Parents! You REALLY need to start paying attention: Children and teenagers should be taught that their safety should be a top priority for them. As they navigate the world, and whether they are at home, school, or out with friends, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers and to take steps to stay safe.
Do you want to keep your children safe? Start with these simple steps:
1. Help your children develop safe habits online: As children and teenagers spend more time online, it’s important for them to develop safe habits on the internet. This includes being cautious when opening unknown websites, never sharing personal information, avoiding strangers online, and being aware of potential online scams. They need to always feel safe to report to you if someone or some organization is contacting them or harassing them online.
2. Teach them how to behave when they are out in public: It is important for them to be aware of their surroundings. You should always know where they are going and advise them to use well-lit public streets. If they feel uncomfortable or threatened, teach them to listen to and trust their gut instincts and remove themselves from the situation as soon and safely as possible. Don’t accept drinks or treats from strangers and never leave their drink unattended.
3. Show them how to seek help: Guide them on procedures for how to seek help when they believe someone is following them or they are in dangerous circumstances. Help them learn what a safe place is and how to locate one.
4. Let them know to be vocal when they feel uncomfortable: We teach our children how to behave and respect others; however, they must be reassured that it is ok for them to be vocal when someone makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened.
5. Warn them to be cautious with strangers: They should always be cautious when approached by strangers, especially if they’re alone and they should never accept rides from strangers or go with someone they don’t know, even if the person states that they know you as their parent and says it’s ok. Unless you, as the parent specifically arranged for this type of meeting and told them about it prior, then you didn’t, and they need to walk away immediately.
6. Talk to them about predators and their behavior: Talk to your children about sex predators and show them pictures of registered offenders in your area. Ask them to inform you if they see any of these individuals, or if they have been attempting to contact them.
7. Have them memorize their emergency contact information: It’s important for them to know emergency contact information such as their parents’ phone numbers and home addresses (including work phone numbers and addresses).
8. Practice different scenarios with them: Children of all ages should learn how to react in different scenarios so that they can protect themselves in dangerous situations.
9. Encourage them to communicate with you and other trusted adults: They should always know to communicate with their parents or other trusted adults when they’re going out or planning activities. This can help ensure that someone knows where they are and can help locate them if they need assistance. They also need to feel comfortable to disclose something unsettling or if someone is making them feel uncomfortable. Maintain open communication with your children and know how to listen to them. Trust them and keep calm. If they feel that you will react angrily or in a negative manner, they will be apprehensive about approaching you.
Tell them to report any suspicious activity to a trusted adult or authority figure. Make them understand that it is ok to ask for help if they need it. Whether it’s a trusted adult, a friend, or even a hotline, there will always be people available to listen and help if they are feeling scared or threatened.
10. Show them how to be safe at home: Teach your children to keep doors and windows locked when they are home alone. Instruct them not to answer the door for anyone they do not know and not to disclose to anyone, on the phone, that they are home alone. Teach them how to use the phone and how to call for help in case of an emergency. Have phone numbers such as police, fire department, and emergency medical services in a safe and easy-to-access place. In many countries, these emergency services have different numbers to reach them.
Parents, you have a vital role in helping your children and teenagers develop safe habits and providing guidance when needed. Want to learn more? Contact Nannyguards today!