Back to School Safety for 2021
Updated: May 25
Simple Ways for Making Kids Safer at School
Summer is coming to a close and we are buying backpacks, pencils, and smart devices for our kids to go back to school.
First Day of School Signs
A long-time tradition is a "first day of school" photo. Before our kids head to the bus stop or jump in the car we grab a quick snapshot of the moment. We see their outfits, smiles, and we take a freeze-frame of what it looked like when they started a new school year.
Somewhere along the way, we picked up signs for the first day of school. Many people make these big, elaborate signs that give away a ton of valuable information about your child including their name, school, teacher’s name, grade. Some are super detailed and will share a child’s favorite color, sports they like, favorite superheroes and the list goes on.
The danger is that we as parents are giving away information that can be used to exploit our children.
If you want to use a detailed sign, that’s fine. No, really it is. You’d think I’d be against it but I’m not. It’s a fun way to share an important moment in the lives of our children. My warning is not to share them on social media. You can share them with friends and family via text message if you want. But don’t share these sensitive pictures with the world wide web.
A predator can see the picture and make up a story with enough real personal details about your kid to convince them that they’re not a stranger and that they can be trusted. Remember those fun details about their favorite color, superheroes, TV shows? Those can be used to weave a web of lies to trick our children.
A Safer Alternative
If you want to post the first day of school pictures to share on social media, The Secure Dad has you covered. I’ve created a fun social media safe design for your first day of school.
It’s a fun chalkboard design that simply says, Back to School 2021. It’s 8.5 x 11 so it can be printed at home. Put it in a fun frame and have your kid hold it up without giving away too much information. it’s yours for free, you can download it here.
Red Flags on Social Media
Speaking of social media, let’s talk about some red flags that may appear during the year. Many times before a student commits an act of violence at school they post about it on social media.
The post may not be specific, but you never know. Posts that say students and teachers will get what they deserve or even dark jokes like don’t come to school on specific days are both examples of red flags that need to be addressed.
Coach your kid to share anything they find upsetting with you. You can get school administrators involved or go right to the police if the situation warrants it. Kids shouldn’t have to deal with that alone.
It might stop a terrible event, or it may get a kid the help that they need. Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Masks in the Classroom
Masks in classrooms are a hot topic for 2021. (That’s an understatement, really.) While I don’t want to dive into the political aspects of the topic, I want you to help your kids.
This year anti-mask kids and pro-mask kids are going to clash. There will be bullying over masks. So I ask you as parents to remind your kids of the Golden Rule that Jesus gave us.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
No matter your side of this issue, help your kid to be a good human being and accept others that don’t look or dress the same as they do. Undoubtedly, this will help your kid build rapport and learn how to talk with a variety of people to be a well-rounded person. If we can do this, we can make the world a better place.
Talk to Listen
I know at the end of the school days your kids don’t want to share what happened to them. They might just want to play Minecraft and decompress. You’re thinking, “same”, right?
When your child DOES share something with you, make sure you take the time to listen. What may be an offhand comment about a classmate might be a plea for help with a social situation.
Kids may not know how to fully express themselves or ask for help. So be sure to listen and key in on what they say. A good way to do this is when you are both device-free, in the car, or waiting for the bus. Kids will bear some real burdens simply because they don’t know what to do, so we have to make ourselves available to them when they need it.
The most important element to going back to school safely is how we empower our children. It’s not the school’s responsibility to keep our kids safe, it’s up to us as protector parents.