Teen Safety Tips
Congratulations, you have parented your kids to their teens! Now, they want to be more independent, shed the training wheels and head out on their own a bit. You’ve prepared them to this point as best you can, and they feel like they are ready for more responsibilities…to act more like an adult. Right?
Well, of course, you are skeptical. After all, you know about the trials that await. Plus, quite frankly, you may very well be struggling a bit to deal with this transition yourself. Yet, this rite of passage is inevitable. You too need to step up as they step up and take your parenting skills to another level.
Here are a few tips on how you can help your kids stay safe while they adventure out into the world and come into their own.
1. Kids like to hang out with their friends, and they don’t want to seem uncool by having to check in with mom or dad. They may choose not to call even if something isn’t feeling right.
Give your kids the power to seek your help, discreetly. Establish a text code. It can be something as simple as one letter – like “X” – that they can send to mom or dad, grandma or auntie, family members who are able to come get them in a pinch. Once this text is received from your teenager, call them and give them an out. Say something like “I have to come get you we have a family emergency.”
Now your teen can back out of any situation and they don’t look like they’ve called in the Calvary or told on their friends. The key to this is that when you pick them up, you allow them to do the talking, if they want. This isn’t the time to scold or lecture. Hey, they made at least one good decision, they called you!
*You can also set up this “safe code” in the GWEN Alert App…more on that in a moment.
2. Kids love to go to the mall, the pier, the boardwalk, anywhere there are other kids and they can roam free. You’ve probably already told them to stick together, stay with their group. Yet, what happens if they do get separated?
Teach your teen to be the leader of their group, and set up a meeting point in case anyone gets lost. They can do this while maintaining cool status. After all, everyone wants to hang with the group.
Teach your teen to know their surroundings, emergency exits, to scan an environment quickly and set themselves up for safety at all times. If you teach them to do this, you can help them learn how to stay safe without feeling uncomfortable or scared. If you do this with them when you’re out as a family, they’ll see it’s just smart “adulting.”
On your end, try to have as many phone numbers of your teen’s friends as possible. Always have a way to connect and check in with the group. You certainly don’t want to text every 10 minutes. Respect their space, but also be “present” in case you’re needed. They might roll their eyes and moan “mom” but if you don’t abuse the boundaries, they will actually appreciate it. Teens want freedom, but they also really want to know that as they roam free, someone is watching out for them.
3. Take your teen-to-adult connection to another level and download the Free GWEN Alert safety app on every family member’s iPhone or Android. Help your teens choose their GWEN 5 ―five personal contacts instantly notified when the app is engaged with the touch of a button.
Here’s the deal, they might not want you on their list (that “cool” thing again). That can be alright. If they choose one or two trusted adults, let them. The goal is to create an environment for them where they feel safe and comfortable reaching out when they are in need.
The GWEN Alert is a powerful app that can be used for all kinds of emergencies, natural disasters and personal safety issues. In addition to sending a pre-set emergency text message to the pre-programmed GWEN 5, the app provides GPS coordinates, continually tracks the phones location, and captures audio and video of the surroundings. These recordings are pushed to the cloud continuously to protect the data in case the phone is taken away or destroyed. Plus, it offers the ability to speed dial 911, should the situation escalate to a rescue response.
Your teen wants to feel like a grown up. Giving them the tools they need to be safe while expanding their life experiences empowers them. They know you’re protecting them, even when you’re not there.