What Is Online Grooming and How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

 

What Is Online Grooming and How Can I Keep My Child Safe?

Online grooming is something every parent needs to be aware of and prepared for. The fact that most children will be on the internet at some point means that we must be aware of the tactics of those who seek to exploit our most vulnerable. Here are some facts to be aware of as you work to keep your child safe from those who would want to harm them.

What Is Online Grooming?

Online grooming is when someone with nefarious motives attempts to gain the attention and trust of their victim, in order to abuse and exploit them. Online grooming includes actions such as building an emotionally close relationship with a child, making the child feel like they can trust them, and saying things that will help them gain access to the child.

Be Aware of Your Childís Online Activities

Although most of us have good intentions toward our children, there is a world of people who do not. For this reason, it is important to keep tabs on what exactly your child is doing online, and with whom they are interacting.

Instead of figuratively going beyond your childís back, let them know that you will be monitoring their activities and interactions on all their devices. Check their email, social media accounts, and online profiles regularly. Have a genuine interest in their online activities and ask them to explain things to you.

Keep computers and all other electronic devices in public areas, and have a special recharging station for the devices to be turned in each night so that children are not using the devices inappropriately while you sleep.
Install appropriate software on your childís electronic devices so that you can see what they are using their devices for. There is even software that will keep track of conversations deemed to be inappropriate, which will then red-flag the conversation and notify you as the parent.

Be Aware of Unusual Behavior

If your child is acting in an unusual manner, there is a possibility that they are being groomed online. Keep your eyes open for changes in their personality, including depression and secretiveness. If your child quickly shuts down their device when you appear, find out why. If your child suddenly acquires a new device that they could not have paid for themselves, determine where it came from.

Online predators will often purchase separate devices so that a child can communicate with them without being found out by a parent or authority figure.

Build and Maintain a Strong Relationship with Your Child

The most important defense against online predators you can have is to work on a strong relationship with your child. Talk daily with your child, even if their favorite time to talk is when they are supposed to be headed to bed. Listen to the small things, because when something crucial happens they will then be comfortable communicating with you about it.

Keeping children safe in todayís world can be stressful. We as parents have a duty to do what we can to keep their safety first and foremost. Use these tips and educate yourself about online grooming so that your child can avoid harm in this area of their life.

 

 

 

 

Five Ways to Protect Your Child Online

Five Ways to Protect Your Child Online

 

 

 

 

As parents, our job is to protect our children in every way. The internet is a part of todayís world that almost everyone is involved in. Here are five ways that you can protect your child online so that internet use can be a joy and not a burden to you and your family.

1. Always Monitor Your Childís Use

Although it can be time-consuming, be sure to keep tabs on what is going on in your childís online life. Keep the computer in your main living area, rather than a childís room. Always keep your childís email passwords, and passwords for any online accounts he (or she) has. Know what he is playing, what sites he is going on, and who he is talking to.

2. Model Honesty and Be Upfront

Donít be deceptive when you are monitoring your childís online use. Let him know that you will be signing into his accounts, reading emails and tracking computer use. This way there are no surprises for your child, and he is aware that you are looking out for him. By modelling honesty, you are laying the groundwork for him to do the same with you.

3. Be Open and Honest about Dangers

Donít sugar-coat the dangers of the internet. Although it is important to only give age-appropriate information, be sure to let your child know anything he needs to know to keep himself safe online. Warn him about things that have happened to others, such as online bullying, identity theft, and personal harm. This way your child will not naively walk into a dangerous situation, but will be equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect himself.

4. Have Age-Appropriate Talks

Whether your child is a teen or at an age where they have only discovered the internet recently, speak to them about the topic regularly.

With older teens, you can go into greater detail about the safety risks of being online, and the dangers of unwise online behavior. If your child is younger, donít say too much and put undue fear into them, but do give them a general sense of why it is important to be cautious when one is online.

Let him know there are people with bad motives who pretend to be friends so they can hurt him, and remind him not to trust, chat with or agree to meet anyone online.

5. Put a Safeguard on Your Computer

Communication with your child is essential, but the internet can be overwhelmingly tempting to children. Use an internet safety program that will help you to keep your child safeguarded from the temptation to use the internet unwisely, and that will assist in keeping them from viewing words and images that they will never be able to forget.

There are a variety of internet safety programs that help you do just this. These programs can do a number of things such as filter pages that have bad language and inappropriate photos, give you a log of where your child has been online, and put a timer on each family member so that they cannot exceed their allotted time.

Internet safety is one of the hot topics of our age. It is essential as we raise our children, in order to keep them safe both in their day-to-day life and online. By protecting your child online, you will allow them a better quality of life and be an example to pass on to the next generation.

 

 

 

 

Seven Things Your Child Should Never Do Online

Seven Things Your Child Should Never Do Online

 

The internet can be both helpful and destructive. The online world is huge and filled with both good people and dangerous predators. Children should always be supervised in an age-appropriate way when online, and here are a few things a child should never do.

1. Chat Privately with a Stranger

Be clear with your child that this is one rule they must obey. They should never chat privately or exchange private messages with someone who they have not met in person. This can lead them into dangerous territory, and you as a parent would have no way of finding out what has been said. Your child should also never participate in a video chat with an unknown person.

2. Send Photos

Any photo that is sent or posted anywhere on the internet can live forever. Your child should never send a photo to a stranger, or even to a friend if there is no clear intent on what can be done with the photo. Even harmless photos can lead a dangerous person to your home, and can put your child and family in great danger.

3. Give Our Personal Information

Your child should never give out personal information of any sort to anyone on the internet. This kind of information can easily be used to commit fraud against you, or to put you or your childís personal safety at risk. Let your child know that they should never give out details such as their first or last name, phone number, email address, mailing address, school, credit card info etc.

4. Agree to Meet a Stranger

You can never remind a child too many times about this. Never, ever meet an online stranger or even someone they consider an online ìfriendî in person. Predators are knowledgeable about how to groom young or naive people in order for them to let down their guard. This can be dangerous if your child begins to trust in the person and consider them a friend.

5. Download Apps without Permission

Apps and other online programs have safety risks to them. By downloading apps, you are often consenting to things you donít fully understand, and that can jeopardize your computer or other electronic devices. Your child should always check with you first before downloading any app, even if it is one they have heard is safe.

6. Click on Links

Clicking on random online links can expose your computer to viruses and malware. Clicking on links can also lure your children to inappropriate adult material online. Children who cannot read can be especially susceptible to this, as they may see a bright picture and not realize it will lead them to a totally different website than the one they are on.

7. Do Searches

Searching online can be a dangerous endeavour. Children under a certain age should not be doing online searches, even on reputable search engines such as Google. The reason for this is because the wrong combination of words can trigger questionable material, and can lead your child to inappropriate content. If your child needs to search, they can ask you to do the search for them.

Using the internet is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. Donít put this on your child before they are mature enough to handle either aspect of it. With a little wisdom, going online can remain a fun and productive activity, without the dangers.

 

 

 

 

Five Signs That Your Child Is Using the Internet Inappropriately

Five Signs That Your Child Is Using the Internet Inappropriately

 

The internet is a wonderful way for children to learn and to connect with others. Unfortunately, there are many temptations and dangers online. Because of this, it is important to be vigilant and on the lookout for any signs of inappropriate internet use by your child. Here are some things to watch out for.

1. Carrying Electronic Devices Around

Carrying oneís device around everywhere is something that is becoming almost a normal thing to observe. But being constantly attached to an electronic device is not normal or healthy.

If your child is always carrying their smartphone or other device around, even when moving from one part of the room to another, there may be reason for concern. Your child may want to make sure that you do not see their communication, or they may simply be too addicted to put it down.

2. Being Secretive

Is your child spending hours online but sharing very little of the details with you? It is somewhat normal for children to xwant to withhold some personal information from their parents, but there is reason for concern if they become withdrawn about all their online activities.

If your child quickly shuts down their computer tabs when you walk in the room, investigate further. If your childís computer history is being erased by them, it is serious enough to warrant a talk with your child about their internet habits and safety.

3. Lack of Interest in Other ìReal Lifeî Activities

The internet can be appealing, but when it becomes more appealing than ìreal lifeî experiences, your child may be addicted.

If your child would rather sit at home and do online gaming than meet up with their friends in person, they may have a problem with inappropriate internet use. If your child who once loved basketball now sits at home, looking glazed in front of the computer screen, there is reason for concern.

4. Sacrifices Their Sleep to be Online

Children who are using the internet inappropriately often sacrifice their sleep in order to use it. Some children are intentionally hiding their activities and communicating with online friends that they know their parents would not approve of when they believe their parents will be asleep. Others simply see their internet activity as more important than their health.

A lack of sleep can be destructive to the well-being of a growing child, and for this reason it is very important monitor your childís night-time internet use. A good idea is to have a ìelectronic device stationî where every family member is required to check in their device at night and retrieve it in the morning.

5. Becomes Angry If Internet Is Removed

If your child lashes out at the mere thought of having their electronic device removed, they may be addicted to it. It is normal for a child to be upset when something they enjoy is taken away from them, but if their anger is quite severe, it is a warning sign that their online activity is playing far too important of a role in their life. Watch your child for signs of an angry response to internet limitations.

The internet can be a place to explore interests and learn many new things. It can be addictive, though, and sometimes dangerous. Let your child use the internet, but give them boundaries and keep them safe as they discover how to be online in a safe and healthy manner.

 

 

 

Signs That Your Child Is Being Bullied Online

Signs That Your Child Is Being Bullied Online

 

Cyberbullying is dangerous, and can be at least as harmful as bullying that happens in the schoolyard or the childís community. Cyberbullying can lead to many problems ranging from depression, to anger, to a lack of self-esteem. Cyberbullying can even lead a child to the point of suicide – a parent’s worst nightmare.

Before cyberbullying becomes an issue for your child, learn how to detect it and stop it in its tracks.

Depression

Does your child seem depressed for no reason that you can pinpoint? It is possible that they are being bullied online. Keep an open dialogue with your child about their feelings and about everything that is going on in his or her life. This way, if cyberbullying is happening to them, it will feel natural for them to talk about it.

Anger After Internet Use

Donít jump too quickly to punish and shut down your childís unexplained anger. It is far more helpful to find out the root cause of it. Let your child know they can confide in you, and stay calm during conversations to prove that you are a safe person for your child to talk to. If your childís anger seems to flare up after being on the internet, it is a sign that they may be a victim of cyberbullying.

Mentioning the Bullying

If your child mentions any cyberbullying, donít take it lightly. Remain calm so that your child continues to see you as their advocate, but jump to action immediately. Do what you can to resolve the bullying, and if things cannot be stopped then you may have to make the difficult choice to insist that your child take a break from the activity until things change, for their protection.

If your child has mentioned the bullying, be thankful, because the majority of cyberbullying victims donít let their parents know about it.

Being Secretive about Online Activities

As mentioned, although a few children will talk about online bullying, most keep it a secret from their parents. If your child doesnít seem to want to talk about their online experiences, make note of it. If your child quickly shuts down the computer when you enter the room, or refuses to respond to your questions about their online activities, dig deeper.

Withdrawing from ìReal Lifeî Friends and Family

Cyberbullying affects every area of a childís life. One sign it may be happening to your child is if they are withdrawing from their family and friends. When a childís self-esteem is harmed through cyberbullying, their ìreal lifeî relationships will suffer as well. This is a clear sign that you need to find out what may be happening online.

Cyberbullying can be difficult to handle because many online users misuse the anonymity as a shield to be able to do or say anything without consequence. If you can expose and therefore stop an online bully, do it. If you cannot make it stop, you may have to remove your child from online activities.

With the help of these tips, you will be able to figure out if your child is the victim of online bullying and put an end to it so that they can get back to a healthy, safe, and happy life.

 

 

 

Should Your Child Have Internet Access in Their Bedroom?

Should Your Child Have Internet Access in Their Bedroom?

 

At some point, your child will ask to have internet access in their room. Whether it is for a computer or Wi-Fi to be used on a gaming device, this conversation will come up. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate this discussion.

How Old Is Your Child?

Children of every age have different temptations when it comes to being online, but there are certain ages that can benefit from having easy internet access. If your child is in high school, it may be more convenient for them to have internet access from their bedroom so they can be comfortable while doing school reports, etc.

If you have a relatively young child, however, the benefits of easy internet access may not outweigh the risks, because their actual need for online time is quite small compared to what it will be later.

What Device Will Your Child Be Accessing the Internet From?

Will your child have their own personal computer or laptop in their room? Are they wanting online access simply to use certain apps? The purpose of their online use is important when choosing what decision to make.
If it’s for a device that only uses Wi-Fi in order to work properly, it may not be a huge deal for your child to have easy online access. If it is a device that is not secured against unlimited searching, you may want to reconsider.

What Time Will Access End Each Night?

Will you allow your child to leave their computer on at all times, and leave your Wi-Fi on in the middle of the night? If you have children with electronic devices in their rooms, it is wise to turn off your Wi-Fi when you go to sleep. This way, your children will not be as tempted to use the internet when they should be sleeping. However, bear in mind that some devices can still access the internet without Wi-Fi being turned on.

Ask yourself about each of the children in your home. Will their sleep be affected by all-night internet? Will they be tempted to do searches that you would not approve of? Be open with yourself and think about this based on your family members, and your family dynamics.

A wise idea is for any portable electronic devices to be checked in each and every night to a place where you can keep them safely away from children who may find it difficult to resist checking their game or account ìjust one more time.î

How Will You Monitor Their Internet Use?

What steps will you take to make sure your child uses their internet time wisely? If they have use of the internet in their room, it can be hard to keep tabs on it. Be honest with yourself. If your child has internet access in their room, are you going to consistently request that the door stay open, or will you become tempted to let them slip into their room alone with the door closed because it offers you some easy free time?

If you are going to be consistently looking over their shoulder every now and then, shutting down Wi-Fi each night, and regularly check their browsing historyÖ it might be ok. Otherwise, keep internet access to rooms that have more accountability built in.

The internet can be wonderful when used correctly. Remove your childís temptation to misuse the internet by making rules that work for your family. A wise decision now will pay off for the remainder of your childís life.

 

 

 

 

How to Discuss Internet Safety with Your Younger Child

How to Discuss Internet Safety with Your Younger Child

 

Parents in our modern times have many issues to think about that never crossed our own parentsí minds when we were being raised. With new inventions and technology come new safety concerns. It can be a challenge to know what to say to your children when you donít have childhood memories of a talk with your own parents to draw on. Here are some ideas on how to discuss internet safety with your younger child.

Be Knowledgeable

Even very young children are generally extremely knowledgeable about the internet nowadays. If you want to be respected by your child when you talk about internet safety, you will need to stay up to date on the latest online trends and details.

If you appear unsure or seem to be making accusations that are untrue, your child will stop listening to what you really have to say. Do your research, and come to the conversation from a place of knowledge.

Stick to the Subject

Try not to randomly get caught up in other subjects when approaching your child. Keep your message simple, and stick to it. Help your child stay focused on your main message by not dwelling on it too long.

Teach Respect Rather Than Fear

It is easy to get caught up in fear, and to not want your child to even use the internet at all. Instead of going to this extreme, though, lay out some rules that can work for everyone. Let your child know that while he (or she) is still young, you are responsible to keep him safe, and that your life experience allows you to do this.

Tell him that when he uses the internet, you will always be in the room. Let him know that you will always have full access to any of his accounts and online activities. Teach him to ask your permission to use new websites before he accesses them.

Give your child a set of basic rules to follow, such as never putting his personal information online, never participating in online bullying, never chatting with strangers, and always letting you know if someone tries to privately contact him or makes an inappropriate comment.

Instead of making your child fearful of all the ìwhat ifsî, teach him the satisfaction of using the internet responsibly.

Be Honest

Although you donít want to put unnecessary fear into your childís life, you do want to be honest about the risks. Use age-appropriate language to let your child know some of the things that can go wrong on the internet. Let your child know that unfortunately, there are some people with bad motives, and that the internet is a place where they can easily lie about themselves and fool even those who are aware and cautious.

Internet safety is an area that almost every parent in this lifetime will need to discuss with their young ones. Keep the conversation positive, and it will not fall on deaf ears. Talk with your child about these issues while still young, and it will lay a firm foundation for many future years of safe internet use.

 

 

 

 

Online Gaming – Risks and Tips

Online Gaming – Risks and Tips

 

As Nintendo was to their parents, online gaming is for the current generation of children. There are very few children or parents who have not heard of or experienced games like Minecraft and other online interactive games.

These games can offer children an opportunity to connect with others, and can help them have fun while being somewhat social, but there are plenty of risks. Any child who is participating in online gaming should have a parent closely monitoring them, in order to curb possible dangers before they become an issue.

Here are some things to keep in mind if online gaming is a part of your familyís day-to-day life.

Risk of Addiction

Online gaming can easily become addictive for any child, and the desire to ìzone outî can be strong for children who are in stressful ìreal lifeî situations. It can be ok for a short time to engage in a stress-relieving activity such as online gaming, but if you realize your child is using it as an escape from their life on a consistent basis, you will want to find out what is going on.

Perhaps your child is struggling with school, going through the breakdown of a friendship, or dealing with depression. Instead of punishing your child for their desire to play online constantly, it is important to find out the root cause of your childís strong pull toward it, so you can help them.

Being Cyberbullied and Bullying

Cyberbullying is unfortunately in abundance. It is far too easy for children to group together online and be cruel towards a particular individual. Bullying can range from other players refusing to play with your child for no particular reason, to using foul language and insults directed towards your child.

Bullying damages both the individual who bullies and the one being bullied. A child being bullied may seem sullen and depressed, and feel tornÖ wanting to play the game but upset about what is going on when they do.

Letting Important Activities Go

If online gaming is taking up more than your childís spare time, step in and say something. Gaming should not replace time spent on homework, playing outdoors, or time with friends. If it does, it needs to be addressed.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Be aware of what goes on in online gaming. Let your child know that you will have full access to all their online activities and conversations. Frequently check over their shoulders, literally, to take a peek at what is going on.

Have conversations with your child about their gaming, and what they like about it. Show an interest in what they are interested in – most children will jump at the chance to give you endless details about their favourite online game.

Become knowledgeable about the games your child plays online so that you can understand when there is need for concern. Keep your child involved in ìreal lifeî activities such as sports and playdates, so that they donít feel an overwhelming need to connect online.

The online world has its benefits and drawbacks. As a parent, you can guide your child safely even through territories such as online gaming. Stay involved, and use these tips to help your child have a positive experience while participating in the online games they love.

 

 

 

Bullet Journaling 101 – Everything You Need To Know In 655 Words

I love making lists and the bullet journal is excellent way that works great with lists.

Here’s Gretchen Hope sharing how she uses her bullet journal.

 

Bullet Journaling 101 – Everything You Need To Know In 655 Words

The bullet journal is an analog system, meaning you don’t need anything more complicated than a notebook and a pen or pencil. While it’s very customizable, and you’re certainly welcome to change things around, in this article, I will walk you through the setup for a traditional bullet journal as first introduced by Ryder Carroll from BulletJournal.com. Use it as a starting point, get comfortable with the basic system and then change it from there.

You’ll need a notebook, a pen, and a little bit of time to get started. The type of notebook you use is up to you. The traditional style is grid or dotted paper, but I find even ruled or blank pages work just fine.

The Key

The first page of your bullet journal will include your key. This will record the shorthand you use for your bullet entries. Here’s the traditional codes used. Feel free to add to it, or modify it as needed.

ᐧ (Dot) Task

X Completed Task

> Migrated Task

⃝ Appointment

⬤ Completed Appointment

⟴ Migrated Appointment

–  Notes

The Index

Your next two to four pages will be set aside for indexing. This will allow you to quickly find any collection, or get to a particular month. Title each page as an index page and move on to the next section.

The Future Log

With the original bullet journal setup this is a two page spread that records the coming 6 months. Many bullet journalers find it helpful to use a more traditional yearly calendar instead. This is a great place to record birthdays, anniversaries, or block out vacation time. Add or note the page number and record your future log in your index.

Monthly Logs

Start each month with a monthly log. Here you’ll record appointments and due dates. You can use a grid layout, or use one line for each day of the month. While this isn’t where you’ll track most of your tasks, the monthly log will come in handy for those times when you have a dentist appointment or your daughter is invited to a friend’s birthday party.

Daily Logs

The daily log is where you’ll spend most of your time in the journal. Start a new section each day and record anything important for the day. Make your list of tasks and cross them off as you get them finished. Make notes of anything important you need to remember throughout the day as well as appointments as they pop up. Everything gets logged in the daily log for speed and ease. From there you can move it as needed to the monthly or future log, or migrate it to a different day.

Migrating Tasks

At the end of your day, or first thing the next morning it’s time to review your tasks and cross out and migrate anything that isn’t checked off. For example, if you didn’t get around to doing laundry today, draw an arrow through it and add the task to today’s daily task list. If you noted an appointment that came up yesterday, move it to your monthly list and draw an arrow through it in yesterday’s list. If something no longer applies then cross it out. Your goal is to deal with each entry from your daily list by completing it, migrating it, or crossing it out.

Collections

The final part of the puzzle is collections. These are basically thematical lists you make that aren’t date related. A perfect example is a list of books you want to read. Start the list on the next blank page. Title it and start jotting down the books you want to read. Make a note of the page you’re on and add this collection to your index page. Now when you want to add a new book title to this list, or reference it to see what you want to read, you can easily find it via the index.

Different Styles Of Bullet Journaling Explained

Different Styles Of Bullet Journaling Explained

There are lots of different styles of bullet journaling. In fact, it’s a very personal and personalizable way to journal, plan, and keep track of your busy life. Use these styles as a starting point and feel free to mix and match to come up with a system that works for you.

The Daily Planner and Organizer

One of the most popular uses for the bullet journal is as a daily planner and a way to organize your busy life. It will keep track of your appointments, tasks and anything else that comes up. It’s the ultimate daily planner that can be customized to work for you, your work and personal life, and keep track of just about anything and everything for you. Color coding or adding different sections makes it easy to keep track of different aspects of your life.

The Ultimate To-Do List

If you love making and working from daily to-do lists, you’ll love the bullet journal. It’s the ultimate to-do list system since each daily section is nothing more than a list. The same goes for collections which are nothing more than thematic lists that you use in addition to your daily to-do lists. Since everything is collected in the journal, you don’t have to go hunt down random scraps of paper.

The Creative Outlet And Memory Keeper

If you’ve been thinking of keeping a traditional journal, art journal, or scrapbook, but you don’t want to commit to a dedicated book, consider using your bullet journal as a creative outlet to explore your artistic side. You can make it as simple or involved as you’d like and still use the journal to keep track of the things you need to get done as well.

The Personal Improvement Tool

A bullet journal is also a great way to keep track of goals and make sure you’re doing something every single day to help you move forward. Trackers help you track your progress and you can add monthly and daily reminders to help you create positive habits. Use trackers, mind maps, and dedicated lists for books you want to read, courses you want to take, or new things you want to try. The bullet journal makes a great personal improvement tool.

How you use your bullet journal is up to you. Use the list above to inspire you to come up with your very own style of bullet journaling. Remember, it is a tool that’s supposed to make your life easier, more enjoyable, and more inspired. Make it work for you.

1 2 3 8