Keep your children holiday-safe

2015-06-16 06:00

FOR children the mid-year school holiday is a welcome break, but for many parents, who have to work throughout, it is a stressful period of always wondering if your child is safe.

There are some basic and practical safety precautions parents can share with their children regardless of whether they are left with a caregiver, domestic or stay at home by themselves.

“It is important they know to always keep entry and exit doors locked, and that nobody is to enter the property without your permission,” says Adrian Good, general manager: Subscriber Coastal, ADT Security. “If you have a home security system installed teach them how to activate and deactivate it and how and when to use other security devices, like panic buttons.”

Have a list of emergency contacts – including the 10111 number - near the phone and explain to your children­ when and how it must be used.

The cold weather means that older children are often confined indoors and that boredom quickly sets in so they spend a lot of time online. Good says teaching your children to stay safe online is essential. Tips parents can share with their children about online communication:

•Never post any personal information - an address, e-mail address or cell number - online.

•Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it - it’s not just yours anymore.

•Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.

•Never give out your passwords.

•Don’t befriend people you don’t know.

•Don’t meet people you’ve met online. Your child should always tell you if an online contact they have never met suggests they meet up.

•Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.

•Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.

•Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.

•If a child sees something online that makes them feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried - they should leave the website, turn off their computer and tell someone immediately.

Children and teenagers should also be cautious of shopping malls which are far busier during the holidays and a popular hang-out for older children. If your child is going to a movie or to meet friends, they need to look after their belongings and to look out for each other.

“Busy malls present a prime opportunity for pick-pockets. Teach your children to hold on tightly to their handbags, wallets and cellphones. It is also important that, if they become separated from their friends, they head straight to the mall information desk or to security and try to track them down from there,” says Good. - Supplied

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