Getting more responsibility is great and one of the benefits of growing up.
One of the ways that teenagers are given more responsibility is by allowing them to go out by themselves.
This could be to see friends, walk to the shops, or go to the park.
This is a huge milestone for many which may raise some concerns for your parents, letting kids have more responsibility is super scary for them although exciting for you.
In this article, we are going to explore the top tips on how to protect yourself when out of the house without a parent or guardian.
Putting this into practice ensures that you demonstrate maturity and keep yourself safe.
Why Is Teen Safety Important?
Keeping everyone safe is important, and this is especially true for teenagers who are receiving more responsibility.
Although certain things may seem obvious, everyone needs a little help from time to time and those that don’t have a ton of experience navigating the world yet may need some extra guidance.
Safety Tips For Teens
Here is a list of our top safety tips, if you follow these they may potentially help you avoid any dangerous situations.
Having open and honest conversations with parents and friends about the following tips can help you and your parents ensure you are ready for this newfound responsibility.
1. Keep Your Headphones At A Low Volume When Walking Or Exercising Outside
When you’re out walking or jogging outside, it’s important to keep your headphones at a low volume if you’re wearing them.
This is important day or night as listening to music means you may not be able to hear potential dangers behind you such as traffic or people.
Being aware of your surroundings allows you to react appropriately.
At night we recommend not wearing headphones at all.
It’s important to be even more aware of your surroundings at night as you can’t see as well, although car headlights help with visibility there may be a cyclist or runner on the sidewalk that you wouldn’t be able to hear with headphones in.
2. Always Walk In Well-lit Areas
If you have to walk alone at night then walking in well-lit areas is very important.
Re-planning your route is a good way to find a well-lit path; main roads and busy streets usually have more street lamps and people around which is much safer.
Not only do well-lit areas help you to see others, but it also helps others to see you.
This is important if you’re crossing the road, sometimes cars can come flying out of nowhere and not see a pedestrian if they aren’t wearing reflective clothing.
3. Have Your Cell Phone Charged And Connected To The Internet
Before you leave the house, make sure your phone is charged as much as possible and your internet connection is on.
Not only does a charged phone indicate that you’re taking responsibility for your freedom, but it also can help you in emergency situations.
We’ve probably all had one incident before where we really needed to get in touch with our parents, only to find that our phone battery was dead.
Usually, there is a friend or family member around whose phone you can borrow. If you’re heading out alone then your phone battery is your responsibility.
Letting your parents know where you are, or if plans have changed, or you may even just feel uncomfortable in a situation and want to be picked up.
There are so many reasons why you need to keep your phone charged.
Keeping it connected to the internet allows you to use maps and find information such as taxi numbers if you should need them.
4. Let Your Parents And Guardians Know Where You Are Going And When You’ve Reached Your Destination Safely
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘text me when you get there’ about a thousand times in the past month alone.
This is for good reason, letting parents or guardians know that you’ve arrived at the intended destination safely is important to give them peace of mind.
If you consistently do this, it not only lets everyone know you’re safe but it also demonstrates a level of responsibility.
The more responsibility you accept, the more you’ll be trusted and your independence (see also “When Is The Best Time To Move Out And Get Your Independence?“) will increase.
5. Make The Most Of Location Services Built-in To Your Phone
Modern smartphones are equipped with location services that allow you to connect with other smartphones.
For example, iPhones have an application called ‘Find My’ which not only allows you to find your iPhone if it goes missing but also connect with your contacts to share your locations with one another.
This is a great way to allow parents to stay up-to-date with your movements. Don’t worry, you can choose who you connect with so that not just anyone can see your location.
If for any reason anything should happen to you, the person who can see your location will be able to locate you easily.
Even if this should just be that you’re lost or running late, your parents can see where you are and that you’re safe (see also “How To Tell Your Parents You’re Being Bullied“).
6. Stay Alert When Interacting With Strangers
To be on the safe side, when it comes to strangers it’s best to either ignore them or politely shake your head and carry on with your journey.
If someone stops you to ask for directions or beg for money then take on the advice above or ignore them completely.
This may appear rude, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Adults will understand that you may not feel comfortable talking to a stranger and they will move on to ask someone else for help if they legitimately need it.
How you feel and your own safety is more important than potentially offending a stranger, so don’t feel bad for ignoring people.
Usually, people are harmless but there is no point in taking a chance and engaging with someone who may have malicious intentions.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Make A Scene
If you ever feel uncomfortable in a situation then you shouldn’t feel afraid to say ‘no’ or ask for help.
When you’re in public and something is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe then making a scene is a great way to attract attention to the situation and implore people to help you.
Criminals also avoid attracting attention to themselves as this is how they get caught.
Therefore, making a scene will also discourage them from committing a crime and allow them to slip away and seek help.
8. Carry An Alarm
There are a number of items that have been designed to make people feel safer when walking alone such as pepper spray, whistles, and alarms.
If you’ve recently gained some new-found freedom then buying one of these is a sensible option.
It may seem a little drastic, but just because you have these tools doesn’t mean that you have to use them.
It’s always good to have them just in case. Some states have different rules on what you can or can’t buy or carry on your person.
Ensure that you check the rules before you carry anything on your person.
9. Never Get Into A Car With Someone Who Has Had A Drink
This seems like common sense, but just to reiterate you should never get into a car with someone who has had a drink.
If one of your friends has driven somewhere and decided to have a drink and become over the limit, call your parents, friends, or taxi company to give you a ride home.
Parents or guardians would rather you come home safely and have to spend a few bucks on a taxi or come get you in the middle of the night than endanger your life by getting into the car with someone over the limit.
We would also recommend discouraging the driver from getting behind the wheel themselves, however, you can’t control what they do but you can control what you do.
10. Learn Some Self Defense Moves
Self-defense classes are valuable for everyone to take, not just teens.
Sometimes these classes are taught in schools or community centers, but you can easily find a number in your local area through a quick internet search.
These classes can teach basic skills on how to use your own body weight to defend yourself against someone bigger than you.
Even if you learn a few different moves they may be able to save your life one day.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to staying safe as an independent teen, there is no such thing as taking too many precautions.
These don’t have to be huge precautions or even change your usual routine that much, but they will make a big difference to your safety if you implement them.
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