School may be out for winter break, parents, but that doesn’t give kids license to abuse their momentary freedom from academic rule. Now that we’re stuck with – ahem – now that our precious children are back in our care, now is the time for the most important lesson to be imparted in them: online safety.
More than ever our kids need our persistent and consistent monitoring of their online activities.According to a 2010 study by The Pew Internet & American Life Project Research Center – a nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” that produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families and communities – 32% of teens have experienced at least one or more forms on online abuse by their peers.
Protect your children online with these 5 handy tips:
1. Be the administrator of their e-mail and social media accounts.
Bump privacy. Only people who pay for mortgage/rent, bills, food, etcetera get that privilege. Without trying to be controversial, this isn’t the 50’s, folks. Our kids are in serious times.
2. Lay down the law.
By all means acknowledge the young adults they’re becoming, but it’s our job to inform them with privileges comes responsibility. Either they monitor their connections or they’ll be disconnected. If you catch an onslaught of expletives in your child’s Twitter stream after a series of warnings, it’s time to pull the plug.
3. Know their inner- AND ‘outer-circles’.
Simple: the first group is the “BFF’s,” the second “associates.”
4. Monitor your child’s behavior as well as activity.
Do they seem anxious? Are they nonchalantly slipping away to the escape that only social media provides away from us yappy parents? You really do want the latter. Are they the pitcher or the receiver of any online attack? Teach or remind your children of this golden rule: Don’t start none, won’t be none.
5. TALK to them.
Duh. Let them know that they can always come to us troglodytes with any issues, questions and concerns. Reassure them that we’re here for them and to trust that whatever measures we’ll take to protect them, we will not cause them further embarrassment or harm.
We parents just ‘look stupid’…. all the better to disarm them.