We finally made it to the end of the "Zoom School Year." Students, teachers, and parents alike are both weary from the ordeal and relieved that they made it, though. It seems that we are all suffering from some form of post-pandemic stress and grateful for the opportunity to get outdoors, relax and be away from the computer.
It appears like our children grew up overnight. After 453 days of lockdown in California, we came back out into the light and our toddlers sprouted into walking encyclopedias. Middle schoolers transformed from "children" to full-on teenagers with bodies, hormones, and attitudes to match. Our High Schoolers are plotting to take on the world.
One of the most significant issues children face is losing 453 days of practical world experience. There is a big difference between the online world and the physical world. We must get back in practice navigating both. We need to polish up our manners and return to holding doors for people, having conversations on the grocery line, and helping out with family chores.
It’s time to sharpen up our street smarts once again, tune in to our spidey senses and intuition for being out in the world. In the real world, you can’t walk around unconscious, just mentally plugged into your phone. I’m not trying to create a scenario of the world as a scary and dangerous place for kids, but I want to point to the realities of our present-day culture.
First, you have to get back in the basics, like looking both ways when you cross the street.
During the lookdown, crimes of opportunity moved into the cyber world. People are out in the world again. We are eating at restaurants, back at the beaches and shopping malls, the opportunities for criminal activity have moved back out into the real world with them. Our children matured mentally and physically and now crave the freedom that comes with their development.
Make sure that they are safe this summer. Please review fundamental safety issues with your children, teens, and young adults because the predators are still out there, but now they have very sophisticated online and offline strategies.
Here is an excellent list of Safety Tips for teems from the Marshfield Clinic Health System:
Have your cellphone charged and with you in case you need to make an emergency call.
Let a parent know where you will be and whom you are with. Update them if plans change.
Pay attention to your surroundings, including traffic, people around you, and where you parked your car.
Walk-in well-lit public areas at night.
Wear reflective clothes when jogging or biking at night.
Keep headphones at a low volume if you wear them while walking or jogging.
Don’t text and walk or drive. Remind friends to put down their phones while driving.
Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs. Don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
Use parents as an excuse to leave an unsafe or uncomfortable situation.
Southern California is known for its amazing beaches. We want our kids to be able to enjoy surfing, swimming safely, and hanging out at the beach with their friends. The problem is that sexual predators know this is a key spot to connect with kids. To keep our kids safe at the beach, educate them about the issue of sexual predators with age-appropriate information.
Girls who post provocative swimsuit photos on Instagram and other social media outlets are putting themselves in danger. Posting selfies and swimsuit photos to get likes from their friends is one thing, but did you know that sexual predators can geotarget where those photos are being taken and can track down your daughter from her social media account?
Human Sex Traffickers have people on the ground ready to befriend our children. They patiently groom them with friendship and gifts until they earn the child’s trust. The unsuspecting child is kidnaped and forced into sexual slavery. It happens every day right in this country.
Only allow your daughter to post bathing suit photos with a parent in the picture or post a lower resolution copy so it can’t be sold for pornography. You can also include a watermark on the photo.
On our website at Globe Hope 365.Org, there is a wealth of information about how sexual predators operate and how to stay safe. Take the time to get educated. Please do your research. Please speak to your child today about how to have a safe summer now that we are back in the physical world.
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