How to Keep Up with Your Teens and Technology (& Giveaway!)
When your children grow up to be teens you face a world of unknowns.
It is unknown how long a pre-teen boy can spend in the bathroom doing his hair or how many deodorants he thinks he needs- Beartrap? Manclaw? Wolf Thistle? What are these deodorant scent names anyway?
How many pairs of black leggings does your 14-year old daughter need? And why can’t she wear the same shirt within the same week, but not consecutive days? I can’t do laundry that fast!
See? Lots of unknowns. What we don’t want left unknown is their Internet safety.
Have you talked to your kids about porn yet?
I have. It went like this- “Hey kids. There’s videos on the Internet where they show people having sex, but in a weird way. It’s not normal or healthy. If you see any videos like this, don’t watch them. They can be illegal and disturbing. If your friends look them up then just let me know. We don’t want that stuff on our computer and it can have viruses and all kinds of bad things that will ruin your Minecraft.”
It’s pretty effective. I didn’t need to elaborate, that was all they needed to know.
Of course, tailor your discussion based on the age of your child.
My 14-year old daughter saw porn on the Internet at a friend’s house when she was 6. Needless to say she stopped going over to that friend’s house!
Ever since, I’ve taken steps to guard her exposure to what she sees and doesn’t see on the world wide web. Kids are smart these days. They usually know about stuff before we do. It’s probably the way we were with our parents growing up.
There are apps out there too you want to know about. You’ve heard of Snapchat and Instagram, but have you heard of Yik Yak, PostSecret and Whisper? Check out this overview of apps you should know about, but here is a quick summary of these three.
Yik Yak is a ratings app to rate up or down a user’s post. It uses GPS, so it is now prohibited at airports and middle and high school campuses for safety reasons. Some college campuses are starting to ban it too because of its risk of cyber bullying and plain uselessness. Like scrawls on bathroom stalls to gossip, you don’t want to be the subject of a rated-down “Yakarma”. Sound confusing? Yes. I’m confused. Better to just not bother.
PostSecret has been shut down after malicious content, so there’s one less thing to worry about.
Whisper is an anonymous way for posters to gripe about boyfriends, eating disorders, parents, you name it. Like a confessional of sorts of the Snapchat variety. Hmm, sounds tricky.
Recently, BonBon Break’s Editor-in-chief introduced me to a new option. Here’s something that is easy, safe and will help you be the gatekeeper of what comes through to your kids on the Internet- KidsEmail. She asked me if I would be interested in writing about it, and I had to share this!
Kids Email is a safe and easy way to set up your kids’ email accounts to be funneled through your eyes first, or with parameters that you control.
That means, no Viagra spam or Nigerian princes trying to get a hold of your 10 year old!
Teens don’t email each other, it’s a fact. These days they aren’t on Facebook much at all. However, they might email grandma or use an email to set up an app that requires one.
Also, once your kids are in high school, email is a predominant form of communication between teachers and students to answer questions about homework, grades, or anything else.
My daughter missed 8 weeks of school last year, due to a cyst she had to have surgery for and she emailed her teachers on a daily basis to keep up with what was going on in class.
Had I known about Kids Email then, I would have signed her up for an account. It’s really easy, it leads you through the steps and you can have multiple accounts for as many children as you have.
You can’t protect your kids forever, but at least you can trust that their email is safe.
What tools do you use to increase online safety for your kids?
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
This post was written by Rebecca Gallagher exclusively for KidsEmail.org and BonBon Break Media, LLC. All opinions are her own.