For Teenagers: How to Stay Safe Alone at the Mall
If there is one thing about malls in Davao or any mall for that matter that would be, it is a great place to hang out alone or with friends. A mall houses everything – food, shopping, entertainment, arcade, etc. When hanging at the mall alone, however, there are few hazards to consider and avoid. Not to mention, telling your folks that you’d be at the mall to have some quality ‘me’ time is one of the very important considerations.
Before you hit the mall, plan ahead. It is OK not to have a concrete plan. Nonetheless, it would be a wise idea to have a general sequence of informal, unscheduled events. Part of this is knowing what time you will be home. For example, 1pm – go to the mall, 3pm – eat at Café XX, 4pm – watch a movie, 6pm – go home.
Tell someone about your plan. If something happens, God forbid, someone will know that you are at Abreeza Mall, for instance. They’d know where to look for you. Send an SMS to that person or to your parents from time to time while at the mall.
Keep safe. While at the mall, avoid suspicious people. Ruthless people are everywhere, and they usually disguise themselves. So, avoid those that seem aimless or questionable. Don’t be too judgmental though.
When someone asks if you are alone, tell him or her that you are with someone older than you are. It is normal to lie during these situations. For instance, tell the person that you are waiting for your parent. Say it casually otherwise the person might sense the tense in your voice. Avoid answering personal questions as well.
There might be some other teenagers who will try to pester you. Just get rid of them by ignoring them and walking away. Keep walking even when they persistently pester you. Go near the security guards that frequently round the malls. Ask for the guard or the mall manager’s help if the person bothering you won’t leave. That’s harassment.
If you can no longer handle the situation, just leave. Never involve yourself in a fight regardless of how irritating other people may become.
Secure your belongings. You are responsible for keeping your bags where you can actually see them. Zip your backpack or purse securely. Shoppers are a common target of pickpockets. Whatever you do and wherever you are at the mall, refrain from putting your bag down.
Have an emergency plan. Have a copy of emergency contacts with you. Put the list in your pocket and not on your bag, wallet or mobile phone. These can be stolen, and you may lose the contact numbers. Worse, the thief who stole them might call the numbers and harass or extort from the persons in your list.
In case that your things (especially your mobile phone) are stolen, call the people right away to tell them what happened to you. Remind them not to entertain the text or call that supposed to come from you.
Also, always keep a stash of cash other than in your wallet or purse. Hid is somewhere that the thief will not suspect. You can use the cash to pay for fare or for calling your parents through pay phones.
Finally, keep an emergency card. The card should include your parents’ names, contact details, any allergy or medical condition and your doctor’s name. These information are critical in case of an accident or other emergencies.
As parents, you should not refrain your youngsters from going to the mall. Malls are a good place for the teens to explore and enjoy by himself, herself or with others. This is not telling that malls are a dangerous place to be in. However, it is always a wise idea to be prepared. Anyhow, there are a multitude of ways to stay safe while at the mall.
Image credit: Life.FamilyEducation.com