As school holidays approach, make sure your kids are safe while having fun.
“Many parents work through the school holidays so kids are looked after by a family member or domestic worked or simply stay at home by themselves. Whatever your situation is, kids can have a great holiday while staying safe by following some simple advice from mom and dad,” said Charnel Hattingh, national marketing and communications manager of Fidelity ADT.
She offers these pointers:
Keep doors locked and don’t let anybody in through the gate without checking with their parents.
If there is an alarm system, teach them how to activate and de-activate it and how and when to use panic buttons.
Show them where the list of emergency contacts is – including the 10111 number – and explain when and how to use it.
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“If your kids have access to the internet and social media sites while you aren’t there, put some rules in place ahead of the holidays,” she suggested.
Never post any personal information online – like an address, email address, passwords or mobile number.
Think carefully before posting messages, 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.
Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
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. Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
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.
“If you’ve arranged an outing for your kids, make sure that they are prepared and understand what they are and aren’t allowed to do,” she said.
If they are heading to malls or restaurants, they need to look after their belongings and to look out for each other.
They also need to be clear on the transport arrangements and never go anywhere with a stranger. Tell them to find a security guard in the mall if they are scared or unsure of what to do.
“Let’s make this a fun, incident-free holiday time,” concluded Hattingh.