Internet Safety for Kids

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to my friends about internet safety. Some parents I know don’t know a thing about the internet. Others are scared of it and all too many let their kids surf the web, use social media and don’t know anything about what their kids are doing.

Here are five tips from an article on Online Mom on how to keep kids safe:

  • Be informed. Find out what your child likes to do on the Web, which sites he likes to visit, and which games he plays. Spend time together online and show an interest in what he’s doing.
  •  Start a dialogue. Talk to your child about online safety and be specific about your concerns. Let him know there are safe and unsafe web sites, just as there are safe and unsafe places to go in the real world. Talk about the importance of resisting contact with people he doesn’t know, and immediately telling you about anything that makes him uncomfortable.
  • Protect personal information. Teach your child to respect personal information, both his own and other people’s. Teach him never to share passwords, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal information, and to never post pictures or information about other people without their permission.
  •  Click smart. Teach your child not to open files or click on links unless they are from a trusted source. Talk about the dangers of malware and how viruses can harm files and the performance of the computer.
  •  Install parental controls. Install a top-rated suite of parental controls to protect your home computers and monitor your child’s use. And let your child know that you have installed parental controls; trust is the foundation of good decision-making.

The article also states “If you maintain a dialogue and are consistent in your approach, your child will quickly develop the good online habits that will be so important through the teen years and beyond. Don’t leave it to chance or let others teach your child. Become an online parent today!

Right now, there are no laws for minors and the internet. You, as their parent, are the only one that can keep them safe. Take the time to see what their doing, saying, and talking to.

Remembering 9/11

Each year, we all think back to that horrible day when our lives changed forever. We take time to remember the lives that were lost and the friends and families who lost loved ones. People are always posting and saying “Never Forget” – of course we won’t forget. How could we? It’s one of those moments where we can all remember exactly where we were when we found out. This year, “Never forget” took on a whole new meaning for me. It’s more about not forgetting to be kind to one another. Not to forget how, as a nation, we stood together, to mourn the loss of the thousands of people who lost their lives. It’s a time to be proud to be an American and a time to be kind to one another.

My son wasn’t even 2 years old when it happened. I can still remember watching it on the news but making sure he didn’t see anything. He was too young to understand so I turned the channel and he watched an episode of Barney. Probably the first time I was glad to have that crazy, purple distraction. I remember not wanting to take him to daycare and just holding him tight.

It wasn’t until he was about 10 years old, that it finally sunk in to what happened on 9/11. He was very curious and asked a lot of questions. “Who did it?”  “Why?” “How?” Questions, that even adults today, still don’t understand. At 13, I still have to be careful of how much he watches on TV. I can tell when it’s too much for him to try and understand.

Today, he posted a picture on Instagram about 9/11 that surprised me, in a good way. It made me smile to see how proud he is to be an American and that we have grown to become stronger, not weaker, from an event that changed our lives forever

Photo Sep 11, 12 18 45 PM

Talking to young children about 9/11 is not easy. Eventually though, they will find out. Either at school, on the news or from a friend. The best thing to do as parents, is to make sure you reassure them that they are safe. There are several books and some great articles on talking to your children about what is now, a big part of our American history.

What is “YOLO”?

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Teenagers are using it and I admit it, I didn’t know what it was either. I had to ask my son last year what it meant when I saw the word on the social media sites. Now, you probably see it everywhere.

YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once. It’s similar to the term “carpe diem” and to enjoy life!

If you feel like you’re out of the loop with the text-speak and IM (instant message) chatter, take a look here at some other acronyms being used today.

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For a more complete list of acronyms, check out:  http://theonlinemom.com/secondary.asp?id=97

What is a hashtag?

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Ever wonder what a “hashtag” is? You’ve probably seen the symbol or heard the term on social media sites, television, radio, in advertisements, etc. It’s what was formally (and still is) called the “pound” sign and/or “number” symbol “#” followed by a word or group of words. According to hastags.org, the history of hashtags began around 2007 on Twitter “…as an easy way for Twitter users to categorize Tweets that share a common topic or belong to a particular group.” A user is able to search a hashtag to find similar topics of conversation, event, contest or photos all grouped under the same hashtag.

For more information including the history of a hashtag visit here: http://lorirtaylor.com/the-only-hashtag-guide-youll-ever-need/

 

Other useful links:

Social Media and Our Kids

social-media-iconsI know. It’s overwhelming. It’s always changing, but guess what? It’s here to stay and it has become a big part of our children’s lives. If it hasn’t yet in yours, it will, eventually. You can try to keep them away, but the more you do, the more they are going to want to try it. Just like every other forbidden fruit. Someone, somewhere will give them access and the next thing you know, your child(ren) will be exposed to the world of social media.

Not all social media is bad. It depends on how it is used and the content your child(ren) post and/or read. It’s something you, as a parent, need to monitor.

It’s a different world we live in these days and instead of ignoring it, hoping it goes away, or not paying attention to it, I highly suggest you get familiarized with it.

That’s what I hope to be able to bring to you – information, tips, tricks and cheats on how to navigate through this ever-changing world of social media and the internet.