Help young South Africans take control of their personal safety

2018-06-20 06:02

JUNE is Youth Month, providing an opportunity to celebrate, focus on and discuss all things youth-related including education, employment,and lifestyle. It is prudent, during this time, to highlight the efforts of the youth in South Africa and to recognise the important role they play in building the nation.

“A very important topic that must also be addressed during this period is safety,” said Peter Kruger, Fidelity ADT’s District Manager for Coastal Outlying Branches.

“Safety is a priority and must be top of mind for everyone, particularly teenagers and young adults who are especially vulnerable to crime. June might be a focus month but, ideally, this is something we should focus on all year round.”

Safety should be less about fear and worrying about what might happen and more about improving your awareness, being aware of your surroundings and actions.

By being more aware of your surroundings, and the actions you take, you can mitigate risk and improve personal safety.

Streetwise teens know that they do not have to leave home for their safety to be at risk. Kruger says knowing and applying basic safety advice can show them that staying safe can be easy and that improving their awareness can help them take control in challenging situations.

Improving awareness can be as simple as putting your phone in your pocket and having your car keys ready before you walk outside to your car. Or, hand, if you are waiting on the sidewalk for a lift, just keeping your phone out of sight, so that you can see what is happening around you and you are not distracted by what is happening on your phone, can have immediate effect.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET

The internet has made communication faster and more fun but, especially when combined with smartphones, it also makes it easier for predators to approach vulnerable teens. There are a few things that teens should take note of.
• Never include personal information on social media forums, blogs or websites.

• Checking in to places highlights to the world where you are (and you never know who is keeping tabs on you online).

• Do not agree to meet online contacts in person.

• Block anyone who makes you feel uneasy.

• Think about the information you post online and do not post comments that could embarrass you or hurt and offend others. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if you would feel uncomfortable saying something to someone’s face, or in person, then it is probably not suitable to post that same comment on social media.

• Get the “OK” from your parents before you download content or shop online. Many items have copyright and credit card details may be at risk when buying from an unsecured site.

• Technology allows you to have a panic button or emergency response device in your pocket almost anywhere, not just at home.

STAYING SAFE WHILE OUT ON THE TOWN

Many young adults may find it is easy to lose track of time when they’re out having a good time with friends. Following the tips below will help ensure that you can have fun and still get home safely.

• Go out in a group and stick with your friends.

• Keep an eye on your friends while you are out and make sure your drinks are watched closely too.

• Never go anywhere with, or accept a drink from, a stranger.

• Tell your parents where you are going and keep to the agreed curfew.

• Make sure you have a safe ride home with a designated driver.

• Ensure your cell phone is always on and call home if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

• Ask your parents if their security company has a mobile panic app that can be downloaded onto your phone.

• You can request that a security officer meet you at your home when you arrive. Many security companies offer this as an additional service.0

IF YOU ARE HOME ALONE

• Make sure you know how the home alarm system works and what the passcodes are. Modern technology now also allows parents or guardians to monitor, or have access to, the home alarm system via their cell phones, as an added security layer.

• Ensure that you activate any outdoor detection devices or doors so that you can be alerted to anyone before they enter your home.

• If you are home alone, and the alarm is disarmed, ensure that the security gates and outward-leading doors are locked.

• Never allow anyone onto the property that does not have a legitimate reason to be there.

• If your parents are away overnight, have the number of a neighbour or relative at hand in case of an emergency.

• Activate you smartphone security app so that you have quick access to a panic system without having to go anywhere.

• A good idea is to have your security company install panic buttons in the bedrooms and, where possible, in the bathroom — criminals often hold people in these rooms while they ransack the home.

• Never leave younger siblings home alone, even for a short time.

• Never leave younger siblings home alone, even for a short time.

If anything makes you feel unsafe or uneasy press the panic button and raise the alarm. — Supplied

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