We’re thinking about our kids’ safety, but are they?
Start a dialogue and keep the lines of communication open. Make a plan to stay in touch with your child and stick to it. Share these tips with your kids. There’s a lot here. Maybe one at a time?! Your kids might roll their eyes, but they will hear.
Be aware of your surroundings. Become familiar with the campus and map out safe ways to walk to and from your classes. Walk in lit areas that are frequently traveled.
Always walk with at least one other person that you know. Groups are better but are not always practical. If you have to walk alone somewhere, make sure someone is aware of where you will be walking and when you should arrive at your destination.
Personally, I encourage my daughter to call me on her cell phone when she is walking somewhere alone. We talk until she arrives at her destination safely. Even though she is on the phone I encourage her to stay aware of her surroundings.
Communicate your schedule to your friends and roommates as well as your parents. That way the kids that are close with you are aware of when you should be in class, in your dorm room, in a study group, lab, etc. Don’t broadcast your schedule to the public in general by leaving notes on the outside of your dorm door or by putting your status on your Facebook page.
These days, kids are used to their lives being public. but they have to understand that in the outside world not everyone has their best interest at heart and so they should not live so publicly.
Stay alert and listen to your instincts.
I always tell my daughter that she should listen to her inner voice. If she feels funny in a situation she should go with that feeling and find a way to safety – whether it is just to make some noise, honk her car horn, duck into a restaurant, etc.
When you get to school you are meeting many new people – use your instincts in making new friends. Trust yourself. Once you have made some good friends, make sure they know where and when you expect to be somewhere. Then when you meet new people, do so in a public place and make sure your friends are aware of who they are, where they live, and what you are doing when you meet with them, whether it be study, socialize, interview, etc.
Follow the rules about getting into dorm rooms and buildings on campus. Don’t prop the doors open or let strangers in. Don’t feel bad if you don’t hold the door for someone that you don’t know. If they really belong there, they will be able to get in themselves. If you feel unsafe around someone contact campus security.
If you are out at night and need a ride home, make sure you know your campus policies. Many schools have provisions for transportation for students at night. If you are studying alone at night or working in a lab, make sure you know the procedures for staying safe – possibly telling campus security that you are there, arranging for a ride back to your dorm.
No need to say this to our kids…but carry your cell phone everywhere!
As parents, we should be aware of what each school’s policies are and what the campus police can do. Make sure that you and your college student each sign up for any security alerts that are offered by your school. Do you have any other tips?
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