Keeping your kids safe online is a chore! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat… There’s no shortage of ways for your child to get online. We’re living in the 21st century where social media bombards our devices and where the call of the internet is more than just difficult to avoid.
“Did you see that link Kelly shared on Facebook?”
“Tom’s Snapchat video from last night was so funny!”
“The picture Ashley posted to Instagram at lunch looked so cute!”
As a parent, keeping your kids safe online is a one of your priorities. You watch what they eat, make sure they get enough sleep and don’t let them cross the street without looking both ways - that is, when you’re with them.
Who’s to stop your kid from scarfing down Doritos at their friend’s house? Are you peeking into your child’s room every few minutes until they fall asleep each night? Does your kid always look both ways before crossing the street on their way home from school? You can do your best to instill the right values, but you can’t be there every second to ensure that they are being followed.
This is especially true in the online world. Sure, maybe you’ve told your kid that they’re not allowed on Instagram until they’re 21, but does that mean they’re not on it? No. They could have made an account on their friend’s phone.
I believe that it’s not about telling kids what they can and can’t be a part of, but it’s about teaching them proper way to behave.
Did you know:
● 71% of teens use more than one social network site (Pew Research Center)
● 86% of girls claimed to be able to conduct online chats without their parents knowing (American Income Life)
● 54% of teens could conduct a cyber relationship (American Income Life)
● 5% percent of teens have admitted to arranging a secret meeting with someone that they have met online (No Bullying.com)
· Sit down and talk to your children, every chance you get. Explain what’s “out there”.
· Block inappropriate content.
· Think carefully about the age a child really needs a smart phone or other internet access.
· Place the family computer in a “public” location.
· Limit access to devices with internet access.
· Provide your child with safety rules, and encourage them to tell you anytime someone asks for personal information.
If you, as a parent, don’t feel comfortable or prepared to sit down and speak with your child about cyber safety, or don’t believe that they’ll even listen to you (whoever wants to listen to their parents??), that’s where I come in.
Keeping your kids safe online is my priority. At Find My Kids Online, I offer peer-like mentoring to discuss how to safely navigate the online world. On top of that, I also conduct social media audits to identify where your kids are (even if you didn’t know they were there), what they’re doing, and alert you to any questionable behaviour (such as sharing too much personal information, bullying, or mental health red flags.) I also provide ongoing, low-key, monitoring, to keep an eye and ensure that your kids are staying safe.
While the internet might seem like a big, bad, scary wolf coming to blow your house down, it doesn’t have to be! By embracing what’s out there and acknowledging that you can’t shelter your child forever, you can help them grow into mature and smart online citizens.
For more information, you can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org