Our Children’s Safety Should Not Be So Hard

Our Children’s Safety Should Not Be So Hard

Our Children’s Safety Should Not Be So Hard

Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, PhD

Konverser Anusha Shrivastava shares her perspective on children’s safety in light of the recent tragedy at Barnard College.


Blog112_Childrens-Safety_SocialMedia-300x200 Our Children's Safety Should Not Be So HardMy Twitter feed was flashing alerts about a tornado approaching my son’s college campus.

I texted him. No response.

 I called. Radio silence.

 I sent a Facebook message. No joy.

My anxiety level was going up. He goes to school in New Orleans. I had written stories about Katrina survivors, so I was aware of the problems his adopted city has faced in the past. What if he didn’t know about the tornado? What if this developed into some major natural disaster and he was clueless?

Blog112_ChildrensSafety_BoyTexting-300x200 Our Children's Safety Should Not Be So HardI did the one thing no college kid wants his mom to do—I texted his roommate. I apologized, provided context, and asked if he knew where my firstborn was. “He’s taking a nap,” the roommate said. Phew!

Many years ago, when my son was a toddler, a former colleague told me she could not go to sleep until her teenage son returned from a late-night party. I swore I’d never be that mother, but as my child grew up and moved away, I couldn’t help but worry. I trust my offspring, but how can I trust the world not to hurt him—or my pre-teen daughter? Every day, I read or hear stories about young people being hurt through no fault of their own. 

Blog112_ChildrensSafety_Columbia-300x200 Our Children's Safety Should Not Be So HardLast week, a freshman at Barnard College was murdered in Morningside Park near the Columbia University campus. It’s a park with which I am very familiar. When my office was closer to the subway stop near it, I walked through it twice a day for two years, warily climbing the steps at the edge to street level. 

Thick bushes dot the park, and very few people walk or jog in it, at least in the area through which I passed. As winter approached and it got dark earlier, my colleagues advised me to avoid the park, and I did. Most of the time, I used a different subway stop and traded a shorter walk for safety. On some days, though, when I risked missing my train home from Penn Station, I ran through the park, hoping not to be mugged. I was lucky nothing happened. Not so for the Barnard student, who tragically lost her life through no real fault of hers.

Blog112_ChildrensSafety_MomAndSon-200x300 Our Children's Safety Should Not Be So HardSo, how can a parent not worry about their child’s safety? What steps can we take to help our children and young adults stay alert? 

My son refused to allow any location tracking via his phone, and even though my daughter agreed, it’s not as if I am tracking her moves all the time. The basic rules are clear to both: no talking to strangers, walk with a buddy if possible, and stay in touch. Text me when you reach your destination and keep me broadly informed of your schedule.

What tips have you shared with your children to keep them safe? Share them in the comments below, or better yet, share them on Konversai—your one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge through one-on-one live video conversations. If you are looking for a place to share and monetize your knowledge, skills, and life experiences; to seek out information from others who have been in your shoes; and to make meaningful and authentic connections, Konversai is the place to be. Konversai’s mission is to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into the heart of technology, and make the world better through conversations. Get in on the fun and join Konversai today!


Anusha Our Children's Safety Should Not Be So HardAnusha Shrivastava, PhD, is the Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations at the Department of Statistics at Columbia University in the City of New York. A business reporter for over two decades across three countries, she got her second master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2002. Connect with her on Konversai.


Edited by Pavita Singh

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