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How to Reduce the Risk of Your Child Going Missing

The safety strategies listed within this section primarily deal with ways to reduce the risk of a young adult from going missing. It is important to keep in mind that it is impossible to eliminate all risk of children, youth or young adults being harmed. What we can do is try to manage risk that exists and reduce the likelihood of a child, youth or young adult of being harmed. The mere age and stage of development of young adults presents both vast opportunities and increased risks. This section will help increase awareness about risk factors and present ways to increase personal safety.

Teens and young adults have an increased amount of independence and freedom. They have a sense of being invincible, and typically lead very active social lives. As such, they encounter many new situations and come into contact with many new people either through school, work or when out at night. This is all a part of growing up and is to be expected. However, the combination of these factors tends to make them particularly vulnerable to getting into situations that can become dangerous. Unfortunately, there are many examples of young adults who have gone missing after leaving a bar, a party, or any social setting alone or with someone they just met.

In addition, teens and young adults tend to communicate more with their friends than their parents —particularly those who live on their own and go to school or work each day. Your child’s friends and co-workers may become the people who will increasingly know more about your child’s daily life than you do. While this is natural, it also poses certain challenges should your child go missing. Empowering your child with effective safety strategies, and setting clear expectations for communication and for responsible behaviour, are all important factors in the protection of your child. While not everything is within your control to prevent, if something does go wrong, having knowledge about your child’s general lifestyle and habits will help in the search for them.

The Risk of The Party Mindset

Going out to spend a fun-filled evening with friends at a party or going out to a bar and possibly consuming a few drinks, is often a part of being a teenager and young adult. As adults, we reflect back upon this time in our lives and often remember the silly or “crazy” things we did, crossing our fingers that our own children do not engage in similar behaviours. The truth is that drinking, going to parties and going to bars is typical behaviour for young adults. However, an evening can quickly turn dangerous for kids who are in the party mindset, and/or who may be drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The party mindset can lead adolescents and young adults to behave in high-risk ways and/or get into dangerous situations. Combining alcohol with a fun time, live-in-the-moment, carefree attitude may reduce inhibitions and increase risk-taking behaviour. This can cause young adults to trust individuals whose behaviour would normally trigger within them a warning to take caution. Socializing with friends and having a good time is an important, healthy part of growing up and shouldn't end in tragedy.

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