ALWAYS TEACH YOUR CHILDREN:
• To know their full name, age, telephone number, area code, city and province
• How to contact you, another close relative, or police, fire and ambulance services in an emergency
• When children are home alone, they should tell phone callers that you are there, but you are busy and cannot come to the phone. The phoning party can call back later.
• When children are home alone, find out the identity of the person who comes to the door, without opening the door. If a stranger is at the door, teach your children to tell the stranger that you are busy, and he/she should go away and come back later. Teach your child not to engage in conversation with the visitor. If the child feels threatened, teach him to phone an emergency number.
• Adults, especially strangers, rarely ask children for help in finding things, or for directions. Explain to your child that both men and women are strangers.
• If your child becomes separated from you in a store or shopping mall, to go directly to a store employee or cashier for help.
• That police officers who wear uniforms are their friends and that they can be trusted if your child is in trouble. It is for this reason that you should never use the police as a threat to your child. This will confuse their image of the police.
• Where possible, your children should play and walk with other children.
• Avoid situations where strangers may approach your child alone, such as an unsupervised play area, empty lots, abandoned buildings, bushy area of parks, creeks and riverbeds.
• If someone is following or frightening your child, they should turn around and get away. Run home or to a Block Parent home or the nearest public place such as a school, store, or office. Your child should also try to remember what the driver and car looked like or its license number.
Another big safety concern for parents is how to protect "latchkey" kids who are home alone after school. Don't let a stranger inside the house. It's a good rule, but can be misleading. Stranger is a confusing word for many children. Many kids expect strangers to be scary, poorly dressed people who drive dark old cars and offer candy. Remind them that a stranger is anyone you or your children do not know well or don't trust, regardless of how they look. Talk to your children about strangers approaching them and some of the ploys they might use. Stress to them that adults don't ask a child's help to find a puppy or get directions; the should ask another adult for that information. Remind them to never give the impression they are home alone if strangers telephone or come to the door. Never open the door for a stranger, and teach them about dialing 911.
Parents should only leave children home on their own when they are certain the child is both able and ready for the responsibility. Age, maturity, location and time are just some of the variables that must be considered in doing so. The buddy system is the most ideal one and parents should seek out other parents with children compatible and suitable to take turns staying with each other. Any form of organized activity, or the immediate availability of a trusted adult, can provide the necessary guidance to help ensure your child's safety and also give you peace of mind.
If your child must be home alone, they need to know the following rules:
• Keep Doors Shut: Instead of telling kids not to let a stranger in, the real rule needs to be: Keep the door shut and locked at all times. Don't fill your child's head with "don'ts"; simply tell them to keep all doors closed. If someone comes to the door, your child can communicate with this person through the door or ignore them completely.
• Set Check-In Time: Another thing parents should ask their child to do is call and let Mom or Dad know that she/he is home safe. Have your child call at the same time each day. Give 10 minutes plus or minus to allow for a slow bus, etc ... then call or have someone check if he/she doesn't meet this deadline. Also, find a close neighbour who is usually home around this time. If there is a problem and you can't be reached, the child knows to call this person. Parents need to remember that kids who are home alone are much more likely to encounter dangers such as cooking fires or accidental injuries while playing than being abducted by a stranger.
Internet Safety Tips for Parents
- Limit the amount of time your child spends online
- Use parental filtering software
- Consider where the computer is placed. A computer should be placed where you are mostly (kitchen, family room, living room), not in a bedroom or spare room.
- Review your child's online habits, activities or interests.
- Know your child's login information, their email address, and any usernames. Ask yourself if your child's online identities display or describe too much personal information about who your child is.
- Show and discuss with your child safe search engines.
- Reinforce the idea that not everyone is who they say they are online.
- Know who your child is communicating with online. Discuss with your child that a friend is someone they know in person, not online.
- Tell your child about the permanency of posting pictures and videos online. Advise them that anything sent, posted or displayed online is permanent, and can lead to irreversible and embarrassing consequences.
- Encourage open communication between you and your child. If they come across something or someone that makes them feel uncomfortable explain they should be able to tell you without fear or losing their computer privileges.
Remember, nothing can replace parental supervision. Stay Safe and enjoy the internet!