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Getting Your “Kids” Ready for College: Teaching Your Young Adult How to “Think Safe”

4 May

By Carla M. Thompson author of The Busy Woman’s Pocket Guide to Safety

So, your baby is leaving you; don’t freak out.  You are not losing a child, you are releasing an adult into the world.  I am going to give you some on how to prepare your high school graduate for the real world:

  1.  Parents, the first tip is for you.  You have to remember that your “kids” aren’t “kids” anymore, they are young adults.  Giving them a list of do’s and don’ts isn’t going to work.  You have to influence their thinking by respectfully influencing them.  The tips that I am going to give you are things that you should discuss with your teen.  Notice I said, discuss, not lecture…

  1. 2.  If you haven’t done so already, you must let them know that you respect them as an adult and that you want them to trust you.  You want them to know that they can come to you with anything.  This is a safety issue because, most teens are afraid to go to their parents for help.  So predators capitalize on the fear of exposure and judgment so they can control their victims.  But parents, when they come to you make sure you don’t over react…

3.  Explain the importance of communication.  Let them know that you don’t want to control their lives or ruin their fun but you do want to know where they are going and some information about their friends.  This is important because if you ever had to trace their steps it would be easier and quicker. 

4.  Be sure that your teen has a working cell phone.  Even if you have to get a prepaid phone.  They may need this for an emergency. Help them understand the consequences of sexting and even though you will not be there to monitor their behavior misuse of the cell phone could create a safety issue.  There have been various stories about teens that send inappropriate pictures of themselves and draws the attention of predators.  Remind them that once pictures go online it is very hard to pull them back.

According to the US Department of Justice: 

  • Approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations.

5.  Make sure you teen has money for emergencies.  It may be a challenge to explain that it is not pizza, pop, etc. money, but is for a “true” emergency

such as paying for a ride home after a party, medicine, etc.  Help them understand that you will not always be there to take care of them so you trust them to make the right decisions.

6.  If your son/daughter plans to live on campus, once you get the name of their roommate run a background check on them.  It may be difficult to get enough information about them to do this (especially if they are still under the age of 18) but if nothing else run it through the National Sex Offender Registry or do a general search.  See if they have a Facebook page, and look at their friends and their posts.  You might want to do this with any boyfriends or girlfriends as well.  This is important, your teens must understand that everyone they meet at school isn’t necessarily in school for the right reasons.  To ensure their safety they must do their research and proceed with caution when meeting new people. 

More statistics from the US Department of Justice: 

  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 1/2 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.10
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.12

7.  Evaluate your son/daughter’s social networking pages to ensure that they are not giving away too much information.  For example, I don’t think it is wise to put your address on your profile, your school, or your schedule.  This type of information could be used for stalking. 

8.  Going to parties is a part of college life and they can have fun but remain safe.  Explain the negative effects of popular party drugs, such as ecstasy.  Share some real stories from teens about their experiences with these types of drugs.

  1. 9.  Empower your teenager to trust their gut instincts.  We are all born with a “sensor for danger”.  Help them understand that even if they think that other people will laugh at them or tease them, reacting to their gut feelings about a situation could save their lives.

10.  Seal the discussion by assuring them that you don’t want them to fearful and you want them to enjoy their new freedom but that you just want them to use sound judgment!

These are just example of things that you should discuss with your teen.  You can’t give them as safety tip for every situation but if you can change the way they think then they can apply the logic to any situation they face. 

Good Luck!

Additional Resources for Parents: 

Stop it Now:  http://gethelp.stopitnow.org/results/start

For more information purchase The Busy Woman’s Pocket Guide to Safety, www.thebusywomanspocketguide.com for $4.95. Or download it for $.99 on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, or Google E-books or PCs.

Source: US Department of Justice:  http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/teens.aspx#teens

Email Scams: Is anyone falling for this?

8 Feb

By: Carla M. Thompson

Have you ever received an email like this?

***

Dear

I am Miss Abena Fabien and I got your contact on my desperate search for a trusted partner who will help me in investing my late father money abroad.

My late father, Mr Paul Fabien was a gold dealer here in Ghana before his death and he left me with five million US dollars ( $5m) in his deposit account in a Bank here in the country. As the only child, my uncles are threatening to kill me if i don’t release the documents of money to them.

I contacted you so that you can be my foreign partner in investing this money in your country for me to settle down in your country and start my life there. I contacted you because the bank refused to allow me withdraw or deduct any money from the account until it is transfer to foreign beneficiary account due to what is stated in agreement letter the bank made with my late father when he deposited the money.

I also want to assure you that 30% 0f this money will be yours for every effort and expenses you will make to receive this money in your country and to help me in investing it there.

Waiting for your urgent reply.
Abena Fabien
*********

I hope that no one has been a victim of this type of scam but just in case let’s answer this question.  How do you know if it is real?  Here’s how:

1.  The first sentence gives it away, if they are in search of someone they can trust why are they contacting you?  Do you know this person?  Would you email them if you needed help?

2. The next paragraph says that she is being threatened by her uncles.  The scam artist is trying to draw you in emotionally so that you will have sympathy for her.  This is all part of the con. Why not call the police?

3.  The next paragraph explains why she needs you, “I contacted you because the bank refused to allow me withdraw or deduct any money from the account until it is transfer to foreign beneficiary account“.  She wants you to give her your account number so that “the bank” can deposit the money into your account.  But in actuality they will take money from your account.  And if you think about it, why would anyone’s family member set up an account like this for their beneficiary?

4.  Then to close the deal she promises you 30% and wants to you to help her spend it when she gets here.  Sounds like a good deal right?  Wrong.  Too easy!

It is best just to delete these emails.