Today, for Youth Violence Prevention Week, we Support Safety. The purpose of this day is “to [teach] each student, staff, and the community about specific safety initiatives. Some of the issues that can fall under this strategy include preventing school violence by informing adults about specific threats, avoiding risky behaviors such as playing with guns, and stranger safety.”
When children are with their parents, both parent and child feel they are safe. The parent is in control and the child trusts that the parent will protect them. It is oftentimes when the child is out of the parent’s supervision that they need to remember the safety rules that the parent has instilled in the child. Bullying is a common, yet unacceptable, problem in our youth today. In attempts to control this problem, within the upcoming months, Bucks County commissioners will establish a new call center for bullying and cyber bullying prevention and intervention. This center focuses on finding a way to help and support the victims of bullying, while raising awareness that this behavior is not ok. “School systems are trying to deal with victims, but are not sure what to do,” said [Barbra] Simmons, [executive director of The Peace Center] “We found that nobody has a lot of answers.”
By establishing the call center, The Peace Center and Simmons hopes to make a difference. “Among children, 1 in 3 has been victimized by bullying,” said Simmons. Some parents think that bullying is something that all children experience, but many do not understand the effects that bullying leave on a child. Children are young and tender. They have emotions that can easily be hurt and their self-esteem can especially become damaged.
Another safety issue to address is stranger safety. If children are taught the proper things to do in a stranger scenario, they are more likely to escape a possibly harmful situation. The thing to keep in mind is that different age groups interpret things differently. Scolastics.com does a great job in developing an understanding of different age group strategies and how to addresses stranger safety.
- “Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) are inquisitive, but they’re focused on themselves. Since they’re not apt to be tuned in to the possible motivations of others, they may be easily fooled. Teach your young child simple facts such as her name and address. She can learn about expected behavior in different situations through games and dramatic play.
- Elementary school-age children (ages 6 to 9) are concerned with issues of right and wrong and can learn basic safety rules. Since they want to cooperate and to please adults, they may be tricked by a seemingly tempting situation. At this age, children learn best through concrete examples, role-playing, and repetition of rules.
- Tweens and teens (ages 10 and up) become more capable of judging the consequences of a potentially dangerous situation. They are likely to be in unsupervised situations more often and are influenced by their peers, and therefore, they may think they should act “cool.” Your child still benefits from ongoing discussions of risks, using real-life situations as examples.”