For many, summertime is a time filled with pool parties, traveling and enjoying the warm summer sun. Unfortunately, with all the summertime excitement going on, predators are also lurking. While teens are off during the day and parents are at work, there are many ways for your kids to get into trouble. Internet predators know your child is more unattended during the summertime, children often run away more during the summer, and many children are vulnerable when traveling between parents over summer vacation. Here are a few ideas to keep your kids safe this summer.
When it comes to internet predators, they can be very savvy in building fake social media profiles, so to you and your child they may pass as an average kid from a neighboring school, but we have some tips to help protect you and your child. First, keep an open line of communication with your child and find out who he or she spends the majority of time talking to online. Ask your child to show you their new friend’s profile. Clue into certain pictures on the new friend’s page; if they go to a neighboring school, does their profile show them at school or in other areas in the neighboring town? Do any other friends of your child already know this new friend, and have they met the friend in person? Always pay close attention to your child’s internet usage, but especially during the summer months. Place regulations on online time for your child, and encourage him or her to play outside of the house with friends that you and your child know well.
Also, if you have split custody, or you are sending your child to a family member’s for the summer, it is important to be extra vigilant. When a child travels alone there is plenty of room for error. Make sure you have a flight attendant accompany your child from you to the plane, and from the plane to your family member. Ask your child to text message you as soon as the plane is about to depart and as soon as it lands. Runaways are often on the rise during the summer months because most kids have less supervision during the summer. Establish ground rules with your child that he or she will check in with you several times a day, through either phone calls or text messages.
The decision to hire a private investigator to keep an eye on your child, without taking away your child’s freedom entirely can offer the best solution for allowing your child to enjoy the summer, while ensuring his or her safety.