We have talked to thousands of students over the course of two years about safety and have learned a thing or two about how to talk about safety in a way that is encouraging and open instead of fear-mongering - so here is our guide of some quick do’s and don’ts about giving the gift of Flare. If you are someone who has given a safety-related gift before and gotten an eye roll or a “you worry too much” response - then this article may be helpful to you. I write as if you are a parent, but if you are not these lessons are still 100% relevant.
Do: Use Flare as an opportunity to acknowledge that your child is a grown adult in the real world, where situations are complex and complicated. Flare users tell us that they love getting Flare as a gift because it means their parents know that they are independent and want them to feel confident putting themselves out there. When we think about the value of safety it is not just in preventing violence, but in enabling our users to go after their goals fully. Use this opportunity to show your child that you trust them and their decision making and that you don’t want them to have to make compromises for their safety.
Don’t: We find that telling students they need to carry a safety device with them everywhere they go tends to feel patronizing. Students have many tools to help them with their safety: from using their voice to friends looking out for them, to Resident Life, to campus police. Try talking to your child about Flare as another tool that provides them with more choice to decide what is right for them in a discreet way. It is about not having to jeopardize their reputation and success in an environment if they are feeling pressured to go along with a situation where someone is making them feel uncomfortable but they don’t know how to stop it.
We built Flare to help people feel great about taking more active choices for their safety and wellbeing - to promote safety as a means to empower people to tap into their agency. We suggest you talk about Flare not as another thing your child has to do, but as an active decision they can make to join a movement of people who are looking out for themselves and their friends.
Do: Instead of talking about emergencies and what-if situations, use this opportunity to ask your child how they experience safety. Safety has often been equated with emergencies when in reality the vast majority of experiences students have are in familiar places, where intentions are unclear and expectations can be misaligned. The definition of safety is changing. Have an open dialogue about how safety situations almost never feel clear-cut and what options they have in the moment when they start to feel unsure. Flare provides users with more optionality to create an easy out of an uncomfortable situation earlier before things escalate.
Don’t: We do not recommend that you ask your child to add you to their Crew in the app. The Crew is the group of contacts that we will notify if the user presses and holds the hidden button on their Flare. They get put on a text chain where they can see the user's location and are asked to check-in on the user. We deliberately do not use alarmist language when we message the crew because that reduces the mental barriers for the user to feel comfortable activating the feature earlier in the moment.
We often hear parents ask their child to put them in their Crew so that they will be notified in case they need help - but we know that students are more likely to activate the message earlier in the moment if their parent is not in their Crew. So, to reduce the barriers for your child to take action sooner when they start to get a bad feeling in their gut, we suggest that you encourage them to put the friends they trust and feel most comfortable within their Crew.
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