Lately, some events have been taking place that may make parents feel their children are not as safe as they once were. In some cases, this is quite true. So, we ask ourselves as parents “What can we do?” “How can we prevent this?”
There is no simple answer. Although many of us are taking peaceful steps to help put a stop to this, we cannot put a halt to all of the violence in the world. As one of my favorite characters in a story once said “There’s just too much of it…”
We can however start taking measures to educate our children on safety both in & out of the home.
Below is a list I’ve created over the past few months for my own son and his friends.
In the Home
- Limit internet access unless completely necessary. (School projects, printing, keeping in touch with family, etc) Smaller children should not have internet access at all unless an educational program or app you approve of requires it. In both cases, internet usage should always be supervised.
- Dialogue with your children in terms understandable to them about the dangers of internet predators and cyber-bullying.
- Speak to smaller children about “strangers” that may try to lure them somewhere when they are outside of the home. (I know this is a scary subject for both parent and child but try to explain it to your child or children in a way that won’t terrify them…but still make them understand the danger.)
- Put restrictions on all gadgets like smart phones, tablets, and iPods.
- If your child plays video games, supervise them and please…for the love of puppies DON’T buy them anything too graphic or violent! That stuff is rated M for MATURE for a reason. Those kinds of games are meant for adults. In my not so humble opinion, children 12 and under should not be allowed to play games online. They are playing amongst adults and for reasons mirrored above, it’s just not a great idea.
Outside of the Home
- If your child walks to school or anywhere, if you’re available, go with them. If you’re not, have them go with a friend and the friend’s parent that you trust. If this option doesn’t work, try a family member. Children should just never be alone nowadays. It’s sad to say but it’s true.
- Ask your child about safety measures they may be taking in school. Go over any steps or drills with them at home and make sure they understand.
- Keep an open line of communication with the school and your child or children’s teacher(s). *This one is super important. Give your most recent contact information whenever it changes and be sure you have theirs.
- Teach your child that if they see something that’s “not quite right”, say something. Tell a teacher, an aide, their bus driver, a police officer, or any trustworthy adult.
- Have them aware of their surroundings. Take them for a drive (or walk) and show them where the nearest police station is, hospital, fire department, stores, etc. These are good things to know in case of an emergency.
These are just some highlights. Schools are excellent these days on educating your children about the importance of safety such as this. However, I strongly recommend going over this list and passing it on. If you find this to be extremely helpful, let me know & I’ll post it up on a page & have a printable format available for you to pass around among fellow parents or school faculty members.
Most importantly, hug your children and tell them you love them often. We can never do too much of that. 🙂