Picks and Pans Review: Strong Kids, Safe Kids
Henry Winkler plays host in an important tape about a delicate subject: preventing the sexual abuse and abduction of children. It is aimed mainly at the kids. Winkler and his alter ego, the Fonz, cartoon stars including Papa Smurf and Fred Flint-stone, human stars John Ritter and Mariette Hartley and two kindly experts in child care give simple lessons: How to say no to an adult and a stranger; the difference between a truly affectionate "heart" touch and a "no" or sexual touch; the real words for what's "down there in front"; why kids should tell their parents or an adult they trust if someone abuses them; and assurance to children that if something does happen, it's not their fault. There is practical advice: Keep your distance from a stranger, and don't put your arm out—it could be grabbed. And if you're in trouble, don't scream as kids do when they play, but instead let out a deep moan, which the show calls "the honk." Winkler and company do not talk down to the kids or make light of a serious subject; neither do they overdramatize or try to frighten children. Their advice is clearly and soberly presented. Parents should watch along, and there are lessons for them as well: chiefly, listen to your kids and believe them. The tape also comes with a small booklet of tips for parents (and with blank space at the end of the tape for "videoprinting" their children with a TV camera). At 42 minutes, the show may be too long for some kids to watch in one sitting, so Winkler tells them to turn it off if they get bored and come back later. This is a show children ought to see, but many kids don't come from homes equipped with VCRs, and certainly parents who abuse their children are not going to buy this tape. Strong Kids, Safe Kids should be shown in schools, churches, scout meetings—anywhere kids and a VCR can be brought together. (Paramount Home Video, $29.95)
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