Learn five steps to have honest discussions with your child and learn more about online exploitation.
By Sandra Morgan, RN, PhD, Director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice
Every parent worries about the safety and wellbeing of their child. With the rise of technology and social media, it is becoming even more difficult for parents to recognize when their child’s safety is in jeopardy and how to intervene. Where do you start?
1. Create a safe space.
If your child names three people they feel safe with or safe talking to, would you be one of those three? To have open conversations with your child, you first need to have their trust. Create a safe environment for your child. Designate a specific day and time to have weekly check-ins. Building your child’s trust will let them know they can talk to you, even outside the designated time.
2. Have open and honest conversations.
Talk to your child about their life. It is important to know with who they are talking and what topics are important to them, especially on social media. Listen to what they are saying and be open to their questions and concerns. We cannot protect children from everything they will hear, see or read at school or in social media. However, you can be aware of outside influences and be available to have open and honest dialogues.
3. Know the signs.
Know what the signs of human trafficking are. Is your child withdrawing from you family and long-time friends? Are they spending an unusual amount of time on their phone, and are they more secretive about their contacts and conversations? Has their behavior changed recently? It is important as a parent and member of the community to know the signs in order to maintain a safe and secure environment for your child. Educate yourself through documentaries, free online resources, and research.
4. Empower them to speak up.
It is impossible to be with your child everywhere. Empower them to recognize the dangers and signs of human trafficking and to speak up for themselves and their friends. Watch documentaries with your child, invite Live2free to speak at their local school and/or church, and encourage them to memorize the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
5. Know how to get help
If you or someone you know is being trafficked, call 888-3737-888 or text BEFREE (233733).
For more information about protecting the children in your life, download your free ebook on ending human trafficking and subscribe to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast here: https://endinghumantrafficking.org