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Cyber bullying and internet safety. It's all over the news these days. As parents, what’s sometimes scary in the big internet world is the feeling of: “I don't know what I don't know”. Case in point, I just came across an article in the New York Times that talks about a new social networking site I never heard of. Apparently this new site has brought cyber bullying to a whole new level. I follow twitter, read a lot of articles about kids and technology … Why didn't I know about this? I guess my kids aren't on it, but that doesn't mean that they're not going to be on it next week.
So, how do we keep our kids safe and stay on top of what’s happening in their world? I think there are a couple of things we can do besides keeping an open dialogue with our kids (because let’s face it – our kids don’t tell us everything):
find a couple of good sites that talk about internet safety and provide current information and tips* and subscribe to their feed or check back regularly.
attend internet safety and cyber bullying seminars offered by your school and community.
participate in the social network sites so you know what your kids are up to.
and most importantly, talk to the parents of your kid’s friends. A lot. What are they seeing and hearing? Also, talk to your friends who have older kids. Know what's coming.
Social networking has replaced the telephone for our kids. This is the world they/we live in -- some may not like it or understand it, but it is the reality. By keeping our ear to the ground and having an open dialog with other parents we can stay informed without being alarmists. One thing is for sure: the quickest way to get your kids to stop confiding in you about technology or anything else, is to over react (be an alarmist).
How do stay ahead of the technology curve? How do you monitor what your kids are doing online? Love to hear from you.