Recently our CEO, Jamie came to me with an infographic about apps that posed potential risks to children. Some of them - as the parent of a teen- I knew about. Others I had zero clue about, and honestly I was a bit freaked out. In this world of digital parenting, how we do keep our kids safe?
You may have seen the infographic (or a form of it) yourself on social media or in the kiddo's backpacks.
How many of these apps do you use? Do your kids use them? Should you lock down all web-enabled devices and shun technology forever to keep them safe from stuff like this? As appealing as that may sound after seeing the potential danger in apps like this it isn't really an option. So what's a worried parent to do? After all, knowing these things are out there is only a part of the picture.
Turning to experts helps shape both the picture and the solutions. We reached out to some experts - parents themselves- to get guidance and gain understanding, not just about potentially dangerous apps but the ever-changing world of digital parenting.
Monica J. Villa (aka The Online Mom who literally wrote the book on raising 'Generation Smartphone') advises that starting out by knowing when your child is truly ready for a smartphone (where most kids use apps) is the first step. From there establishing rules and a dialog come next.
“If you give your 12-year-old a smartphone and say let’s draft some rules, nine out of 10 times they will add some you’ve never thought of because this is their big chance to show they can be responsible.” ~ Monica J. Villa
Tech Savvy Mama, Leticia Barr illustrates the importance of communication with our kids as a tool to help keep them safe online. Even in a digital world real, honest and frequent conversations with our kids are key. Leticia has put together a great guide to having age-appropriate talks, starting with toddlers and growing with them all the way to the teen years.
While it's not likely your nine-year-old is on Tinder, there are still any number of apps and sites out there where kids interact and where bullies and predators can (and do) lurk. The National PTA advises that we get to know our children’s online friends. "...making “friends” online is fast and easy, but you must help your children learn the difference between a real friend and a friendly stranger. Monitor their virtual friendships with questions you would ask about their friends in the physical world."
Looking for more information on the apps listed above, as well as and some that didn't make that particular list? The article here has in depth information on sixteen apps that kids may be using that can pose dangers. Do you have a go-to resource you use to stay on top of digital parenting? We want to know about it, leave a comment. We're all in this together!
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