Glossary

  • Body Boundary

    Rules we have for touches that feel safe or unsafe for our own bodies, including the private parts of our bodies that should not be touched or seen, unless we are hurt and need help.

  • Childhood

    Your right to be a kid; to play, learn, and have friends without fear.

  • Cyber Bullying

    Using the internet, social media, or a digital device to threaten or harass someone.

  • Cyber P.L.A.N.

    Your plan to keep you safe on the internet and social media. P stands for Permission to use a digital device, L stands for the Location – a trusted adult has to approve the site, app, or game you’ll be using, A stands for the specific activity you’ll be doing on the site, app, or game, and N stands for the name of any person I will be communicating with on a digital device. Kids should never use the chat feature in games or apps, and should only use digital devices to communicate with people known to a child in real life when approved by parents or caregivers.

  • Grooming

    The process of building trust with a victim by an abuser.

  • Identity

    All your ideas, beliefs, and strengths that make you who you are.

  • Peer Pressure

    Feeling the need to agree with or fit in with a group.

  • Privacy

    Keeping others from seeing or hearing things that are personal to you.

  • Private Parts

    The parts of your body that are covered by your swimsuit; your mouth is also a private part.

  • Reporting

    Telling about something that involves your safety.

  • Respect

    Your right to be treated like you are valuable and important – because you are.

  • Responsibility

    A duty or job that goes along with a right.

  • Right

    An individual freedom that you are entitled to.

  • Safety

    The right to feel comfortable, happy, and safe in your surroundings.

  • Safety NETwork

    Your group of trusted adults who will keep you safe.

  • Tattling

    a complaint about someone that does not involve your safety.

  • Trusted Adult

    A grown-up who will help you make safe decisions and protect you.

  • Unsafe secret

    An unsafe secret is one that makes you feel confused, “icky,” or not quite right, and that you are told not to share.

  • Body Boundary Violation

    The intentional infringement of personal space and body boundaries.

  • Voice

    Your right to be heard and share your opinions, needs, fears, and hopes.

Letter to Parents

SSF_SafetyPlan_Newsletter_3-5-1
SSF_SafetyPlan_Newsletter_3-5-2

Downloads:

Think, Feel, Act

Help your child listen to their Guiding Voice as they use Think, Feel, Act in any confusing or unsafe situation.

  • Introduce your child to the concept of a “Guiding Voice”, the little voice inside them that helps them decide if a situation is safe or unsafe.
  • Encourage your child to pay attention to what his or her Guiding Voice says in any situation.
  • Discuss the safety process of Think, Feel, Act (TFA) as what they would think in any unsafe or confusing situation, how that situation would make them feel, and what action they would take – how would they act.
  • TFA encourages your child to take steps to tell someone when a situation makes them feel confused, scared, uncomfortable, or icky.

Asking your child what they think about possible situations helps them envision what they might do if a situation like that ever happened to them. By asking them what they think and feel about something before and after the situation, it lets them know that they can talk with you about anything and that you’re there to help them figure out what to do. By regularly engaging your child in such conversations, your child is more likely to come to you with real-life situations that occur, ask more questions, and gain your input.

  • In various situations that come up, ask your child what they are thinking and feeling-whether at the grocery store, home, or during extracurricular activities. Ask them, based upon their feelings, how they and you – depending on the situation – should act.
  • Whenever your child asks, “Mom, what about….” ask them what they think and feel about it first, before you give them your answer. Ask if their guiding Voice has told them anything lately and ask if they listened to it.

Downloads:

Safe & Unsafe Secrets

Talk with your child about the difference between Safe and Unsafe Secrets.

  • A Safe Secret is one that will eventually be told and will make everyone smile-like a surprise party or the gender of a baby-to-be.
  • An Unsafe Secret is one that makes you feel confused, threatened, unsafe, or icky and is one that you are told not to tell.
  • Help your child understand that it is not safe to ever keep an Unsafe Secret, no matter who asks or tells them to keep a secret.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your child.
  • Make sure your child knows that it’s okay to come to you with any information.
  • Make sure your child knows that they should never keep a secret from you.

When your child is faced with being asked or told to keep a secret:

  • Help your child to use Think, Feel, Act to process how the secret makes them feel. If it makes them feel confused, threatened, unsafe, or icky, they must tell their Grown-Up Buddy, someone in their Trusted Triangle, or a Trusted Adult.
  • Touching secrets are never safe secrets to keep.

When your child discloses an Unsafe Secret to you:

  • Believe what they are saying.
  • Validate their feelings.

Remember that children who feel like they can talk to their parents or caregivers about anything are much less susceptible to being victimized by a sexual predator.

Downloads:

P.L.A.N.ning for Safety

Whether online or in the real world, it’s important to have a P.L.A.N. for safety. P.L.A.N. stands for asking Permission to go to a specific Location, explaining the Activity they’ll be doing, and providing the Names and phone numbers for Grown Up Buddies who will be watching them. elp your child complete a P.L.A.N. for an everyday situation such as going to the movies with a friend, a sleepover, or going to the mall.

  • Reinforce the importance of each step of the P.L.A.N.
  • Stress why each step helps to keep them safe.
  • Stress that no step should ever be skipped.

Help your child to understand that sometimes situations arise that put them in the position where they might be tempted to change their P.L.A.N.:

  • Stress the importance of sticking with their P.L.A.N. and how that will keep them safe.
  • Model the appropriate way to change their P.L.A.N. by repeating the process beginning with getting Permission.

Safety NETwork

Discuss the importance of identifying Trusted Adults (adults who are responsible for a child’s protection) to go to in any unsafe or confusing situation.

  • Brainstorm with your child who could be their Trusted Adults. Identify these adults based upon the adults they could talk to about situations that leave them scared, confused, uncomfortable, or icky.
    • Mom
    • Dad
    • Teacher
    • Coach
    • Principal
    • School Counselor
    • Grandma
    • Grandpa
    • Uncle
    • Aunt
  • Please note that it is important that at least one of your child’s Trusted Adults be outside the family and each of them should be able to drive a car so that they are able to seek help for your child is necessary.
  • If your child gets separated from their Trusted Adult when out in a public place, encourage them to look for someone official like a firefighter or policemen, or a mother with children.

Work with your child to complete their Safety NETwork.

  • Using their list of Trusted Adults, your child should complete their Safety NETwork chart of trusted adults who they feel safe to go to any time they feel scared or confused. As you do this with your child, make sure the names that you write down are also people with whom you feel that your child is safe.
  • Please note that it is important that at least one of your child’s trusted adults in their Safety NETwork be outside the family and each of them should be able to drive a car so that they are able to seek help for your child is necessary.
  • Review your child’s Safety NEtwork with them and be sure to help update it periodically to make sure it’s current.
  • Download the letter and send to each of the adults in your child’s Safety NETwork. Make sure that these adults know that you child looks to them for support and help. As a team, you can better protect your child. Brainstorm with your child about other adults they can turn to for help.
  • Place your child’s Safety NETwork in a prominent place in your house, like the family refrigerator and remind your child that they can always go to these adults to talk about any thing that leaves them feeling confused or unsafe.
  • Your child has the power to create their Safety NETwork. They decide whom they trust enough to be part of it and they decide if someone is no longer trustworthy. It’s very important for your child to remember that if someone in their Safety NETwork is not making them feel safe or comfortable anymore, they should always remove that person from their Safety NETwork. But it’s also equally important for your child to tell another person in their Safety NETwork why a person was removed. It is important to intervene when unsafe behaviors on the part of someone in your child’s Safety NETwork can put others at risk.
  • Remember that children who feel like they can talk to their parents or caregivers about anything are much less susceptible to being victimized by a sexual predator.

Downloads:

Respecting Body Boundaries

Help your child understand the concept of personal space – the space around your body that belongs to you. Nobody should be going into your personal space without your permission, because your body belongs to you. Our body boundaries are rules we have for touches that feel safe or unsafe for our own bodies.

  • The private parts of our bodies are the parts covered by our bathing suits; your mouth is also a private part.
  • Teach your child the proper anatomical names for their private parts. Unsafe adults often use nicknames to avoid detection of abuse.
  • Stress to your child that no one should touch or look at their private parts except when they are in pain or feel that something may be wrong, or when you are with them at the doctor.
  • Encourage your child to tell you or another Trusted Adult about any touch that makes them feel unsafe and to keep telling until they get the 2 H’s: heard and helped.
  • Explain the difference between a Safe Touch and an Unsafe Touch to your child. Safe touches make us feel happy, loved, and comfortable. Unsafe touches make us feel hurt, confused, icky, or not quite right.
  • We never keep touching secrets.

Downloads:

Identity

Identity is defined as everything that makes your child unique. Their feelings, thoughts, opinions, ideas, beliefs, their likes, dislikes, and even their strengths and weaknesses are all part of their identity and make your child who they are. Your child has a right to their identity-to be who they are. At times your child will be faced with situations where they will want to compromise their identity in order to fit into a particular group. Talk with your child about how it can be a challenge for them because they want to fit into different groups, such as their class at school, their family, or their team. But it is important for your child to understand that if they sacrifice who they really are, what they really enjoy, or the things they really like just to fit in, they lose what makes them unique: their identity.

List all of the talents, interests, likes, dislikes, strengths, and even the weaknesses that make up your child’s identity – to be. Share your list with your child. This is a great conversation starter and gives you the opportunity to validate all the characteristics that make your child unique and special. It also gives your child the opportunity to share things about themselves that you might not know.

Downloads:

Rights & Responsibilites

Help your child understand the responsibilities of their rights:

Your child has the right to be safe – to feel comfortable, happy, and safe in their surroundings.

  • Your child has the responsibility to stay out of unsafe situations and report any situation that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • Your child has the responsibility to follow rules so that others are safe.

Your child has the right to their voice – to be heard and share their opinions, needs, fears, and hopes.

  • Your child has the responsibility to use their Voice to tell someone in their Safety NETwork about any safety situation, and to keep telling until they get the 2 H’s: heard and helped.
  • Your child has the responsibility to listen to others.

Your child has the right to their identity – all the ideas, beliefs, and strengths that make them who they are.

  • Your child has the responsibility to not compromise who they are just to please others.
  • Your child has the responsibility to let others be who they are.

Your child has the right to respect – to be treated like they are valuable and important – because they are. Your child has a right to have their body boundaries respected – to decide what touches feel safe or unsafe for their own bodies, and to have their privacy respected.

  • Your child has the responsibility to tell a trusted adult in their Safety NETwork if they are being disrespected and if their body boundaries are not being respected.
  • Your child has the responsibility to respect the personal boundaries of others.

Downloads:

Peer Pressure

The need to agree with or fit into a group results in your child experiencing peer pressure. Peer pressure can be positive or negative. Positive peer pressure can be healthy competition in sports or academics. But, negative peer pressure can cause your child to make unsafe decisions. As your child gets older and acceptance into peer groups becomes more important to them, this can sometimes lead them into situations where they are faced with difficult choices. Sometimes they can feel the pressure to make a decision that is not right for them. Help your child find their courage and face something that is intimidating or that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Entering adolescence is a very challenging time for children and parents. As children strive to “grow up” and become independent, an important developmental step, they don’t have the emotional maturity or the strategies to handle many of the situations they will encounter with their peers. Keeping the lines of communications open with your child is an important step in being one of your child’s trusted adults.

Downloads:

Cyber Safety P.L.A.N.ning

Technology changes daily and new sites and apps are launched all the time, so it is vital that parents consistently monitor children’s use of the computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.

Good Cyber Citizenship is important whenever your child is using a digital device.

  • What are the rules for the use of Internet devices in your home?
  • What are your safety settings on your internet devices?
  • What should your child do if they find an inappropriate website or see an image that is upsetting?
  • Do you know who is photographing your child and where those photos are being posted?
  • Does your child understand that once something is posted on the internet, texted, tweeted, etc. it is permanent…even if it is deleted?
  • Does your child know not to share or post any personal information about themselves – pictures, address, email address, phone number – online?
  • Does your child understand that posting any personal information about others is inappropriate?
  • Does your child understand that communicating with someone they don’t know online is very dangerous because they never know with whom they are actually communicating?
  • Does your child understand that chat rooms are dangerous?
  • Does your child understand that they should never send unkind messages online or using digital devices, and cyber bullying can have serious consequences?

Downloads:

Cyber Bullying

The Internet and digital devices open up a whole new world for children to learn, explore, communicate, and play – but parents and caregivers have a responsibility to teach responsible use of digital devices. Children often do not understand the permanency of communicating online or through devices, and that nothing can ever really be deleted once posted or sent. It is important to teach children that they should not send, share, or post anything unkind, untrue, personal, or inappropriate when they use digital devices. Once something is posted, texted, or sent, it becomes the property of someone else, and can be screenshotted, forwarded, or reshared. Teach children that if they would not feel comfortable saying something in front of their teacher or in front of you, they should not post it.

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Privacy

Everyone is entitled to privacy – the right to keep others from seeing or hearing things that are personal to you. Privacy includes the personal thoughts in your head, as well as physical privacy – closing the door when you use the restroom, take a shower, or change, and making sure the private parts of your body stay private. Teach children that no one should look at, touch, or take photos of the private parts of their bodies covered by their bathing suits; teach children that their mouth is also a private part of their body, and that no one should ever put anything in their mouth. These rules have exceptions, like when we’re hurt and need help, or when we’re at the doctor’s office or the dentist with a Grown Up Buddy or Trusted Adult.

Use the activity below to help your child determine what kinds of personal information are OK to share, and when.

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