Sunday, July 1, 2012
Introducing ScreenRetriever! Internet Safety For Kids!
How can you be a better parent online?
My daughter, Nicole, 13 years old goes upstairs to the bedroom, closes the door and goes on her computer that has a webcam. She says she’s doing homework but I used to worry about whether she’s really doing her homework and also about all of the online risks she might be exposed to.
Online predators, Facebook misuse, inappropriate websites, video chatrooms cyberbullying and sleep deprivation are what we all worry about when our kids go online today. It’s hard to believe that there are even pro-anorexia and self harm sites, not to mention all of the porn online today. Nicole knows that I’m going to check in to make sure that she’s following our family rules about internet safety and computer use that we’ve gone over with her.
When I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner, or working in my home office, ScreenRetriever makes it easy for me to check in live to see that Nicole is focusing on her homework and not getting distracted by playing games or venturing elsewhere because of her natural curiosity. She can see the ScreenRetriever icon in her tool tray turn yellow when I check in. When I’m not home, or if Nicole takes her computer to a friend’s house I can quickly scroll through recorded videos later to make sure she’s behaving appropriately online. We’ve had many discussions about internet safety and computer issues. Nicole knows that what ever she posts online is permanent and can affect her college admission and even employment down the road.
Nicole is a tween and not an adult, so she’s bound to make mistakes, be a bit impulsive and make errors in judgment. It’s amazing that the part of the brain that’s responsible for good decision making isn’t fully developed until an adult reaches 25. It’s my job to guide her and teach her appropriate and safe computer use throughout her teen years and before she goes off to college, ScreenRetriever helps me do just that.
Nicole knows that whenever she posts a comment or a picture online that she’s creating her own personal brand that can affect her reputation. Occasionally, she’s posted a somewhat inappropriate picture by our family standards and I’ve been able to talk to her about that. We’ve talked about sexting, because 20% of kids are sexting and may not understand the consequences. We’ve talked about taking the same manners and code of conduct that she’s learned offline, to the online world. If we could teach other kids to understand that there is someone at the other end of their post, maybe cyberbullying wouldn’t be in the news everyday. We’ve talked about online predators and video chatrooms. Nicole understands that she should only Skype with people she knows in the offline world not strangers on sites like Omegle, which are predator havens. Raising kids is so much more complicated today. When I was a kid these online issues didn’t exist.
The offline world and on line world are one and the same to kids today… so I really need to know what’s going on in Nicole’s online world just as I do in the offline world. When Nicole goes to a friend’s house, I call parents to make sure they’re home. I know what she’s watching on TV and who she’s hanging out with. I call it parenting online just as I do offline. I don’t need to hover, I just need to check in now and then and keep the lines of communication open. It’s important for me to understand her world and know what’s going on, so that I can teach her appropriate, responsible computer use. If I don’t, who will?
Visit ScreenRetriever and help your children learn to use the internet in a safe way!
Disclosure: I have been compensated by this company to help with promotions. Opinions expressed are mine and not influenced in any way.