I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Did you know that June is Internet Safety Awareness Month ? As my kids get older, I am more and more concerned with their cyber safety. My youngest, who is still in elementary school, is frequently required to get online for homework. My son, who is in high school, accesses all his assignments and textbooks online. I found out recently that my middle daughter has a Gmail account. I have to admit that I am most concerned about my teenaged son. I carefully monitor my youngest daughter’s internet usage and have parental controls set up. However, with all the time my son spends online between homework, Facebook, and online games, it becomes a little bit more difficult with him.
There’s no question that we live in increasingly digital world. Kids these days need to learn to navigate their way online as it will be important for future education and employment. However, with increased online activity comes increased exposure to cyber predators and I want to do everything I can to keep my kids protected while they are online.
As much as I would love to shelter my kids from the evil lurking online, I know I can’t completely. A big part of protecting them means educating them about cyber safety. So I was thrilled to learn about the BGCA Cyber Safe Site. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America have partnered with Sprint to offer cyber safety resources and information for parents and teens.
For starters, they have a great quiz for parents to help you see if you are as cyber smart as you think you are. I just took it and I love that it points out areas where your might need to boost security a little bit. Like for example, I have never googled my kids’ names. If you google your child’s name and find pictures or information, you know you need to increase the privacy settings on their social media accounts.
I also love that the Cyber Safe Site features a section on cyber bullying. This has become such a huge problem lately. It seems like every time you turn on the news, there is another story of a teen who committed suicide because of bullying. The Cyber Safe website features tips for parents, discussion starters for talking with your kids, and other resources. If you are a parent of a teenager, you should definitely check it out.
There is also a section on social media, smart phone usage, and online privacy settings. There is a ton of valuable information there to help protect your child. Like for example, it is a good idea to let your child know upfront that you will be periodically checking their phone to make sure they aren’t engaging in any risky cyber behavior. One other tip they mentioned is to friend your child on their social media channels. I already do this. I made it a condition of my son being allowed to sign up for a Facebook account.
Another great feature of this website, is the CyberTribe, a group of real life teens who will answer your cyber safety questions throughout the month of June. Parents can submit questions about online safety and get answers back from from the Boys & Girls Club teen CyberTribe.
To submit a question:
- Visit the BGCA CyberSafe site
- Visit the “Ask the CyberTribe” tab
- Click “Ask now”
- Write in your question, fill out your information (First Name, Last initial, City, and State)
- After hitting submit you will be given the chance to enter the CyberSafe Futures Giveaway
As a bonus, everyone who submits a question is entered for a chance to win an iPad mini and a $500 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice!
I hope that any other parents reading this will take a moment and check out all the great resources on the BGCA Cyber Safe Site. Even if you think you are cyber smart, I bet you will learn a thing or two that will help keep your child safe online. I know I learned several tips that I will be implementing to help protect my kids. So tell me… What steps do you take to protect your child online?