I have to say, in reading some research on this and watching the videos with our Mad Life crew, this whole sphere of parenting that I know I'll be tackling in the future is, well, really scary. I mean, not like Paranormal Activity scary, but just that low level of scariness, perhaps wrapped with overlays of anxiety and worry. The newscasts of young people being bullied to the point of depression and suicide, and missing persons cases of teens who leave to meet up with someone they've never met before except online -- these are the horrors that fill me with the parental heebie-jeebies.
But, as I've been told over and over again, the main defense is a good offense. The way to somewhat have a handle on this is to be prepared, to be aware, to be involved and to be proactive with how you approach this. One key thing about living in this technologically-amazing time? You don't just have to depend on what Aunt Florence and the five moms at the local high school have to say about the matter. You can find amazing resources to help you...here are a few I'd start with:
-- CommonSenseMedia.org has everything from guidelines on social media use to the latest reviews of websites. Always up-to-date, they have many checklists and guidelines for parents. This is bookmarked on my computer!
-- ConnectSafely.org. Well, the name says it all: they help you and your families connect safely to the Internet. Chock-full of tips and advice, this is a must-see site.
-- PBS.org. They brought your little ones Elmo and Abby Caddabby to guide them to the ABCs and knowing how to share. The folks over at PBS now have videos, quizzes and information you can use as your family ventures from Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood into the metropolis of social media.
-- Parenting.com. The online version of this magazine has a perfect 13-step breakdown that is a great jumping-off point if you need a fast and simple tutorial.
How do you plan to keep your kids safe while using technology?