The day has finally come: your parents trust you to stay home alone! As exciting as this newfound freedom can be (like raiding that “secret” hiding place where all the good snacks are or increasing the heating bill by turning up the thermostat which your parents always keep low to save money!), there are a few things you should definitely not do.
Post to social media
If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media account, don’t let slip that your parents aren’t home in your next status update. By posting a status revealing you are home alone, you make yourself vulnerable to predators and other unsavory characters who may do you harm. Along these same lines, avoid using tagging or mapping applications which declare your home’s location when you post.
Tell a caller that your parents aren’t home
Most kids are taught this lesson from a young age: If your parents are unable to come to the phone, don’t tell the caller that they’re not around. You may be older now, but it’s still good to remember this lesson when you’re home alone.
Chances are that you have a cell phone, and most people will call you on that number if they want to reach you. As with social media, don’t tell the caller that your parents aren’t home. If the home phone rings, tell the caller that your parents “aren’t available at the moment.” Lie if you need to — say that they’re in the shower, on their cell phone, or changing your baby sibling’s diaper. If you’re not comfortable picking up the phone, it’s okay to let it go to voicemail too.
Open the door to strangers
If there is an appointment to repair anything, this will be scheduled for when an adult is present. If the person at the door say they’re a member of the police or other emergency personnel, use the peephole to look for their badge. Most home security systems have some kind of doorbell camera or at peephole so you can do this without exposing yourself. If you can’t see one, don’t open the door. If they say they’re here to deliver a package, let them leave it on the porch.
Investigate strange noises
Remember what happens to characters in horror movies who go to investigate the strange noise: it’s nothing good. If you hear something unusual going on outside, suppress your curiosity. If you show your face in a window, it can inspire action against you. If there is someone trying to break into your home, this can also put you at risk. The safest thing to do is to call the police if you think there’s something suspicious going on.
Finally, doors and windows should be locked, and your home security system should be armed while you’re home alone. It may seem like overkill, but by following some basic safety rules, you can feel safe and enjoy yourself while the parents aren’t around. But *do* watch Home Alone. Always watch Home Alone.