My Safety Rules:
- Check First with a parent, guardian or babysitter before
- Accepting a ride
- Accepting a gift
- Going into a house
- Having your photo taken
- Use the buddy system! Play and stay with friends.
- Find 5 trusted adults to talk to about any problem or worry. They could be your parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, or any safe adult.
- Trust your gut! Pay attention to your “uh-oh” feeling. If any person acts in a way that makes your “uh-oh” feeling go off, get away from that person and tell a trusted adult. It doesn’t matter how you know them; it only matters how they make you feel. Pay attention to that same feeling when you are online! Talk to a trusted adult about anything in-person or online that doesn’t feel right in your gut.
- No secrets! There is never a good reason to keep a secret from your mom, dad, or caregiver. Surprises are okay. Talk about the difference!
- Your private areas are private and different from the rest of your body. You are allowed to say, “NO!” to any person trying to touch or show your private parts or their private parts. “NO!” is a complete sentence. If you ever have questions about touches, talk to a trusted adult. If the first person you talk to doesn’t know how to help you, keep telling until someone does help. If someone tricks you into a touch or you don’t say “NO!” it still isn’t your fault. You can tell, even a long time after the touching happened.
- Say “NO!” get away, and tell an adult if someone tries to get you to break a safety rule.
Remember that you are far more valuable than any of your stuff. Drop anything making it hard to get away.
Yelling is different than screaming. Yelling for help from your belly with words like, “Call 911!” will alert others that you are in danger. Screaming can sometimes sound like playing.
Have a family password to use in case you are in over your head.
- You are special and deserve to be safe!
- Trust your gut! Your body has a warning system to tell you when you are in a potentially dangerous situation or if you feel uncomfortable—use it. If your gut instinct is triggered, get out of the situation if at all possible. Sometimes our gut works faster than our brain, so let it lead you to a different, hopefully safer, space.
- Expect respect. Anyone who pressures you into doing something you don’t want to do or doesn’t honor the boundaries you’ve set, either in person or online, is not respecting you. Surround yourself with people who can help encourage you as you work to be your own best advocate.
- Use the buddy system. There is power in numbers. Know who’s got your back. Have a friend (or two or three) with you when you go out and make sure you all get home safely. Develop a password with your friend(s) to use in emergency situations to signal that you need help.
- Know your five trusted adults. Who can you go to no matter what? There are plenty of problems you can solve on your own, but when you are being hurt or someone else is being hurt find trusted adults to help. This support network can be made up of your parents, your friends’ parents, your grandparents, a teacher, a coach, an aunt or any adult who is invested in your well-being. If the first adult can’t help or is a part of the problem, you can go to one of your others. Additionally, it is important to have a trusted friend you can go to if you need help in talking to one of your trusted adults.
- Set boundaries. Know what your boundaries are, understanding that they may change over time. For example:
- Only “friend” people online that you know in real life. Don’t talk about sex online. Save those questions for in-person conversations.
- Only post photos and words online that you would also feel comfortable seeing on a billboard.
- Think through your decisions about sexual activity and alcohol/drug use BEFORE you are in a situation where you need to make a choice. Find people who can help encourage you as you take your own stand.
- Protect your online footprint. We all make mistakes and do things we regret. The problem with doing those things online is that it creates an online history that can open or close doors. Messages and pictures sent while sexting are often shared and go viral. People online sometimes aren’t who they say they are. If you are embarrassed about past choices you have made online, you can start making better choices to rebuild your online footprint. It can be harder to make choices when you’re angry or upset, so step away from technology when you are feeling emotional. It may be a good time to write in a journal or talk with a good friend.
- Family password. Just like you have with your friend, develop a code word you can use with your parent or guardian that means you need help or need to be picked up, no questions asked in that moment.
- Saying “no” is always a complete sentence. There is no need for “if,” “and,” “but” or “because…”
- Privacy. There is power in having a private life. In a culture where there is pressure to share all of our personal information with everyone else, it can be refreshing to know that you can choose parts of your in-person and online life that you don’t want to share. Personal and emotional information can wait until you find a person who has earned your trust. You can always make new choices about who is in your trusted circle based on how they treat you and other important people in your life.
- Secrets can lead down a dangerous path. If someone is asking you to keep a secret from your friends and/or your parents, they may not have your best interest in mind. Proceed with caution! If they are triggering your “uh-oh” feeling or gut instinct, this is a signal that you should tell someone.
- Be your own advocate. Practice selfawareness— you know yourself best. Understand your behaviors and emotions, and you will make healthier choices for yourself. Do an online search of yourself— know what others can find out about you from your current online footprint. Know there is always power in making new choices. It is okay to ask for help, it is a sign of strength.