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Keep Kids Safe

Here are concepts to help guide you as you help teach children and teens about personal safety

Check first

Children and teens should be taught to check first with parents and caregivers before going anywhere with anyone, accepting gifts, or allowing someone to photograph them. If anyone attempts to force the child to go somewhere with them without being able to check first, they should be taught to yell "call 911" or "help" in a low, strong voice and run to another adult for help.

Hang-out in groups

Encourage children and teens to walk to and from school, wait at the bus stop, go out into the community and spend recreational time in groups. It's not only a safe idea – it's also more fun! Parents should know the names and contact information for who their child likes to spend time with both in-person and online.

Trust your instincts

Teach your children how to recognize their gut instinct or "uh-oh" feeling. If a child or teen is in a situation where their gut is telling them that something is wrong they should leave and check in with a parent or caregiver. If a certain individual gives your child that "uh-oh" feeling, make it a family policy that they are not allowed to spend time with that person unless the parent/caregiver is present.

Talk about all secrets

There is never a good reason for a child or teen to keep secrets from their parent. If your child is asked to keep a secret, that is a red flag for them to leave the situation and talk to you immediately. It's a good idea to teach your child the different between a secret and a surprise so that you can keep the lines of communication open without learning what you are getting for your birthday.

Say no, get away, tell an adult

Parents should talk to their children about times when they may need to say no to an adult. If a child is being tricked into confusing or harmful touch s/he should be taught to say ‘no' loudly. Then s/he should get away from the situation and tell a trusted adult. Reinforce with their child that if they are ever tricked into a harmful touch that it is not their fault and that you will love them no matter what.

Attention and affection trap

Adults use attention and affection as the primary way to exploit children and teens. Tell your child that adults who have your best intentions in mind want to be a mentor and not a significant other. Talk to your teen about the dangers of being in a "relationship" with an adult. If your child or teen suspects that an adult is attempting to start a "romantic relationship" with them, they should talk to a parent right away.

Know all about you

Children and teens need to know their phone number, address, parents' or caregivers' numbers, along with other important contact information like their school information and numbers of trusted adults. Practice making a 911 call with your child as a way of practicing reciting the information in case of emergency.

Remember to talk about online safety

Children and teens need to be taught not to give out personal or emotionally private information online. Youth should not meet people from online in real life without parental permission and involvement. If children see themselves as a part of the solution to keep the Internet safer they may be more likely to report inappropriate emails and communication to a parent. Parents can use cybertipline.com to report online luring or other illegal online behavior that puts children and teens at risk.

Mentors are important

Parents/caregivers should help children and teens develop a list of five trusted adults and their phone numbers so that they can contact them if they ever need additional help or guidance.

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