Go to navigation Go to content
Toll-Free: 877-721-7201
Phone: 732-967-9110
Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates LLC

When School’s Out: Alone at Home?

No doubt many parents have begun the planning process of arranging care and activities for their children soon to be on summer vacation. Some parents opt to leave their children and preteens at home alone, for hours on end - a practice that comes with risks. Boredom and solitude are a toxic recipe for bad decisions. Here are some risks to be mindful of, if you plan to keep kids alone at home this summer:

--

Drug Abuse & Addiction:

Drug addiction continues to rise to new unprecedented levels and has gone beyond the streets of inner city communities. Statewide, New Jersey has seen an increase in heroin addiction, overdose and death. This heavily addictive, easily accessible drug can now be found in the suburban sprawl of even the most affluent communities. Although heroin is a prime drug of choice for many, bear in mind that addiction often starts with a “gateway drug.” Before children take risks experimenting with illegal narcotics in the shadows, they may first find themselves exploring the family medicine cabinet. Learn more about the dangers of “skittling.” 

What you can do:

Contrary to its name, the medicine cabinet is NOT for medicine. Lock up any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, and leave the medicine cabinet for cotton swabs and toothbrushes. Here’s what to stash in your medicine cabinet.  (Hint: it’s not medicine) To discard expired and unused medication, DO NOT FLUSH. Find a local drug collection receptacle to safely dispose of medication. 

--

Unsupervised Internet Access

This new generation has unfettered access to information, entertainment, social media and gaming, at extraordinary and unrivaled levels, courtesy of the world wide web. This communication gateway leaves children vulnerable to marketing, indoctrination and victimization by outsiders competing for screen time with young impressionable viewers. While advertisers pose a lesser threat to the well-being of children, they are among many that seek to prey on children. 

What you can do:

Limit access to the internet whenever children are left without a responsible, attentive adult. Use preexisting restriction controls on electronic devices. Install parenting control software. It doesn’t need to be pricey to be effective. There are several free options like K9 Web Protection, Qustodio or Kidlogger. When children are permitted to use electronic devices, supervise their usage to watch for predatory activity or inappropriate content. Or take the organic approach. Kick them off the electronics altogether. Here are some great alternatives to summertime boredom. Get them away from the screens. Many previous generations have done just fine without it.

--

Sedentary Activities

Gone are the days when children would play outside, climb trees, and get muddy. This may be attributed to several causes: cultural/societal changes, advances in technology, helicopter parenting, or too much screen time. Whatever the reasons, this sedentary lifestyle has been directly attributed to childhood obesity. Notwithstanding the dangers that may lurk outside, there is sufficient evidence that spending too much time INSIDE - sitting in front of televisions, computers, game systems and electronic devices - is slowly but definitively risking the health of this younger generation.

What you can do:

Toss the television. Curb computer usage. Eliminate the electronics. They will be fine.

--

Unsupervised Activities

There are some deadly past times trending among youth. With the advent of YouTube, FaceBook Live, and incessant self-broadcasting, today’s younger generation has become increasingly aware of and desensitized to life-threatening forms of entertainment. Activities like The Choking Game, Cinnamon Challenge, Robotripping, are just some of the past times of choice. Here’s a short list of dangerous activities kids are playing today. It’s also become increasingly popular to instigate and record fights and assaults in order to gain viewership.

What you can do:

Spend time with your children. Go outside. Supervise their playtime. This will build closeness within the family. If you’re not a parent, find a family that can use help with child supervision. Get kids outside, off the couch, and away from negative online influences. Play heart-healthy, head-clearing games that improve fitness and instill a team-player mentality. Research free or low-cost summer programs in your area through your local YMCA, municipality or community church. Here is a list of New Jersey camps.

--

Summer vacation is the annual highlight of nearly every student. With some effort and attention, you can help make it special, memorable and - most of all - safe.

Live Chat