Do You Really Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online?
I came across this article that went into lengthy detail about how the internet is evolving and the additional technology has allowed varying platforms to be accessible to kids for them to access to online content and interact. As a parent of a pre-teen, I must admit that allowing such freedom makes me apprehensive. Here’s why. The internet opens up a whole ‘nother world.There’s no limits really and no filter. Kids can access just about anything if they want to. Smartphones have especially created this societal pressure of immediate and instant connection. As such, numerous applications and sites have flourished because the demands exist.
The article goes on to warn parents about the dangers of the internet and social media.
You may be thinking “I’m smarter than that. I have a facebook and I watch my kids online.” You might have a Facebook. So do I. And so does my mom and my grandma and all of her friends. But you know who doesn’t have a Facebook? Your kid’s friends. I took an informal poll of my 150 students at the beginning of the year, and 60-80% of my students don’t even have a facebook. They connect with each other on Kik, an app that allows users to text each other without exchanging phone numbers. They use Snapchat, an app that allows users to send pictures that supposedly disappear forever after ten seconds. They use Whisper, an app that a user can “anonymously” tell their deepest secrets to a vast community of other secret sharers. They use Yik Yak, Vine, Tumblr, Twitter (do you know about subtweeting? you should.), Instagram, Oovoo, WhatsApp, Meerkat, and sometimes even dating apps, like Tinder.
Doesn’t that make your mind spin? Some of those sites I had never heard of. Even so, there are ways you can protect your kids. Here’s how:
1. Talk to them about the reality of the internet. It’s instant, it’s net is wide and anything shared online lives on forever. Here’s some great videos to helping them understand the responsibility of being online.
2. Tell them to never give out personal information about themselves and their passwords.
3. Discourage downloading games, ringtones, software, etc. They could have malware that could harm your computer or devices.
4. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) does not permit any child under the age of 13 to have online accounts where personal information can be collected without parental consent. If you’re not sure if they should have or are ready to have a social media account, here’s some great advice.
5. You can’t ever control how someone else may interact with your child, but you can control how your child engages online. Here’s a parent’s packet that covers some great safety measures.
6. Want to do some extra monitoring? Download Teensafe app.