Family Safety Tips 101:
Preventative Measures for Keeping Children Safe from Predators
Guest Article by Erik Braunitzer of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, Agents for
New York City Rentals.
The way people communicate has changed dramatically in the last decade with the availability of social media and smartphones; this new form of real time updates of what people are up to and where they are has allowed many people to stay in contact with many friends at once, but has also continued to make the road to a victim easier than ever for predators.
There are so many stories in the news nowadays of children being abused verbally (cyberbulling) and sexually when they put trust in people they meet online. Whether your children are about to graduate high school or just starting out in elementary school, the need to stay vigilante on your child's whereabouts and activity online is paramount to continue to protect them from predators in your community and online.
Below are some 101 family safety tips, along with some safety recommendations for a more modern world.
Be a Parent
There is nothing more important than talking with your children and being involved in what they do. Take time every day to spend time with your child, whether it's doing a fun activity or talking with them about their day. Make sure you sit down with your child and let them know that they should never get into a car or go somewhere with someone they don't know, shouldn't talk to strange adults online and to not share too much personal information online. Spending this time together let's your children know that you care about them and their safety.
Create a Plan
Create a safety plan with your child for when they feel that they are in danger or need help. If your child has a cell phone, have important numbers stored in their phones, like all of your numbers (home, work, cell phone), trusted family members and even trusted family friends. If a child is feeling uncomfortable, they will have a multitude of people to contact to come to their aid. If your child is much younger, be sure that they will always be supervised by a trusted individual; never let a child walk home alone, walk to the bus stop alone, etc. You don't want your young child to be vulnerable to predators.
Be Your Own Parental Lock
When it comes to having a cell phone and using the internet, be knowledgeable about what your child is doing with their technologies. Checking what your child is posting on their Facebook and seeing who they're texting is a proactive way to keep them out of harm's way.
You may think to yourself that your teenager will see this as invading their privacy and will react negatively to you 'snooping'. You can turn this into a positive experience by sitting down and talking about their internet and cell phone usage instead of feeling like you need to 'snoop' to not upset them. Sit down together and ask them what they think is appropriate for them to have online. Change security setting together; turn off location settings (setting that use a computer's IP address and smartphone's GPS to post your location), removing too much personal information and talking about what you think is too much and what they think is too much information online. Maybe these conversations can cause your child to think differently about what they do instead of you telling them to act differently.
Know Your Neighborhood
Different states have different laws about sex offenders but they do have a registry to let the community know if they live in your area. Check your state's site for an official registry of any sex offenders already living in your area. For example,
New York State's site
allows you to search by location or name and gives you a plethora of information on where offenders live, work, what they look like and what they drive. If your area doesn't have any sex offenders, don't immediately assume that your neighborhood is completely safe of the threat.
With some common sense, smart planning and conversations with your family, you and your children can all be safe and happy living in your neighborhood and interacting with your neighbors, in person or online.
Want more family safety tips? See the
Internet Safety Tips for
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