I recently attended a meeting about cyber bullying, and keeping your kids safe on-line. It was presented by a company called schakra local to Redmond WA. They have developed a new program that can help parents monitor their child’s use of social media, gogostat parental guidance. It made me realize a lot about keeping children safe on-line and brought up quite a few valid points that even I had never considered.
Protecting your children can be a very difficult job from day one. First when they are born they can’t do anything on their own. They seem so breakable and yet they bring you the greatest kind of joy you will ever know. Then they get a little bit older, like my son and they are the most accident prone creatures you have ever seen. Always getting boo boos and watching them get hurt, grow and explore sometimes breaks your heart. All you want to do is keep them safe and protect them but you have to let them grow.
As they grow they become individuals and need us less and less. We get ready to send them to school and out of our eagle site every day. The discussion of strangers should be embedded in their brains by now, and they know not to ever leave or even talk to someone they do not know. Have you ever thought about discussing how strangers on-line relates to strangers in person?
I know that I have received many invitations to check out on-line sites geared towards children. My kids are young, but there are sites that they can go to and make on-line friends but how safe is that? It’s not safe at all. People can sign up for these sites no matter what their age and lie about who they are. Predators target these sites. There are no fail safes for this. You as a parent are the only fail safe. You can protect your children by making sure your kids only friend people they know in real life. If you begin this lesson with smaller websites then when they move to facebook or any form of social media it will be easier to maintain the same rule. Teach them that the number of friends they have on-line is not a status symbol. Looking at my own friends on facebook, I think I need to re-examine my own lists.
A common misconception of the internet is that it is a safe place to hang out, pretend to be someone else, or share information about yourself.
Children believe that on-line isn’t real. They think it is a place where they can hide behind an avatar and do whatever they want or say whatever they want. They think they are safe and that no one will find out who they really are, but it is not true. The internet is a very dangerous place and traceable. I don’t even think that most adults realize that after something is posted on-line (photos or words) it can not be un-done. Yes you can delete it but it is still there and it is always there (difficult to find but yes still there nonetheless). Think twice before posting. Educate yourself as a parent. Learn about websites, social media or anything that your child has an interest in.
How does Gogostat help?
Gogostat works on the basis that you have a strong relationship with your child. “Relationship trumps all”
Gogostat Parental Guidance allows you to monitor key words and phrases that might be bad in applications that your child uses on-line. It also sends you an alert if one of their friends posts a photo of your child. I mean, it only works if you know what sites your child is using and their account name. Then you can tell your child what is appropriate and what is not. You can tell them to tell their friend to take down that photo of them if you feel it is inappropriate. It is an application that helps good kids stay out of trouble and safe. Peer pressure is strong and on-line peer pressure works the same way. Let them hide behind you and use you as a reason to keep all information on-line to a minimum and age appropriate.
The best way to protect them
Be sure to keep up a line of communication with your children throughout their lives. You have to be able to talk to them about anything and make them feel that they have no reason to hide anything from you. I know this isn’t easy and you won’t always be liked. Being a parent is not about your children liking you. It’s about loving them and putting their safety above all else.
Educate your children
Always Know what they are doing On-line and Off