Protecting Yourself in a Dangerous World

The world around us is a beautiful one, but it’s often unsafe. Tragically, there are many people out there that mean us harm — and it can be very tough to tell who is who. We shouldn’t live our lives in fear, but we do need to be smart. We need to take common-sense steps to protect ourselves, especially when we’re meeting new people or putting others in important positions of trust that they could potentially abuse.

If we stay vigilant, we can rest easy knowing that we’ve done what we can to protect ourselves. We can loosen up and relax, as long as we’ve done the smart thing first. Here’s are a few tips for staying safe in certain situations.

Online dating

Dating is increasingly something that occurs online. There are a lot of reasons why dating online is convenient and fun, but there are also some very real dangers. When we agree to meet one-on-one with people who we don’t know, we expose ourselves to potential risks.

That’s why it’s important to use common sense when dating. Don’t agree to meet anyone in total isolation — instead, pick a public place for the first date. And it doesn’t hurt to do a little research on your date, either. Googling their name is a good first step.

For a more secure option, consider a background check. It doesn’t have to cost much — in fact, you can order up a free background check from a trusted source with a little more than a first and last name. It pays to be careful about these things, so don’t feel bad about doing your research.

Protecting yourself on vacation

When you’re in an unfamiliar place, you’re vulnerable to the crooks and creeps that know your surroundings better than you do. Be careful and do your research before you head off on vacation.

Check out US government resources to read up on the countries you’re considering to visit. Do this before you book your trip, because you just might learn that you should not be traveling to some places at all. Learn local laws so that you don’t run afoul of surprisingly strict rules. For instance, you may be surprised to know that prescription drugs could get you jailed in Japan.

Dress to blend in — tourists are easy targets — and don’t carry too much of value around strange streets. Old-fashioned traveler’s checks are a good option.

Always know where you’re going, bring a map, and be wary about wandering around anywhere at night. It’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re in a strange place.

Teaching your kids how to protect themselves

If you’re a parent, your first concerns are always for your kids. Be sure to take the time to teach them how to protect themselves in all circumstances.

Run through rules for dealing with— and avoiding — stranger dangers. Remind your children that they should turn to authorities for help if they are ever in trouble, and teach them how to call 911 or speak to a police officer.

It’s a good idea to establish a family “secret code,” too, so that your children can communicate distress to you without others picking up on it. Refresh all of these lessons from time to time, and share additional age-appropriate tips as your kids get older and face new types of threats. Lead by example and help your children recognize the importance of staying safe.

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