April: Child Abuse Awareness Month-Keeping Children Safe

Many factors can put a child’s safety in jeopardy. It is a parent’s job to ensure their children’s safety by being informed about what is going on in their lives as well as maintaining open communication with their children. Here are some tips on how to keep your children safe from abuse.

Safety from strangers
It is essential to know that most children are taken, hurt, or killed by someone they know-not strangers. However, stranger danger is a real thing, especially when it comes to the internet. Always stress to your children the importance of not speaking to or interacting with people they do not know, in person or online.

Parents should create a password between themselves and their child, and any other adult who may be supervising their children. Tell them to always ask for the password before going off with a stranger, if that person doesn’t have the password, they will know not to go with them. Teach them that under no circumstances are they to go anywhere with someone they don’t know.

If a child gets lost, teach them to find a mommy, and tell them that they are lost or to look for a person in uniform like police, security guard, or firefighter. If they are lost in the store, teach them to find a salesperson or someone behind the register. Children should know to kick, yell, and scream if someone they don’t know tries to take them away.

Safety from sexual harm
Studies show that 1 in 7 girls will be sexually approached on the internet. Additionally, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men report having experienced some type of sexual abuse in childhood. Here are some proven steps parents can use to protect their children for sexual abuse.

Educate children about sex, sexual body parts, and sexual abuse at an early but appropriate age in life. Be sure to use the proper terminology when referring to the children’s private areas. Teach children to say no to unwanted or sexual touch. Tell them that if a bathing suit covers it, then no one should be touching them in those areas unless they are being bathed or being examined by a doctor.

Safety on the internet
The internet is an entire world of its own. Although the internet affords a lot of opportunities to grow, learn, and create, parents must learn the tools that will keep their children from encountering dangerous situations online.

Parents can use private virtual networks, parental blocks and get anti-virus protection to monitor and protect their children from the horrors of the internet. Check out this article to learn more about how to set up parental controls: https://pixelprivacy.com/resources/keep-children-safe-online/.

Although parental controls are effective, to ensure your child is safe online, parents must raise their children to have cyber-smart mindsets. If parents want their children to be cyber smart, it is important that they are modeling good cyber smart behaviors for their children to model.

Also, keep your computers in a common area so you can monitor their activity. It is especially important that parents have the passwords to their children’s social media accounts and/or they check the browser history from time to time. Parents need to be aware of who their children are communicating with, what they are posting, and should also consider being their children’s friend or follower on social media platforms.

No matter the circumstances, all great parents want to protect their children from the evils of the world. Every child must know that their trusted adult is their biggest supporter and protector. Children should never feel afraid that they will be in trouble if they report that something terrible has happened to them. If a child cannot communicate with their parents and get factual and respectful communication, then the child is left to other, often unreliable sources for information. Maintaining an open line of communication between the parents and the child can be the very thing that will keep the children safe and out of harm’s way.

Contact Family Builders at 405-232-8226 or info@familybuildersok.org to learn how we can help you keep your children safe from abuse.

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