No matter what kind of safety issue occurs, you want to ensure you’ve armed your college teen with the best advice and tools to help them feel confident about defending themselves. Here are our tips and techniques for keeping your teen safe away at college. 

Reinforce Basic Safety Tips and Self-Defense

A self-defense class offers priceless skills to fight your way out of danger, but basic safety tips can go a long way to ensure your teen avoids trouble altogether. 

  • Limit social media: Not even friends and family need to know your teen’s personal schedule or minute-by-minute details about where they are or when they’re alone. Encourage smart posting with minimal private information and disable geotagging and location services on social media apps.
  • Safeguard housing: Communal living gets cozy quickly and college students leave dorm rooms open and unlocked, whether to go to class or down the hall. Remind your teen to lock doors and windows, keep blinds pulled for privacy and consider adding contact sensors to valuable items.
  • Be extra cautious after dark: The buddy system is essential after dark on college campuses. Your teen may feel safe alone but walking with someone else is far better. Encourage your teen to call campus security or a live 24/7 Axon Agentfor an escort if they have concerns or wait for friends to pick them up.
  • Practice personal defense: Say all these things again and again: Don’t walk around with your eyes on your phone or earbuds in, especially if you’re alone. Keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid deserted paths. Above all, listen to your gut.

Push Clear Communication 

Your teen may be too old to be tracked on their mobile phone in the same way you monitored them in high school, but in college it’s a safety measure rather than an out-past-curfew measure. Discuss what your college student feels comfortable with when it comes to GPS tracking or, at the very least, make them to promise to check in with a designated friend or roommate to confirm they’re in safely for the night.

Arm Your College Student with Self-Defense Tech

There are some circumstances where self-defense moves and safety tips aren’t enough. Your teen shouldn’t feel like their only option is to put their keys between their fingers like Wolverine. Arm them with small but effective self-defense technology that will protect them in a heartbeat, like a TASER Bolt 2. The Bolt 2 can pair with a companion safety app that can alert emergency dispatch of your chid’s GPS location in case of emergency. Many parents feel incredible relief knowing their college student is equipped with a TASER StrikeLight 2, a portable flashlight that offers close-contact stun capabilities and long-distance warnings.

Know the Stats About Crime Rates on College Campuses

Most rising college freshmen do not consider the safety rating of a school. Even in the safest places, danger is possible. College Transitions reports crime on campus is made up of the following: 

  • Violent crime (60%): assault, robbery, rape
  • Property crime (35%): theft, vehicle theft, burglary
  • Other crime (5%): kidnapping, vandalism, identity theft, drug and alcohol offenses

When it comes to crimes at colleges where nearly three-quarters of the students live on-campus, College Transitions reports, 70% of the crimes occur on-campus while 30% occur off-campus. Universities offer crime statistics on their website, links to campus police, or can provide contact information so you can speak to someone directly about campus safety per the Clery Act of 1990. The U.S. Department of Education also offers a free database tool to see safety statistics on nearly every college campus in the country. Look up your child’s current school or use it to compare prospective schools your child is considering attending. You can also reach out to local police to get crime statistics about the area and learn about community safety initiatives.

Make a Safety Plan

You’re the adult and know what the world is like. Your eager teen and new college student is learning. They feel infallible. College and complete freedom await. But danger exists too. Develop a safety plan that makes you both feel comfortable and stick to it.