By Heather Listhartke
Going to college can be an intimidating experience for both teens and parents. Keeping their child safe is top of mind for parents. While some campuses have little issue with safety, others may have regular incidents, but there are a few things that your student can do to stay safe on campus. While other tips can certainly be added to this list, these 10 are a good place to start.
1.Always Stay Alert
This is one of the most important when out and about on campus. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or where you are, it is important to continuously pay attention to your surroundings. In addition, most campuses have alert systems that students should register for to receive alerts in case something happens on or near campus.
2. Secure Personal Items
Whether your college student has a vehicle on campus, lives in the dorms, or off campus, teach them to secure their personal items at all times.
3.Always Log out
There will be a ton of times when a student will need to use the campus computers to either print or to connect even if you have your own computer. When you use the campus computers make sure to log out of every website that you connect to and every computer you log into. This will keep your information safe as well as your accounts secure.
4. Familiarize Yourself with the Campus
While campuses range in size, it’s always a great idea to know where everything is. You and your teen may have toured the campus when choosing a college, but it could take time to really familiarize oneself with where things are. Being confident in where you are going can help keep you safe.
5. Save Important Phone Numbers
Encourage your college student to save some important numbers in their phone, such as campus police. Other good numbers to save are the Nurses Office, Bursars’ Office and Department Office.
6. Know How to Get in Contact with Campus Police
Along with calling campus police, most campuses also have a security system consisting of emergency lights or other features like phones around campus. For example, at the University of Tennessee, they have a blue light system, so if a student needs help, they can hit an emergency button. If a student couldn’t stop and wait for campus police, they can continue running and hitting the buttons and campus police can predict where they’re going. It is important though to know where these things are and the best ways to get to the next one if you need these at any point.
7.Never Walk Alone at Night
This is a good tip whether you’re on a campus or downtown in the middle of the city. Walking alone at night invites people to consider you as a target. The larger your group, the less of a target you are. It’s a good idea to have a friend walk with you to your car, even if its a short distance away.
8.Utilize the Bus System
This is another feature that many campuses have. These not only make it convenient to get across campus quickly and efficiently, but they also are great for making sure that you are safe. The bus stops often have more light, more people, and higher traffic around them.
9. Protect Your Bags
When you’re out, there are several ways to do this. One way is to minimize how much you are carrying and to keep things in separate pockets or hiding spaces so that you don’t have to carry a bag. When you do have to carry something though, your best bet is to carry a backpack and make sure you have it tight on both shoulders. The best kind is those that also have clips that wrap around to the front.
10.Carry Self-Defense Spray or Items
This is often a last resort item, but when you need it, you’ll be glad that you have it at your disposal. Take a look at the options that you might need and figure out what things will work best for you without being turned on you. This can often mean the difference between life and death.
The most important thing is to begin a conversation with your soon-to-be college student about staying safe once they begin school and sharing these tips with them.
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