Tag Archives: Internet Safety

Do you know what your kid is posting on Facebook?

Recently a kid named Hannah blocked her parents from her facebook page and then proceeded to post a rant on her page about having to do chores around the house. Of course, her dad saw that rant and made a video response to his daughter.

There has been a huge response from parents everywhere and many of the Wired Moms sent messages to make sure I saw the video too.

There are a number of things going on here.

1. It’s important to have natural consequences for bad behavior – when a child brings home a bad grade the natural consequence would be to impose more study time at home not necessarily to take away their iPod. Removing an iPod does not help your kid get a better grade. This video seems to be a demonstration of natural consequences (even though it is a little extreme ).

2. Technology is a privilege not a right.

3. It is important for parents to be involved with their kids online life. If you have a child over the age of 13 (even though many kids under 13 also get pages) there is a very high likelihood that they have facebook page, a tumblr, a twitter and possibly other pages like MySpace. First of all talk with your kid but then also Google them.

Watch the video and then let us know what you think.

PS Many people have said that the Dad should have just sold the laptop to recoop his software expenses. But after watching the video with my kids they all agreed that this guy could still sell the laptop as is on Ebay and get way more for it than he spent on the software. This laptop is now Legendary.

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Filed under facebook, Internet Safety, wiredmoms

Appy New Year

Yes! There’s an App for that!  This is a phrase we are becoming more familiar with.  My kids seem to know intuitively how to find all these great apps.  I am still relying on the kindness of my friends, associates, and strangers to help me find these spectacular apps.

Over the holidays I heard from a number of moms who had just discovered that the wonderful piece of technology they had just given to their child to listen to music or to read eBooks, also had the ability to surf the internet and download Apps! They didn’t really realize that the gift they had just given their child had so much more functionality than they had planned on.

We have to face it – Apps are part of our world now.

The good news is that we don’t have to figure this all out ourselves OR rely soley on our children as the source of information.  ( I am still reeling from the story I heard from one mom whose darling 9 year old daughter convinced her that it would be ok to go see Hangover II in the theater this last year – that girl has a job waiting for her in some sales department some day.)

As a Wired Mom the only thing to do is to recruit the help of other fabulous, concerned, and in-the-know, people to help us out.  So that is exactly what we’ve done!  This Thursday, January 19th, we will be celebrating the “Appy New Year” with our good friends from Famigo (@Famigo), Ruckus Media (@RuckusMedia), ZiggityZoom.com (@ziggityzoom), Carissa Rogers from GoodnCrazy.com (@CarissaRogers) and our very own @maryheston to talk all about apps. Join this amazing group on Twitter at 9pm EST and follow the hashtag #Appy2012.  Follow us @wiredmom along with the other panelists and join in the fun on Thursday.

Don’t be this guy!  If you have a kid of any age running around the house this is an important twitter party to join.  Bring your questions and suggestions as we spend an hour celebrating this Appy New Year.  Get up to speed on the world of Apps before your kids convince you that the Hangover II app* is family friendly.

You can also get the discussion started early at Wired Moms on Facebook

See you there!  ( IS there an App for that ? )

 

* There’s not really a HOII app that I know of – but we always have to watch out….

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Filed under Apps, Internet Safety, Twitter

Daylight savings: Time to review your Family Terms of Service

Today is daylight savings time and many people take this opportunity to also check the batteries in their smoke detectors or change the air filter in their furnaces.  It might also be a good time to review your Family Terms of Service with your kids.  Each year kids grow and these terms should be updated too.  With the holidays coming up it is a great time to talk about some of these things before kids gleefully unwrap the latest and greatest gadget of the season.

This last week we received a letter from a parent who was preparing to give their 13 year old a new iPod iTouch but they wanted to know about keeping their kids safe.  Having a conversation about your Family Terms of Service now will prevent several confrontations in the future.  It’s a much easier conversation to have than you might imagine.  It is not 100% and doesn’t always work but if you have these terms laid out for your teen before they even turn on a gadget then it will be so much easier to impose the natural consequences if needed than if you never had this conversation at all.

Here is the letter we received:

Hi Mary – I’m getting my 13 year old an ipod touch, but am concerned about internet access. We use NetNanny on his desktop computer, and I see that there is an internet filtered app for the ipod that might do the same thing. What is your Wired Mom take on how to protect our kids here?

Sincerely, Concerned Parent

Hi Concerned Parent,

Thanks for asking! There are two very important things that we recommend here especially with a new teen. This is a pretty big deal getting an iPod Touch (my 15 year old has one and it has been a lifesaver for us on many occassions so I am actually all for the device).

1. The main thing here is to start out with a Family Terms of Service (TOS).

Facebook has a terms of service and most other social networking websites have a TOS. What you do is sit down with your teen and in advance of even turning the machine on decide what your Family Terms of Service are going to be and what the consequences are going to be if those terms are broken.

Some things people include in their TOS are:

  • school work vs. iPod Touch/gadget use. If grades begin to slip are you going to ground your kid from using the iTouch/gadget or not.
  • Using the iTouch when Granny is visiting – human interaction is a requirement for being able to use this gadget.
  • Chores – are they getting their chores done?
  • What sites are ok for them to visit and which ones are not.
  • Include in the family TOS that parents have access to the teen’s passwords for all of their social sites and their iTouch
  • What other activities are important to your family?

This might sound like a lot and big conversation but it is really made much more productive if you get your teenager to talk about the rules and the consequences for breaking the rules. If the teen is included in this conversation 3 things are likely to happen

  • Consequences are much easier to impose.
  • Kids are more likely to take their responsibility more serious.
  • The consequences the kids come up with are often more harsh than the ones the parents might suggest

OK Now there is a second recommendation that is pretty much non-negotiable around here and that is

2. No sleeping with their iTouch

We have a docking station in the living room where everyone can charge their phones and gadgets and they get plugged in at night.

There is no reason for a kid to take the Internet to bed with them. Studies have shown that kids do much better in school when they have a full nights sleep.

So – Short answer is

1. Family TOS
2. No sleeping with the Internet

The main thing is to talk with your kiddo – let them know there was no such thing as the Internet when we were growing up and that social media is really less than 10 years old. So, it’s all new. Everything that happens online happens really quickly and when things get posted they are public and permanent. You are on their side and will Fiercely watch out for them and do everything you can to protect them from getting into something they are not ready for – or something that none of us have even anticipated yet. We are all learning these new rules together. Also, that as your teen grows up and demonstrates more responsibility then the Family Terms of Service will be modified to reflect that.

Good kids can get in big trouble really quickly with this new technology. My son – who is now 20 – has a friend who is one of the goofiest kids you will ever meet. He got a cell phone when he was 14 and girls from another state started sending him topless photos of themselves. I know this because I knew all my sons parents and they knew I check cell phones and so on occassion I would ask the boys what they had on their cell phone photo file and in their text message history. With my kids, the rule has always been that as long as I am paying for the cell phone I have full access to look at anything at any time. Once my boys reached 18 I told them that they could start paying for their own phones and I wouldn’t check them anymore – they both told me that it was ok – I could keep checking.

If your teen gets something sent to them that makes them uncomfortable they should know that they can come to you and talk to you about it and there is not going to be any repercussions – the best thing to do is delete it as quickly as possible and block whoever is sending that inappropriate material.

The big thing for you is to remember to NEVER freak out when your kid does come to you. If you freak out they will not come to you again. Do your very very best to just listen and if you don’t know what to do then take a few minutes – tell him you have to go to the bathroom and will be right back – then go into the bathroom and do a silent scream and come back when you can be cool again.

Another thing we did when our teens started getting handheld gadgets with Internet connection was to start a family tradition of Friday night family movie night and we started having YouTube nights – instead of renting a movie we would have everyone in the family show each other their favorite YouTube video for that week. This can be very enlightening and give you great insight into what your kid is searching up on YouTube but then you also get a chance to show them your favorites.  It is a great non threatening way to check up on their Internet habits while building trust and get into great conversations at the same time – its win win win all the way around.

Good Luck and Happy Parenting!

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Filed under Apps, Internet Safety, Texting, TV, Video Games

August Part II

(cont.) – by Mary Heston

August was also the month that I got to interview two very Real People – Rosalind Wiseman and Jane Lynch.

Rosalind Wiseman, a long time friend of Wired Safety and Wired Moms, is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes which became the movie “Mean Girls“. She has teamed up with Jane Lynch (who you probably recognize as the Polyester warmup suit wearing, Cheerio Cheerleader Coach from Glee) and LG to put out a series of PSA’s on Text Education. I took my friend Carissa Rogers to the LG room Saturday morning during Blogher where we had the awesome opportunity to sit down with these two amazing women and talk Text.

One of the most delightful experiences of the morning was finding out that Jane Lynch is a real person. Of course she is a real person (even thought the picture above is so good of her that she almost looks like a cardboard cutout of herself) but she was really a REAL person. When we first walked in I was a little Star Struck as I am a huge fan. I have been a huge fan of Rosalind’s for years since I first picked up Queen Bees. It is the kind of book you can open to any page and get something out of it. She walked up to me and gave me a big hug and then Jane walked over and we exchanged introductions and within two seconds I felt like I was talking with an old friend of the family. Our conversation was fun and interesting and flew by too fast. She asked about our kids and was honestly and genuinely connected with the LG campaign to educate parents about the dangers of texting and driving.

Get Involved!

Watch the LG PSA’s on TextEd and pass it along to your friends. Visit LGTextEd.com

Join the conversation on Facebook

Follow WiredMom and LGTextED on Twitter

Join the conversation.

August was a great reminder that we are all just real people. Real people working together to make a better world for our kids and ourselves. Looking at the world through a screen can sometimes create a feeling that we are somehow disconnected from everyone else out there. But we have to remind ourselves that we are all just very real people and we really are all connected in one way or another.

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Filed under Internet Safety, Mobile, Texting