It seems you cannot go anywhere these days without seeing teenagers texting on their cell phones. They often seem so wrapped up in texting things like “lol” or “ttyl” that they are oblivious to the world around them. This lack of awareness could make them a target for predators.
Awareness is one of the key elements of personal safety in today’s world. Many attacks can be avoided if certain precautions are taken and if people are more aware of their surroundings. Parents can help their children to avoid dangerous situations by talking to them about the importance of awareness.
First, children need to look up when they are walking around in public. Children cannot spot suspicious strangers if they are constantly looking down at their cell phones or handheld gaming devices. If children think that someone is following them, then they need to stay in public places and avoid places like empty parking garages or back alleys. They should also tell an adult about their concerns. Store employees, security guards, or police officers are all examples of adults that children could go to for help.
Looking up is also important because it makes a person appear more confident. Looking down with bad posture makes a person look less self-confident and more like a victim. Stranger dangers are on the lookout for victims.
Another reason that it is important to be aware is that a child can help catch a bad guy if he or she can give police certain information. Information like hair color, skin color, approximate height and weight, and type of clothing are all things that would be beneficial to police. If children can relay detailed information about a stranger danger’s vehicle, that can be helpful to authorities as well.
Parents can make a game out of training their children to be aware. For example, a parent could quiz his child on what the waitress looked like after they leave a restaurant. Parents could also quiz their children on their awareness of the neighborhood where they live. “How do you get to the police station?” or “How do you get to your grandparents’ house?” might be good questions to ask.
It is also a good idea for parents to be aware of what kind of messages their children are texting. Personal information and pictures in the wrong hands can lure stranger dangers. Parents can help their children understand that once a text message is sent out they have no control over where it may wind up.
Cell phones do have their positive attributes as well. Cell phones can be beneficial for children if the find themselves lost or in a dangerous situation. Having a cell phone provides a quick way for a child to call the police and his or her parents.
Staying in touch with friends is important to teens and other children but staying in touch with the world around them is of utmost importance to their safety.