Teenager Safety Child Protection Week highlights the ever-increasing need to educate our kids about staying safe while providing them with the necessary tools on how to do this.
No parent wants to give thought to scary what-ifs, the possibility that our child might need guidance on how to stay safe in life-threatening situations. But despite our best efforts, there is no place that is 100% safe.
“The reality is that our children may witness a crime despite our best efforts to keep them protected,” notes Agnieszka Gryn, general manager at Fidelity ADT’s Inland, who says that her team has come across cases where school children were mugged for their cellphones, and even more alarmingly, have been home while their houses were being robbed.
It’s a big world out there. When your child was a baby or toddler, you were always there, or you left your child in the care of a trusted adult. But as your child gets older, you’ll be holding his or her hand less and less. You’re bound to worry a bit about safety. And when kids begin to navigate the sidewalks or even public transit by themselves, it can be positively nerve-wracking. And yet it’s our job to gradually give our children more and more independence, so we need to teach them how to keep themselves safe in the world without undermining their trust that the world is a good place. So here you are, one dozen basic Family Safety Rules that every parent can implement, that really will help you to keep your child safe as you let go of his hand.
Safety in and around Vehicles
Vehicle accidents are one of the deadliest risks today for people of all ages. For teenagers, most crashes involve alcohol, illegal drugs, and texting while driving. While your teens may get tired of hearing you repeat the same messages over and over, it’s impossible to overemphasize how dangerous these behaviors are.
Make sure children get buckled up when they ride in vehicles. Younger children need to be careful when they cross streets and ride bicycles or skateboards. Remind them that drivers are not always as attentive as they should be. Make sure they carry a flashlight and wear bright-colored clothing when they go out after dark.
Some of the most significant dangers today are online, where predators, cyberbullies, and hackers use kids to gain access to your home computer. Online bullying can be as traumatic as the offline variety, and sometimes more threatening, as it can occur at all hours of the day, even when the kids are at home. Make sure they feel comfortable talking to you about such issues. Also, be alert to changes in behavior, including anxiety or a desire to avoid school.
Educate your children about online safety. If they use social media sites, make sure their settings are private. Instruct them never to open links sent from strangers. You may also want to use controls to limit what younger children can access online.
- Keep the computer in the TV lounge
- Install internet filtering software
- Visit the sites that teens used to visit
- Don’t give personal information
Guns are a controversial topic right now. Whatever your beliefs, it’s crucial to recognize weapons are potentially dangerous, especially if you don’t follow sensible precautions. If you have guns in the house, make sure to lock them up when you aren’t using them. Children should also be educated about gun safety and learn never to treat them as toys.
Use a tracking App
If you find that your son/daughter is hiding something from you or spending more time out, then it’s time to spy. Teenagers need more care and supervision. As we have noticed many times when parents scold their children, they take it to their ego. They stop sharing their daily affairs with parents, and this is when parents need to spy on them. Otherwise, you’ll never get to know what they are doing.
To keep a check on the children’s activities, you can use phone tracker. In this way, you’ll be able to trace where your son or daughter spend time.
Personal Safety Discussion
Once when your child is out of sight, everything he does is out of your control. You can teach him his moral values and tell him about his boundaries. Remind him few basic personal safety rules including
- Never accept something from any stranger
- Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs
- Follow the standards and laws of the country
- Don’t share your personal information on social media
Avoid In-Person Meetings with Strangers
Tell your daughter that the only way
someone can physically harm her is if she’ll meet him in person
. If she really wants to get together with a person she met online, then don’t go alone. Tell her to meet in public place, inform someone about the meeting and location, and bring some friends along.
Don’t teach “Stranger Danger.”
That was the warning when we were kids, but it’s probably best to leave that one in the past. First of all, it invokes the image of a scary person. In truth, an abductor will look like anyone else and they can approach children in a friendly way. Once they introduce themselves or claim to be a friend of a parent, they may not be a stranger in your child’s mind. Stress to your child that they can not identify whether someone is good or bad based on their appearance.
Second of all, there may be times when your child does need to talk to strangers. The important thing is to talk to the right stranger. It’s tempting to tell your child to find a police officer, but children often can’t distinguish between a police uniform and other uniforms, and abductors have used uniforms in order to gain trust. Helpful tip: If a child is lost or needs help, tell them to look for a mother with kids.
Be cautious and aware of identifying
Personalized shirts, a team uniform or clothing from your child’s school can provide a potential abductor with valuable information. If they are able to call your child by name or mention their school or team, they may be able to trick your child into believing that they know them.
The most important thing when trying to keep your child safe from abduction is to communicate with your child. Talk to them regularly about the dangers and what they can do to stay safe.
an open dialogue with your child:
You can’t monitor your child’s social media activity 24/7, so maintaining a strong line of communication is important to understand what’s going on with your child online. Ask them to inform you whenever they receive messages or invites from strangers. Talk to them about the consequences of misusing social media. Ask them to tell you if someone is teasing or harassing them as those could be signs of cyber-bullying.
The best way to keep your child safe is to help him develop good judgment:
There is no substitute for supervision and knowing what’s going on in your child’s life, but as your child becomes increasingly independent, he’ll need to be aware of his own instincts about what’s safe, and follow them. Unfortunately, the brain of a teen is primed to be influenced by peers, so he can easily override that “still, small voice within” if all the other kids are doing something risky. Daredevil behavior is bad enough in a six year old, but in a sixteen year old it can be deadly.
Talk with your kids constantly – and listen more than you talk:
Listening keeps you connected and helps your child feel safe. But it also helps your child talk to you more, and when you get kids talking about something, they’re thinking about it. So introduce topics that will help your child think, reflect, and develop good judgment. Ask questions, like:
- What do you worry about the most?
- If you got into really big trouble, how do you think I would respond?
- What are the different kinds of courage? How do you define bravery?