Advice on keeping your children safe during winter holidays

2016-05-31 06:00

PARENTS and guardians should make sure their children follow basic personal safety rules throughout the year, to protect them from the evils that might wait for them in the outside world. That’s the advice from a local private security company, who says it believes these safety rules should constantly be reinforced on children, especially with the winter school holidays just a few weeks away.

“Instead of starting these safety training sessions anew, it makes more sense to instil a sense of responsibility with your children that they follow throughout the year. As much as we would love to look after our children 24/7, there will come a time when they have to fend for themselves. We have to prepare and equip them. Safety must be a part of your child’s education,” said ADT Security’s District Manager (KZN) Ivan Govender.

He explained there are basic and practical safety precautions parents can share with their children regardless of whether they are left with a caregiver, domestic staff or stay at home by themselves during the holidays.

“It is important that they know to always keep entry and exit doors locked, and that nobody is to enter the property without your permission. 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.”

He adds that it is a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts – including the number for your local police station and private security service provider – near the telephone and to explain to children when and how it must be used.

“You should also ensure your children know how to behave in a safe and responsible manner if they are active online,” said Govender. He suggests teaching children the following:

1. Never post any personal information online – like an address, email address or mobile number.

2. 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.

3. Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.

4. Never give out your passwords.

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

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

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

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

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

10. If a child sees something online that makes them feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: they should leave the website and tell someone immediately.

Lastly, he said, it is important that your child always feel secure enough to come and talk to you about anything that frightened them or made them feel uneasy.

In this way, parents can take action when their children need their help in dealing with whatever might be bothering them.

- Supplied

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