Guest post by Emily Johnson
As parents, we do everything in our power to keep our homes and families safe. However, sometimes unfortunate events like home invasions can happen despite our best efforts.
Discussing this scary topic with our kids isn’t easy, but it's necessary to ensure their safety and make sure they are prepared just in case. In this blog post, we’ll go over some tips on how to talk to your kids about a home invasion so that they will know exactly what to do should a situation arise.
First, let’s go over a few statistics just so you know how important it is to talk to your kids about home invasions.
Property crimes are the most common type of crime in the U.S. On average, over one million home break-ins happen every year, most of which happen during the day when it is assumed a homeowner is at work. The average home invasion lasts just 8-10 minutes.
Some good news is that only 7% of these burglaries involve violence. This is largely because the penalty for a home invasion involving violence is significantly higher. Most criminals are looking for easy-to-sell valuables.
All kids are different. Some prefer the cold hard facts while others need a bit of sugar-coating. You know your children better than anyone else, so it’s important that you address what to do in the event of a home invasion in a way that is suited to their personalities.
It's important to be honest with your children about the potential for a home invasion. While it's unlikely that such an event will happen, you need to have a plan in place in case it does. Here are a few tips for that all-important conversation:
Before teaching your children what to do in the event of a home invasion, it’s a good idea to go over what they shouldn’t do first.
Never give out your name, address, or other personal information.
Did you know that by default that every picture you (or your kid) take on a smart phone automatically embeds the exact location of that photo in the meta data. Shared with the wrong person, that data can be easily extracted to pin point the photos location.
For iPhone users: Settings > Privacy > Location Services, scroll down and tap on Camera, then select the 'Never' option.
For Android users: Settings > Apps > Camera. Tap on Permissions and toggle Location OFF.
There are several completely innocent reasons someone may knock on your door, but it is important NEVER to open the door without permission. Make sure you can positively identify who someone is before opening the door.
Whether in person or online, it’s important to remember that just because someone tells you who they are doesn’t mean they are telling the truth.
Make sure kids understand they should have permission before letting someone inside. Better yet, have them ask you, their parent or guardian, to come to the door. If kids will be home alone, talk through the scenarios and whether you want them to answer the door or ignore it. If they answer the door, be sure they don't say, "my parents aren't home".
While it’s great to share photos and information with friends, it’s not just friends who might see the posts. Tell kids to keep social media private and wait to post about trips until they're home. Posting about being gone makes it obvious no one is home.
Particularly if your children are young, talking about a home invasion may be a bit scary. So many experts suggest first talking to your children about what you’re already doing to prevent a home invasion from happening.
Now, even with a good offense, a home invasion may still occur, so it's also important to teach your children what to do during an active home invasion.
Again, the last thing we want to do as parents is scare our children. But it is also important to balance this with ensuring our children know what to do in the event a home invasion does occur. By talking to your children, formulating and practicing a safety plan, and giving them the ability to protect themselves, you can help keep them safe while giving them peace of mind at the same time.
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