My daughter’s final project in elementary school was a speech on any topic she wanted to focus on. The only requirements were that it be 5 minutes long and something relevant to kids her age. Imagine how proud I was of her when she said she wanted to talk about the dangers of the Internet and how to keep kids safe online.
I wasn’t surprised though, because my kids have been hearing about the ins and outs of Internet from the time they were old enough to go online. As a copywriter and tech geek, I’ve worked on projects with companies who focus on online reputations and the ‘what goes around, stays around’ mentality of the internet. I like to chat when I work, so if something came up I found interesting, I’d share it with my daughter and oldest son.
That’s why, when it came time to get my 12 year old her first phone to take to high school, she knew right away there would be rules to going online. The same went for my 11 year old son’s first iPod. After explaining that the Internet was basically a wide open portal, things aren’t always what they appear to be, and what goes online stays online, I also let them know I would check any texts coming in from friends, and all apps had to be approved before downloading.
The only social networking app I’ve let my daughter have is a private Instagram profile with the provisions she only follow people I know and approve, that her profile is private, and she deny any friend requests until we look at them together. It works well for us, but it’s definitely opened my eyes to how some of the kids we know don’t follow the same rules. I’ve even unfollowed kids she knows very well and talked to their parents when they offer their ‘Snap Chat’ or ‘Kik’ profiles.
When she stood in front of her class to read her speech, she touched on cyber bullying, how strangers can pose anonymously and pretend to be your friend, and why she wouldn’t be signing up for Facebook until she was much, much older. Kids asked questions and she gave answers, and when she came home she had a few questions of her own. I’m just glad I have most of the answers, and if I have any questions, I can find out anything I’d need to know at #CyberTalk.
What is Cyber Talk?
Get Cyber Safe is hosting two live, 30-45 minute online discussions. They’ll be moderated by parenting, youth, and cyber experts like Alyson Schafer and KidsHelpPhone. It’s a live Q&A, so if you have questions about cyber bulling, online impersonation, or online safety, just jump in and ask.
When is Cyber Talk?
The event is virtual, so all you have to do is visit www.facebook.com/getcybersafe and join in. You can ask your own questions in advance on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #CyberTalk , and RSVP by visiting https://www.facebook.com/events/813677028667145/
Now that she’s in high school, do I look at her phone every day? You bet. She never has an issue when I pick it up and scroll through it, and because she’s researched online safety herself, she likes to talk about it.
I know the road to digital safety won’t always be this smooth, but I also believe a good foundation is the best chance we have of keeping our kids safe in our increasingly online world.
Check out #CyberTalk on Twitter and Facebook, then head over to the Get Cyber Safe Facebook page on September 17th or September 24th.
You can also enter to win a $50 Visa gift card, which would be great for purchasing safety software for your family computer. You must be a resident of Canada to win, and although you can enter on many blogs, you can only win on one. Email or comment below before the 17th to win.
“Disclosure: I am part of the Bell Media – Cyber Safety blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”