Home Alone: How to Keep Your Kids Safe
Parenting is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. Not only do you have to worry about raising your children, but you also have to worry about other people – bad people. Parents must stay vigilant. If possible, many of us would forgo work to concentrate on our kids. However, that is a pipe dream for most people. So what can you do when you can’t be home to watch your kids? Thankfully, technology provides a plethora of tools for parents to help keep kids safe.
First off, before you leave any child home alone, even briefly, you need to make sure that child is mentally and physically capable of taking care of himself while alone. Consult the U.S. Children’s Bureau's factsheet to help make the decision. It also covers some of the legalities involved with child self-care.
You may be reading this thinking that people need to trust their children, that keeping tabs on them is a violation of trust, that kids need to be left alone to learn how to live or any combination of the aforementioned. If this is you, then please look at the following stats:
- One in six missing persons cases reported to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children are likely victims of sex trafficking.
- In 2014, the FBI entered 466,949 missing children into the National Crime Information Center database. It was 462,567 in 2013.
- At the end of 2014, people under the age of 21 accounted for 51 percent of the FBI's 84,924 active missing person records.
As you can see from the above statistics, it is important to know your child’s whereabouts at all times and to create a daily check-in schedule. Otherwise, they could become a statistic.
Keeping visual tabs on your children is the best way to ensure their safety. We like Lorex, a Flir company. Flir is one of the top names in the industry, which means you can't go wrong with their products. Plus, they offer contract-free surveillance cameras so there aren’t any additional costs outside of the original purchase. To make this effective, strategically place cameras inside and outside your home. You don’t have to get all 007 on your children. Rather, let them know where the cameras are located and that you will expect to see them at certain times.
There are numerous apps aimed at helping parents keep tabs on their children, which, in turn, will help enforce your daily check-in schedule. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Footprints is an app that allows parents to track their children in real time. The app sends notifications to the parent's iPhone or iPad, which can be shared with family and friends if needed.
TeenSafe takes child monitoring to the next level by allowing parents to see all their kid’s activities: text messages, incoming/outgoing calls, and social media posts. Parents can use the app without the kid’s knowledge.