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Internet safety blog

Archive for February, 2016

What to do when your child runs into inappropriate content online.

We have all seen it and wished we hadn’t, porn.  It may have happened when you were looking for pictures for a project, or trying to find a funny video you saw with a friend. You clicked on a link, or it popped up, and suddenly you are watching something that you had no desire to see. The sad thing is that this will happen at sometime to your child.  I spoke to a child who once ran into porn, while trying to find a minecraft video. He was so upset, and felt so guilty.  We need to start preparing our children to know what to do when this happens. The best way to help your child deal with this unfortunate reality is to keep a good relationship with them. Discuss strategies with them, like covering the screen, turning off the monitor, or pressing the lock screen, and then bringing the device to you. When your child comes to you after they run into this content, you have the power to help them process and work through the mix of feelings they feel inside. Talk about appropriate relationships, you may have to have the sex talk a little earlier than you expect. This is an unfortunate reality that we face today.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cyberbully

Taylor Hillredge is a teenage girl who is being raised by her single mother. On her seventeenth birthday she receives her own laptop computer. Taylor is excited about the independence of being online to socialize with peers from school and her two best friends. It isn’t much later that Taylor finds herself being the victim of cyberbullying.

Kids these days live in a digital world. They are constantly being bombarded by messages and images, competing for the eye and ‘like’ of a user. This practice has crept into the way teens and people even socialize online. We want to see how many “followers” we can get, or how many “shares” or “likes” we can get on a pictures or comment. This competition has extended so far that people say things to add shock value and appeal, but all hidden behind anonymous names and profiles.

The film Cyberbully does a great job of working in all the hot button issues teens are facing currently including the anonymity that exists online, legal issues that enable cyberbullying, the social pressures of teens engaging in online and digital friendships and relationships, and the emotional problems that inflict the victims and their families.

Cyberbully is a great resource when talking to teens about the dangers that exist online. When talking to your teenagers about cyberbullying, establish the expectations in your home. Children’s moral qualities are shaped day by day by what we register, or failed to acknowledge, in the world around us, and what we ask them to register—whether we let them treat a store clerk as invisible or commented when a child on the playground had been treated unfairly, or pointed out to them neighbor’s good deed. We are constantly affecting their moral abilities by how we define responsibilities for others and by whether we insist that those responsibilities be met. Establish the expectation that when they see it happening, they have the power to stop it and make a change in their environment.

I believe that small acts are powerful. I believe that teenagers being raised today can change the world. The way they will change the world, is by changing one person’s life at a time and it starts with choosing to be kind, it starts with having the courage to stop cyberbullying and to open their mouths. So open your mouth and create a discussion. Create an environment where you can talk to your kids, grandkids, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews about the dangers online and the need to stop cyberbullying.