I was prepping for a presentation at a local church this coming Wednesday and I’m always looking for “new material”. Let’s face it; I’m just like you trying to keep up with what’s going on, online. I use Google Alerts as one way I keep up with cyber security issues, I read blogs by some people I truly admire, and I scan the web for new trends, gadgets, social media, apps and games that impact the lives of our kids. Today was overwhelming. I want to share a few, but I also recommend that you follow, like or read these folks too. They are a wealth of information and are grounded in good solid parenting in a realistic way!
Want to feel “with it” with your kids? Check out Jordan Digital. Tony is an old friend of mine who is still in the music business, but as a dad and digital pro worries about the safety of his kids and how technology can affect them. Tony relates stories that can be used as conversation starters with your kids and make you look like you’re “in the know”. Recent stories included “Bradying” taking over “Tebowing”, Lady Gaga starting her own social media site and a new facebook app that alerts you when you’ve been “unfriended”; something facebook has tried to keep private.
If you have younger children, my professional friend Mary K. Hoal writes great blogs on her parent Internet Safety resource site Yoursphere/ForParents. She is always right on target with new apps, safety measures for their use and what’s new online. She is a nationally recognized expert in children’s online safety and the married mother of five children ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old. Mary Kay is an accomplished global media professional who took it upon herself to leave a successful career and take action to make safety and privacy a key priority for children online. As a result, she founded Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com. Her most recent blog talks about Instagram, an app I had seen popping up on facebook. This iPhone (iPod Touch) app is a social networking –photo sharing app that let’s anyone see any photo you post unless you take the time to set up the privacy settings, think about the geotagging of those photos and gives you access to anyone who shares their photos with the world. Some of those photos may not be age or content appropriate for your teens.
Another person I follow (on Twitter) is Sue Scheff who is an Author & Parent Advocate. She founded and created Parents’ Universal Resource Expert (P.U.R.E.) in 2001 and for a decade has been helping families with at-risk teens. Her specialty is educating parents on the daunting industry of teen help and locating safe and quality residential therapy programs when parents are at their wit’s end. Her most recent article is about something I’m very nervous about – Facebook Timeline – it’s coming and we need to be prepared. She offers some insights on preparing your teens for what impact this could have on their reputation. The date for everyone joining Timeline keeps changing but it’s important that you know it is not going to be an option, we need to join our teens in cleaning up our act!
I just read Jill Brown’s blog about a high school senior who was expelled for the graphic nature and sexual content of his tweets. This young man’s dream of playing college football may change drastically as his “dream school” is probably planning to look elsewhere now. She posts a link to the story, but her blog is really about the fact that the young man chose to ignore his coach’s warnings and the team policies about social media. She also lists several conversation starters for you to use this as a teachable moment with your own kids. Check out her site Generation Text Online, which also has a tutorial on how to set up your facebook privacy settings, and find the article and discussion questions at her blog.
So many great people sharing information – it truly does take a village to raise our kids. I hope you’ll check out some of these sites.