Have you wondered what are some good steps to take to keep your own children safe? Here are a few easy steps to set up with you and your children!
Talk to your kids and youth!!!!!
Don’t wait, start talking about internet safety from the first time they are allowed to use your phone or computer! (Predators have been increasingly seen in the online gaming industry, it’s not all social media!)
Talk to them about stranger danger scenarios - do this with young kids, but even with teens!! Come up with realistic scenarios at the mall, or in a friends home where they feel uncomfortable, ask them what they would do. Then talk about it.
Tell them about Human Trafficking, we talk about slavery and the civil war starting in elementary school - human trafficking is modern day slavery, make it part of the discussion. Below I will provide some AWESOME kids videos and games that can help you do this at age appropriate levels!
If you pick only one thing to implement from this list. Pick this one. Educating kids gives them the awareness to identify dangers and avoid them.
Set up safety words with a trusted friend/relative - one word that means they do not feel safe. One word that means they feel fully safe.
Have your children memorize at least one phone number and their home address, in case they do not have access to their cell phone with their contacts.
Social Media: check their social media, what are they saying, who are they talking to on their social media sites - double check privacy settings and remove any geographical check-in points such as Four Square, or automatic GPS tags on photographs or photograph-based websites.
Talk to them about posting on social networking sites, be cautious not to provide unnecessary information regarding your daily activities or close friends and family and locations.
Search their full names on google to make sure someone couldn’t search their name and find out where they live.
Do a search on Google, Bing, and Yahoo for their full name and city or state to screen all publicly available information that someone can find out about them on the internet. Also, be cautious about having photos of children displayed online.
Define which sites your child can visit
Tell your kids about the sites that are known for predators. Like: Instagram, Snap Chat, Backpage, Bedpage, Craigslist.
Be examples of and encourage your teens in setting time limits on computers and digital devices
Create a family charging station where all devices are charged overnight
Technology isn’t all bad! You can use technology to help fight!! Here are some great apps and sites youth can use with the parents, mentors, and friends to be more safe:
Circle of Six- this app lets you add up to 6 people from your contacts to join your Circle. Then with the touch of a button you can send the following commands - the pin icon sends a text and your GPS location to your Circle that says: “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.” The phone icon sends a text to your Circle that says: “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.” The chat icon sends a text to your Circle that says: “I need to talk.” Your friends can then immediately respond to your situation. (This also allows teens to choose their trusted circle because the text doesn’t have to go to parents if they are too scared - it can go to another trusted adult or friend too!)
BSafe - Bsafe offers 6 features to help you stay safe. The Alarm feature sets off a siren (optional), and BSafe starts recording video and voice as well as sending your GPS location to your chosen friends. The Follow Me feature lets friends follow your movements on the mobile map. Once you have arrived home safely, your friends will be notified. The Fake Call feature will make your phone call you. You can also set it on a timer in advance to have an excuse to leave a situation. The Recording feature automatically starts recording video and audio and the recording is sent to your primary person’s mobile phone. The I Am Here features shares your location with your friends. The Timer feature notifies your friends if you have not checked in within a certain time.
www.bark.us offers 24/7 MONITORING on as many devices as you choose -it scans a child’s accounts 24/7 and delivers alerts via text and email when it detects possible issues, such as violence, bullying, sexual content, self-harm/suicide, mental health, and drugs or alcohol.
www.Nsteens.org has short videos and games to help tweens and teens be safer online.
https://www.netsmartzkids.org/ has season episodes with kids learning to be safer online (this is great for young kids too)
Our teens can learn some safeguarding tools and it can open a new line of communication with them! There are so many ways to involve our teens in the fight against them, a few can include:
We can encourage our teens to become an advocate for victims of human trafficking through organizations and forums. For example CNN does an event every year in March where kids can do an anti-trafficking awareness event at school and get on CNN- this event is all student led!
There are also opportunities to get involved with advocacy through IJM and using their voices to ask congress to pass anti-trafficking laws.
If you want to teach your teens more about Human Trafficking A21 was a great curriculum online that is common-core aligned, it can be used in classrooms, in churches, or in homes to help build an understanding of human trafficking in the U.S. and how to join the fight against it.
You can invite a speaker from Beauty For Ashes Africa to come to your organization or school and speak on things like Justice, Freedom, and Tech Safety
Check out the National Human Trafficking Hotline site for more safety tips.
Hotline: Call 1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711)| Text 233733