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Chances are, you’ve seen that Zac Efron is playing Ted Bundy in a new movie.
No matter where you land on the subject, I think there is something we can do as parents, and that is talk to our kids about Ted Bundy.
No, we don’t need to tell them about serial killers, but we do need to help them understand that not all monsters look like monsters.
Stranger danger is a weird thing. We teach our kids to be wary of people they don’t know, but then we also tell them to be nice to everyone they meet and give them a big smile.
Everyone is talking about how Zac is too hot to play Ted Bundy in a biopic, but his over-hotness is why he’s perfect for the role.
You see, Ted Bundy used his charm and his suave to lure in unsuspecting women all while leading what seemed like a completely normal life and fitting in. Just because people were willing to over look his quirks.
And why were people willing to do that? Easy— he was attractive.
I don’t mean that in a, “Omg Ted bundy was so hot” way. I mean that in a “Conventionally attractive that society accepts as a standard of attractiveness” way.
And what’s the problem with this when it comes to our kids?
The problem is, when they watch tv and movies, the creepy old troll guy or the freaky janitor is always the one portrayed as the “bad person.” When in reality, they aren’t any more likely to be bad than someone who is well-kept and nice to look at.
Our kids need to know that stranger danger comes in all sizes and packages, and even if their gut is telling them everything is totally fine, they shouldn’t let their guard down.
But this is difficult, because we don’t want to raise our families with the notion that all humans are bad until they’ve proven they aren’t. We want our children to be optimistic about life and the things that can happen while still being realistic about the very real dangers that are out there today.
Once when my daughter was younger, she was talking with her pediatrician about what to do when if you get separated from your parents. The doctor told her to look for a mommy with a stroller because she would be the most likely to help.
I had never heard that before, so I asked why that and not someone in uniform like zoo personnel, etc.
She explained to me that predators often dress up like personnel in order to trick kids, and they can go mostly unnoticed in a public place with a broom and a dust pan. She also said that children are more familiar with a women who has a stroller than someone with a uniform.
The truth is, I’m not sure how we talk to our kids about dangers like serial killers and kidnappers without scaring them, but we do need to keep them safe, and make them understand that not all monsters wear masks.
Some hide in plain sight.