It's an exciting time of year. Kids and parents are stocking up on school supplies. But with all the excitement of a new school year, also comes some hidden dangers.
"We did some research not that long ago on attempted abductions of children across the country. What we found is that kids are at the greatest risk of being victimized and attempted to be taken on way to and from school related activities,"says Ed Suk. He is the Executive Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NY Region.
He suggests taking this time to brush up on some basic safety rules and taking simple steps to protect your kids. "If your going to go out and buy your child a back pack, you have the option to put a monogram on there with their name. Please don't do that. We want to make sure when kids are out in the community they don't have any identifying info on backpacks, on clothing," says Suk.
He also says to make sure kids are monitored at the school bus stop and if they walk to school, make sure they have a buddy to walk with. Suk says, "we always want them buddied up with someone else when they are walking. But if they are approached by a care or someone else when walking it's important we teach them how to turn around and go the opposite direction and how to find an alternate route back home that might be unusual so they can get away and be safe."
Don't forget about the older kids too. Cyber bullying is a big problem in middle and high schools and it's important to pay attention to what your kids are saying and hearing online. "We need to be able to work with the schools and work with parents to have open lines of communication with their kids so when kids are starting to fall into this situations where they are being victimized. That they feel comfortable to come and talk to us about it. Parents need to have open line of communication with schools to say this is going on, what can you do to help put a lid on it," says Suk.
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