I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. (This is a #MC #sponsored post.)
Cyber safety: we all think about it and we all know it’s important but are we really doing what we can about it? Do we even know what that is?
This is where the Boys and Girls Club of America’s Cybersafe site comes in. It’s a wealth of information in a kid and parent friendly format.
I started with the cyber smart parent quiz. I did good and was rated a CyberSurvivor!
Having worked online since the mid-90’s, I have been involved with online safety, privacy and confidentiality since my kids were little. I joke with my kids that I was young before there was an internet we could access 24/7 and we didn’t have to worry about people talking smack about us or sharing inappropriate or private photos/stories online. Cyberbullying? What was that?
Different story now though, where we parents not only have to watch our child’s pages, we have to watch their interaction on others’ pages and then Google their names online now and then just to see if they come up. We have to talk with them frequently about the importance of never texting someone a photo that isn’t anything you’d do in public, how once something’s in writing, it’s out there for the world to see and how not everyone online is really who they say they are.
Sites like GBCA’s Cybersafe site help. No kid wants to feel like they’re being lectured – again – even if the info is life-saving, so this site puts it out there in an appealing, “Survivor-esque” fashion, offering a safe place for you to ask questions to the CyberTribe, teens who are experts in cyber safety. (And for fun, when you submit a question, you then have the chance to enter the CyberSafe Futures Giveaway of an iPad Mini!) This Q & A opportunity is a partnership with Sprint and is a perfect resource for people who want to get help from teens who get it and can relate to your question! The BGCA is part of the CyberSafe Futures initiative in support of Internet Safety Awareness. Here’s a great article about it!
The site also offers a parent resource section and a link for resources for teens, too. They touch on important topics, such as social networks, respecting yourself and others online and how you can help your kids stay safe. One of my favorite things is the stress they’ve placed on setting limits about what your kids share online. When I talk to parents about cyber safety, it surprises me how many of them don’t have those. “I trust my child.” That’s wonderful, but you can’t trust everyone else’s and children can respond when feeling threatened, intimidated or pressured.
In our house, we have quite a few limits for social media participation. Follow them or don’t play is what we say!
- No use of your full name online until you’re at least 16.
- No sharing of school information or anything identifiable.
- We must have your passwords.
- We must be on your friends list and you cannot have limited our access.
- Under 16? We have to okay ALL the friends and connections you make.
- No sharing photos of anyone else without their permission.
Sure, these rules can sound restrictive and the kids aren’t always happy about them, but I’ve seen what happens when there are no rules and it’s not pretty. We can’t protect them 100% of the time but we can do our best. It’s part of the responsibility of parenting in these times!
Head over to BGCA’s Cyber Safe site, take the quiz, submit your questions (and enter for a chance to win the iPad Mini) and share the site with your kids. There are even discussion cards and posters to download. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time, so use your time on the site to come up with key points you want to address and focus on those. It’s worth it! (And follow #CyberSafe and #CyberTribe on Twitter for even more!)