Keeping kids safe no longer comes down to simply keeping the doors locked and making sure your kids are with a responsible adult. Today “strangers” can come right into your home via the internet and locking them out has gotten a lot tougher.
Would you let a total stranger come into your home and play with your child?
What if I told you that he’s already here and upstairs playing in your daughter’s room?
To paraphrase, those are the words I heard when I watched a YouTube video the other day.
It was scary honestly…I guess I had never really thought of the internet that way. My kids are both still young but my oldest is using technology every day…at home and at school.
We have had some basic safety rules but I realized it’s time for me to lay out a more concrete plan of action to keep my kids safe both at home and while away from me.
So I sat down with my husband and, after a couple hours, this is what we hammered out. Honestly, I already feel better just knowing we have a plan. You know the saying, fail to plan and plan to fail. But when we are talking about our kids’ safety and wellbeing, that just isn’t an option!
Step 1 – Talk To Your Children – I was really surprised when searching for ways to keep my kids safe that so few of the articles gave this tip. Your kids are smart little people. In many ways, they are likely more tech savvy than you, regardless of their age.
I sat my 4 and 6 year old down and explained to them that while, so far, they have only used the internet for reading books, Subway Surfer and MineCraft…there are a lot of bad things (and people) lurking out in the big old web.
Decide what is age-appropriate but I told mine that there are bad people who want to know where they live, people who will post pictures and videos of things they shouldn’t see, and that people will use social media for bullying.
They get it. We agreed they could tell me anything and ask me anything.
Step 2 – Keep Your Computer In A Common Area – One of the things we fell in love with when looking to buy our current home is the “secretary” in the kitchen. It’s just a simple corner where the laptop sits for anyone to use. It’s open with no privacy. If you need a deterrent for kids going to inappropriate sites, this is it.
I also love this idea because it allows my kids to see ME on the computer. They can see that Mom and Dad use the computer for work, for email and even to have fun (think funny cat videos on YouTube). But that everything we are doing on the computer is legit…there is nothing to hide. Not from our spouse. Not from our kids.
Step 3 – Educate Yourself – It’s impossible to educate your children if you’ve never heard of Club Penguin or don’t have a Facebook account.
While I don’t think I’m in the stone ages, I know I still have a lot to learn.
That’s why I’m super excited to have signed up for the Get Safe Academy Triple “S” Course for Parents!
The Triple “S” Course focuses on Safety, Self Defense, and Social Media and is designed for parents, children and anyone working with children.
This series was designed and created by 2 moms who left corporate careers that had them navigating social media and putting away predators of young children. Their experience and knowledge is amazing.
The course also covers popular social media apps and teaching your kids how to filter the information they share onlineIn addition.
Learn more about Get Safe Academy and the Triple “S” Course for Parents (Safety, Self Defense & Social Media 101) HERE.
Step 4 – Create A Base Line Set of Rules – While some of those don’t yet apply to my kids, they will soon enough. I wanted to get a foundation of rules in place BEFore I find myself scrambling because I need them.
Here are our ground rules:
1. All computer passwords are public information, meaning parents know the passwords.
2. Either my husband or I must approve all “friend requests” on social media.
3. Our children need to tell us immediately if they feel threatened or bullied.
4. Follow the rues set in place by sits. Did you know that you need to be 13 to have a Facebook account? It is up to the parents to police this policy.
5. Put in place a “punishment” that makes breaking these rules not worth it. For us, it is the loss of technology for a week.
Step 5- Be a Good Example.
A big part of teaching our kids how to stay safe in a digital world starts with us. Lead by example.
Show your children that you aren’t tied to your phone. Don’t check texts at every stop light. Spend time with them outside of checking email and nodding your head.
let them see that technology is a PART of who you are – not the end all be all.
Keep some things private… every birthday party doesn’t have to be up on Instagram. Show your kids that privacy is important…not every detail of our lives has to be public knowledge.
And there you have it- it’s a brave new world to say the least. But it doesn’t have to be a scary one. You can keep your kids safe but it takes a plan.
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