Here are some security practices that will come in handy in college and throughout life:
- Use technology – Almost every young person in America and around the world carries a mobile device. As long as you have service, a smartphone can be a lifesaver during a crisis. Apps like Circle of 6 and Guardly alert contacts if an individual is feeling unsafe in a situation. Without contacting the police for an escort, these apps make sure that someone knows where you are and how to proceed if they don’t hear back from you.
- Review campus safety measures – Orientation usually has some type of safety seminar, but many campuses don’t require attendance. As a result, only a few students may actually know what safety measures they have access to on campus. You may want to review campus safety with your child before saying goodbye. Knowing where alert and call kiosks are located, the number to call for campus emergencies, and where the most dangerous areas around town and on campus are can keep your child from accidentally stumbling into a dangerous situation.
- Invest in personal security – College students can feel lulled into a false sense of security on campus and in dorms. They may feel like they know everyone around and that nobody is going to mess with them or their stuff. It’s never safe to leave a dorm room unlocked if a student is away, and just because a dorm building requires keycard access doesn’t mean that people with bad intentions can’t get in. Self-defense courses, pepper spray, and common sense can all go a long way to prevent theft and dangerous encounters.
- Don’t forget computer security – What students share on social media can come back to haunt them. Encourage students to avoid sharing location information with a social network. Regular computer updates, password protection, and solid antivirus software can decrease the likelihood of a student’s identity being stolen and prevent online and in-person threats.
- Stress the importance of safeguarding valuables – A student who keeps a room locked may still be vulnerable to theft. Roommates and suitemates can be dishonest or let other dishonest people into the space. Encourage young adults to keep jewelry, electronics, and other items of value out of sight or locked away when they aren’t there.
- Get to know campus security – Many students don’t think they can contact campus security unless there is a real emergency, but security guards are also available if someone feels uncomfortable. Use the buddy system, program security numbers into a phone’s speed dial list, and encourage students to ask for an escort at any time.