TEEN SAFETY - Spring Break Safety Steps
March and April are big months for Spring Break. As kids get older, they will have more freedom on spring break trips, even when they're travelling with parents or other trusted adults. Here are a few talking points and tips to help your teens stay safer while vacationing:
2. Geo-tracking is your friend! If your teen is with a group, have them set up their phones so they can always track each other. This provides a safety net in case anyone gets into trouble.
3. Set check-in times. If the group is going in different directions (some to the beach, some shopping, etc.) they should arrange some check in times where they are texting each other to ensure that everyone is okay. You may also want to set up check in times with your teen, especially if they are travelling with another family or a group of friends.
4. Traffickers love spring break. Unfortunately, traffickers are experts and seizing opportunities to find new victims, and spring break gatherings are high on the list. Talk with your teen about how to spot a trafficker. This will be someone, often with an entourage, who is flashing money, buying drinks for people, presenting themselves as if they are rich/famous/important. Often a trafficker will approach a potential victim with flattery (you're so beautiful, has anyone ever told you you could be a model?) or with an offer of employment (I'm producing a music video and looking for extras). They'll have a business card, a legitimate looking website, and people vouching for them…they are very good at what they do. Remind your teens that if they are under 18, there are a lot of regulations about modeling and acting and legitimate talent scouts would not be offering them a job at a club or a party.
5. Lock doors! In addition to personal safety, teens need to be mindful of the safety of their belongings. Sometimes groups of teens will all stay at the same condo complex or hotel, and it feels "safe" because they're surrounded with other teens, but it's a mistake to leave doors propped or unlocked.
6. Safety in numbers: Finally, remind your teens that they cut their risk of an attack in half just by being with one other person. It's so important to stay in groups, to stay around people they know and trust. This will keep them much safer.
Bottom line: Spring Break should be fun and memorable, and taking a few simple safety steps can help ensure that it is.