught through the ‘5 Alerts’ system. These alerts include ‘See Alert’, ‘Talk Alert’, ‘Hold Alert’, ‘Alone Alert’, and ‘Touch Alert’. These alerts ensure that even young children understand they have control over their body. Before a parent or educator shows the child safety video to their child, they can view the ‘Adults for Child Safety’ video first to see how they can promote child safety in their communities.