Saturday, March 9, 2013

Teaching Solo Safety Strategies to Teens: 5 Essential Tips

The National Crime Prevention Council warns that each year, over 40 million Americans are victims of crimes, and that young people aged 12 to 19 are especially common targets. These statistics clearly show how beneficial it is to teach your teen how to be safe when he or she is out alone. Keep reading to get some tips about topics to cover in your discussions.

The Value of Intuition

In many cases, young people can get themselves out of danger simply by listening to their gut feeling. Teach how important it is to be aware of surroundings, and act assertively if something doesn't feel right. This technique can be particularly useful in unfamiliar environments, or while spending time with new people.

Also, emphasize that danger can be present anywhere. Strobe lights and dark corners make nightclubs a prime target for people who want to cause trouble, but a classroom filled with K-Log furniture and computers can also cause someone to feel uneasy, especially if he or she is in the presence of someone who has an ulterior motive.

Over time, your teens can learn how important it is to pay attention to how they're feeling, and make smart decisions about when to walk away from a situation. Let them know how much it can pay off to respond to their first instinct, without stopping to be persuaded by other factors.

Walking With a Purpose

Also, tell teens how to use their body language to project a self-confident appearance. Details like posture and the speed with which a person walks can ultimately cause culprits to become discouraged and not follow through with their initial plans.

Tell your teens to adapt their habits by taking care to move purposefully throughout their surroundings. Even if they're unsure of the area, it's important to at least give the impression that they’re well aware of how to get to their destination.

Often, people who appear vulnerable are unwittingly putting themselves at risk for being the victim of a violent crime. It’s so important to start teaching principles of safe behavior from a very early age. These skills take time to develop, but once teens learn them, they’ll start being safe without consciously thinking about it.

Keeping People Informed

We've all heard the disheartening stories of parents who discover that their teenagers might have gotten into trouble, but aren't able to tell the authorities any details about where they've gone, or who they were with.

Ideally, there is safety in numbers, because each person can look out for another. However, the reality is that people of all ages often have to go out by themselves.

Your teenagers can be safer by just by taking a few minutes to tell at least one person where they plan to go, as well as when they expect to return. At first, this idea might cause some resistance, especially if your teens view it as an invasion of their social life. Reassure them that it’s not necessary to explain every detail, but it’s worthwhile to mention the basics in case something goes wrong.

Staying Safe During Car Trouble

Once your teenagers become old enough to drive, you'll have a whole new set of things to deal with. Beyond teaching your teens basic road safety skills, don't forget to discuss what to do if they have car trouble while they're alone.

Remind them that it's never safe to stand outside of a car that's broken down. This could make them an easy target. Instead, it's much smarter to simply raise the hood of the vehicle to signify something's wrong, then get back inside and keep the doors locked until help arrives. If they accidentally hit someone’s temporary pool fencing, have them do their best to locate the owner and explain the situation.

If your teenager often goes driving alone, you may find it worthwhile to purchase a subscription to a roadside assistance service. Employees from these companies usually drive branded vehicles and wear uniforms, making it easy to verify their identity. Sometimes, you can pay an annual fee for an unlimited amount of assistance.

Keep it Simple

Finally, instruct your teen that even simple actions can keep them safer. For example, those who jog while wearing visible earbuds can become prone to getting robbed. There's an implication that they have an expensive MP3 player, plus they won't be as aware of someone approaching them if they're distracted by music.

Also, suggest keeping car and house keys within easy reach. People who fumble around in the dark while standing outside of their residence or automobile are much easier to prey on than those who take the time to locate their keys when they're still in a public place or lighted area.

Many of these tips might seem basic, but unfortunately some parents don't take the time to make sure teenagers learn them. Personal safety is important at any age, and it's even more crucial once your children reach an age where they're eager to go out without being accompanied. Start empowering them today, so they'll feel more confident when they’re alone.

Michelle is a blogger & freelancer who’s passionate about writing. She frequently freelances for a company that sells temporary pool fencing. When she’s not working, she loves writing about anything and everything and blogs as much as she can. She loves that blogging allows her to share her writing with an unlimited audience.

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