In today’s digital age, mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives. They help us stay connected, provide essential information, and even serve as a safety net in emergencies. However, what happens when the mobile network goes down, leaving you and your family without access to the internet or communication tools? In such situations, it’s crucial to be prepared and have a plan in place to ensure your safety. In this blog, we explore ten helpful strategies for parents to keep their young people safe during a mobile network outage.
1. Download Essential Apps and Maps
2. Teach Basic Navigation Skills
While GPS apps are incredibly helpful, it’s also essential to teach your child basic navigation skills. Teach them to read physical maps, recognise useful landmarks (such as train stations or main intersections) and locate safe places (for example, a family member’s house or a police station). In case of a network outage, these skills can be a lifesaver when they need to find their way home or to a safe location.
3. Emergency Contacts and Offline Messaging
Ensure your child has a list of emergency contacts written down on a laminated piece of paper in their bag. Discuss when and how to use them in emergencies. You can also enter an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact in your teen’s phone to be used in the case of a crisis. Additionally, consider using messaging apps that allow offline communication. Apps such as WhatsApp or Signal can work over Wi-Fi when the mobile network is down.
4. Emergency Plan
Establish a clear and easy-to-follow emergency plan with your child. This plan should include steps for different situations, such as getting separated in a crowded area, dealing with natural emergencies, transport disruptions, or seeking help. Role play these scenarios so your child knows what to do.
5. Offline Information
Download essential information onto devices, such as medical information, allergies, and emergency medical contact details. This can be vital in case you or your child requires medical assistance during a network outage. Most phones include a health app, or health section in the settings, allowing you to fill out both emergency contacts and medical information. This can be accessed without the PIN code and is useful for doctors, paramedics or hospital staff in the event of an emergency.
6. Charged Devices and Portable Chargers
When the network is down, a mobile device will always been searching for a connection. This can drain the battery. Toggling off ‘data roaming’ or switching to ‘aeroplane mode’ can save battery. Ensure devices are charged before heading out, and consider investing in portable chargers or power banks. These can be a lifeline if a device’s battery runs low during an emergency.
7. Meetup Locations
Identify specific meetup locations in different areas you frequent. These locations can serve as rendezvous points if your child gets separated from you during a network outage. Teach your child how to reach these locations on their own.
8. Emergency Services
Instruct your young people about how to contact emergency services like 000 or 112 (or your country’s equivalent) in case they need immediate assistance. They should know how to call for help and provide their location if the network is down. Be sure to practise conversations your child might have with emergency services, including sharing the names of nearby streets.
9. Offline Entertainment
In case of a prolonged network outage, having offline entertainment options on a device can help keep you and your family occupied and reduce stress. Most media streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify allow for downloading movies, games, e-books, or educational content that can be accessed without an internet connection. Or, make the most of the opportunity for a break from technology and bring out the board games and physical books!
10. Be a Reassuring Presence
During a mobile network outage or any emergency, it’s essential to stay calm and reassuring. Your child will look to you for guidance and support, so maintaining a sense of composure is crucial.
Mobile network outages can be challenging, but with the right strategies and preparation, parents can help ensure their family’s safety in such situations. By following these tips and practising them with your family, you can empower your children to navigate these challenges with confidence and resilience. Remember, the key is to plan ahead and be ready for any unexpected network interruptions. Your family’s safety and knowing everyone is able to manage these situations is worth the effort.