Teens are at higher risk today than potentially any other time in history…not because of the new dangers in the world (which there are) but because they are much less aware of the world around them.
In the older days, teens were very active and exploring the world on their own. From riding their bikes all over town to walking in groups to the local malls or playing games in the street and parks. They had to be aware of their surroundings because they were actively involved in their surroundings. And if someone didn’t look like they belonged, they became much more alert and aware.
Today, most teens have their heads down in their mobile devices…having conversations and watching millions of free videos available with a few touches on their screen. And with the latest craze of Pokemon Go, it makes them even less aware of their surroundings because they have to literally focus on their screen to capture the Pokemon in their area. There will be more of these “augmented” or “virtual” reality activities going on in the future so the trend will only continue to get worse, not better.
But this doesn’t mean teens will be in less danger tomorrow than they face today…it will probably only increase. So when you combine the continual increase of safety threats with the decrease in attention by the teenager audience, you have a recipe of increased danger. It’s time to teach teens about being more aware and how to increase their “self-protection” in certain situations. And when we say “teens” we are referring to any young adult up to about 25 years old.
There are FIVE things I would recommend we try to help our teens with when it comes to Self-Protection in today’s world…
- Situational Awareness…this may be the most important thing any teen can learn today…being aware of their surroundings. Teaching them to be aware of what is going on around them at all times is probably the first and most important aspect of safety. If they simply stop, look around, understand who and what is around them they can improve their situational awareness by about 100%. This means just simply being aware of their surroundings.
- WHO is in the area…relating to the Situational Awareness above, it’s vitally important for our teens to understand who is in their area. Is there someone or a group of people that look suspicious, potentially dangerous, or just out of place? This should be a constant check wherever a teen goes. And helping them act when they see something that is uncomfortable can help protect them by removing them from a potentially dangerous individual or group.
- WHERE can I go…every teen in every situation should have an “escape plan” for their environment. If something was to go bad, where can I go that would be safe? If they are at the mall, what store(s) would be easy to escape into and offer them some protection or someone to talk to about the situation. If they are on the street and walking, what offices or stores are around them to escape into if needed. There are lots of places available, but only if they “pre-plan” as they are traveling.
- Basic Physical Training…something that is more important than ever is to give your teens some basic training on what to do if attacked. If all of the above aren’t successful, what should they do next? This is generally focused on “escape tactics” rather than stay and fight. There are lots of these available today and highly recommended as a base level of defense.
- Firearm training…if a situation arises in your house and you have a firearm available, are they trained to use it? Generally this is not the case…firearms are locked away for their safety rather than available for their protection. At some point, it might be a good idea to get them into some firearm safety and training courses that can help them understand the power of the firearms you own and how to handle them if necessary. If you have responsible teens, this is a way to give them another option if there is a serious threat on their (or your family) lives. There are great courses for this specifically designed for teens and young adults.
This is just a good starting point for you to help your teens and young adults improve their safety…and still able to play augmented reality games such as Pokemon Go…only safer. If you ever need assistance with any of these 5 items, please let me know and I can help connect you with some reputable sources in these areas. Remember…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.