Facebook, Instagram, online dating, online chatrooms, YouTube, are just a few webpages that we have to monitor closely, especially considering that our kids are so much better to hide what they do online than we are. It is easier to monitor your children when they are young and still using your computer but once they get their first job and come home with a new tablet or laptop, then you know things will get tough.
Who are your children talking to, are they real people or has someone made a fake account? Have they met with strange people from the net before? Are they being bullied or are they bullying someone?
There is much more software out there to monitor every move on the child’s computer, but it’s the actions that proceed the computer use that are the ones that trouble parents the most.
If we pretend that as humans we are all software, with us parents as the older model and our children as the newer model the simple solution to this problem would simply be to update our software to up our game. We are well aware that our children may lie to us as we were children once too and we lied to our parents about the same things. It is up to us to take the risk of letting the lie slide or if it sounds like something more serious you could approach your child.
Ipad and Moleskin, Morguefile
When I am at work I am always told that when a new person starts a new position we can train them and ‘model them’ into what we want them to be and how we want them to do things, so the same goes with your kids. While they are young make sure that you are not only their parent but also their friend whom they can confide in, and ask for advice on things they are not entirely sure about and model them into a person that will share absolutely everything with you and that gives you their entire trust, that way you will not have to learn UNIX in order to trace your child’s activity on social media and you will not have to be the CIA to track down their GPS location.
We all know of bullying but have you heard of cyber bullying? Kids today can do some horrible things. A family friend has a young teenage daughter and she has been having some fights with her girlfriends, and they have been writing mean and nasty things about her on her Facebook page and has sent some photos of her not appropriately dressed to some of the classmates which have then sent it to their friends, it had become like Chinese whispers online.
It may not seem like a big deal but there have been cases where some girls decided to make a fake Facebook page and pretended to be a boy that she liked and then sent out their conversation to everyone at school. That was shameful for her so she decided to change schools.
This is one of the problems social networks bring in your home life, if you keep the computer in a space that is accessible to everyone and that you can see your child using it it will make them uncomfortable to talk to strangers or behave in a way that they would normally behave in private, so I recommend always keep the computer in a safe zone such as the living room.
The statistics on bullyingstatistics.org have shown that for every suicide amongst young people due to bullying there are a 100 more suicide attempts.14% of high school students have considered suicide and 7% have attempted it.
It is one thing to have your friends or classmates tease you and make you feel so horrible that you change school, but what about those people online that they do not know? There have been cases of abductions of young women by those men that claim to be their age and they are not. On Facebook you can add anyone you want and anyone can add you as a friend, what is worse is your location is shown to the people you are chatting with unless you turn off the GPS mode and if you are not very computer savvy you can’t recommend that to your kids.
If you read this story you will see what other world of child abuse a young girl has been submitted to. A man had been posing to be this young girls friend online, he had brainwashed her into believing that he was someone he was not and had assisted the young girl running away from home. He had denied any involvement but had then been charged with statutory rape.
More on this story on http://www.mpnnow.com/article/20101006/News/310069873
How to ensure you have safe settings on your Facebook
First of all make sure anything you post is only seen by your friends not the whole world. Make sure only friends of friends can add you so that you don’t have people you have never heard of add you unless you give them consent.
How to turn off GSP location on Facebook
On your mobile phone you will have a little arrow before you post your comment or send a private message, make sure it is greyed out and on your desktop or laptop, you will need to turn off GPS location from your computer settings.
lost in an online world
If you see that your child has been having a rough time at school they may not be telling it all, here are some warning signs of suicide mentioned on bullyingstatistics.org
- Ongoing sadness, withdrawal from others, losing interest in favorite activities, or trouble sleeping or eating
- Talking about or showing an interest in death or dying
- Engaging in dangerous or harmful activities, including reckless behavior, substance abuse, or self injury
- Giving away favorite possessions and saying goodbye to people
- Saying or expressing that they can't handle things anymore
- Making comments that things would be better without them
Have you seen the changes in our children due to the rise in technology's availability to them?