Comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell’s 17-year-old daughter Chelsea was recently reported missing for a week and thankfully found by police safe in a New Jersey home.
Nearly a half a million children age 18 and younger were reported missing in 2014 by law enforcement agencies. The FBI maintains comprehensive statistics of this data entered into the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File and in 2014 alone there were 466,949 entries.
Do you have a teenager? Do you know their friends’ names, their parents friends names, their cell phone passwords, etc. so that when they go missing (on purpose or not) you can quickly locate them?
Here are 10 monitoring tips for parents of teens, but these are helpful for parents of tweens as well.
10 Teen Monitoring Safety Tips for Parents
- Prepare an ID kit for your child in the event he or she is missing. The Polly Klaas Foundation offers a free child ID kit
- Take color photos, digital if possible, of your child every six months or more often if your child’s appearance changes
- Know where your child’s medical and dental records are located and how they may be obtained
- Regularly monitor your child’s social media activity and record their passwords
- Consider using a parental control monitoring app, such as Net Nanny or Mama Bear, on your child’s smart phone
- Establish a family emergency meeting place in the event of a fire or other emergency
- Get to know your child’s friends and their parents and add them to your cell phone contacts
- Discuss neighborhood “safe spots” with your kids such as a neighbor’s home, a church, a local business, etc.
- Establish check-in rules with older tweens and teens for after-school activities, such as sports practices. Establish where they will be and how they will be getting home (ie parent picking them up or riding home with a teammate’s parent)
- Make sure your kids have a list of contacts in their phone for people they can call or text in case of emergency (ie grandparents, neighbors, etc.)
Additional helpful resources can be found online:
Do you have tweens or teens? Do you regularly discuss safety issues with them? Make sure they know to always be aware of their surroundings and discuss rules and expectations regarding their social activities and other time spent away from your supervision.
Jamie Reeves is a Nashville-based writer, editor, and lover of all things social media. She and her husband Alan have two daughters, two dogs, and too much laundry. This busy soccer mom can typically be found cheering from the sidelines or in her car on the way to school or sports practices. She loves traveling with her family and exploring fun things to do in Middle Tennessee. Jamie has been pontificating about poop and pinot noir at Blonde Mom Blog, since 2005.