We are a technological family. I almost feel like I should say “Hello, my name is Stacy, and I’m a technologiholic.” Heh. Actually, we’re not quite as bad as some people, we aren’t big texting fanatics or constantly on our SmartPhones or tablets. Yet.
Princess Nagger is a whiz kid – she picked up on my penchant for technology at an early age, even creating her own laptop out of a Corn Dog box when she was six years old:
Looks like just an ordinary Corn Dog box, doesn’t it? Lift the lid, and et voila:
In case you’re wondering, those are all the characters from Code Lyoko, her pre-Minecraft obsession during that time. She was apparently pretending to have a video chat with one of the characters, Xana:
With a forward-thinking technology idea of little inset screens on the keyboard area for a group chat:
Pretty ingenious, no? Because of her early interest in online fun, and especially after I gave her my first hand-me-down laptop to play games at JumpStart, PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and now more recently Minecraft and Roblox, I needed to be smart about her online presence to make sure she always stays safe.
Did you know the month of June happens to be Internet Safety Awareness Month? Perfect timing, considering kids are out of or getting out of school and have the summer looming ahead of them, looking for things to do. Since it is a technological world, some of the option to thwart boredom will of course be technologically driven.
I keep as close a watch as possible on Princess Nagger’s internet perusing – she has her laptop set up in the Summer House along with the hubby and mine, so when we’re all sitting in front of our individual screens, we’re doing it as a family. You know, modern day ‘Family Time’.
As she gets older, she’ll be allowed more freedom, so we’ve had many conversations about what to do and what not to do when online. She’s a bright kid, but I worry that she might end up in a situation of being Cyberbullied at some point, since she’s so friendly and trusting, and there are unfortunately people out there who would take advantage of that.
If you want to be proactive on keeping your child safe, you need to make sure you understand all the technology – so many people dismiss the fact that their kid is smarter than they are when it comes to technology and gadgets. It’s in our best interest as conscientious parents to stay one step ahead of our kids no matter what. But Shhhhh! Don’t tell Princess Nagger I said that, or she’ll try to outsmart me at every turn.
I spent some time today visiting CyberSafeFutures.org and watched the informational videos – I was honestly not as shocked as I thought I’d be by all the facts presented, it just confirmed that I’m not as over-protective or paranoid as I thought I might be. It’s so sad to note that one in three teens have been victims of Cyberbullying – I sure don’t want that to ever happen to Princess Nagger, or even Little Dude when he gets old enough to be trusted with technology.
The Boys & Girls Clubs Of America (BGCA) is focused on child safety. Together with Sprint they have put together videos, tips, discussion cards and even a Cyber Survivor Challenge Quiz to help parents ensure a safe future for their children. This really is an excellent resource for parents, adults, and young people on opening up a conversation and talking about being cyber safe. BGCA cares about making the future safe for every child.
We as parents need to make sure our kids are not leaving themselves vulnerable by sharing personal information. This is a conversation Princess Nagger and I have had many times (and I’m happy to report she’s embraced her “Princess Nagger” moniker and even made up some other interesting and unique ones, never using her real name nor divulging her actual location. Makes a mama proud. But I’ll still worry.)
I took a brief, fun quiz called “Are You a Cyber Smart Parent?” that is very enlightening. You can take the Cyber Survivor quiz, and be enlightened too. There is also a great resource Tips For Parents on Social Networking that you should really check out as well.
What age did or will you allow your child to get online? How do you plan to keep them safe on the internet?
Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating. As always, all opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources. See my disclosure policy here.