Category Archives: Kids

Are your kids safe on the Internet?

I sat poolside at the hotel while my husband was in meetings. A mom with two small children soon arrived to swim. The two-year-old wanted to swim alone, which she was incapable of doing. She screamed while her older sister played happily in the pool. When they got out of the water, Mom handed the older girl her cell phone to watch something or play a game while she wrestled the unhappy toddler. After she dried and calmed her toddler, Mom asked the older daughter for her phone so she could call room service and order some food. The five-year-old threw a tantrum that it was her game and her phone! Ah, the innocence of youth…yeah, right!

I’m glad I’m not raising kids in this day and age. Navigating the technological landscape as a parent is challenging at best. It’s an excellent tool, but there’s also the dark underbelly lurking just one click away.

I’ve heard from many moms, some I’m related to, that aren’t sure just how much or how little to trust their kids to use smartphones or computers. Parents are children’s greatest advocates and I want to offer a few suggestions how to keep your kids safe on the Internet.

First, a few questions:

  1. Where do your kids access the Internet?
  2. If they use a computer at home, is it in a family area of the house (kitchen, family room, living room) where the screen is visible to others?
  3. Are there filters installed on all devices used by family members?
  4. Are you familiar with the latest apps kids are using to chat with their friends?
  5. What are your family rules about the kids using the Internet?

Parenting isn’t easy. It never was and it never will be. One of my extended family members recently heard from their grade school aged children that kids at school were sending nude photos of themselves using an app on a smartphone. These were not adults or teens, we’re talking about children under age 11! More than 30% of data transferred on the Internet is pornographic. 50% of males and 31% of females are exposed to porn by age 12. The statistics are astounding and the importance of protecting our kids is vital.

Three things you can do now:

  1. Discuss the above questions with your family.
  2. Come up with some guidelines of what is appropriate and what isn’t. Perhaps use the contract which is linked below as inspiration for your own parent/child contract.
  3. Keep communication open with your kids. You want them to come to you with questions about sexuality, stuff their classmates do or talk about, and you want them to feel safe and loved, no matter what.

If you have further questions, please feel free to email me. I’ve included a few resources for you to check out. I hope you find them helpful.

Helpful resources for parents:

iParent.TV is a website offering the latest reviews on various apps, the Internet, social media and other technological topics. They also will send you free resources to help you manage technology in your home with your kids.

Touchy Subjects, by Craig Gross and David Dean. The authors are both dads to younger kids. I received the book for free in exchange for a review which is posted here. This book is a good resource for parents with children of any age.

The PluggedIn.com website offers guidelines and reviews of movies, television, and music. Rather than reading it yourself, teach your kids how to access it and make decisions based on what they read.

Common Sense Media website has loads of information for parents and educators with ratings and reviews of apps, games, and websites among other things.

National Association of School Psychologists has a free sample contract between parents and kids regarding Internet safety.

Women for Decency offers helpful articles about how to talk with your kids about porn, sex, and related topics on this website.

X3Watch is filtering software for all of your devices and is reasonably priced. Sign up through their website and receive a discount.

Covenant Eyes has a variety of Internet filtering software plans and accountability options.

Holiday Shopping? Download the Favorite Things List FREE!

Christmas

Favorite Things List

Great Help for Gift Buying this Christmas and Throughout the Year

In anticipation of the holiday gift-buying season, I created a Favorite Things List for each of my kids to fill out. You can download it now for FREE!

I will use this favorite things list at Christmas and throughout the year when preparing special meals, shopping for special occasions and buying the right size clothing for them.

Gift-buying has never been my strong suit, so this tool is valuable to me and I hope it is to you, too. In the habit of giving flannel pajama bottoms and fruit-flavored chocolates the last few Christmases, I learned that a couple of my kids don’t like those things. I felt terrible.

So, for Thanksgiving this year I had them fill out their own Favorite Things List. It was time each of my grown kids wrote down their favorite things list so Mom can buy things they actually like. This Christmas will be different, now that I have their completed Favorite Things Lists.

Expecting that I might have a hard time getting them to fill out the form, I offered a treat. In exchange for a complete list of their favorite things, I gave each one their own chocolate Advent calendar. No one said they didn’t like those! Cheers to a new holiday tradition, kids. You may expect your own treat-filled Advent calendar to countdown to Christmas every year from now on.

If you’re a parent tired of guessing what your kids (especially teen and adult kids)  want to eat, what size they wear, or what their favorite candy is, download the FREE Favorite Things List here. It will save you and your kids disappointment, stress and guesswork in the future. It’s a win-win for everyone! Happy Shopping!

How to Deal with Touchy Subjects

Even in our liberated culture, sexuality is a very personal and touchy subject. Especially touchy for parents to know how best to talk about it with their children. How old should kids be? How much do we tell? How much is too much?

Children see no, hear no, speak no

One important theme repeated throughout Touchy Subjects: Talking to Kids About Sex, Tech and Social Media in a Touchscreen World by David Dean and Craig Gross is: talking about touchy subjects is not a one-time conversation. It is on-going.

Parents cannot hide or act ignorant in these conversations about sexually related topics. If kids ask direct questions, they deserve direct and honest answers. Who better to provide those answers than their parents?

The authors’ stance on young children using social media is sensible and straightforward. Children are still developing as humans, like a Polaroid picture. If they are rushed in their growth, their self-image may become distorted. Adult life is full of responsibilities, no reason to move children to adult-like maturity too quickly. That time will arrive soon enough.

I realize this is a subject many don’t want to discuss. Yet, most of us would agree that our sexuality and how it impacts our self-image and relationships is integral and important. As parents, if we cannot, will not or do not talk about these topics with our kids as they are in our care, they will learn it elsewhere.

touchy_subjects-_cover

In my opinion, this book, Touchy Subjects is a required read for every parent, regardless of your child’s age. Add it to your tool box of parenting resources.

Note: I am not compensated in any way for promoting this book.

To order your copy, click HERE

For more info on this subject and the authors click HERE