5 ways to keep your children safe on and offline
By Aimee Heckel
You hear the Amber Alerts. You read the headlines. And you hope it will never happen to your family. But the truth is, the justice department says more than 2,100 kids are reported missing every day.
Although parents cannot protect their children from everything, there are some steps you can take to help keep your kids safe — and help authorities, should the unthinkable happen to you.
1. ID Safe Child Kids are free child safety kits that include forms for your child’s medical and personal information; a fingerprint chart; safety tips; and even a way to obtain a DNA hair sample from your child. Contact the principal of your child’s daycare or school if you want to get access to an ID Safe Child Kit.
2. Missing Child Screensaver. This screensaver is regularly updated with the most recent information available about missing children. It runs photos and information about missing children. The idea came from a police station, which set computers to rotate all criminal cases on monitors when computers were idle to familiarize officers with the cases. It worked; more cases were solved.
3. Know the registered sex offenders in your area. KidsLiveSafe is a website where you can search this information; know who your neighbors are. This website is designed to be easier to use and search than the government website. Sign up for email alerts and you can even screen people by name, to make sure they don’t have a history.
4. Keep your kids safe online, too. KidsLiveSafe also offers an internet filter, to keep your kids from engaging in potentially dangerous behavior online.
Teach your kids about Internet safety. Read this article by Scholastic for some tips.
Some ideas from KidsHealth.com include:
- Share an email address with your kids.
- Have the computer in a common area, not bedrooms.
- Forbid your child from using chat rooms.
Invest in a good parental control device, such as the KJB Security PC300 Spysure Parental Control Software, $99 at Gadgets and Gear.
5. Be familiar with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. An easy way to stay in the loop is to follow the center on Twitter.
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