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A Parents’ Guide to Their Daughter’s College Safety

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If you’re anything like the average parent, sending your daughter off to college can be a nerve-wracking time. It’s easy to let your mind go off the deep end with worry and fear, but that’s not necessarily the best tactic for keeping her safe while she’s away at college.

Instead, try keeping your cool and improving her safety and your sanity with these tips.

Educate yourself about campus security. What are the systems in place for keeping students safe and criminals away? Is it a key card or coded entry system? A campus wide broadcast for alerts? How big is the campus police force and what hours are they active? Take notes during orientation and do the research to find answers to these and other questions. Having adequate knowledge about what the college is doing to keep students safe can help ease your mind, and equip you to plug in the gaps for your daughter’s safety.

Be aware of the community’s crime stats, not just the campus. Campus crime stats are notoriously unpredictable. That’s because each college or university has its own standard for what information gets collected, and many crimes, small or not, never get reported. And keep in mind, a campus is one part of a larger community, which has its own crime and safety environment to consider. Be aware of what the surrounding community is like, and make sure your daughter is well educated about it, too.

Invest in a wearable safety device and be part of her circle of family and friends. According to a 2014 survey, female students are more concerned about campus violence, including sexual assault, than their male counterparts, and 43 percent don’t believe their schools are doing enough to keep them safe. A personal safety device like the Wearsafe Tag keeps your daughter connected to you and a trusted circle of friends. By pressing one button, she can send out an alert, which lets you know her exact GPS location and also streams live audio from where she is, plus up to a minute of sound recorded before she pressed the button. You and her other contacts can then decide what to do – call the police, send someone over to check on her, or give her a call. The Wearsafe Tag is also discreet enough that she can use it without escalating an unclear situation.

Keep the lines of communication open. Aside from staying connected through a wearable safety device, keep up regular communication via phone, email, texts – whatever works best for the both of you. We especially like FaceTime for its personal connection.

Send your daughter to a self-defense class before leaving for college. There are a number of benefits to learning self-defense: an improved sense of confidence, having more awareness and alertness about one’s surroundings, a greater sense of discipline, a “warrior” mentality in difficult situations. Aside from all that, if your daughter comes away from a class with one or two moves that could help fend off an adversary, it’s money and time well spent. Check with local law enforcement for recommendations on where to take a class, or inquire with martial arts studios in your area. Some colleges and universities also offer their own defense classes, too.

Taking steps to prepare yourself and your daughter will help keep her safe and give both of you the confidence that she will get the most out of her college experience. Learn more about Wearsafe or try it for 30 days, risk-free.

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Doug Hampton-Dowson

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