Did you know that most child victims suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know, love, and trust? Someone that YOU know, love, and trust? We teach our kids not to talk to strangers, but how do we teach them to be safe around the people they know? The first steps to preventing abuse against our children are awareness and education. As more parents, professionals, and community members learn about the realities of child abuse, the effort to combat this serious problem gains strength.
Talk to your child.
- Teach your children the parts of their body that a bathing suit covers are private parts and no one is allowed to see or touch them.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about any touch that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.
Protect Your Child on the Internet.
- Learn about the websites your children use regularly. Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and others. See what other kids are doing there and how much information you can learn by doing simple searches. Parents need to be aware of what is happening online.
- Learn as much as you can about the issues of internet safety.
- Keep computers in common rooms of the house. Many children have laptops and computers in their bedrooms, allowing them many opportunities to spend hours online, potentially engaging in inappropriate behavior.
- Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on. Teach young children that they should not seek relationships from online friends and that they should NEVER meet online friends in the real world.
- Make any topic of conversation an acceptable topic of conversation. Many teens and pre-teens seek out adult relationships online. Ensure that your child has a support system in the real world.
Familiarize yourself with the policies and practices of organizations where your children spend time.
- Confirm background checks are conducted on all employees and volunteers.
- Ensure policies are in place that prohibit situations where an adult can be alone with your child in one room when no one else is around.
- Make sure they actually follow these policies – ask your child, stop by, check in, be aware.
Be vigilant and ASK questions!
- Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. If your child is reluctant about going to certain places or with certain people, ask questions.
- Notice their behavior before and after spending time alone with an adult.
Pass it on. Educate yourself. Educate your community.