Kids are heading back to school. Parents are filled with nerves and jitters, not just because of unknowns that come with a new school year but the fact that, in America, there tends to be a lot more risk when we kiss our babies on the cheek and send them inside a school.
A former FBI agent and mom posted on TikTok, sharing some of the things she does (and doesn’t do) to keep her kids safe when she can’t be by their side.
Tracy Walder prefaces that being a mom is hard enough without fears of our kids’ safety during the school day, but she wants to share this information with others in hopes that maybe just one parent can feel more secure about sending their kid to school.
First off, she doesn’t put her kid’s name on anything visible to the public eye.
“I think initials are fine, and if you want, you can put it on the inside of their backpack because I know these things get confused and tossed everywhere. But if you put it on the outside of their backpack, that is something that strangers can see and can refer to your child by that name and perhaps make them feel comfortable,” she explains.
With a child’s name fully displayed on their backpack, a stranger could easily call them over and an innocent kid would assume they knew them or their parent, making it much easier for something unthinkable to happen.
Next, she never puts her kid’s personal information on their backpack. Instead, she encourages her kids to memorize important, personal information.
She continues, “Since the age of three, we’ve been really drilling into our daughter’s head to memorize our phone number, my cell phone number, and so she does have that memorized. But if your kid doesn’t, I get it, it’s really hard.”
She also has some thoughts about smart watches. In fact, she doesn’t use them. However, if she’s taking her child to a crowded place, she places an air tag on a watch band as a “just in case” policy.
“It’s just something to think about if you want an extra layer of security,” she says.
Lastly, she brings up social media and child safety.
Walder has two different social media accounts — one public and one private.
“Again, it’s people’s personal choice whether or not they want to share pictures of their children but even on your private account something to think about is not posting the location of your child’s school because you never know who is going to be able to see that information,” she warns.
On that note, those boards with your kids, age, school, teacher, grade, etc. are probably not the best thing to spread all over social media on a public account. Walder recognizes that surely that information can be found on the internet is someone is really trying, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“A photo that you take of your kids on your front stoop, in your neighborhood or by the school entrance may contain personally identifiable information, such as your street name, house number, last name or your kids’ school’s name,” Caroline Knorr, Senior Parenting Editor at Common Sense Media, told NBC.
“While the risk is fairly small, there are people with bad intentions — such as people looking to rip off photos to sell for stock photography, identity hackers, predators, or even sales people targeting parents — who troll social media platforms looking for any clues that could give them some way into your life,” she said.
In this day and age, sending kids to school is more nerve-wracking then ever. So, with just a few small precautions, Walder hopes to put some parents minds’ at ease.