Street Survival Tactics

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Street Survival Tactics

March 28, 2023 by Rick Grover - Views: 67

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Street Survival Tactics

Greetings Street Survivors, our series, “Experts in the Field.” has been well received and following our last article about Human/Sex Trafficking in the Upstate, we have had several questions and concerns.

S540-1.jpgIn Part 1 we introduced you to SWITCH, a local Greenville organization leading the battle against this hideous enterprise of modern-day slavery. Part 2 will provide more details and ways that you can engage in this battle while learning ways to protect your own family members.

The first of the Five Pillars that SWITCH employs is Awareness and Education. The more people that are aware of the warning signs, the more of our children can be protected and rescued. The second pillar is Prevention which means “reaching them before it happens.”

Before Covid, members of Switch were going into local schools to help educate students at the middle and high school levels, as well as church youth groups and at-risk youth centers. Their program certification in “Love146”, is an evidence-based youth prevention curriculum. This curriculum provides young people with the tools and knowledge to have healthy relationships, recognize red flags, know their safe places, and strengthen their vulnerabilities to protect themselves and their friends from victimization.

This training helps our youth understand that the Internet can be both good and bad, but many previous child victims have admitted that they met their traffickers online. Your child may feel they need privacy, but the internet is not the place for them to get it. They can write in a journal for privacy which has the bonus of not being shared with thousands of people online that have no business knowing personal thoughts and fears.

The plan we need to follow is to prepare our children for the world, not try to change the world to be safer for our kids. Part of life is risk, and part of growing up is learning how to safely manage risk.

Other important parts of the plan including having conversations with your child, even though they may be difficult, it needs to be done. Look for ways to help them enjoy their online apps while at the same time, testing those apps in advance of leaving your children alone with them. Know what they are capable of, and test their technology to see how easy it is to get to inappropriate material. Talk with them about how they should respond if they see photos they shouldn’t see, or get pulled into awkward personal conversations with strangers.

If you need to revoke your child’s access to a specific technology, tell them why, ask what they like about that technology and help them find safer ways to meet that need.

If your teen already has relationships with people they met online, validate that those relationships are real by asking about them, the way you would their other friends and connections. Encourage your child to come to you even when they do something they shouldn’t do. Tell your child that you are always willing to be the fall guy. They can always blame you if they need an excuse to say no or to get out of a tough situation. Don’t feel like you need to have all of the answers. If a youth asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to tell them you need to do some research or talk to someone and get back to them. Try not to be judgmental, you want to keep an open dialogue going with them, you have to be their rock.

S540-2.jpgThe Love146 curriculum identifies 5 Safety Rules of Thumb to keep a young person on guard from the creeps online.

1) Do not trust the default privacy settings.  - At home you can shut your door for privacy, but unfortunately, most websites, social media apps, or gaming devices come to you with the door wide open so that anybody, even creeps, can chat with you. But you can take steps to help keep them out. Most of these websites, apps, and games have settings that allow you to shut the door. You just need to change your privacy settings so that only your real friends can connect with you.

2) Have an exit plan. - If someone is bugging you or talking to you in a way you don’t like, you can unfriend or block them, and you shouldn’t hesitate to! (Report them through the app, too, if something is getting really sketchy). Avoid posting things that reveal how to find you in real life (like the name of your school, where your soccer team practices, etc.). It could also be smart to make sure that your user name or handle is different from your real name, that way if you get into a conversation that’s making you uncomfortable you can exit it without the fear of someone tracking you down.

3) Be a tiny bit paranoid. - If you send or post a picture, you cannot always control how it’s being seen—or how it’s being shared by others. If you feel like there’s any chance that the picture could get into the wrong hands, don’t risk it, don’t share or post it.

4) Stay in safe online places.  - Just as you wouldn’t walk down dark alleys alone at night, you should avoid creepy places online and creepy apps. You could stumble on photos or videos you don’t want to see (or maybe are even illegal!), or end up connecting with people who are looking to take advantage of you. Follow your gut, and don’t walk down the alleyways of the Internet.

5) Tell someone. - If you ever feel uncomfortable or think that something is sketchy, tell an adult you trust! Whether it’s a teacher, a parent or a school counsellor. It’s better to talk to someone about it now, even if it means you have to confess something you did or it’s difficult to share. If you wait it could become a bigger problem.

For more information on the Love146 program, visit their website:

Stay safe out there, Street Survivors!

Rick ‘Pirate Hunter’ Grover strongly believes we are all in this together, and the more we learn and train, the better we will be prepared for any eventuality. This makes all of us part of an amazing neighborhood team of American Patriots.

God Bless America! Drop us a comment or question at Email: ■

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