April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it reminds us all why child safety matters!
April 2020 has not been the April that we all imagined but even with the looming worry of COVID-19, we must not forget that the safety of children is a priority. Children and teens will be abused and neglected during this time of isolation and social distancing.
This month is a good time for each of us to remember how important children are and to remember why child safety should matter to each of us. As Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
In an effort to help during this unprecedented time, and in honor of #ChildAbusePreventionMonth we will be sharing daily Child Safety Check-ins! With these Check-Ins, parents, educators, counselors, neighbors, family members, and friends will all learn practical, actionable things they can each do to help ensure kids are safe.
Child Abuse Prevention Month Lesson Plans
Educator and School Counselors: MBF Child Abuse Prevention Month Lesson Plans are now available! It’s no secret that social media and the internet are ruling the social scene right now. Today, MBF released new lesson plans for Child Abuse Prevention Month that will help you teach your students (in a developmentally appropriate way) how to recognize and protect themselves from human trafficking – which often begins with online exploitation. Download your lesson plans HERE.
Daily Child Safety Check-Ins
Tuesday, April 28 –
Emotional well-being is as important for kids as physical safety, and in today’s digital world, the Internet can pose a risk to both. One of the best ways to protect your child from online grooming and exploitation is to increase awareness of digital dangers and set clear guidelines with children to prevent digital abuse.
Today, we encourage you to sit down and talk with the children in your life. Ask them:
- what apps are they are using… do you approve?
- to show you their social media sites and what they’re posting.
- to give you a tutorial on the apps they’re using.
This will let you know how they spend their time online as well as provide the opportunity to continue these conversations about digital safety and being a good digital citizen. Staying involved in their digital activity is one of the best ways to prevent the exploitation that often leads to online abuse or human trafficking.
Here are some resources to help you:
- Review our blog about digital safety during COVID-19 isolation: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/maintaining-digital-safety-during-covid-19/
- Download our Digital Consciousness Contract to help maintain online safety and set guidelines for digital use in your household: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Digital-Safety-Contract.pdf
- Apps that Every Parent of a Teen Should Know About: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-12-apps-that-every-parent-of-a-teen-should-know-about_n_56c34e49e4b0c3c55052a6ba
Monday, April 27 –
It can be hard to keep children motivated when schedules and normal day-to-day activities aren’t so normal anymore. As easy as it could be to leave your children to their own devices with a laptop or a tablet, now is not the time to slack on safety measures in your home. Conversations about digital safety are important and need to be on-going. Stay motivated, stay safe, and stay vigilant: https://www.d2l.org/digital-safety/
Sunday, April 26 –
9 out of 10 children between ages 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. In most cases, the sex sites were accessed unintentionally when a child, often in the process of doing homework, used a seemingly innocent sounding word to search for information or pictures. Keeping children safe off-line is just as important as protecting them online. Here are steps you can take to keep children and teens safe while they use digital devices: https://www.missingkids.org/content/ncmec/en/blog/2020/child-online-safety.html
Saturday, April 25 –
It’s Safety Saturday and we want to talk about Safe Adults. Why do we use the term Safe Adult instead of a TRUSTED Adult? Many children have adults in their lives they trust and many children have also had trusted adults who have hurt them. Simply identifying trusted adults does not ensure those adults are safe. In addition to being an adult a child trusts, a Safe Adult:
- Can and will help them
- Doesn’t break the Safety Rules and doesn’t try to get the child to break the safety rules
- Is someone that the child is comfortable with and can easily talk to about things that may be difficult to talk about.
Learn more about how to be a supportive and helpful Safe Adult: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/learn-more/safe-adult-club/
Friday, April 24 –
- If you’re like the rest of us, you’re probably a Disney fan and so are the children in your life. There are many life lessons that we learn from Disney movies that are remembered through adulthood. Our P360 Partner, Darkness to Light, shows us different Disney movie scenes that present lessons about body safety that you can use to teach the children in your life: https://www.d2l.org/7-body-safety-lessons-to-learn-from-disney/
- Public and Permanent Podcast – Real stories, questions and advice from parents, teachers, kids & experts about the promise and pitfalls of technology in their communities: https://www.iroc2.org/podcast
- We know discussing sensitive topics such as abuse and exploitation are not always easy, so MBF provides parents and other adults with a Safety Brief on Discussing Sensitive Topics to help you successfully communicate with children: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/resource/discussing-sensitive-topics-with-children/
Thursday, April 23 –
On today’s Child Safety Check-in, we not only want to remind you to check in on the children in your life, but also check in with parents. It’s easy to tell someone to reach out if they need anything, but most of us are hesitant to ask for help. Today we encourage you to check on the parents in your life and see how they are coping, if they need supplies and food or to just be a listening ear. We’re all in this together.
Wednesday, April 22 –
Tuesday, April 21 –
MBF Safety Rule #4 “Talk It Up” is about empowering children and teens to talk to a Safe Adult when they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. It’s also about saying “No” when in unsafe situations and telling the person who is hurting them to stop.
Do the children in your life have Safe Adults they can turn to when they need help or need to talk? Download our Safe Adult bookmark to help them designate who their Safe Adults are: Safe Adult Bookmarks
Bookmark Directions: After printing bookmarks, cut along the lines to make three separate bookmarks. Instruct children to designate one bookmark for a Safe Adult in the home, one for a Safe Adult outside of the home (you can even mail it to them!) and one is to keep as a reminder.
Monday, April 20 –
Want to motivate your kids to be better learners and better citizens? Start by making sure they are safe. Teaching children and teens about personal safety may be a difficult conversation to begin, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s also critical to protecting them from abuse and victimization. Get started with these tips from MBF:
Sunday, April 19 –
April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Preventing sexual assault and child sexual abuse go hand-in-hand – every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted and every 9 minutes, that victim is a child (Source: RAINN).
By educating yourself on the problem, you can help better protect children and become a part of the solution to abuse prevention. Take the Stewards of Children online training, by our Prevent 360° partner, Darkness to Light, and better equip yourself on strategies to prevent child sexual abuse. This training is FREE to NE Florida Residents with the Somer Sunshine Scholarship, sponsored by Children’s Safe Passage! Register here: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/why-use-our-programs/prevent360/
Saturday, April 18 –
It’s Safety Saturday and today we are reminded why we must teach children how to be safe on and offline. In recent news, The National Center on Sexual Exploitation released a report warning parents about platforms like Snapchat and Teen Vogue targeting adolescents and promoting sexting: https://www.eviemagazine.com/post/snapchat-and-teen-vogue-are-encouraging-teens-to-make-porn/
Educating and empowering youth to recognize and respond appropriately to bullying, all types of abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and other types of child victimization is the best way to teach them how to be safe. Review the MBF 5 Safety Rules with children in your life today to teach (or remind) them how to be safe and better protect themselves from predators: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/safety-club/
Friday, April 17 –
Being a Safe Adult means there might be a day when a child discloses abuse to you. It’s important to remind children that their victimization was never their fault and they shouldn’t be ashamed to tell. If a child discloses their abuse, believe them, and be prepared to act responsibly. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for disclosures that can help guide you for if that time ever comes: Talk It Up – MBF Safety Rules
- MBF Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse
- MBF Free One-hour Online Course – Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect
- Darkness to Light – Being a Safe Adult
- Child Safe House – Reasons Children Don’t Disclose
Thursday, April 16 –
If child abuse is suspected, every citizen, whether a mandatory reporter or not, should report it. You DO NOT NEED PROOF that a child has been abused or neglected to make a report, only reasonable suspicion. The authorities will determine if abuse or neglect is occurring. Here’s a list of state reporting hotlines: https://bit.ly/AbuseHotlines
Wednesday, April 15 –
Do you know the signs of abuse? Being able to recognize signs of abuse and neglect are especially important during this time with children isolated at home. By taking MBF’s Free Online Training: Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect, you will learn the indicators of the different types of abuse as well as when and how to intervene. It only takes an hour and it could save a child’s life! Earn your training certificate here: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/learn-more/online-training/
Tuesday, April 14 –
Prevention Education is the key to keeping youth safe from abuse, bullying, digital dangers, trafficking, and other types of child victimization. But just as important are the ongoing conversations adults have with the children in their life.
We know discussing sensitive topics such as abuse and exploitation are not always easy, so MBF provides parents and other adults with a Safety Brief on Discussing Sensitive Topics to help you successfully communicate with children: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/resource/discussing-sensitive-topics-with-children/
Monday, April 13 –
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events occurring before age 18. ACEs include all types of abuse and neglect. These traumatic childhood experiences have an effect on the brains and bodies of developing children, as well as a tremendous impact on future violence victimization, perpetration, and lifelong health and well-being.
By working together, we can prevent ACEs and help children thrive and grow, and ultimately provide better life outcomes.
The majority of our population has experienced ACEs. According to the CDC, 60% of respondents reported experiencing one ACE and 25% reported three or more. Take the quiz for yourself here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean
How Childhood Trauma Affects Health TED Talk by Nadine Burke: https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime
Sunday, April 12 –
One in four kids will be victimized in some way before the age of 18 and most will not disclose until later in life (if ever). Many adults think they don’t personally know a victim, but there are 76 million survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. today – that’s the equivalent of every resident of California, Florida and New York combined.
The problem is, abuse continues to happen because people refuse to see it. Every single one of us knows a child who has been, is being, or will be abused. And it will take every single one of us working together to stop it.
Together, we can protect kids and give them safe and happy environments to grow up in. Follow us this week for more information and resources so you can be a part of the solution rather than the problem.
Saturday, April 11 –
Protecting children takes a 360° approach. Children, communities, and all adults play a part. If you’re a facilitator for @DarknesstoLight, @MBFChildSafety, or both, here’s a few links that you can share with parents, educators, and other adults in your life to better protect kids during COVID-19:
MBF – Child Abuse Prevention Month 2020: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/april-is-child-abuse-prevention-month/
Meeting the Needs of Children during COVID-19: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/meeting-the-needs-of-children-during-covid-19/
Darkness to Light – Child Abuse Prevention Month 2020: https://www.d2l.org/capm2020
Darkness to Light “What If” Game: https://www.d2l.org/what-if-game/
Friday, April 10 –
Different families have different needs at this time. We’ve spent this week ensuring the needs of children are met to allow them to be ready to learn. Reaching the level of self-actualization is where a child is ready to rise, dream, find purpose and be the best they can be. At this level, kids are available and ready to learn, grow, and achieve goals. But even when kids’ needs are met and they are safe and healthy, virtual learning can be tough for some. Here are some good resources for virtual education that may help you and your kids make this adjustment:
Resources for Educators:
Online Teaching Dos and Don’ts – Courtesy of Online Learning @ KIS: Do This, Not That
Padlet – Allows you to make creative boards, documents, and webpages
that are easy to read and fun to contribute to)
Flipgrid – Free for educators, learners, and families Flipgrid allows you to engage and empower students in your classroom or at home by recording and sharing short videos.
Class Dojo – This free platform (popular in K-5) allows teachers to stay in contact with parents, classrooms and share important information to your students & community.
The Florida Virtual Schools blog, “The Virtual Voice” is a community filled with engaging and informative content for: parents who want to help their kids in this new virtual learning environment, teachers who are new to teaching online, and school administrators who are transitioning to online learning.
And here is a shared spreadsheet that lists a lot of other great learning resources: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-DPh2rHd02189-58TBzPt9X6UDpWI3auxJB0EqTAvEk/edit#gid=0
Resources for Parents:
ABC Mouse – https://www.abcmouse.com/
PBS Kids – https://pbskids.org/
Khan Academy – https://www.khanacademy.org/
National Geographic Kids – https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/
TedEd – https://ed.ted.com/
How Stuff Works – https://science.howstuffworks.com/
Boston Children’s Museum – https://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/
Thursday, April 9 –
The esteem needs of children are developed through recognition and feeling valued by others. Once we ensure kids are safe, cared for, and feeling connected to caring adults, it is then important to make sure we are fostering their positive emotions, responsible and appropriate coping skills, and building their self-esteem.
Have you checked on the children in your life today? What about this week? Are they doing okay? Are they coping with the stresses of life in a healthy way? Making sure they are safe and letting them know that they can talk to you, is the right thing for a Safe Adult to do. Our blog lists lots of creative actions YOU can take to do this: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/meeting-the-needs-of-children-during-covid-19/
Wednesday, April 8 –
In addition to their basic and safety needs, kids need family, friends, and healthy connections, now more than ever. And they need caring adults in their life to foster these healthy connections. Staying connected these days is important to avoid additional stress, anxiety, and depression. Please remember that social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.
Parents, it’s important for you to stay connected with your children during this time of high stress and anxiety for everyone. Visit our blog to learn how to create opportunities to discuss not only the situation regarding the virus, but other important topics as well.
And for educators and other family and friends outside the home, we’ve created these postcard templates you can print and mail or send electronically to kids to stay connected.
Tuesday, April 7 –
We all need to talk about child safety during this pandemic. But we want you to do more than talk about it, we want you to take action. To thrive, kids need to feel and be safe in homes that are comfortable, supportive, and give them a sense of security. For many kids, school was their safe place, and during this isolation at home, they are experiencing violence, abuse, and neglect.
Educators: Ensure you have a system in place to check with students and ensure they are safe in their homes. Learn more about this on our blog. Not an educator? We have actions for parents and family, friends, and neighbors as well: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/meeting-the-needs-of-children-during-covid-19/
Monday, April 6 –
Children are motivated to work towards achievable goals when their basic needs of food, shelter, healthcare, etc. are being met. COVID-19 has impacted everyone, some more than others. Educators, parents, family members, friends, and neighbors can all play a role in ensuring kids’ basic needs are met.
Families and friends: It’s easy to tell someone to reach out if they need anything, but most of us are hesitant to ask for help. Instead, if you know of a family in need, grocery shop for them or deliver a meal.
For more specific actions YOU can take, visit our blog: https://www.mbfpreventioneducation.org/meeting-the-needs-of-children-during-covid-19/
Sunday, April 5 –
Did you know kids are at a higher risk of abuse and exploitation during this pandemic? UNICEF and the FBI both recently highlighted the issue of increased child abuse and child exploitation risks due to COVID-19 and kids being isolated at home. The Monique Burr Foundation for Children exists for one reason, to protect children. We work year-round with partners and facilitators toward that goal, but our work has never been more important than it is right now. And we have never needed your help more than we do right now. Every one of us can do something to help protect children. Follow us this month, starting tomorrow, to learn how you can help.
Read more here:
FBI Article: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/school-closings-due-to-covid-19-present-potential-for-increased-risk-of-child-exploitation
Saturday, April 4 –
During this time of isolation, virtual learning has become the new normal. However, it is important to remember that meeting kids’ basic safety, social, and emotional needs have to take priority. Beginning Monday for Child Abuse Prevention Month, MBF will provide actions you can take to ensure kids are safe and their needs are met. Over the next week, using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, MBF will address children’s needs at each level and give individuals specific actions they can take to help children stay safe, healthy, and happy during this difficult time when they are isolated at home.
Friday, April 3 –
Fan Share Friday means it’s time to share some of our top picks of resources and articles of the week to help you continue to ensure child safety and foster a happy and healthy environment. Check out this week’s round-up here:
- The topic of safety (on the internet and in real life) is one that MBF is very familiar with. The fact that our programs are evidence based/evidence-informed allows us to bring RELEVANT and EFFECTIVE programs to youth all across the nation. Read the newly published paper that makes the case that programs that address safety on and off-line provide the most effective approach to ensuring children are safe: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1524838020916257
- Parenting during COVID-19 – Keeping it positive. Check out this great resource from WHO: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/healthy-parenting/english-tip-2-covid-19-parenting.pdf?sfvrsn=c872a800_2
- New Training from Darkness to Light! The Protecting Children During a Crisis online training is designed to help you navigate through the unusual circumstances you might face during times of crisis. https://www.d2l.org/education/additional-training/protecting-children-during-crisis/
- Staying connected is so important right now. But as important as it is for teens to stay in contact with friends and school peers, it’s important to know what apps and programs they are using. Remember: Monitoring your child is not about prying or spying. It is about being an involved parent! https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/help-teens-remain-connected-with-peers-while-staying-at-home
- Read Donald J Trumps Proclamation on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2020: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-national-child-abuse-prevention-month-2020/?utm_source=twitter
Thursday, April 2 –
To start our Child Safety Check-Ins, everyone needs to learn the MBF 5 Safety Rules:
Safety Rule #1 – Know What’s Up
Safety Rule #2 – Spot Red Flags
Safety Rule #3 – Make a Move
Safety Rule #4 – Talk It Up
Safety Rule #5 – No Blame | No Shame
We teach these rules to children in our prevention education programs, but adults can use them as well to help keep kids safe. Learn how you can use them and find resources to share with the kids in your life here: MBF 5 Safety Rules