Having a family is the biggest responsibility most people will undertake in their lifetime. Once children are born, the dynamics of an adult’s life shift to thoughts of providing the basic elements of a comfortable life for the family that quickly begins to take shape. One of the most important concerns for all parents is the overall safety of their children. In order to maintain the well-being of their children, parents are charged with the challenge of identifying modern safety concerns and, therefore, determining the best approach to take when eliminating these threats to overall family safety.
Today’s modern world promotes the use of computers from a very early age. Families are connected through on-the-go internet availability, social media outlets, and direct access to just about anyone at anytime through the use of wireless devices that are held in the palm of your hand. The technology is remarkable, but can pose serious problems when it comes to keeping families safe.
Parents are, ultimately, responsible for maintaining a working knowledge of modern technology, and staying abreast of their children’s online activities. It’s important for parents to know which sites their children frequent, how often they visit, and with whom they are engaging while there. However, this can be a daunting task without the right equipment.
There are many trusted internet tools that can help keep kids safe on the internet. Although nothing will guarantee 100% safety, there are parental control options on many devices as well as apps and programs that can be installed to keep kids away from adult content and child predators. In addition, it’s crucial to talk to your kids and educate them on the dangers the internet may pose and how to avoid risky situations. Encouraging kids to inform a parent of questionable incidents can help avoid a negative situation.
Safety Beyond The Home
Family safety is much easier to control within the home. Parents have the ability to monitor and control the environment in order to make sure it’s safe for the entire family. However, beyond the home, there are potential threats that may be present in school and the neighborhood that parents must consider.
Schools today are built to adequately protect the physical well-being of students, but there is the issue of possibly encountering a bully situation that is much harder to navigate. Parents have an inability to spend 100% of their time protecting their children. Therefore, it’s extremely important to talk to kids about how to deal with a bully situation. Let them know that telling a teacher when someone is unkind and talking to the proper authorities in these situations is key to thwarting a bully. In addition, parents can take advantage of opportunities to be a present figure in the school through volunteer work and periodically meeting with teachers. This dynamic approach will show a supportive front to both potential bullies and school administrators.
The neighborhood is, usually, seen as a safe place. Kids play outside and socialize with neighbors on a regular basis. However, living in a safe neighborhood does not mean that unsafe attributes can’t creep in from time to time. In order to keep families safe, parents must be diligent with regard to getting to know the neighbors, watching children while at play outdoors, and informing kids of safe areas in which to play. If there are areas that are off-limits, make sure that this information is passed on to the children. It’s important to talk to kids about stranger-danger and what to do if approached by someone that they do not know. Instructing kids to stay in groups and never separate or allow a friend to go off alone is a key element to keeping kids safe while outdoors. These issues may never come up, but preparing children will keep them safe should these issues become a reality.
As little kids grow into tweens and teens, problems may begin to arise with regard to his/her emotional well-being. Those years between the ages of 11 and 18 are some of the most difficult from an emotional standpoint. Issues may come up involving self esteem, peer pressure, or stress. These are all problems faced by teens that are fueled by social media, peers, and even one’s own self talk. Some things that parents can do to promote an emotionally safe child are:
– Listen without judgement.
– Encourage teens to reach out to other, trusted, adults to talk.
– Maintain an open dialogue regarding drugs and alcohol consumption and your parental expectations.
– Be supportive of extra-curricula activities and encourage participation in many different areas of interest.
– Work with teens to come up with a stress management plan in order to work through difficult times.
Parents are, ultimately, charged with the task of providing a safe environment for their children. Family and personal safety issues may, on the surface, be quite obvious, but others are less apparent. Identifying and combating those threats to family safety can be more challenging in the modern world, but working together and being mindful of such issues is the first step. Internet safety, safety issues outside the home, and emotional safety concerns are all matters that must be explored in order to protect the welfare of those precious children that, without fail, look to parents to provide the safest possible environment.