Tag Archives: students

Spring Break Is in Session! Ensure Safe Travels for Your College Student this Vacation

Believe it or not, spring break season has started. Yes, snow is falling in certain parts of the country, but colleges are already releasing their students for the week-long break. Some students may be headed to warmer weather and vacation destinations, while others are just coming home for a much-needed rest. Whatever the case, before your college-age child wraps up their studies and heads out on a trip, you may want to give them a few travel safety tips to study as well.

Be Prepared
When traveling as a family when I was a kid, I used to ask my mother to make a packing list for me so that I wouldn’t forget anything. Since then, if I do not make a packing list beforehand I will most likely forget one of the most basic items. (I have forgotten to pack socks. Socks.) Tell your child to write down or type up everything they need to remember to bring with them, and then have someone else look over the list for something they might have missed. This is especially important for common-sense items that you may not even think you have to write down, such as phone chargers or passports. Before they head out the door for the week, have your child go item by item through the list to make sure there won’t be any emergency pit-stops on the way home from the airport.

Keep an Eye Out
While keeping track of your belongings while traveling may seem like an unnecessary reminder, college kids can be scatterbrained and may be distracted by something particularly engaging on their phone or in a book. Suggest they hook a backpack or purse strap around one of their legs while sitting and waiting to board a flight or bus. That way, if anyone grabs their bag, they will know, plus they won’t forget it. Keeping a purse strap on their arm, and not leaving their phone sitting on a table can also prevent losing anything they worked so hard to pack up. Another area to keep an eye on is public Wi-Fi. While many airports, bus terminals and train stations provide customers with Wi-Fi, that can make devices vulnerable to hackers. Suggest to your child that they use a VPN whenever possible if they need to connect to free Internet access.

Know and Share the Route
Be it the trip to the airport, the bus connections, or the driving route home, make sure your child knows their travel plans before they actually head out—and that they share those plans with you. Remind them that they can’t always rely on their phone’s GPS! Service gets lost and sometimes a phone gets a location wrong. In addition to your child knowing how they’re getting home, encourage them to tell a friend about their route too, so if anything were to go awry, someone closer to your student may be able to help sooner than you. If possible, ask your child to share their phone’s location with you and a friend so either of you can keep track of their progress during the journey.

Speaking of Phones…
Most importantly, make sure they keep their phone charger on them and keep in contact with you! I once forgot to bring my phone charger with me to the airport, and thankfully had my laptop with me to message with the family member picking me up. Imagine if I hadn’t had any other devices, or if my laptop had also died!? Payphones are not as prevalent as they used to be, and not everyone carries change with them. Your child should, at the very least, let you know when they arrive at a new destination, such as the bus station or a rest stop on their drive.

Here’s hoping their spring break actually looks like spring, and the weather warms up for a well-needed rest from classes and cold. As for you as the parent, brace yourself. It doesn’t matter where the final destination is, college kids are still kids and may need a little extra assistance from you with their travel plans. Once they arrive, be prepared for their ridiculous appetites and sleep schedules, and appreciate that they got wherever they were going safely.

6 School Safety Tips to Protect Your Teens and College Kids from Theft

Your teens are heading back to school, and they’ll be even more distracted than they were this summer because, you know, teenagers. That means now is the time to review some basic school safety tips, before they get wrapped up in classes and homework and sports—and don’t have time to listen. OK, they might not listen anyway, but you can at least try while they have time.

Last time, we went over cyber safety tips. This time, we offer six school safety tips designed to help your teen not to become a victim of theft. As we’ve done before, we’ve written it directly to your teen…so maybe have them read it, and we’ll nag them for you:

  1. If you don’t want to lose it, leave it at home
    Leave anything you don’t want stolen at home. Yes, your new jacket is to be admired and you want your iPod near, but taking them to school means losing them to theft or forgetfulness.
  2. Lock the car and keep valuables out of sight
    Just as you would when parking your car in any public area, hide anything of value under the car seat or in the trunk of your car if you drive to school—or carpool with a friend. If you leave a purse, backpack, iPod or some other tempting thing in plain sight, you invite a break-in.
  3. Lock your locker
    It sounds like commonsense, right? But my own kids confessed to leaving their lockers unlocked for a whole list of reasons. Sometimes it was because they forgot the combination. Other times it was a sticky lock they didn’t want to mess with during the short time between classes. Or there was the time one of them was sharing a locker with a friend. Your locker has a lock for a reason. Use it.
  4. Lock your gym locker
    When it comes to the gym locker, kids assume they’re coming back soon, so why bother? When one of my kids was in high school, she told me phones were stolen from gym lockers on a regular basis. As with the advice above, it locks for a reason. Lock it.
  5. Do a double-check before leaving the classroom
    When my youngest was still in high school, she suggested this safety tip because forgetting a jacket, purse, cellphone, charger or other piece of property can mean it disappears forever. Teens are distracted anyway, but even more so when in class trying to keep up with the lessons and homework, and then thinking about where they need to be next. If they can get into the habit of doing a double-check before leaving a room, that’s a safety habit they can use anywhere, even when out on their own.

Personal safety and security don’t just happen except through luck. And who wants to trust to luck? Instill good habits in your teens and college students now, and those habits might just stick into adulthood. Now that’s a lesson learned!

8 Cyber and Cellphone Safety Tips for Teens, College Students—and Parents

School is starting! That puts high school and college students back into the busy-ness of the academic year, as well as back into the social media fray. Sure, they spent an inordinate amount of time on their phones all summer long, but being back in school gives them even more reasons for screen time.

And that means it’s time to review some cyber and cellphone safety tips for teenagers and young adults. If you’re the parent of a high school or college student, read through this advice as well, so you’re better informed about the dangers your kids face.

#1 Keep some things to yourself. You don’t have to share every mood swing, angry moment, argument, thought or opinion. Nor do you have to post every single photo. When it comes to sharing, less is better. That applies to news about yourself too, including being home alone or going on a trip. You are entitled to your privacy, and sharing less helps to protect it.

#2 Remember that everything you do is going to become part of the public record.  Once it’s on the Internet, it’s not going away. Every email, message, post, tweet, like, share and photo might seem temporary because you’re not likely to see it again any time soon, but it could come back to haunt you later.

#3 Employers can access Facebook too, and they do. About 70% of employers will look at a Facebook profile when considering a job candidate. What will they see on your Facebook page? If it’s something you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, it’s probably something you shouldn’t post. This could apply when you’re applying to internships too.

#4 Practice self control. Technology can make that hard to do, because we live so in the moment these days, but you can take the higher road. Put your phone away until you calm down. Choose not to react or respond. Talk to someone instead.

#5 Follow the same rules of good behavior online that you do offline. Don’t gossip, be mean, or spread rumors. If you wouldn’t do it in person or say it to someone’s face, you probably shouldn’t be doing it or saying it while hiding behind the supposed anonymity of a screen.

#6 Watch your step. You’re leaving a trail of everywhere you go. Every website you visit and link you click provides data that is recorded somewhere. Even if you’re clearing your cache to remove the evidence from your laptop, it has already been recorded.

#7 Remember that what you’re seeing online is often not real. The perfect looking people on Instagram, the pornography, the vacation photos…be hyper aware of how those unreal images are affecting your own self-image. Experts have noticed an increase in depression among teens in recent years, and some attribute that to social media. We know of a young woman who deleted Twitter and Instagram from her phone because looking at them caused her to feel so bad about her own physical appearance.

#8 Put your phone away for a while. Teenagers are averaging nine hours per day on social media. That’s more time than most people spending sleeping in a 24-hour period. Not only is that unhealthy, it’s dangerous too. Teens are at risk when looking at their phones when so distracted while walking down the street, and obviously while texting and driving, as these horrific videos show.

The Internet and social media have changed our world, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. Teens and their parents can help make it a change for the better by practicing cyber and cell phone safety, starting with these tips.

When May Means Graduation, Give Gifts to Keep Them Safe

May has definitely become the month that kicks off graduation season, with both May and June seemingly full of elementary kids moving up to middle school, and middle school to high school, and then high graduates going off the college and college graduates going off to life! Oh my!

If you have friends or family moving into a next life stage—with a transition into or out of college—consider giving gifts that put safety first, because it’s an uncertain world out there. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be a suit of armor or anything overly pricey. There are several ways you can give the gift of safety and security with ease…

For the kids headed to college in the fall For those graduates heading off college dorms, look for gifts at DormSmart.com. They sell “dorm room essentials” and have a section of their website focused on safety and security, including both items for sale and helpful hints. (Read more about dorm safety and security here.)

For those who will be driving, consider car safety kits, or this emergency preparedness backpack kit sold by the Red Cross. Other good ideas include gift cards for car maintenance or oil changes, so they can prepare their cars for the road trips to and fro.

For the kids headed out into the world
Not all kids are headed to college. Some will be entering the military while others go straight into the workforce (an increasingly popular choice these days). And even those going off to college won’t necessarily live in a dorm, as many choose apartments instead. (If you’ve ever had dorm food or tried to sleep in a building full of immature 18-year-olds away from home for the first time, you might not blame them!)

For those new graduates who are moving into an apartment or a home of their own, an emergency preparedness kit like the one mentioned above makes a great gift. Or pull together a few basic items they probably won’t have, like flashlights and batteries and a hand-cranked radio, and make a gift basket with those. Or make a gift basket with canned good and a can opener, in case the power goes out. These can be very clever but very useful gifts, because they help prepare the new graduate for an emergency but also get them thinking about being prepared.

And of course either the car safety kit or the emergency backpack mentioned above make great gifts for your new graduate, no matter where they are headed.

More than anything else, however, make sure you talk to them about staying safe and secure. It is a scary world out there. Talk to them about intangibles like identify theft and password concerns. Be honest with them about the importance of staying safe on campus or while out at night. Prevention really is worth a pound of cure, and their schooling probably didn’t teach them how to stay safe in the first place. So now’s your chance…

Travel Tips for Teens: Ensuring Safe Travels for Your Homeward-Bound College Student

It’s only May, but summer vacation is about to start for college students across the country, and that means teen travel, as they pack up and head home to eat everything in sight, sleep for 12 straight hours a day, and make huge piles of dirty laundry until it’s time to go back to school in the fall.

Kids at this age are somewhere between children and adults, and their commonsense hasn’t necessarily matured to the point we might prefer as they set off to make their journeys home. If you’re driving to the dorm to help them pack up and get home, you probably won’t have much to worry about. But many parents have kids going to school out-of-the-area (including me!), and it will take more than a car ride to get them home. For those kids, review these teen travel safety precautions with them, before they start that trek and end up on your doorstep.

Traveling by plane, train or bus
If your student will be traveling by plane, train or bus, make sure all arrangements are made well in advance. You don’t want to purchase a ticket only to find out your child never arranged for transportation to the airport or station, or that they didn’t know they needed to get there an hour before departure time. You’ll probably also need to work around dorm checkout times and your child’s finals, and make sure travel times fit with those.

Also review basic safety tips with your college student, including things like don’t leave their bags unattended, always keep their purse or wallet close to by their sides, be aware of people bumping into them or trying to distract them, keep their photo ID and boarding pass with them at all times, sit in crowded rather than isolated waiting areas, make sure their contact information is inside of their bags in case of lost luggage, and look up from that darn phone so they’re aware of their surroundings.

Traveling by car
If your child is driving home from school or getting a ride, you don’t have fewer worries—only different ones.

Ideally, before they even left for school last fall, you made sure they know how to check the tire pressure, fill the washer fluid, and make sure all brake lights, headlights and blinkers are working. In addition to reminding them about those pre-travel checks, encourage them to get an oil change before the trip—maybe even send them a gift card for that purpose.

It’s not only the car that must be made ready, however, it’s the child too. Review the route with them. Make sure they plan to drive only during the day, with a plan to stop every couple of hours to stretch their legs. Really stress the dangers of driving while sleepy, and, of course, make sure they know not to text and drive!

No matter how they’re traveling, charge that cell phone!
Regardless of the plane, train, bus or car that will bring your student home for the summer, make sure they leave with a fully charged phone, and that they have a power cord for charging along the way. Stress that there is no excuse for a dead phone while traveling. At all. Period.

Now, go make that bed, stock those cupboards, prep that laundry room, and get ready to welcome that hardworking student home for a summer of much-needed rest!

It’s Never too Early to Start Teaching Safety Habits—Start With These 8

With school back in session, the past month has probably been full of buying new school clothes, stocking up on essentials like pencils and notebook paper, and at least one trip to the store for an important piece of a school project put off until the last minute (because that’s how kids roll).

But despite all of the new school year tasks, keeping our kids safe is as important as ever, and it’s never too early to instill (or reiterate) good safety habits. To make sure your child’s safety precautions aren’t tucked in the back of their closet with their summer sandals, take some time to review these eight safety tips with them, to keep your children safe all throughout the school day—from the beginning to the end.

Getting to school

  • Don’t be too early: Most schools have a set time when there will be supervision in the building, on the playground, and even in the parking lot. If your child walks or is driven to school, make sure they arrive after this time, as any child who arrives earlier is at risk since they could be unsupervised and even possibly alone.
  • Stay safe at the bus stop: For children who take the bus, stress the importance of staying in the designated bus stop area. Wandering off could mean missing the bus, and running around chasing other kids could lead to injuries.
  • Stick to the sidewalk: Remind your children to stay on the sidewalks and crosswalks—and out of the road—and to be paying attention to where they’re walking. A phone is a common distraction, and looking down playing a game on a smartphone could mean running into another person or crossing the street without looking both ways. Maybe make it a rule that the phone is in their pockets until they get to the school property. This applies as much before they get on the bus as when they get off, if they’re not walking to school.

At school

  • Lock your locker: Whether your child carries everything in their backpack, stores belongings in a cubby, or has access to a locker in the hallway, be sure that valuables are being left at home. If your child’s school has lockers, teach them to lock their locker every time they use it, even if all that gets left inside is their lunch and jacket. An unlocked locker could mean an empty stomach later in the day if someone has the opportunity to steal that brown paper bag (or really cool Spiderman lunchbox!).
  • Gather all belongings before leaving the classroom: Even without a locker, everything brought into a classroom should leave the classroom with your child. Jackets, books, homework assignments, even a cell phone could get lost if left behind during the next period. Remind them to pack everything up before moving on to their next class or leaving for the day.

Leaving school

  • Have a password: Especially for your younger kids, mutually agree on a password that someone would have to use to pick up your child unexpectedly. Teach your child to ask anyone who says they were sent to pick them up for that password. Remind them not just to ask strangers, but even family friends or relatives who should know the password if you sent them. If your child is traveling to or from school and someone claims they are there to pick up your child but they don’t know the password, teach your child to yell for help.
  • Don’t dawdle: Taking extra time to talk to friends on the playground or hanging out in the parking lot could mean missing the bus or getting home or to daycare late. Set a schedule with your child of when they need to leave the school and when they need to arrive at their after-school destination so if they don’t arrive it’s not because they hung around school too long, and you’ll know it’s time to worry.
  • Tell only parents when home alone: If your child gets home and you aren’t there, make sure they communicate with you and only you. Remind them not to answer the phone and say their parents aren’t around, and not to post on any social media that they’ve got the house to themselves. This includes not telling friends, as information is easily broadcast with today’s social networks.

The age of your kids, where you live, and how your kids get to and from school will all influence the kinds of safety and security measures you’ll need to take as the new school year continues on its way. Taking these safety steps can help ensure your child stays safe and you stay sane…and instill personal safety habits that will last a lifetime.

Want to Keep Your College Kids Safe? Look to Their Phones

At our house, we have moved into that stage of life when everyone has graduated from high school and we have four kids out of five in college. One starts his freshman year today, another leaves for her second year this weekend, another is a graduate student and already settled on campus, and the fourth starts community college in mid-September. (Ironically, the oldest of the five is a teacher, so she’s busy with the new school year too!)

As the mom/step-mom of these kids, I have butterflies in my stomach for both good and bad reasons. Good because I am so excited for all of them and the paths they are on as they transition into adulthood, and bad because I officially can’t protect any of them any longer.

Which takes us to the topic of college safety, although this time around, I’m thinking of it from the viewpoint of both on- and off-campus housing, since we have two living in dorms this year and two living in apartments.

But whether they are living on-campus or off-, just starting out or working their way through grad school, there is one thing these kids have in common: They pack around smart phones. And we can put those phones to use to keep them safe.

It’s time to put those phones to good use!
Admittedly, the time to prepare your kids for being on their own is while they are growing up. It’s like teaching them to cook: If I haven’t done it yet, it’s too late now! However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to reiterate what we’ve taught them when younger, and to add some college-specific advice now that they’ve transitioned to that phase. And after all those years of telling them to put away their phones, now we can say the opposite: Get out your phone.

Know whom to call and where to go
Every college should have some kind of campus safety office. Your kids should know where it is located, and the emergency phone number for after-hours should be loaded on their phones. Many schools also now have campus safety apps the kids can put on their phones, so they have instant access to help if they need it.

(Also encourage your kids to find out what safety services are offered, such as escorts who will make sure your child gets safely home late at night, as well as how to use them.)

Look for and download other safety apps
In addition to a college-specific safety apps your kids might be able to use via the school, check out the ones Mashable has featured as apps every student should download. In addition, the University of Arizona has a wealth of information on personal safety that you and your child can review together, including links to safety apps, as well as practical safety advice.

Beware phone as distraction
The only downside to encouraging your child’s use of their phone is the distraction of it. Kids walking across campus or home from work in the dark looking down at their phones will make easy targets. Teach them the importance of being aware of their surroundings wherever they are. They should have their phones handy in case there is trouble. But their eyes should be up and looking ahead and around. Always. In addition, only one ear bud should be in their ears at any given time so they can hear someone coming up behind them.

And if they lose that phone…
Encourage your kids to have important phone numbers written down or printed out and then stored in a safe location, just in case they lose that phone or it gets stolen. In addition, as the parent, you might want to get the phone number of your child’s roommate in case you can’t reach your child due to a lost phone. If you don’t know the phone is lost, only that you can get hold of your child, you will worry, guaranteed, and your mind will make up scenarios that are much worse than a missing phone!

And speaking of worried, looking at these articles and apps designed to keep our kids safe has definitely turned the tide toward the bad butterflies in my stomach and my anxiety level is up! Time to go hug on someone before she leaves once again!

Safety Recap as School Starts: 11 Top Posts on School Safety for Kids, Teens and the College-Bound

School is back in session for just about everyone–except for a few students headed to colleges that start later in the month. So now is a good time to recap the safety and security topics we’ve presented in the past at the start of a new school year.

Below we’ve highlighted our top posts on kid and school safety from the past two years, and by kids we mean those college students who now view themselves as adults too. Take a quick look and see if any of these topics jump out at you as something that needs review—or to be forwarded to a high school or college student as a reminder.

Safety for school-aged kids
Beyond getting kids safely to and from school, safety for kids is really a 24-hour concern for parents, even when those kids are home. Check out these tips for keeping your kids safe—for peace of mind for you.

For kids who either leave the house after you or get home before you, see these tips for latch-key kids (and their parents): After School Safety for Latchkey Kids.

Getting to and from school can put kids at risk. See these 8 tips for keeping kids safe to and from school.

Once they’re home—and you’re still not—you can keep tabs on your kids from afar. Read how in this post about keeping an eye on kids remotely with a home security system.

Safety for teenagers still at home
Teenagers tend to think they know everything. So maybe send them a link to this post on back-to-school safety tips for teens and see if they read it. If not, be a little more proactive and force the issue. This post is directed at the teens, with input from my own teenager, and talks about a range of safety issues, include cyber safety. It’s important stuff. If your kids read nothing else at the start of this new school year, have them read this post.

Speaking of my teen, you might also read about teaching teens commonsense precautions, with stories drawn from my own experiences.

Safety for college students
Even if you’ve already moved your teenagers into their dorms, you should still go over these college campus safety tips with them—a.s.a.p.

For those college students who will be driving home on the weekends, and later for the holidays, go over the advice in this post on teen safety tips for road trips.

General safety precautions for everyone
Not every safety tip is age-specific. Below are links to additional safety information, that you can pass on to your kids when you think they are old enough to a) need the advice, and b) heed the advice.

Everyone, including you, needs to read about the importance of changing passwords often and well. This post includes ways to make it easy to change your passwords without compromising the strength of those passwords.

Also a good read to go along with the post above, this post goes into how to keep your passwords and PINs safe: Security at Your Fingertips: Keeping Passwords and PIN Codes Safe.

And since kids are getting online and into social media at ever younger ages, definitely brush up on social media safety with them, making sure you follow the same commonsense precautions when online.

We’re hopeful that every one of you gets off to a safe and sound start to the new school year, and we hope these past posts help!

Protect Yourself: Tips for Changing Your Passwords Often and Well Enough (Without Overdoing It)

There’s a certain irony in finding out over 272 million email credentials were compromised (and put up for sale) by a Russian hacker just as we recently had World Password Day not too long ago on May 5th. And that’s just what happened. The timing is fortuitous, I think, because it’s easy to pooh pooh the advice to change our passwords, or to think we’ll get around to it later…and we don’t.

Consumers are lazy about their passwords!
A 2015 study discovered just how lax we are about our passwords:

  • 73% of online accounts use duplicated passwords
  • 54% of consumers use five or fewer passwords across their entire online life
  • 22% use three or less
  • 47% of consumers rely on a password that hasn’t been changed for five years

All of this despite the fact that 40% of these same consumers had experienced a security incident of some kind in the year prior.

There’s such a thing as changing your password too often
Changing passwords too often, on the other hand, can lead to simplistic passwords that are easy to guess at. You might run into this common situation with software you use for work or school: Every three months or so, you are forced by the system to change your password. The effect of this forced frequency has been shown to lead to lazy passwords, with consumers changing only one digit—which is easy for hackers to figure out.

The key is to find the balance between changing your passwords often enough to protect yourself but not so often that you’re defaulting to common passwords like 12345.

Changing your password doesn’t have to be a monthly thing. Some experts say changing passwords every 6 to 12 months is frequent enough (and saves you from the possibility of re-using or only slightly altering passwords if you are changing them more frequently).

Change your passwords once a year
That’s why World Password Day is such a good idea (and why maybe some of that software forcing password changes should be altered to “take a chill pill,” as my teen would say). World Password Day is that one day of the year when you can change all of your passwords and know it’s done and that you won’t have to do it again for another 364 days.

Use different passwords!
It’s imperative that you use different passwords for each account. This can’t be stressed enough.

One of the most common (and dangerous) mistakes committed by consumers is using the same password across multiple accounts. If hacked, it can cause a “domino effect,” allowing all accounts with the same password to be breached.

When we use the same password repeatedly across different account, we are setting ourselves up to become victims of the domino effect whereby a hacker can gain access to multiple accounts after compromising just one.

Also, significantly change your password. If you go from thisismypassword1 to thisismypassword2, that’s easy for a hacker to figure out.

Advice for easier password changes
To easily change your passwords in an effective way, follow the advice of the author of Perfect Passwords, Mark Burnett. Burnett says to use parts for your passwords, such as words and numbers that are written out. Then you can easily change a password by changing one part. For example, I might use the password myhorsesnameisalvin, and then change it to myhorsesnameischase.

For more advice, you can get tips for stronger passwords (and even your choice of a pep talk by none other than Betty White) at PasswordDay.org, where multi-factor authentication is the name of the game.

But whatever you do, change your passwords every May, and make the changes significant. You’ll have a little bit of hassle once per year, but you’ll gain invaluable peace of mind!

Stay Aware and Be Prepared: Tips for Keeping College Kids Safe on Campus

When those college kids head off to school this fall, you can’t send them with a home security system, but don’t you wish you could? Maybe an alarm system strapped to their bodies to protect them from any and all harm? My youngest will be headed that way next fall, and boy would I love such a protective device to attach to her, one with 24×7 monitoring!

Sadly, that kind of personal “home security system” exists only in my imagination (and I doubt I could get my daughter to comply anyway). Instead, I will need to settle for coaching her on good safety habits to practice while on campus, and really, these are good safety habits for anyone, at any stage of life.

Two of the biggest safety habits college kids can practice are to stay aware and be prepared:

Stay aware
Kids these days, right? Always looking down at their phones, always plugged into their music… It’s easy to mock them for this, but it actually is really dangerous behavior. Kids need to stay aware of their surroundings on campus, and that means the phone stays in the backpack while they’re walking and maybe they can get by with only one bud in an ear until they get to their next class.

It’s not just being careful with technology, however. Kids also need to learn their way around campus as quickly as possible so they are always walking with a purpose and they always know where they are—and then they need to stick to the beaten paths they’re familiar with.

They also need to be careful who their friends are, and to never, ever put themselves into a social situation where they don’t know anyone. It’s one thing not to know anyone else in your biology class, and quite another not to know anyone at that party off-campus where everyone is drinking.

And speaking of drinking, this is a huge one and maybe a difficult one to discuss with them, but kids need to know their awareness (and therefore safety) level is going to decrease with every bit of alcohol they consume.

Be prepared
Kids can also do some safety prep ahead of time, to help to protect themselves once on campus. In addition to learning their way around campus right away, they need to find out about security services, such as someone who can walk them back to the dorm if they’re studying at the library late into the night, or whom to call if something bad should happen. They should have emergency contact information loaded on their phones, and consider keeping pepper spray in their backpacks.

Although you’ll be spending a lot of time and money on getting them prepared and packed for their college days, you might want to invest in some self-defense training for your child as well, so they will be better equipped to defend themselves should something go wrong.

Also consider assigning them a little “homework” such as reading through the tips in this post on preventing sexual assault, because it will sink in better if they read it (and you perhaps quiz them) than if you’re only preaching this advice to them.

It’s also imperative that you and your child review some commonsense safety tips for social media usage—because they think they’re all grownup now, but you and I know they’re not, and a reminder about ways to be safety savvy online is a good thing, especially when they will be away from home and your watchful eye!

In addition, you can do some homework too. You’re free as the parent to do your own research, to discover how safe (or unsafe) a college is based on crime statistics and student opinions, and you might use this data to reinforce the importance of good safety habits. (You might even want to make this information part of the college selection process, if you haven’t committed to a school yet.)

All kids need good safety habits, not just college kids
Good safety habits can get started at any age, and in fact should get started at a young age if possible. If you still have younger kids at home not yet headed for campus, we have safety advice for them too that you might want to put into practice. See, for example, our tips on keeping kids safe on their way to and from school, safety tips for latch-key kids, and back-to-school safety tips for teens.

And be ever vigilant and diligent with your college student kids even after they’ve headed to their dorm rooms, reminding them to be safe, because it will be easy for them to forget all of your sage advice once gone!

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Customer Reviews

I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!

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We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

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