February 17th 2004
Home alone phone scare
Local families are being urged to discuss safety issues with their children after a worrying phone incident that occurred late yesterday on the Island. The incident involved a local child being asked personal questions by an unknown male caller. When the child's mother intercepted the conversation and confronted the caller he hung-up. The questions related to the whereabouts of the child's parents, the child's home address, name and age of the child.
Principal of Magnetic Island State School Ros Browne told Magnetic Times that the incident was a reminder for all parents to regularly discuss with their children the dangers associated with giving out personal information.
"Today I spoke to all classes on how best to answer the phone without giving personal information away , (sentences like, "Who is calling?" and "Can I take a message?" ) however it's important that parents follow-up these discussions with their children as well", said Ms Browne.
Sergeant Kerry Kraut from Magnetic Island Police reiterated Principal Browne's comments adding, "It's important that children know why they answer the phone in a particular manner. Placing a pad and pencil beside the phone for messages can also help, as well as advising your child not to engage in idle conversation".
Sergeant Kraut also highlighted the fact that children who are molested, are more often abused by people that are known to them, as opposed to strangers.
Although the above phone incident had, at the time of writing this story, not been brought to the attention of the police it is important that parents and guardians inform police, and the school, of any worrying incidents so that the matter can be investigated quickly, and, if need be, local families can be alerted to potential dangers.
The Department of Families has a website page dedicated to 'Home Alone' safety which may be of interest for parents: click here for the link