When we think of security risks, we typically think about our own actions. But have you thought about the actions of those in your home? Specifically, we’re talking about those seemingly innocent, moon-faced little creatures living under your roof… your kids. It may not seem like it, but they can cause serious harm to your home security or themselves.
Today, most people with kids grew up in an era where they were raised to be latch-key kids. Their parents instructed them on what to say if a stranger was at the door or called on the phone (you know, pre-caller ID), so you had no idea who was calling, Mom? Dad? Stranger? It was like a roll of the dice who you would get). With instructions of things to say like “My mom can’t come to the door because she is in the bathroom”, or whatever excuse your parents coached you to say. Nowadays, it might be less likely kids are at home alone (cue Macaulay Calkin scream 😱), but we still have to think about coaching our kids about telling strangers personal information or when you will be home. Of course, that’s what burglars want to know, when no one will be home. Kids don’t realize there is danger to telling people certain information, and we all know some kids can be quite talkative about all kinds of things. Take the time to give them a few instructions on the information that they shouldn’t be telling to people they don’t know.
Which leads us to other ways kids can give out information... on the internet. Giving out information in real life is pretty bad, but it’s even worse online. Teach your kids to post things about the places you’ve visited, like restaurants or vacations, after the fact. When you are back in your home, post away about the day’s adventures, or that recent vacation. I know they are eager to share their experiences, but it’s wise to not let them post online while your home is currently unoccupied (this is also good advice to grown ups too). When they are posting online, they are sending a press release to everyone online what your schedule is, giving a lot of people access to this information. Make sure your kids understand that by allowing people to see these aspects of your life, opens up the opportunity for people to steal from you, or maybe worse. Pay close attention to your kids’ accounts to ensure they are not putting anyone at home in danger by sharing private information or about the families schedules detailing when they aren’t home. In short, continuing to educate them about stranger danger online is key.
Another item for your kids to be aware of is your home security alarm (if you have one). These are great for aiding in burglary prevention, but they don’t do much good if your kids forget to re-arm the device when they come home from school or are out playing with friends. Notes or signs that can be hung next to the security keypad are great reminders for them to remember to reset an alarm. Especially if they happen to be home alone after school. And soon it may become second nature to them, as they get into a routine of resetting the alarm. And don’t forget to go over all the buttons and their functions, just in case there happens to be a hiccup with the alarm system. If it’s hooked to a phone service that calls if there is a problem, also brief them on the proper phone numbers that identify as the security system company and practice the questions that they may ask when they call, so your kids aren’t nervous or confused. And while we’re on the subject, simply getting them to remember to lock the door is a benefit too. Help them turn it into a habit, when you close an outside door, turn the lock. Make it into a step process. Turn the doorknob to close the door, and then turn the lock.
We know life is full of stress, so hopefully following some of these tips can help relieve a little bit of that anxiety. Just knowing your kids are educated in keeping your family safe can bring a little peace of mind.
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