Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Would you stop to help?

In a social experiment recorded for channel 5 two children pretended to be lost in a London shopping centre to see who helped them.

In the programme, Little Girl Lost, sisters  five year old Maya and seven-year-old Uma stood for an hour in a busy shopping centre in the UK on their own looking lost and worried, with their mum keeping watch from a hiding place nearby.  Out of 617 people who walked by only 1, a grandmother, stopped to check if the younger of the two girls was ok.

Part of me can see entirely why people wouldn't have stopped, we are such a blame culture.  10 years or so ago it was a completely different era, you could stop and make sure a child was ok without being accused of who-knows-what.
   As a mum I know I would be wary of approaching the girls on my own, however if I had one of the kids with me I would feel a lot more happy.   I am soo disappointed and angry that the mum with a pushchair ignore their plight and am sure she will take to social media soon enough with the reasons why she did it... perhaps like me she was shopping in a trance - so concerned with where you are trying to go and getting everything done before heading back for school pick up that I wouldn't notice if my best friend was stood in front of me let alone a small child who can become easily invisible in the crowds.

The whole point of the programme is for the NSPCC to help raise awareness that you CAN and SHOULD help a child, not worry about being branded a paedophile.  However how can you do this when organisations are sending out messages such as the one on the Daily Mail website.... THIS attitude disgusts me!!  Surly it would be better for ALL staff to be accredited, and no matter what they said if I was employed by them I would be going to that lost child and comforting them, I simply couldn't stand  by and watch them get distressed.

"I have a friend who organises large festivals where, inevitably, children get lost.
Yet instructions to staff have become super-stern in recent years: if you see such a child, no matter how great their distress, you may not approach – and you certainly may not touch, so the instinctive  cuddle you ache to offer is a no-no.
Instead, they have to radio the location of the child to a central control, who will dispatch an 'accredited' member of staff to the scene. And if that means the child screams and panics for another 20 minutes? So be it."

I really hope this programme has got parents talking to their children about what to do if they get lost.  I wonder if these 2 girls would REALLY have stood in the middle of the shopping centre?  If we teach our kids to go into the nearest shop and ask them to help whether they would?  It would be very interesting to see another episode done where children do this and see if the 'staff' are as scared as the general public to help.

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