Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe In This Crazy Modern World
Parenting is perhaps one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences imaginable. Looking out for our kids has always been top priority for parents, and the exponential growth of technology has unfortunately brought even more potential dangers to our children. The world is a crazy place, not just for us but for our children as well. It seems as though the chaos is never-ending, but with awareness and vigilance you can prepare your children for the world ahead. You must first become aware of the risks to help your kids understand how they can mitigate them.
The following seven tips can help keep your kids safe in this wild modern era:
Don’t disclose personal information on social media
Once your children reach the age where they are on social media, give them rules and guidelines. Many kids use social media and its various functions without a second thought of repercussions or possible risks. Inform them of the risks of geotagging photos and informing their ‘friends’ of their location. This information can all too easily end up in the wrong hands and equate to negative outcomes for your children and family.
Utilize modern tools available to you
If your kids have cell phones, don’t hesitate turning on the tracking functions. Inform them that it is just a precaution and you will only use it if they do not answer your calls or texts. This function can be a breech of privacy for some, but it may be useful if your children suddenly stop communicating with you. Not to mention, losing a thousand-dollar phone can be quite the expense.
Check your settings
Online and through smart phones are two popular avenues hackers can access your children’s information and lives. Teach your kids how to change their phone and computer settings to disable microphone and location use. Make sure their information on their chosen platforms is safely displayed and not open for the world to see their every action. Regularly checking settings is an important factor to keep them safe in the digital world of today. This is a good habit to build from a young age as well
Have awareness without fear
You model the behaviors you wish to instill in your children. Teach them that awareness is key when bad situations arise. There is no need to be afraid of possible attacks because that will just increase fear and anxiety. Awareness is an entirely different ballgame. You remain aware by taking in your surroundings and thinking critically.
Stay vigilant after dark
It is a known fact that more crime occurs after sundown because of the lack of daylight. Give your kids a curfew to learn responsibly and planning skills. Encourage them to stay in groups and avoid wandering off by themselves, especially when they are in unfamiliar surroundings.
Allowing them to venture into the night can help build trust in your relationship. Make sure they remain cautious and conduct themselves in an intelligent manner after dark.
Lock your doors
Whether your family is home or away teach your children how to lock down the house at a young age. Have them conduct walkthroughs to check that window and door locks are safely fastened. Get your children in the habit of locking up the house from a young age to help them learn the importance of safety and precautions in the home. Once again, this is a component of awareness rather than fear.
Listen to your gut
Overall, instincts are some of the most important assets a person has regardless of age. Teach your children that if something doesn’t feel quite right—they need to listen to that feeling. For younger children they can inform an adult that something sparked their attention. Listening to your gut allows healthy intuition and self-responsibility to grow. Even if nothing is wrong, instincts can be a helpful tool to hone throughout life.
Intuition, vigilance and awareness are hard to teach, but they are life-saving skills in the long-run. Nurture an environment of education and readiness to help your children gain confidence in themselves and their abilities to handle the future. There will be times where they are tested, but each opportunity is one that can teach them something new about safety and themselves.
Robert Hessel is author of Safe City: From Law Enforcement to Neighborhood Watches, is president of Source 1 Solutions Inc., and has more than 20 years of experience as a security & safety analyst.