I don’t know about you, but I totally stress about my kids online. That’s why I like talking to my friend CL, who is a self-described “gadget geek”, who knows all the ins and outs of technology. So, when I have a question about how do I do this, or is there a way to block this person, she invariably has the answer for me. I asked her to pop into Pleasantville for a visit and share some of her online safety tips she uses with her kids. Her post is below! Follow Cherie-Lynn on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook.
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online by CL Buchanan
Remember when we were kids and we’d head out in the morning and not only did we not know where we were going, but our parents didn’t either? No one worried though, after all we stayed within the neighborhood.
Well now everyone lives in our neighborhood. Sure they might not have a house or an apartment, because on with the internet it really doesn’t matter where you physically hang your hat and with having kids that spend more and more time online- this scares me a little.
Ok let me start by saying I am NOT a “Oh my god there is danger at every turn!” kinda mom. I let my kids experience things and learn from mistakes, within reason that is.
I knew that when my kids started to spend time online that I needed to keep them safe. The first thing I did was go to my internet providers website to research what was available. I’m not going to lie, it was the most boring thing I had ever read but it was worth while. It was there that I learned the following:
- I could get a report emailed to me weekly with what sites my kids visited along with how long they where on the site and what links they clicked.
- I approved what emails could get through. Family was automatically added. If they received email from someone not approved it came to me first and then I chose whether or not approve it.
- Within their emails I turned off the option that they could click links that went through to the internet.
I know this seems a little excessive but these rules were all put into place when they first started to be online. They had to earn my trust. Over time I reduced some of the filters and no longer checked their browsing history. They do however know that I still get notices and they have no idea how frequently I check it.
I also hear so much about the fight between parents and kids over Facebook. For the record I have one kid that loves it and one that wants nothing to do with it. The one that loves it was on before she was 13.
Her Facebook is set up as following; I used one of my email address, all notifications are on (annoying yes but it’s allowed me catch someone trying to contact my daughter that shouldn’t have been). As for security features if you’re not friends with her you can’t see anything about her. If you search for her, her profile doesn’t even come up. Friends can’t automatically tag her in pictures- she has to approve them first. She knows there are certain things that aren’t appropriate online. Our rule is if you aren’t comfortable with mom, dad, and grandma seeing or reading it it doesn’t belong online.
Now a little story about how what we’ve taught her has sunk in. About a year ago she received a friend request from a guy that she didn’t know. Through messaging she asked her BFF if she knew who the guy was and she said “No, but I got a request too. Just go ahead and accept it, I did”. What happened next shocked me. My daughter went up one side and down the other of the poor girl about how dangerous it was and how everything on her Facebook page was now available to someone that she didn’t know and not only was it herself that she put in trouble but all her friends as well. It was at that moment that I knew I had done a good job teaching the kids about staying safe online. Oh to finish my daughter and her BFF’s story- BFF fessed up that it was really her just playing a joke!
I live life pretty lighthearted but when it comes to my kids being safe I won’t mess around!