Growing up we did not have computers, or even knew what the Internet was. ( oh dear my age is showing) But in today’s world the Internet is how we communicate in so many ways, as parents, we worry about our kids as we Open The Door To The Internet. We want to keep them safe but we aren’t always sure how.
Todd Morris the CEO of BrickHouse Security says….. A generation ago, if kids were home and they weren’t on a landline phone, they simply weren’t in contact with their friends or the world at large. And the lapses in judgment every teen makes on a regular basis didn’t have the very real potential of being instantly broadcast on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit.
Today, your 13-year-old could be texting sexually charged messages, communicating with potential predators or enduring online bullying while sitting next to you on the couch. It’s scary, but it’s a fact.
So what are your options? There are plenty of easy-to-use technology solutions out there – simple, affordable ways to monitor your kids’ activity on their phones and computers, even after the communications have been deleted.
Shelagh McManus, online safety advocate for security software Norton by Symantec says the following….
‘If You Wouldn’t Do It Face To Face…Don’t Do It’
“The advice I give ‘ my own family and friends is encapsulated in: “If you wouldn’t do it face to face – Don’t do it online” For example, would you go up to a complete stranger and start a conversation?
Just because you feel protected by the apparent distance a screen gives between you and the person you’re talking to, you must remember that online is still the real world.
Mid to late teens need to remember that everything they do over the web is captured forever and could come back to haunt them. Many employers and university admissions offices look at social media profiles when researching candidates.
My husband and I actually used to ask random questions based on what the younger family members had put online just to remind them that they should lock down their profiles! If they didn’t want their dad, uncles and aunts or future employers asking about exactly what was in that fifteenth drink on Saturday night, they needed to check their privacy settings!”
Only you can decide if these devices fit into your parenting philosophy, but many would argue that it’s not only within your rights as a caregiver to look into teen monitoring options, it’s also a moral imperative.
If your child is growing up in the United States in the early 21st century, he’s been handed the means to engage in a level of private, 24/7 communication that’s unprecedented in our history. The tools to monitor that communication are readily available. It’s important to know that they exist.
Your children are going to access the Web somewhere whether that be at a friend’s home, at our local library, or at school. There is great benefit to encouraging our children to access the Internet to complete their homework assignments, stay in touch with friends, or to keep up with politics, sports and other worthwhile activities.
As our kids get older they have access to smartphones and they tend to plug into all the wrong things, and they have access to some apps that are dangerous. The Cyber Safety Tech Mum shares a helpful guide that show 6 Dangerous Apps for Kids and explains the functionality of each one.
The internet can also bring us a wealth of information. There are great resources out in cyberspace. Start with something you enjoy, (Just make sure you use a good antivirus, spyware blocker and firewall.) Did you know The Internet holds more books than the largest libraries in the world? It’s open 24/7 and speaks all languages. Most of the sites and online content is FREE.
Try exploring with your children. Have them show you their favorite sites, try playing a game or two. Find a cooking site and experiment with some recipes you both would enjoy. Or plan a trip and research the place you would like to visit.
Research your family tree or plan an adventure. You can begin with Google, and use the filtered settings to block most of the junk. Or look for a site you like or an article you trust and click away from there.
If you find a site you like, bookmark it so you can revisit it and recommend it to your friends and family.
Some other places to check out with your family…..
YOU TUBE…. a service provided by Google that lets you upload or watch videos. Trust me, you can spend hours doing this. There are many videos that will interest you and you can search for a video related to pretty much anything under the sun.
If your child is searching for videos on YouTube, learn how you can activate YouTube parental controls.
GOOGLE EARTH….. You can view any location on the planet via a satellite image and see a real-time image from overhead. There is a lot of cool stuff to do online, and this is probably one of the best.
You can view your own city, your own street or you can see any place on the planet that you would like to go to. Its reach is unmatched, and it is hard to believe that you actually have the entire world at your fingertips.
SOCIAL NETWORK…..Another fun pastime is visiting social networking sites like Facebook, or Twitter. These platforms help you keep in touch with your friends, no matter what corner of the world they may be in.
This is one of the many cool things to do on the Internet today as everyone is connected with each other in some way. You can constantly see what your friends are up to and they can always feel like they know what is going on in your life.
MUSIC…. The best part about the Internet is the unlimited and extensive access to music. There are radio stations available that can be easily found, and you can hear various genres of online music from all around the world, sitting in your home. Any artist from any time is available at the click of a button, and this is a great way to spend a few hours for music lovers.
GAMES…..There are many fun games to play online as well that you can resort to in order to pass your time. There are specialized websites that exist over the Internet for this very purpose and it is very easy to find them and play their games online.
Your Digital Footprint Teaches kids that the internet is forever and once you do something online, it can’t be taken back!
If You Need Some More Information Please Check Out The Links I Have Provided…………
Net Smartz Kids…..The National Center for Missing and Exploited children volunteered an entire free website for children to learn all about safely using the Internet. The wonderful thing about NetSmartKids is that children will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they’re learning important lessons about their online safety.
ThinkuKnow Kids…a website to help you go on the internet in a safe way and know who to talk to if you are worried.
Woogi World….is a unique online community for young children in that the website serves as both a training ground for kids about how to be careful with online chatting, how to be safe when using computer technology and even how to use technology in a healthy way that promotes balance in that child’s life.
McGruff Games….Scruff McGruff battles bullying and cyber bullying.
Staying Safe On The Internet: With Watson The Walrus….plenty of interactive games and activities to make learning about staying safe on the internet fun and effective. In addition, they have included bilingual functionality.
The Internet is a wonderful, useful tool that we simply can’t afford to deny to your children, but you must know what you’re up against and to keep your children safe.
Get involved as a family. You watch movies together. Why not browse the web together? Making it a family event can be fun. You’ll learn more about your kids’ interests, and can guide them to websites that are more appropriate to their age.
Remember to teach them that everything they do online lives forever. A safe rule of thumb here is if you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother, don’t post it online.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.