Advice for Parents: 7 Ways to Make Sure Your Student Stays Safe At Uni
So! You have a child who just went off to uni, and they’re living on their own for their first time. Or maybe they have lived on their own before, but this is the first time they have lived so far away from home. You want to talk to them about safety and security whilst they are away at uni, but you don’t want to be overbearing. You also know that aside from simply talking, it’s vital to give them tools and training so they know what to do if they find themselves in a bad situation.
We’ve written up a list of tips on how to talk to your uni student about safety and security. Read on!
1. Make sure they know where to find where campus security is based
Campus security is there for a reason! Encourage your child to find out where campus security is before they need it, and to find out what services they offer. For example, are they available to walk your student home from class if it’s dark? Advise your child to save the campus security number to their phone so that it’s always easily accessible if they may need it. This is an essential safety and security tip!
2. Make sure they know to call a cab when it’s time to go home - and how to do that
Ask your student if they have a rideshare app downloaded to their phone. You should also remind them that if they are out drinking with their mates, it is always better and safer to call a rideshare service or a taxi than it is to drive home. Depending on the neighborhood they live in, it might also be safer to take a rideshare app than it is to walk home at night. Remind your child to double-check the license plate of the rideshare vehicle before getting in to verify that it is indeed the one they called, to make sure that it is the correct driver and they are going to the right place.
3. Teach them the importance of self-defense
Encourage your uni student to take a self-defense course either when they arrive at uni, or before they leave home. Particularly if they will be taking a uni class late at night and will have to walk home, it’s an essential safety and security tip to be able to defend themselves if need be. You could even suggest taking the self-defense course together before they leave for uni, so it’s not just something you’re asking them to do on their own. It is also a good idea to make sure they have something to defend themselves with, such as mace. Taking them to get mace before they leave for uni and showing them how to use it is a great way to help your child become prepared for living on their own. If you don’t know how to use it, YouTube has some helpful videos - just make sure you don’t spray it in the house!
4. Educate them about the buddy system
Make sure your uni student knows that if they stay out late in a nightclub or a party or even just at a friend’s house, it’s always safest to walk home with a buddy. If they attend an event with their mate or flatmate, they should always be walking home with them.
5. Educate them on how to drink safely
Going out is a big part of uni. Your child will likely go to many functions where people are drinking, so the key is not to tell them not to drink, but instead to tell them how to drink safely. Learn about how to spot the telling signs of alcohol poisoning, and then relay them to your child so they know how to help their flatmate or mate if they ever see that someone they are drinking with is in trouble. Remind them that water is their friend, and encourage them to drink water while drinking to stay hydrated.
6. Help your student avoid getting scammed when searching for student accommodation
A lot of things can go wrong when searching for student accommodation for the first time. Many landlords will overcharge students just because they can. Offer to help your child look for student accommodation. Make sure they know that anything about the lease needs to be in writing and signed by the landlord. Make sure that they also know that if they are paying a deposit, the deposit is protected. When they’re looking for flatmates, tell them not to send any money to anyone upfront and to verify their future flatmates are who they say they are.
7. Try not to be overbearing, but remind them that you’re always one call away if they need help.
It’s important to provide your uni student with all the information they need to keep themselves safe and secure when they are away at school whilst encouraging them to enjoy their new life at uni. Make sure they know that if they need you, you’re only one call away.