In this day and age, it seems as though everyone who is involved in law enforcement from the officer to his or her family is at risk of being targeted for harassment or worse. When you are single, you do your best to protect yourself both on and off the job. But if you are married and have a family, have you stopped to consider the fact that your spouse and children are just as much at risk of being targeted as you are, if not more?
Here’s the deal, in today’s world your family members spend as much time if not more than you do online using social media sites, gaming accounts, conducting business, and doing schoolwork as you do. This makes it very easy for anyone with the right skills and the desire to wreak havoc on the lives of your loved ones. It is up to you to teach your family members how to protect themselves from online predators.
Anyone who is married and has kids knows just how much time they spend on the various social media accounts. While there is really nothing wrong with this, be sure that any time one of your family members registers for one of these sites, in particular, your kids, they should never register using their full real names.
The problem is that very few kids ever take the time to consider the potential ramifications of giving out their personal information online where anyone can see it. By taking the added step of creating aliases, this reduces their risk of being targeted. They should also avoid connecting their accounts to yours as predators may be able to make the connection, which could put you and/or your family at risk.
Privacy and Schools
Once your children reach school age, you should plan to talk to their school about the importance of keeping their information private. Although schools are not supposed to release any personal information, it could happen. Your job is to make sure the school is aware of the fact you are in law enforcement and the potential repercussions the release of any personal information could have on you and your family.
If your child’s school sends home a request form allowing them to publish your child’s photograph, you need to know exactly what these pictures are to be used for and what, if any, information about your child will be included with the image.
Have an Escape Plan
You should take the time to ensure your entire family has a working escape plan in place for natural disasters, fires, and potential predators who are trying to access your home. This comprehensive escape plan needs to take into consideration the possibility that you are not going to be at home and should include people they can turn to in the event you are on duty when something happens. Being in law enforcement brings with it a number of safety related issues, be sure your family fully understands the risks and has been taught how to avoid as many of them as possible.