By Jeff Comas, Director of Knoxville Academy of Music
I want to warn you that contents of this article may provoke some uncomfortable thoughts. However, if you love your children (and I know you do) I urge you to read on. After all, every parent is concerned about their children’s safety and wellbeing. I know you want to protect your children from serious dangers to the best of your ability. That means considering the dangers your children may face in their lives, and what can be done about them, is part of your responsibility as a parent. We cannot, and should not even try to protect our child from every single danger in the world. However, when it comes to protecting our kids from the dangers of child predators we must be vigilant. Having safeguards to protect your children from predators should be a part of every family’s safety plan.
Here are some points every parent should consider for their Family Safety Plan.
Does the Organization Conduct Backgrounds Checks of their Staff?
With school or other child activities, as a parent you want to make sure organizations that your child is involved with conduct proper background checks of their staff. Such organizations should check state & nation criminal records, sex offender lists, and social security status (to ensure citizenship or legal resident status). Ask before you sign your kid up for any sports, arts, or other child activities. If they are not doing the proper screening, go elsewhere.
Is the Activity Visible or is there Video Surveillance?
Can others see? Is the activity public or is there video surveillance? Your child is safer in an environment where he or she is visible to others. Are parents encouraged to participate or observe the child’s activities? If you are not allowed to be involved or to observe consider a different activity or a more parent friendly business.
Track Social Media Activity
As technology is evolving, new dangers arise. Social media has transformed today’s era. These days it is normal to see a child of any age use popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. With such platforms, children interact with random strangers and they may share personal details. As parents, you need to be aware of the contacts they make. Consider blocking access to such sites when they are younger (or if you are worried about their judgment), make them give you their passwords (as a condition of providing the access to the service for them), and if necessary install spy software to track their contacts, and interactions.
Having safeguards to protect your children from predators should be a part of every family’s safety plan.
Meet Their Friends
Parents should meet and know the friends of their children. They must interact with them, know more about their parents, and their background. This way, if you feel their friends could be a bad influence, you can stop your children from interacting further with them.
Keep Computers in Common Areas of Your Home
Keeping a computer in the bedroom of your child is never a good idea. As a parent, you have to keep it in an open and centralized location. This way, you can keep an eye easily on their activities, and the sites they visit.
Practicing child safety is a job that comes with many challenges. Those challenges tend to change as a child grows. As infants, it is normal to rely on our parents for protection from the dangers of the world. Yet, a time eventually comes when we begin to test the limits of our parent’s protection, and think about breaking the rules. We start our own journey towards building our personality and our life, and end up creating dangers for ourselves. As we grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for our parents to keep us away from dangers, especially as we reach our teenage years. This is when we as parents must carefully pick our battles. We must use tactful ways to ensure we build up a good level of trust with our, because we want them to listen to us when it really counts.
Whether your child is in pre-school or high-school, I know you want to do your best to protect them. I know I will go to great lengths to protect the children I love. I hope this information is valuable for your Family Safety Plan.
Here are a few links you may find useful.
Until next time,
Jeff Comas started playing music at 5 years of age. He is the Director of Knoxville Academy of Music. He has been a music educator since 1989, and has given over 40,000 music lessons.