safety tips for parents with children going to college

10 Essential Safety Tips Every College Parent Should Know

Since 2005, crimes reported on college campuses have declined by more than 50%. Great news, right?

Still, we understand that no matter what the statistics say, any parent sending their child off to college will have nagging concerns. As students enter college, they step into a world of newfound independence, exploration, and academic pursuits. Alongside this exciting phase comes the responsibility of ensuring their personal safety and well-being.

Whether they are an undergraduate, graduate, commuter, or residential student, your child’s safety should always be a top priority. At UB, we understand the importance of fostering a secure environment for all our students.

Here are 10 safety tips to help you have positive and, more importantly, ongoing conversations with your child about staying safe at college.

1. Stay Informed:

In talking to your student about their life at college, it’s important that they start to take charge of and oversee the day-to-day of their own lives. From something as simple as how to make a doctor’s appointment to knowing their way around campus, encourage your child to familiarize themselves with the resources, emergency procedures, and available support services they have on campus. Teach your child who to contact in emergencies and how to keep important contact numbers handy.

Conversation starter: “Have you downloaded the LiveSafe App yet?” 

The LiveSafe app is their (and your) one-stop shop for staying informed and connected. With key features, including real-time reporting, virtual walking escorts, and an interactive campus map, downloading and using LiveSafe means they’ll be taking an active role in ensuring their own safety while away at college.

2. Trust Your Instincts:

If a situation or location makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, tell your child to trust their gut instincts and remove themselves from the situation. Intuition is a powerful tool for staying out of harm’s way.

Conversation starter: “When might it be okay to lie to someone?”

If they feel pressured, stressed, or threatened by an interaction with someone, it’s ok to lie to protect their safety and get themselves out of a situation as quickly as possible.

3. Stay Connected:

Whether they live on or off campus, your child should maintain regular communication with friends, family, and roommates. They should always tell someone their whereabouts, especially if they go out alone or plan to arrive home late.

Conversation tip: Encourage your child to be a good friend.  

Your child can keep themselves and others safe by keeping an open line of communication. If they notice a friend communicating less than usual, it might be a good time to check in. A student’s emotional safety is just as important as their physical safety. College is a time of transition and change, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. Familiarize yourself with the signs of emotional stress and encourage your child to seek support if they or someone they know are showing the signs.

University of Bridgeport offers free counseling services to all currently enrolled students — help is just a quick phone call or email away.

4. Travel in Groups:

When walking around campus or exploring the city – especially at odd hours – encourage your child to travel in groups whenever possible. There’s safety in numbers and sticking together can keep your child safer than going alone.

Conversation tip: Remind your child to be mindful of their social media activity.

GPS check-ins on social media postings can give off their location to unwanted strangers on the internet. Encourage your child to disable any features that could allow strangers to track their whereabouts.

5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings:

Encourage your child to stay alert and mindful of their surroundings, whether walking, studying, or socializing. They should avoid distractions like texting or wearing headphones in poorly lit or isolated areas.

Conversation tip: Advise your child to make a plan and be prepared.

When making plans, they should know who is going and have a backup plan in case they get separated from the group or their phone battery dies. Encourage your child not to leave anyone stranded in unfamiliar situations.

Join the conversation: Schedule a campus visit today!

6. Plan Your Route:

If they’re a commuter student, they should plan their route to and from campus in advance. Encourage them to opt for well-lit and populated paths and consider using campus transportation services or walking in groups during late hours.

Conversation starter: “Did you know University of Bridgeport is centrally located between some of the most incredible cities in the world.”

It’s great for your student to plan trips to see cities like Boston and New York City. When venturing out, encourage them to share their travel plans with friends and family and ensure they have enough money and gas to accommodate unexpected delays or issues while traveling.

7. Practice Safe Socializing:

Whether attending parties or social events, talk to your child about how to look out for themselves and their peers. Encourage your child to know their limits, make a plan, communicate often, and always have a designated driver or alternative transportation arranged.

Conversation starter: “What are your some strategies you might use to be responsible in social settings?”

8. Utilize Campus Resources:

Your student can take advantage of campus safety resources, such as emergency blue light phones, campus escort services, and self-defense workshops. These resources are designed to empower your student and their friends and enhance the overall safety of the campus community.

Conversation starter: “How have you familiarized yourself with the campus safety resources available to you on campus?”

9. Stay Updated on Weather Alerts:

New England weather can be unpredictable, so remind your child to stay updated on weather forecasts and campus alerts. Prepare for inclement weather by dressing appropriately and having the necessary supplies on hand.

Conversation starter: “How does your school issue weather alerts?”

10. Get to know campus safety personnel:

If your child ever feels threatened or encounters a safety concern, they should never hesitate to report it to campus authorities. Your child’s well-being is our priority, and Campus Security is equipped to handle emergencies and provide assistance whenever needed.

Conversation starter: “What are your thoughts on campus security? Do you feel comfortable reaching out to them if you have any safety concerns or questions?”

At University of Bridgeport, we’re committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment where all students can thrive academically, socially, and personally. By encouraging these safety tips and reminding your child to remain vigilant, they can enjoy a fulfilling college experience while prioritizing their well-being. Remember, safety is a collective effort, and together, we can create a campus community where everyone feels protected and supported.

To learn more about University of Bridgeport’s Campus Security team, visit the Campus Safety page today!