‘Pervert’ fears stop men helping kids

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 29 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

Kim Goldstein, 36 of Mermaid Waters, Gold Coast, playing hide and seek with her 2 Children Maisee, 4, & Harvey, 2. Photographer: Liam Kidston. Source: News Limited

MORE than two thirds of Australian men admit they would be at least somewhat reluctant to help a lost child for fear they would be viewed as a pervert.

Disturbing new research from Pure Profile reveals 23 per cent of fathers would shy away from assisting a child in need, because they might be perceived as having suspect motives.

Reluctant...Dads are afraid to help a child for fear their actions would be interpreted as inappropriate. Picture: News Corp Australia. Source: News Limited

Another 45 per cent of dads admit it would cross their mind that someone might interpret their actions as inappropriate, but if a child was in "great distress" they would go to their aid.

The findings, from a child safety survey of more than 1000 parents across Australia, have been released to coincide with the launch a new GPS tracking device for children, skynanny.net.

Outspoken broadcaster Derryn Hinch, who is an ambassador for the child location device, said the survey results were alarming.

"It's terrible that it has come to this, I was shocked by that, it wouldn't cross my mind," he said.

"It is a sad comment on society that many Australian men will not help a child in distress for fear they will be judged."

Mr Hinch, a long time child safety campaigner, said he believes GPS technology could be a new frontline against child abductions.

In support...Derryn Hinch supports the GPS tracker for children. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: News Corp Australia

"I probably know more about tracking devices than most people, because I wore one for five months," Mr Hinch said lightheartedly, referring to the five months he spent under house arrest for breaching suppression orders by naming sex offenders.

"I couldn't step out of my courtyard," he said.

The SkyNanny device, which can be worn in the pockets of a child's clothing, alerts parents via a smartphone app when their child ventures out of an approved area.

Inventor Jason Petch said he was motivated to create the app after he briefly lost his daughter on a Victorian beach three years ago.

"Even though I only lost her for five minutes, they were the most terrifying five minutes of my life," he said.

Sad...Fathers said they would shy away from assisting a child in need, because they might be perceived as having suspect motives. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: News Limited

But child safety expert Catherine Gerhardt said many parents would only be inclined to think about putting locational devices on their children, if they had experienced a scare in the past.

She said while the product could provide some peace of mind, parents needed to be careful not to instil too much fear into their kids.

"You have to be careful because kids are growing up with so much anxiety thinking there is something nasty around every corner," Ms Gerhardt said.

She said the best way to protect kids was having firm discussions with them about never going anywhere without seeking permission first.

Melbourne mum Maya Asafi, from Caulfield South, says she worries about her two sons Ben, 3 and Daniel 1.

Although they are still quite young and tend to stick by her side, Ms Asafi says she will consider getting a child tracking device when they become a little more independent.

"I think it's only natural to be worried about the kids, at the moment they are young and they are not going anywhere by themselves, but in the future I could see myself wanting something like this," she said.

Warning...Child safety expert Catherine Gerhardt warned that it's important not to instil too much fear into kids. Picture: News Corp Australia Source: News Limited

Queensland mum of two, Kim Goldstein, knows what it is like to be hit by a moment of panic when a child wanders out of sight even briefly.

"My kids don't run away an awful lot, but I know that moment when your heart is in your mouth and you can't see them, and there is a big advantage in something like this," she says of the GPS child tracking device.

Kim Goldstein, 36 of Mermaid Waters, Gold Coast, with her 2 Children Maisee, 4 and Harvey, 2. Photographer: Liam Kidston. Source: News Limited

Ms Goldstein, who has a four year old daughter Maisee and a two year old son Harvey, said she would consider having her children carry a location device in a busy shopping centre, an airport or at a show like the EKKA.


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