7 Tips to Keep Kids Safer

7 Tips to Keep Kids Safer

7 Tips to Keep Kids Safer

by Steve Gamel

 

As parents, we want nothing more than to keep our kids safe and healthy. But these days, it feels like our eyes and ears are on the lookout for too many threats than we can keep track of, whether it be online predators, safety concerns at school, the authority figures they put their trust into, and even who they are hanging out with when we aren’t around. Those concerns are overwhelming because it’s a lot to keep track of, and we didn’t have to worry about the same concerns growing up. The biggest piece of advice our parents gave us was Stranger Danger, which may have worked like a charm 30 years ago but sadly falls way short in today’s world. We’re not going to lie; keeping our kids safer takes hard work and diligence. But here are 7 tips to get you started.

Realize that Stranger Danger isn’t good enough anymore:
Your children must realize danger can come in many forms. While they should be mindful of strangers, not all strangers are bad people. In fact, many predators these days are people they know and would normally feel comfortable with. To keep them safe, teach them what is and is not safe behavior. If something doesn’t feel right, they should trust their gut.

Keep them educated:
Not only should your children know their name, your contact information, important phone numbers, addresses, etc., but they should be educated on the law, what is acceptable behavior versus what is over the line, how to protect their privacy online, how to be more aware of their surroundings, and yes … what sex is and how to properly understand their bodies.

Monitor social media and who they are texting:
Nothing is off limits when it comes to your child’s privacy and safety online. Social media, and the Internet in general, can be a dangerous place, and your child needs to be aware of that. Parents should set house rules and have access to any passwords their child has for online accounts or cell phones. You should also consider having a list of sites your child visits regularly. Limit your child’s time online and what sites they are allowed to visit, and install content blockers on all PCs.

Maintain an open line of communication:
Your child needs should feel like they can talk to their parents about anything, even the most sensitive of subjects, without fear of getting in trouble or not being taken seriously. Talk openly and often, and consider using role play to go over various scenarios they could face.

Get involved:
You should always be aware of what is going on in your child’s life, beyond just asking questions about their day at the dinner table. Go to baseball or cheerleading practice, volunteer at school in Watchdog programs, the PTA, etc., attend other school functions, or follow up with teachers and babysitters. Predators can’t attack if parents are involved.

Educate yourself:
There are plenty of resources online to help parents become more educated on the dangers their children will likely experience on a daily basis and how to spot predators. Knowing what questions you should ask and how to anticipate potential dangers will go a long way in protecting your child.

Teach them to travel in groups:
Whether they are walking home from school, going to the mall, or even to a friend’s house, your children should always travel with at least one or two other friends. If they are stuck in a position where they must walk alone, ensure they have a cell phone and that they are talking or staying in contact with you until they reach where they are supposed to be.


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