Cyberbullying – How To Prevent It And How To Tackle It

Cyberbullying is a very real threat and in extreme cases it has been linked to self-harm and even suicide. Even ‘mild’ bullying can damage a child’s fragile self-esteem and make them anxious and worried all the time. If you are a parent you need to be keeping a keen eye on what your child is up to online. If you work in a school you have a responsibility to monitor internet usage to make sure bullying is not happening during school hours.

Cyberbullying comes in many forms such as teasing, harassing, intimidating and name-calling. It is very commonly carried out over instant messaging, social networking and emails. Cyber bullies can be male or female, and can be any sort of age group. They spread gossip, they threaten and manipulate, and they need to be stamped out. Here’s how to monitor it:

Education

Children need to be educated in the ways of handling people. They should be taught to treat people the way they would want to be treated themselves, especially online. They should be shown the consequences of their actions, and they should be aware of what ‘constitutes’ bullying in the first place. Children learn by example, and as we all know, adults can be capable of bullying too. Don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t want your children or your pupils to behave in.

Internet Usage Monitoring

It’s a sad fact of today’s society that in order to police the internet, a certain degree of spying is involved. Parental controls should be switched on, and set to the highest degree of security. Keylogging software should also be installed so that you have access to a constant log of internet activity. Should anybody make bullying allegations, you will have all the information and evidence you’ll need in order to follow it up. Reports should be monitored on a regular basis and anything untoward should be dealt with immediately. You need to know that you are doing everything you can to keep the children as safe as possible, and if a little spying is what it takes to stop bullying, then so be it.

Set the Rules

Both families and schools need rules to which everybody adheres. Make the rules clear – you will never ever tolerate anyone being cruel or getting involved in cyberbullying. Another rule should be that if someone is being the victim of cyber bullies they need to be able to report it as soon as possible, knowing they will be protected and the issue will be followed up. Make the rules fair and well communicated so that everybody knows what is expected of them.

Cyberbullying may never be stamped out altogether but there is plenty that you can do to limit it. The key to nipping it in the bud is to make sure everyone knows that it will not be tolerated, and if it is uncovered then the perpetrators will be severely punished. Promote kindness and consideration in your school and home and encourage your children to be as nice to people as possible, whether online or in person.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/globe-e-mail-ball-earth-world-at-107393/
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Today’s guest author, Jim Powell, is a software reviewer at Well Researched Reviews, a software reviewing firm. He is a nature lover and an environmentalist and works towards makings this a greener planet in his spare time.

Five Emergency Phone Numbers Your Kids Should Have Memorized

In the event that an emergency occurs and you are not with your kids, it is extremely important for them to know how to react. Regardless of how big or small the emergency may be, your kids should know to call for help immediately. Creating a list of emergency phone numbers is a great way to make sure your kids will call for help. If for some reason this list is not with them, these are the top five emergency phone numbers your kids should have memorized.

911

lockedoutThis is the easiest number to memorize, and thankfully, the most effective in a crisis. In a critical emergency, make sure your children know to call this number before they call any other one. Educate them about how calling 911 works so they know that an ambulance, fire truck, or police car will come to help them. It is also important they know proper 911 etiquette and know not to call for minor situations. When calling, remind them to speak as calmly as possible and to state their full name and full address.

Your Cell phone

It is becoming more and more popular to carry cell phones absolutely everywhere. While some consider this a curse, it can come in handy when your children need to reach you in case of an emergency. It would be preferable for kids to know both of their parents’ phone numbers but if that’s not possible, designate either mom or dad to be the official emergency contact. This way, they know they can call, text, or page whenever they need help.

Your Work Phone

This number is very important too because your cell phone may not always be a priority to answer while at work. Specify that when you are at work, you can be reached through the work phone number, especially in case of emergencies. Tell your kids not to be afraid to tell whoever answers the phone at work that it is an emergency.

Home Phone

If your kids are away and you happen to be home, they should know the home phone number in the event no one is answering their cell phones. Unlike the cell phone ringtone that can get muffled when lost around the house, the home phone tone can be heard pretty much everywhere.

Neighbor’s Phone

Before telling your kids to memorize this number, double check with your neighbor that it is okay for them to be an emergency contact. If the kids are home alone, this is a good number for them to call if they feel the need to.

Stranger Danger – Start Talking to Your Kids Early

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Do you remember how old you were when your parents first told you to be careful not to talk to strangers?  Depending on how old you are now, your parents may not have had to have that talk with you until you were school age or older.  Unfortunately, given the connected society we live in today, stranger danger language and discussions should become a part of the dialogue you have with your children from a very young age.

When To Start Talking

The minute your child is old enough to play at a playground or be out in public without being strapped to your body in a baby carrier of some kind,  stranger danger conversations should begin.  When you are talking to young children about the dangers of the world, your instinct may be to shield them from the knowledge, but they need to know not to follow the nice man with the puppy at the park just because he tells them mommy says it’s ok.  Bad things happen very, very quickly.

Not Every Bad Person Looks Bad

stranger dangerIt is important that you communicate to your children that not all bad people come in the form of the big, bad wolf…and that not all bad people are men.  The more he or she understands about what could happen, the likelier it is that your child can take an active role in preventing it from happening.

As your child gets older, it’s important to expand the conversation.  By the time your child is of potty-training age, you should begin conversations about good and bad touching and good and bad secrets (good secrets being the ones where you don’t ruin or surprise or tell what a person’s present is; bad secrets are everything else).  You don’t have to be explicit to let your children know that their private parts are private, and that they can and should say no whenever they feel uncomfortable.  Empowering your child to say no, even to an adult, is one of the best tools you can give them.

Teach Kids To Trust Their Gut

It is very important to teach your children to listen to their bodies.  Children can be taught to recognize that gut instinct or bad feeling and act on it. The more you trust and empower them, the less likely it will be that they end up as a victim.

To protect your children from strangers, never write their names on the outside of their backpack, lunch box, jackets, or other items they carry with them to and from preschool or school.  Play out scenarios with them if you’re going somewhere new.  Ask them what they would if a stranger approached them.   If you are in a crowded public place, make your child hold your hand.  At parks and public venues, keep them in sight and check in with your child often.  Better yet, get out there and play with your child.

Stranger danger conversations can seem intimidating, but think of it as just another success tool you are giving your child.  The more prepared your child is, the more successful the child will be.  The more empowered your child is, the safer he or she will be.

5 Tips for Effective Parenting Inside Your Vehicle

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Amy Nielson

When it comes to parenting, do you have all of your ducks in a row? Do your friends and family consistently compliment you on your well-behaved children? Even the most with it parents can feel like their children have been replaced by pod people once they get into the car. From screaming tantrums to hyperactive behaviors, children can provide a wealth of distractions inside of your car. Here are five tips that you can use to parent your children effectively and safely when you’re driving down the road:

1.Car Seats

The first step to parenting your children in the car is to make sure that they are safe. Laws regarding child restraint can change yearly; be sure you’re up on the current laws in your state. It surprises many parents to find that their 12-year old children may still need a booster seat in order to ride in the car safely. You’ll need to take your child’s height and weight into consideration when choosing the correct safety system for your vehicle. Once you purchase your seat, make sure that you have it installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you need help installing your child’s car safety seat, your local police department may have someone that can help you; contact the department to inquire about getting assistance.

2.Pull Over

According to statistics, the majority of car collisions are caused by distracted drivers. While you may not want to think of your children as distractions, that’s exactly what they are when they’re misbehaving in the car. If you need to reprimand your children, resist the urge to take your eyes off of the road in front of you. Instead, pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot and regain control of your little ones. Even fighting to make eye contact in the rearview mirror can be dangerous; never reprimand your children while you’re driving.

3.Set Rules and Consequences

Your children may not be old enough to understand the dangers of distracted driving, but they are old enough to understand rules and consequences. Before you allow your children to get into your car, establish a clear set of rules. Make rules that include no yelling or shouting and keeping hands and feet where they belong. Nothing is worse than having a child screaming in your ear while they kick the back of your seat. Make sure that your children understand the consequences of bad behavior inside of the vehicle before you take off down the road.

4.Activities

Busy children are often well-behaved children. Buy a small backpack for each child and let them fill it with things that they want to do. Small children may be happy with a few coloring books and a box of crayons, while older children may want to pack a portable DVD player and favorite movies. Keeping the activity bags in the car will give your children both a reason to look forward to road trips and a reason to behave. If you choose to allow your children to watch movies or listen to their own music in your car, make sure that they bring along ear buds so that you aren’t distracted by the noise.

5.Know When to Leave

If you decide to make a run to the store during your child’s nap time and your little one acts out, whose fault is it? Yours. Don’t leave the house when your child should be napping or during meal times. Don’t leave the house when your child is already misbehaving or in a particularly naughty mood. You can’t expect your child to behave in the car if they are already misbehaving in the house. You also can’t realistically expect a child who’s hungry or tired to control themselves in your vehicle. Leaving your house at the proper times will head off any tantrums in the car before they start. Try to head out after your child has had his nap or after your daughter has had breakfast; you’ll be happy that you timed it right.

Part of the responsibility of driving is ensuring that those in your car and others on the road are safe. By driving with crazed children, you’re virtually asking for an accident. Follow the tips above to effectively parent your children in the car and you’ll be better prepared to get everyone where they are going safely. For more information on safe driving, visit car insurance.org.uk

Amy Nielson is an avid blogger who writes often for insurance sites. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Peer Pressure

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

Encourage Your Kids to Be Individuals

If you want your kids to be able to overcome peer pressure, empower them to be comfortable in their own skin. Kids are better able to resist peer pressure when they feel good about themselves.

Be Involved in Your Kids’ Lives

One of the best ways to make sure your kids aren’t falling victim to peer pressure and doing things they wouldn’t otherwise choose to do is to stay involved in their lives. By being involved and supportive, you can give them the power to say no.

Love Your Kids Without Judgment

Embrace the unique individuals your kids are becoming and celebrate those differences. When you love your kids without judgement, you free them to be who they want to be, and that gives them the power to be leaders instead of followers.

Raise Your Kids with High Self-Esteem

Helping your kids feel good about themselves does not mean handing them everything on a silver platter. It means teaching them to work for and earn their rewards, to suffer the consequences of their choices, and to be responsible for their actions. It also means loving them for who they are – without turning them into mini-mes who parrot your thoughts and opinions.

Teach Cause and Effect

If you raise your children to understand that they are in control of their own lives and that each choice they make has a consequence, they will learn to associate their own choices and free will with the outcomes they want to have.

You cannot teach your child to avoid peer pressure, but you can empower them to be strong enough to not only say no but to be a positive force among their peers.

 

5 Safety Tips for Halloween Trick-or-Treating

Guest Contributor Pam Johnson
As parents, we have always and will always worry about the safety of our children. Halloween is no exception to this rule. Letting our children trek off into the dark with people running around in different persona can be a scary thought, but it is really not an option to ban them from Halloween trick or treating. Follow these safety tips to make you feel better about your child’s Halloween fun:
1. Take your child trick or treating instead of passing the task on to someone else.

Although it can be tempting to have someone else take your child all around the neighborhood on Halloween night instead of doing it yourself, it will be a lot safer if you take them yourself. No one will watch your child as intently as you will, and that is very important on a night like Halloween.

2. Add a piece of reflective material to your child’s Halloween costume.

Even if you are the one taking your child out on their Halloween trick or treating adventure, it can still be difficult to keep track of them. It will be dark, there will be lots of other children out, and of course, they will be wearing a costume. One great way to differentiate your child from the masses and make them more visible it to add a piece of reflective material on them. This can be anything from reflective duct tape to flashing bike lights. Add anything that will allow you to keep a better eye on your child and keep them safer.

3. Make sure that you and your child follow general pedestrian laws.

It is likely that you have taught your children the classic “look both ways before you cross the street”. Halloween night is a great way to put this rule into practice. Make sure your child, in a frenzy of all their Halloween candy excitement, is not running into the street. Also, make sure you are only walking on the sidewalk and not in the middle of the street. Helping your child avoid getting hit by a car on Halloween night is obviously a way to make the night better.

4. Check your child’s candy before they eat it.

Although it can be difficult to check candy for toxins that could potentially harm your child, there are a few ways to make sure that the candy your child is drooling over is safe for them to consume. You should only allow your child to eat candy that is factory sealed. If it has been homemade or opened, it is not safe for them to eat. You should also make sure that none of the foods that they got while trick or treating are choking hazards.

5. Only visit well-lit homes that look inviting when trick or treating.

If you come across a house on your trick or treating that has lights off, it is a good idea to just move on to the next house. If they do not look inviting, it is likely that they aren’t.

Author Pam Johnson enjoys Halloween and blogging. She is a contributing writer for homeinsurance.org.

Weapon Safety in the Home

When I went from Great White Hunter to Mom, the guns didn’t come with me. That’s not always an option, so I’m very grateful to Haliegh Adams for preparing this article exclusively for MomsGetReal about gun and weapon safety in the home. – Shadra

The safe storage of weapons in the home is a huge responsibility for any gun owner. Following the rules listed below will help to ensure that your home is safe and no tragic accidents will occur.

First, you should unload any firearms that you are going to take into your home. Basic logic says that if the firearm is kept unloaded in the home, there is zero chance that it will accidentally be discharged.

When handling a gun or showing it to someone, never assume that it is unloaded. Always check to make sure. It is also never a good idea to rely on the safety to save you if the trigger is accidentally pulled. A gun’s safety can malfunction, just like any other mechanical device.

Shotguns and rifles need to be stored in locked cabinets. Handguns need to be safely locked in a drawer or cabinet. Keeping a firearm in a locked storage space is especially critical if children are living in the home. Countless tragedies have occurred when children find guns that are not properly locked away. If you are unable to lock the gun in a cabinet or drawer, a trigger lock would be an adequate alternative. The environment where the guns are stored should be cool and dry, so the wood and metal of the gun are protected.

Keep any ammunition in a locked container that is in a completely separate place from where you are keeping the guns. Once again, this is a good preventative safety measure if children reside in the home. Keeping the ammunition on a different level of the house or in a different room is another effective safety measure. Since you are going to the trouble to lock up the guns and ammunition, you should also take special care to keep the keys hidden from the children.

If the gun owner has children, it is his or her responsibility to teach the children about basic gun safety. They are never too young to begin learning. It all starts with setting a good example for your kids. If your children see you always handling a firearm with the proper amount of respect it deserves, they will likely follow in your footsteps.

As the children get older, the gun owner must make the children understand that guns are not toys. The child must realize that a gun can be dangerous and deadly if not handled properly. If the child is used to playing with toy guns, this could be a difficult task. Taking the child to a firing range and showing them the damage a gun can do is a good idea for any parent.

Lastly, enrolling a child in a firearms safety class will help to reinforce the safety tips that you have already taught your child.

Haliegh Adams is a professional writer and enjoys hiking, fishing and knife collecting. Her favorite knife brand is Gerber.

Banged Up Heads and Good Parenting

I am SOOO excited to introduce you to the newest member of our Mama Posse, Mary Swan-Bell.

This is her first of what I hope will be MANY contributions to MomsGetReal.

Welcome, Mary!!

_______________

Banged Up Heads and Good Parenting

by Mary Swan-Bell

I kind of imagine this is how the conversation with Child Protective Services might go:

“How was your child injured?”

“Well, ummm…it was kind of like….uh..uh..a slot machine fell on her head.”

“GUARDS!!! SEIZE HER!!!”

Because really, if a slot machine falls on your 5-year-old’s head, you probably don’t have any business raising children, right? Well, I hope not. But a slot machine did in fact fall on my five-year-old’s head recently. It wasn’t really a case of parental neglect. I mean we were pretty engaged in watching the Buckeyes demolish Syracuse in a very exciting basketball game, but we were less than 15 feet away from our daughter.

Our friends have a slot machine in their garage, and since we are doing our best to raise our children with a love of gambling, they were playing with it. Since it’s in our friend’s garage, and for fun not profit, when you’ve used up all your coins, you can unlock the front, retrieve your coins and start over. This was what she was in the process of doing when the entire machine tipped over onto her head.

I watched in slow motion as this machine toppled toward my tiny child, a silent scream escaping from my lips. Paralyzed with fear, I was only able to gasp and point. Familiar with my always capable responses in crisis situations, my husband sprang to action and pulled the machine off her. Fortunately, she was only scratched a little bit and scared. After I held her on my lap for a few minutes the tears (hers anyway) subsided, and a blue popsicle was able to erase nearly all the pain.

I, on the other hand, didn’t recover quite as quickly and squeezed her so tightly that she protested, “Mommy, you’re hugging me too hard,” as I replayed all of other possible scenarios. Here’s the thing: No matter how good of a parent you are, your kids are gonna get hurt. Whether it’s a tumble from a two-wheeler, a twisted ankle on a trampoline, or a scuffed up head from a slot machine, they are going to suffer injuries as part of growing up.

What can you do? Well obviously, we try to avoid any scenario which involves our child being injured. Maybe to a lesser degree during March Madness. But for the most part we avoid potentially dangerous situations. We hover over our kids at playgrounds. We don’t let them ride on two wheels before they’re ready. They still manage to get hurt. So, we deal with it. We beat ourselves up for an inordinately long period of time, and then we move on, making a note in the back of our heads to watch out for falling slot machines next time. And your child? She’ll remember that when the slot machine fell, Daddy caught it, and Mommy caught her.

You can read more amazing stuff from Mary at Adventures in Overthinking.

Safety and Social Media – Protecting Your Kids

Getting Real With Candi Wingate

Sometimes, danger lurks in the most innocent of exchanges.  When parents use social media such as Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, and other mass-exposure venues, it is wise to use caution about what information is posted.  After all, you never know who main gain access to that information and what malevolence they may have in mind.  Below are some tips for staying safe while using social media.

  • On most social media sites, you can, in some limited fashion, restrict access to your posts, pictures, etc. For example, on Facebook, you can and should limit access to “friends only”, which means that only those people whom you have accepted as your friends may view your posts and pictures. However, know that this is not a guarantee of safety. People are not always who they say they are on the Internet. Additionally, people can wrongly gain access to information . . . information that they would not have access to if they were following proper protocol.
  • Never accept a connection to someone you do not know.
  • Never post that you are planning to be away from home or that you are currently away from home. Dangerous posts include, “Tonight is date night! Hubby is taking me to my favorite steakhouse! Just the two of us . . . a romantic evening at last!” , “I am at the grocery store, shopping for our big holiday meal, and the kids are dawdling, so this is taking forever!” , or “I am so looking forward to our Vegas vacation next week!” If no one will be at home, burglars may have a perfect opportunity. If children will be at home without parents (even if with a babysitter), kidnappers, child molesters, rapists, and other evil-doers may have their perfect opportunity. If you really want to post about a trip away from home, do so only upon your return home. However, if your trips away from home occur at regularly scheduled intervals, even posts after the fact can provide a criminal the opportunity to calculate when your next departure will occur.
  • Never post your home address or telephone number. Criminals use this information to pay your home a visit. Some even call first to make sure you are not home or to con your kids into believing that they are your friends and will wait in your home for your return.
  • Unless you live in a very small community, you can usually safely post your city and state. If you live in a small community, you should post your state only.
  • Never post pictures that identify your children, your home address, or other locations at which your children can regularly be located. Pictures of children can entice pedophiles and other criminals, and photographs of frequented locations give them opportunity. If you do post family pictures, do not identify which children are yours and which children may be nieces, nephews, neighbor kids, etc.
  • Never post names and ages of your children. Again, this gives criminals opportunity. For example, if you post the names and ages of your three kids, a pedophile could call or visit your home in your absence and report that he is a friend of yours. He could say, “Oh, hi, Miranda! I haven’t seen you since you were a baby, but your mom sends me pictures of you each year in her Christmas card! How are you, Justin, and Chris?” Your child will likely hear this as a sign that he is familiar and safe. When she subsequently lets him in your home to await your return, trouble ensues.
  • Never post your children’s interests. If you post that Miranda is a ballerina, certain pedophiles may find that enticing and use that information to locate her (i.e., he may loiter outside various dance studios until he finds her). He may then strike up a conversation with her about how much they have in common (based on your various posts of her interests). This is a recipe for disaster.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of social media while limiting the safety risks associated with it.

As the former nanny for a couple with five children, Candi Wingate quickly learned about the needs of a modern day family.   Based on that experience, Wingate, now a wife and mother, purchased her very own nanny placement agency.  Based in Nebraska and serving the U.S. and Canada , Nannies4Hire’s booming online database registry serves more than 500,000 families, nannies, and babysitters. The rapidly growing agency has developed ongoing relationships with The Dr. Phil Show, Supernanny, Good Morning America and TLC’s hit show Jon and Kate Plus 8.   Ready for the next level, Candi has also launched Care4Hire.com, a database registry for personal assistants, tutors, eldercare, and other services. For more information, please visit www.nannies4hire.com.

Threat of Online Predators

Getting Real With Amy Kelly was gracious enough to share her two-part series on Internet Predators with us. Read part one here. Thank you, Ken Shallcross, for helping get the word out to make kids safer online.

Guest Post by Ken Shallcross from PC Pandora. Ken Shallcross is the director of public outreach and marketing for Pandora Corp. He has been with the company since 2007, and has a background in broadcast PR. He has a BA in journalism from University of RI, and is based in New York City.

For three years I have maintained a weekly series on my blog (www.blog.pcpandora.com) called Wacky Internet Predator Wednesdays. The title says it all. Every week I round up the stories that report on Internet predators being busted, getting caught and receiving sentencing. Not a week goes by without at least one person somewhere in the country being arrested for soliciting sex from (a) minor(s) online.

The very sad part: in the last year, I have noticed a sharp increase of stories where the predator succeeded and a real child was involved. Take for instance one recent entry, post #145. Every story that week featured actual teens being solicited by older men online. In every story, the predator succeeded in his mission:

  1. A 43-year-old man in Texas used his affiliation with a youth soccer league, as well as the Internet, to solicit sex from underage kids. He succeeded with at least one 14-year-old boy…
  2. A 25-year-old Iowa man met a 14-year-old girl on Myspace and had consensual sex with her…
  3. A 15-year-old girl in Ohio met a man from North Carolina on the Internet… he drove to pick her up and she got in the car with him… all the way back to NC!!
  4. In Los Angeles, a 14-year-old girl met an older man on Facebook and MySpace and he drove to her house, kidnapped and raped her. At the time of the blog post, the suspect was still at large!

Oddly enough, the week prior to that (entry #144) featured four stories of predators being snagged in sting operations, which is a clear indication that these guys are out there in droves. Sometimes we get lucky and get to them first. But go back one week further (to entry #143) and we have stories about these four guys:

  1. A 24-year-old man in Colorado posed at a 19-year-old boy online and was able to solicit and have sex with an underage girl he met online…
  2. A 37-year-old Florida man was arrested for driving to Omaha Nebraska to pick up a 17-year-old girl he met online. She went with him willingly… she says she changed her mind halfway back to FL, but he convinced her to keep going. Either way, think of the trust he gained by just convincing her to get in the car in the first place!
  3. A 29-year-old man in Florida, who was a puppeteer at a local church, used Facebook to solicit and carry-out a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
  4. A 55-year-old New Jersey man was arrested for having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old boy on MySpace.

I am cautious to use the term “victimized,” as more often than not the meeting and eventual sex is consensual. Yes, there are cases of rape and kidnapping – but just as many, if not more, are teens that fell into a grooming trap and are saying yes on their own accord.

The reason? Teenagers are programmed to take risks. Some experts say ‘at-risk kids are more likely to be at risk in their decision.’ But isn’t every child at risk of making an ill decision? Unfortunately for parents, one of the biggest risks they take is talking to strangers online.

Go back 25 years to the national campaign warning kids not to talk to strangers. Remember “Say No, then Go and Tell someone”? This mostly applied to parks, playgrounds and walking home from school. But if a stranger called the house looking for you, would your parents have happily, without any questions, handed over the phone? I think not. As a child or a young teen did you pick up the phone, dial a random number, and start a conversation with a stranger? I doubt it.

But for some reason, in the Internet age and this time of unlimited mass-communication, where children can literally communicate with the entire world on a whim, parents are afraid to ask their kids who they are talking to online. They are afraid to check up on their kids and verify who they are making friends with in the globally-spanning digital community. This is the equivalent of leaving your child alone in New York City at 2AM.

Many Internet safety advocates make the big push for education. They say that education is the only way to achieve internet safety. While I agree to some extent, a quick pep talk will not do the trick. The last thing your adolescent offspring is going to do is consciously push aside their curiosity and desire to explore, simply ‘because mom and dad said so.’

You didn’t when you were their age. Why do you assume they will?

Furthermore, how can a parent have that pep talk if they are not involved and don’t know what their child is doing online. Filtering is good for young kids; blocking websites may work for adolescents, but sooner or later they will circumvent your roadblocks and disregard your warnings if you don’t stay with them and have that knowledge of what they are doing when they connect to the World Wide Web.

When a parent in today’s fast-paced digitally connected world puts computer monitoring software on their PC, they are given access to true knowledge of what their child does on the Internet. There is no hiding or covering up tracks; parents can see all. This includes forming relationships with strangers online.

It should also be said that the duty of keeping your child safe is never to be trumped by some ‘inherent’ right they have to be left alone. Privacy should be given only when and where warranted and earned. This is a completely separate blog post, but the point is: the Internet is not one of those places.

There should never be a substitute for good parenting; but there should also never be a fear of using a tool that will help you be the best parent you can be. Knowledge is power. We need more powerful parents. Computer monitoring software (like our PC Pandora) is the best tool in the arsenal of the 21st century parent. It’s the easiest thing a parent can use to keep their kids protected and safe from Internet predators as they grow up digitally.