Keeping kids’ personal information protected remains an important task for parents. This task has become harder over the years due to younger kids gaining access to the internet and perhaps sharing information inappropriately. Sadly, much of the information children share online is already stored on their devices, and they do not actually have the data memorized.
In this digital age, I believe many old-school safety facts are no longer drilled into our children’s memory banks.
Young kids tend to rely more heavily on data that is stored on devices rather than in their brains!
In the good old days, when smartphones, tablets and Google search engines were not the norms, kids had to actually memorize facts that could potentially save their lives.
Our children will grow and seek independence; therefore, as parents, we must ensure that they have memorized all of their important personal information.
In my private pediatric ENT practice, I enjoy asking my patients questions. I understand that parents have things to address with me, but the answers children give may be different. It is extremely beneficial for parents and kids both to report their concerns during a specialist doctor visit.
Over the years, I began to realize that many children rely almost exclusively on technology for information and do not attempt to memorize some vital information.
When asked for these facts, kids will either ask parents to respond for them or quickly refer to their phone, which is held ever so snuggly in their hand!
WiFi seems to be everywhere; consequently, there is a high probability that your child will be able to access their stored data. In fact, many children are very difficult to separate from their devices and parents are forced to teach proper electronic device manners.
However, what if children cannot access their device because it is lost or uncharged? What if they are in a situation where they need to call for help or direct someone to contact family members on their behalf, but stored data is not accessible?
For those of you who have continued to require your children to recite safety information, kudos to you! For everyone else, please begin teaching your kids basic important safety facts. And then periodically ask them to recite these facts to you. This process ensures your kids’ personal information will be able to be given to other adults in case of an emergency. Just like back in the good old days!
8 kids’ personal information facts that all children should continue to memorize:
1. Mom and Dad’s full names
Many parents do not share the same last name or use a nickname for their first name. Children should know their parents’ legal names.
2. Home address
Our society is very mobile and changing addresses occurs frequently. Each move should be accompanied by learning, memorizing and reciting the new home address.
3. Home phone number
The trend to ditch home phones has continued to grow; however, if a home phone exists, that number should be memorized. This line remains a constant dependable number that does not rely upon remembering to charge it!
4. Mom’s phone number
This number is typically remembered the best as it is shared during play dates and used for coordination of activities. I notice kids tend to play on mom’s cell phone in my office much more frequently than dad’s.
While playing on the phone, kids sometimes get a sudden urge to call grandmom and push the speed dial. BAM! Hello, grandmom. No idea what her number is. Just saying.
5. Dad’s phone number
Every phone number a child memorizes increases the speed of being able to reach a family member in an emergency.
6. Mom and/or Dad’s work number
Many parents who work outside of the home may need to store their phones away during work hours. A business phone may be the best way to reach them if parents are in a meeting or unable to reach their cell phones.
My cell phone sits on my desk while I see patients. My daughters learned to call my office if they needed to reach me more urgently. To be honest, many times the need was not actually urgent, but that’s another story! They knew where I was and how to reach me. Do your kids?
7. Place Mom and /or Dad works
Hopefully, no one would ever need to physically get to you, but have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Well, it’s real. At my office, there have been power outages due to nearby construction. What if there was an emergency with my kids? Knowing where my workplace is could be an additional means of communication.
8. BONUS POINTS: Work address for Mom and/or Dad
Usually simply stating the name of the workplace in a specific city is more than enough to find your office, but an address? That’s gold.
I realize this list seems extremely simple; however, many children know which phone key has saved phone numbers for family members. They rarely type out the numbers and struggle to recite these vital facts.
I have been encouraged by recent conversations with young parents who report they have started teaching their preschool and young elementary school children this information. This used to be a normal part of kindergarten; consequently, I have been confused by middle school students who do not have their personal safety information memorized.
In my office, when kids get the facts wrong, they often shrug and say they were close. Close will not allow anyone to emergently contact your family. Kids’ personal information should be learned and memorized by all children. Technology is a beautiful thing, but it must not replace our brains.
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