5 Safety Rules – Know What’s Up

Children in the United States suffer higher rates of victimization and crime than adults. Because of this, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children®(MBF) is committed to providing quality prevention education programs that help keep children and youth safe from all types of victimization. The MBF Child Safety Matters® program is a comprehensive, research-based, primary prevention program that educates and empowers students and all relevant adults with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bullying, cyberbullying, all types of child abuse, digital abuse, and other digital dangers. Elementary school (MBF Child Safety Matters®), middle school (MBF Teen Safety Matters®), and after school (MBF After School Safety Matters®) editions are available. The foundation of these programs are the 5 Safety Rules© that children and youth can apply to a variety of situations to help adults keep them safe. The activities in the programs apply the 5 Safety Rules to bullying, cyberbullying, all types of abuse, digital safety and digital citizenship.

Our March blog series will share information about the 5 Safety Rules, providing some real-life applications, as well as additional resources. This week’s focus is on Safety Rule #1Know What’s Up.

For children and youth, this means knowing vital personal information: their home address, parents’ or guardians’ full names and phone numbers, knowing what to do in an emergency, and having a family password that can be used if someone ever needs to pick them up from school because of an emergency. 

Knowing What’s Up also means developing an awareness, and common vocabulary, of the types of victimization children are likely to be exposed to. Here are some definitions and resources to help you Know What’s Up:

  • Bullying has a legal definition that requires the behavior be repeated, intentional, and involves an imbalance of Power (real or perceived). Learn more about bullying at:

  • Cyberbullying is repeated, threatening or harassing behavior that occurs online via the Internet, cellphone, or using other digital technology. Good resources include:

  • Abuse is defined as any willful act, or threatened act, that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm, that causes, or is likely to cause, the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired and includes four types:
    • Physical Abuse is when someone intentionally hurts a child’s or teen’s body by hitting, punching, kicking, shaking, or other acts. Physical abuse can leave injuries like bruises, broken bones, and scratches.
    • Emotional Abuse is when children or teens are repeatedly told harmful or hateful things.
    • Neglect is when a child is not getting what he or she needs to be healthy and safe.
    • Child Sexual Abuse is when someone touches, talks about, shows, or takes pictures of a child’s private body parts.

Learn more about child abuse by visiting:

  • Relationship Abuse occurs when one person in a relationship tries to dominate and control the other person, is emotionally abusive, or is physically abusive. Additional information and resources can be found at:

  • Digital Safety involves helping children and youth stay safe in the ever-expanding digital world, what to NOT share online, and how to deal with strangers online who are not always who they say they are. Learn more about digital risks and safety by visiting:

  • Digital Citizenship refers to the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use, how children and youth create a digital footprint, and how it impacts their digital reputation well into their future. Children can take a risk assessment and you can learn more at:

It is important for children and youth to learn prevention strategies to help protect themselves from all types of victimization. Check with your child’s school to see what type of prevention/safety program they may be using. If they are not using a program, encourage them to learn more and use MBF Child Safety Matters for elementary schools, MBF Teen Safety Matters for middle schools, and MBF After School Safety Matters for after-school and other youth-serving organizations.

MBF also offers parents, professionals, and concerned community members a variety of resources to help protect children:

  • Visit our websites, and to learn more about child victimization and how to better protect the children in your life.
  • Download the “Child Safety Matters” app at no cost from the App Store or Google Play to learn about the 5 Safety Rules and how to become a champion for children.
  • Visit Online Training to take any of our free, one-hour online courses to learn more about pertinent topics related to child safety:
    • Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect
    • Real World Safety: Protecting children online and off from bullying, cyberbullying, and digital abuse
    • Protecting Children from Child Sexual Abuse

As a concerned parent, professional, or community member, it is important to know the 5 Safety Rules that will help you protect children. Now that you Know What’s Up, stay tuned next week to learn about Safety Rule #2 – Spot Red Flags.

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What They're Saying...

There’s not a child in the world who can’t benefit from this program. There are so many instances where we see children who have been damaged and hurt. Things happened to them and we think, if they’d only had this program, if they’d only had the benefit of this education, that might not have happened to them. If we can prevent that from happening to a single child, then it’s worth all the effort we have put forth.

I heard about the program through my son. He came home…and showed me the safety rules. I cannot thank the Foundation enough; to have other people who are also concerned about my child’s safety and the safety of other kids is wonderful. I especially like the program’s focus on the prevention side.

The MBF Child Safety Matters program is impressive. This important information is well formulated and well presented, developmentally appropriate, and based on good understanding of literature.