We live in a changing world where the challenges and risks associated with child protection are constantly evolving, especially with advances in technology. Children are particularly vulnerable to outside influences, which may lead to them running away from home, bullying others or being bullied by others, or even having their identities stolen. The potential for danger leads many parents – and other adults – to ask: how can I keep my child safe?
It is impossible to fully eliminate all risks to children; but it is always possible to help children manage risk and minimize impact. It is important to build awareness around the risks children face in their everyday lives and how parents, communities, schools, and other organizations can play a role in protecting children.
Adults can equip children from a very early age with the information necessary to stay safer on- and offline. By establishing strong communication channels with children and empowering them with information, adults can help reduce the risks faced by children. In an effort to start a conversation about safety, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children has developed tips for parents and caregivers. These tips outline basic safety practices to help keep children safer. Additional localized, age-appropriate resources to help children and parents are available from the following Global Missing Children’s Network members and other organizations:
- Associação Portuguesa de Crianças Desaparecidas (Portugal)
- Child Focus (Belgium)
- Desaparecidos do Brasil (Brazil)
- KidSmartz (USA)
- Missing People (United Kingdom)
- Servico de Investigacao de Criancas Desaparecidas (Brazil)
- Telefono Azzurro (Italy)
Being well-informed about child safety and available prevention tools can help minimize the risk of a child going missing or being abducted. However, it is equally important to be prepared in the event a child goes missing or is abducted. Parents and guardians should maintain up-to-date information on their children, including recent photographs, medical and dental records, government-issued documents, and, when possible, fingerprints and/or DNA samples.