The internet and access to online entertainment have become very prevalent in day to day life, especially for children. Children can often spend more time online interacting with friends than they do in real life. This can be a blessing and a curse to parents trying to create a balance between letting there kids be kids and keeping them safe. Here are 5 things parents can do to keep their kids safe online.
Parents are more responsible for their child’s social media activity than they may think. A recent story on TechDirt.com recounts a Georgia lawsuit in which two parents were sued because of what their child did on social media.
Their son was caught cyberbullying and suspended from school after he created a malicious, fake Facebook profile that depicted another student with distorted features and inappropriate status updates. The student’s parents were notified that their son had created the profile, but they never made him take the page down.
The family of the bullied student and their lawyer then filed suit against the parents for defamation, claiming that it was the parents’ responsibility to make their son remove the fake profile page. Parents are responsible for how their children use social media and this case pushes the limits of that responsibility even further.
You can find the full details of the case in “Dangerous Rulings: Georgia Court Says Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook.”
Every kid wants to enjoy the fun of going house-to-house with friends in the dark trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Many of us parents remember the sheer joy of running through the neighborhood in the dark with friends collecting ungodly amounts of candy. Back then, our parents sent us out the door and let us go. Sure, they worried about urban-legend-inspired razor blades in apples, but didn’t worry as much about stranger danger as we do today or reputation damaging photos on social media.
Related: Protecting Kids from Stranger Danger
Today, things are a bit different. Sending our kids off into the the dark isn’t something we are all comfortable with. And while many neighborhoods around the country have designated trick-or-treating events to keep children and families safe, sometimes that is not enough to reassure parents worried about sending kids off to trick or treat with friends or to attend a Halloween party.
Halloween Safety Tips for Parents and Children to Help Keep Your Family Safe
- Make sure costumes are safe. Kids don’t want to be restricted in how they wear their costume, but tell your children that there are some common sense rules they should follow. For example, make sure they keep their faces exposed so they can breathe and that their costumes don’t cover their eyes. Discourage them from wearing full masks when trick-or-treating in the dark. Of course, flame-retardant costumes are a must to prevent fire accidents and be sure it’s the right size so they don’t trip over it.
- Increase visibility. Make sure your child wears bright clothing or even small reflectors. No one wants to worry about their child being hit by a car if they aren’t able to be seen. Encourage younger children especially to choose light-colored costumes. Give them glow sticks and flashlights to carry with them so they can be seen by drivers.
- Travel in groups. Older kids are going to want to trick-or-treat on their own, without a parent. If they do, make sure they go with at least one friend, preferably more.
- Monitor social media. Remind your children to think about the consequences of a picture before it’s posted or messaged to anyone. Halloween is a high traffic time for photo sharing. Monitor your kids being tagged, or comments being made about their spooktakular attire. The MamaBear App can help you monitor your child’s social safety.
- Track your child’s location. Install a family safety app like MamaBear on every family member’s smartphone so you can monitor your children’s whereabouts. The app allows your children to check in with an emoticon to share where they are and how they’re feeling. Children can also request rides from parents or send SOS messages if they are in trouble. Alerts can let you know if your child has indeed made it to that Halloween party and when they leave.
Thankfully, parents have resources today to keep their families safe during the free-for-all that Halloween night can be. Reminding your kids of these safety measures and monitoring their location and social activity provides peace of mind while allowing your children to enjoy all the candy, haunted houses and other Halloween fun we loved when we were kids.
Image Credit: Kids Activity Blog
I used to get into so much trouble for not calling my mom when I got to my friends house or to my intended destination when I was kid and given freedom to walk or drive somewhere by myself or with others. It really was the top reason for being grounded when I was younger. I’d like to think that if I had a tool like MamaBear, I’d have been in my room a lot less. The MamaBear App gives kids a way to check in and communicate with parents in an extraordinarily fast and discreet manner.
We designed the children’s logged in view of the MamaBear family safety app to be one of the simplest to use on an Android phone or iPhone. The three button design makes checking in with mom or dad only take a couple of seconds. Kids can check in by turning on the phone, opening the app and pushing a single button. That is literally all it takes for a parent to get a push notification update of the child’s well-being. And if your kids are like me when I was young, I’d forget to communicate at all with my mom, but you’ll still be able to see their location on a map and know they made it safely.
For some kids, particular social environments can feel awkward. Asking a child to take out the phone and actually call a parent to check in may not be a likely occurrence in many modern families. MamaBear makes this whole process easier while ensuring that our kids never feel put out by having to take a moment to check in with us. With a simple “Check In” button the kids can let us know we actually came to mind.
The other two buttons the MamaBear family safety app offers are the ones that might be even more invaluable to our kids – “Come Get Me” and “Emergency”. The “Come Get Me” button allows children to send a quick push notification to you without any conversation – the app will tell you right where they are. This works wonders for kids when doing activities with friends that will require an eventual pick up at an unspecified time. The app speeds up the pick-up process without the child spending time sharing location or what they need.
The most important function and the one we hope our kids never have to use is the “Emergency” button. This is a one button solution for kids in a variety of situations when they need our help. A push notification is quickly sent to the parent and all guardians on the account.
Kids may be resistant to parenting or safety apps like MamaBear. But arming our kids with MamaBear, even when they don’t think they need it, lets them know that we’re always there for them in every situation. As MamaBear continues it’s evolution we’ll be adding more benefits to the child’s log in view. Share your ideas and let’s get them on the roadmap.
To download MamaBear for your Android device click here.
To download MamaBear for your Apple device click here.