Thursday, August 29, 2013

Parenting Cyber-Safety: Keeping Your Kids Safe Digitally Speaking

Are you a TIP (Technologically Inept Parent)?  Almost 60% of primary school kids know more about technology than their moms, according to new research by Vtech.

Although this may sound amusing, experts agree parents should make the effort to keep abreast of technology for their children’s safety.  Research by Ofcom and EU Kids Online shows around a fifth of parents do not talk to their children about staying safe online, are not confident they can protect their children, and don’t have any rules about safe internet use.

The internet is an amazing resource and has innumerable benefits for our children, but how can we make sure they stay safe online?

Parental Controls
Many parents worry about the content their kids may come across online.  Parental controls can provide some peace of mind.  They let you do things like block selected websites and email addresses by adding them to a filter list, set time limits for use, and prevent your child from searching certain words.  Your internet service provider (ISP) or mobile phone operator will be able to tell you more about any child safety measures they offer.  With younger children, encouraging them to use child-friendly search engines can be a good way to filter content.

Privacy settings
Around 20% of 8 to 15-year-olds with social networking profiles have them set to open, and 29% of UK children have had contact with people they had not met before online.   Banning Facebook is extreme, but there are things you can do to reduce the risks.  Ask your child to select the strongest privacy setting available to ensure that they control who sees their personal information.  Explain why they should never give out personal information to people they only know online – this includes name, home address, phone numbers, bank details, PIN numbers and passwords. It’s also a good idea not to have a username or email address that references their age or gender.

Parenting, not filtering
While filtering tools can be useful, they are no substitute for parenting.  Filtering software is problematic as it can block acceptable sites, and overprotecting your kids might convey that you don’t trust them.  Make sure your kids understand your intentions for watching over them.  Include your child when making a set of rules for using the internet.  Being involved will help them understand the dangers and give them a sense of responsibility.  It’s also important that they feel they can tell you if they experience anything inappropriate that worries them.

Contributor:  Emma Baron of Find A Babysitter

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teen Driving: Tips and Resources to Help Your Teen With Safe Driving Skills

Thinking about teaching your teen to drive might be giving you anxiety attacks, but with some careful planning and preparation it doesn’t have to. To help make the process a smoother one, it’s a good idea to start talking to your child about driving well before he’s ready to get behind the wheel. Your child is taking cues from you, so you need to model responsible driving skills, too. No matter how experienced of a driver you are, you’ll want to brush up on safe driving rules and laws before you start teaching your teen, as well as prepare some basic lessons for him once it’s time for him to start learning to drive. To learn more tips on how to teach your teen to drive, read these 15 blog articles.

Set a Good Example
Everyone is susceptible to road rage on occasion, and you’ve likely pushed the speed limit once or twice in your life. Think about your driving habits before you start teaching your teen to drive and fix any bad habits now, because your child is watching and learning driving habits years before he gets his learner’s permit. It’s never too early to start talking about defensive driving tips with your teen, and these five blog entries are full of tips to help you exhibit and teach good driving skills for your child.
Know the Rules
Try to think back to when you took the driver’s test to get your own learner’s permit.  Do you remember the questions on the test?  If it’s been 20 years or so since you took the test, you probably need a refresher. After all, a lot of things can change in 20 years! Check out these five blog posts to learn why knowing the rules is necessary before starting driving lessons with your child.
Plan Out Your Lessons
Before you get into the car with your teen it’s a good idea to plan out what you’re going to teach him. Start slowly by making sure that he knows how to adjust and work everything in the car.  Driving down the road in a sudden rain shower is no place to realize that he doesn’t know how to turn on the windshield wipers. These five blog postings will give you more tips on how you can break up your lessons.
Source:  Babysitting Jobs

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Distracted Driving: From One Second To The Next, #ItCanWait

Xzavier, Chandler, Debbie, and Reggie all know the horrors of texting & driving firsthand. Watch their stories in this It Can Wait Documentary.

Schools are opening and many teens will be driving to their classes.  What type of role model are you?  Do you talk or text while driving?  Studies have shown that kids are largely influenced by their parents.  You have to lead by example.

Don't be a distracted driver - your child is watching.  #ItCanWait - Take the Pledge.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Teens and Online Porn: Creating Boundaries Online and Off

In the past, pornography was mainly limited to artwork, magazines and the red-light districts. With the Internet and cable television, however, pornography has now made its way into our family rooms, home offices, teens cell phones and kids’ bedrooms. It is easily – and often inadvertently — accessible by children and teenagers, and parents must work even harder to prevent their children from becoming addicted to it.

Experts at the Jacob Wetterling Foundation developed the following tips to help parents prevent their children from becoming addicted to pornography:
  • Place home computers in a central area of the house, not a child’s bedroom or secluded area. Make surfing the Internet a family experience.
  • Talk with your children about what they can and cannot do online, while trying to understand their needs, interests and curiosity.
  • Know your child’s password and screen names; they may have more than one.
  • Set reasonable time limits on computer use, and ensure that your children adhere to the limitations.
  • You should also realize that children may be accessing the Internet from outside the home, such as friend’s homes, work, libraries and school.
  • Be open with your children and encourage them to come to you if they encounter a problem online.
  • Explore filtering and blocking software, which is used to sort information on the Internet and classify it according to content. A major drawback is that some filtering may block innocent sites, while many “negative” sites still get past the filters. Though these programs can be great assets, parents still need to maintain open communication with their children to inform and protect them.
The best cure for addiction is prevention. Many parents may suspect their children of being sexually addicted, but may not be sure of the warning signs. Victor Cline, Ph.D., an expert on pornography and its effects, encourages parents to be on the lookout for the following symptoms of sexual addiction:
  • A pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior
  • Experiencing severe consequences due to sexual behavior, and an inability to stop despite these adverse consequences
  • Persistent pursuit of self-destructive behavior
  • Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior
  • Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy
  • Regularly increasing the amount of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer satisfying
  • Severe mood changes related to sexual activity
  • Inordinate amounts of time spent obtaining sex, being sexual and/or recovering from sexual experiences
  • Neglect of important social, occupational or recreational activities because of sexual behavior
Being an educated parent will help you have safer teens both online and off.