Codewords for Child Safety

coodword for child

Introduction:

What is a Family Codeword?

A family codeword is a code or password which has been decided by the entire family and can be used by them to verify strangers and stay safe from dangerous situations. It can be used by children to ensure that anyone approaching them is known to the family by asking them for the family codeword. It can also be used to verify a person who is at the door while your children are alone at home. A codeword provides a plan and an additional layer of security for your children and help them stay safe in a potentially dangerous environment. The current article provides detailed insights into how to choose a good codeword, sharing of the codeword with family members, and how to use it during emergencies.

What is a Good Codeword?

Choosing a good codeword is important for ensuring the safety of your children during emergencies. You should put some thought behind selecting the codeword instead of doing so randomly. The codeword should be simple which the entire family can relate to and understand. You should not make the codeword so complex that your children will be unable to recall it when they need to use it the most. It is also important to note that while the codeword should be simple, it should not be too generic for others to guess, else the codeword will be of little use in protecting your children.

Another consideration for choosing a good codeword is whether your children will be able to keep it a secret. They should be oriented to not divulge the details of the codeword when asked by strangers or other known people also outside the family. People with criminal records are very savvy and deft at manipulating innocent children into thinking that they don’t need the codeword every time. They can easily manipulate the children and get the codeword out from them also, making the children vulnerable to such anti-social elements. Once you have finalized a family codeword, you should do sufficient mock drills and role-plays with your children to ensure that they don’t share the password with strangers.

Just like your other passwords, the family codeword is also vulnerable to being cracked over time. It is in your family’s best interest to keep changing the codeword regularly. If the codeword has been shared with someone outside your family, then it is highly recommended to change the codeword. Some families also have a more complex system of using multiple codewords for different situations. However, it is not mandatory for you do so too. You should choose the family codeword depending upon the comfort of your family members and considering what suits them the best.

What is a Family Password?

A family password can be an excellent security measure which can help to keep you and your children safe. A family password is like a code which only you and your children will be knowing. In case a stranger approaches your children, then you should ensure that they confirm that the person knows the family password before trusting him/her. The children should trust the stranger only if he/she can share the correct family password. It is an indicator that the person is known to the family and the family password has been shared with them.

The importance of family password was highlighted recently when a 10-year old girl was saved from being kidnapped in Arizona. The girl was walking near a park with a friend when a person in car pulled next to her and asked her to accompany him as her brother had met with a serious accident. The girl had the presence of mind to ask the stranger to share the family password. Since the man did not know the family password, he got apprehensive of being caught and immediately drove off from the scene. This is a clear case of the family using a family password to create an additional safety net for their children.

Family password can be used in many other situations also to ensure your family’s safety. If your children are alone in the house, then they should ask the person on the door to say the family password before opening the door. This ensures that they remain safe from strangers and unscrupulous elements. If the person on the door can say the family password, then it means they are trusted people and close to the family and intend no harm to your children and family members. The family password can also be used to alert your family members about an emergency and how they need to react and respond to it. You may have had a break into your house and you may want to alert your children to stay quiet. The family password can be used as a code to convey your children to be quiet in such situations.

How Can I Share My Family Password?

The family password should be shared with all family members. The family members must always remember the codeword. The codeword should be something with which the family can relate easily to. The family password can be used to overcome different emergencies whether it is a natural calamity or simply being safe from anti-social elements.

Once the family password is shared with your children, you should create an enabling environment for them to use it without any fear or apprehensions. The purpose of creating a family password is not to instill fear or distrust in your children so that they start perceiving every situation as dangerous. You should not create an environment in which your children start perceiving every person around them as evil and start living their lives in fear. Setting a family password is only for being safe in potentially dangerous situations and the same should be clearly communicated to your children.

You should also practice with your children regularly to ensure that they are prepared to use the family password when the need arises. If you see that the child is unable to recall the family password during mock drills, then it may indicate that he/she is not paying attention to it and needs further orientation on using it. You should also imbibe a sense of responsibility among your children when using the family password. It should not be used casually and should be used only during an emergency. The family password should also be kept a secret between the family members only and should not be shared with outsiders at any cost.

Why child protection is so important (Community Watch Paper)

Who Uses the Codeword?

The family codeword is most helpful for children who can protect themselves from potential harm by using it responsibly. Once the family codeword has been shared with the children, they can use it to verify the credentials of any strangers who approach them. If someone approaches them claiming that they have been sent by their parents to pick them up, the children should ask them for the family codeword. If they are unable to share the codeword, it means they are not familiar with the family and should not be trusted. There have been numerous real-life instances where children have used the family codeword sensibly to verify a stranger’s credentials and saved themselves from being harmed by them. CWP

by Mary Cotton

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