No matter how much we try to avoid it, there will come a time when we have to leave our kids home without our direct supervision. Whether they’ve gotten sick and you can’t take the day off work, or they’re just old enough to be on their own occasionally, you still need to know they’ll be as safe as possible. Securing a modern home doesn’t require a massive security system that involves lasers and facial recognition software, in fact most TVs today are excellent command centers, especially if you can get a good deal on one, a major bonus being that your kids are experts at controlling a TV already. It does, however, require a little more than a simple lock. The thing is, modern technology has created a lot of great benefits, but it has also opened us up to a lot of potential trouble – and criminals may use that same technology to target your house when you’re gone. There are a number of affordable solutions to make our homes safer places for when the kids are home alone and it all starts with some common sense and careful planning.

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Protecting Your Home

Whether you’re going away for an extended period or just leaving the kids home for an evening, there are some things you can do to increase the security around your house without breaking the bank. You just need to be smart about how you set up your defenses.

Always remember that most break-ins are not random things. If they’ve chosen you’re house, it’s because they’ve either identified something they want, or they’ve spotted an easy opportunity. Most burglars will not waste any time – simply kick down the door and head straight to the bedroom for the expensive jewelry or the living room for the shiny new TV.

What Can You Do?

You can start with a few minor security features such as a steel reinforcement strip kit for your door frame. If a criminal kicks in a door, it’s actually the wooden frame that gives way first. These simple strips of metal are screwed deep into the frame, making it much harder to kick open. If a criminal can’t get in on the first few tries, they’re more likely to walk away rather than risk drawing attention to themselves. This is why it’s also important to have floodlights set up in the right place. Both are affordable additions and comparatively effective.

There are also new security systems coming on the market that don’t require the NASA team to install it and a contract that requires you to sign over your first born. One of the most popular today is SimpliSafe, it’s a do-it-yourself installation and doesn’t require holes to be drilled in your house or any nonsense.

You also need to avoid making yourself a target. If you just set your huge 52” LED television box outside near the garbage, you’re just telling the world that you either got a great TV deal or you have a lot of valuable possessions worth checking out. Make sure your kids remember to get the mail and newspapers if you’re going to be gone for extended periods, and provide them with a call tree so they know exactly who to call if there’s any kind of problem.

Adding “Social” Security

Social media networks have opened up a whole new angle on home safety. A lot of people are making themselves very tempting targets without actually realizing it. This isn’t even about the kids chatting with strangers online while you’re away. This could just as easily be a result of you announcing you’re plans to be away.

Criminals are using social media updates to determine when you will or will not be at home – and far too many of us are detailing our exact schedules online. We’re told over and over not to share personal data on the internet, and it has to be a pretty good scam to get a person to part with credit card and social security numbers, but those same, careful people will announce to the world when they’re going to a part/dinner/major awards ceremony. This is just a timeline for criminals to plan their moves.

If we have to leave our kids home alone, we need to avoid making our home a target. You may have added a steel doorframe, but this is one of the possessions you never want to actually use. If criminals don’t know when you’ll be home, they’ll have to think twice before trying something.

Make sure that your kids understand this, too. They may be excited to have the home to themselves for a night, but if they share that information online, they could be creating more trouble than they realize.

Take the Same Precautions

You can guard your home from social criminals the same way you would anyone else. Minimize the attraction. Don’t leave evidence of all your cool stuff where anyone can see it. Double check your privacy settings to make sure only your friends can see you content – and don’t accept just anyone as a friend to pad your account. If you have to tell everyone that you’re going on that dream vacation, don’t say when – and don’t post updates from your location. Save it all for a recap when you’re back home.

As kids get older, or as circumstances demand, there will come a time when you have to leave your children home alone. Take the time now to get prepared for that day, and you’ll be able to minimize the risks with some affordable solutions.

About the Author:

Paul Mansour is enthusiastic about start-ups along with consumer and small business technology. Working within Dell.com, he needs to stay up-to-date on the latest products and solutions and best-in-class ecommerce strategies. In his spare time he can’t resist taking apart his latest gadget and forgetting how to put it back together.