June is racing by, how have you celebrated Internet Safety Month? Coming into its twelfth year, Internet Safety Month has been an opportunity to stop children from being victimized in online spaces. A group of companies and organizations, including FOSI, Google, and the National Cyber Security Alliance, are using this month the teach best practices to keep your family safe on the internet.
It’s not fake news to say that media reports have devoted much airtime and column inches to stories relating to offensive online content recently. In fact, over the last 12 month we have witnessed a considerable increase in media reports of online harassment, revenge porn, extremist videos and fake news.
Technology has taken over our daily lives. There are many instances where life passes us by because our eyes are glued to our tiny devices. As a way to minimize our daily technology intake, here are a few helpful tips:
You don’t have to be a parenting expert to realize: Keeping kids safe on social media services like Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram has become a top priority for today’s family.
If you were to Google your child today what would pop up? Would that article they wrote for their school’s newspaper show up? How about that class award they just received? Or would it be that inappropriate photo at last week’s party? Everything they post on the Internet is part of their online DNA. It is their digital trail left behind for the world to access at moment’s notice.
Parents often ask how to get started with online safety conversations at home and what rules they should establish for their families.
Today, Safer Internet Day is being celebrated in over 100 countries and on every continent. Given the recent political upheavals in the US and in Europe, this is a particularly good time to remind ourselves and our children about the need to practice good digital citizenship online. To be an upstander and not a bystander if you see bullying or harassing messages or videos. To report rather than spread abusive, inappropriate or illegal images. And, for us adults, to be good digital role models in spite of the way some of our political leaders behave online.
The younger we teach teens the importance of how and when to comment, the more likely we will live in a civil world – a world in which people will gain humanity and perspective as to how their thoughts and words can impact someone’s life.
Parents like me who had kids before Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and even Facebook were a thing, have been caught with our pants down, so to speak. We are digital parenting pioneers: navigating new apps, deciphering text speak, misusing emojis, and certainly embarrassing our kids as we muddle through a world that switched from analog to digital in the blink of an eye.