“When I was in school, we passed notes; today, the kids send texts,” said Woda. “Kids haven’t really changed much over the years, only the tools the kids are using to communicate have changed..."
Washington, DC (PRWEB) September 01, 2011
Millions of parents are sending their kids back to school, making it a perfect time for parents to sit down with their children and discuss the rules of using technology both at school and at home. Tim Woda, an Internet and child safety expert and co-founder of uKnow.com, a provider of parental intelligence systems, is offering parents the following tips to help their kids have a great school year:
- Re-evaluate the “House Rules” -- Review your family’s “house rules” for using the computer, game systems and mobile phones. Since your child is a year older, decide whether it is time to increase the level of access to certain content, websites and activities. Discuss the ramifications for breaking the rules and remind your kids of the dangers of speaking to strangers online.
- Understand the school’s policy for mobile phones -- Schools have varying policies on the use of mobile phones and other mobile devices. Nationally, the average teen now sends or receives one text message every nine minutes they are awake. This can be a tremendous distraction in the classroom. Be sure that you and your child understand if school policy involves a punishment for texting in class or if mobile phones are allowed in school at all.
- Talk openly with your child about cyberbullying -- Cyberbullying is the use of mobile phone or Internet technologies to tease, humiliate, and harass someone. Cyberbullying has become common among kids today. Twenty percent of kids have been bullied on the Internet and 17% have been bullied by text. As a result, many schools have implemented much harsher penalties for cyberbullying than seen in past years. Ask about your school’s policy for dealing with cyberbullying, and what is expected from you and your child when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying incidents.
- Set Limits -- Study time shouldn’t be texting, Facebook or YouTube time. Consider setting the expectation with your child that study time is a “black-out” period for mobile phones or the web (unless they are using it for an assignment). Additionally, take steps to ensure their phone does not become a distraction to a good night’s sleep. According to Pew research, 4 in 5 teens have taken their mobile phone to bed which can lead to unexpected texting late at night. Mobile phones should be left in the kitchen or a public area of the house at bedtime, and consider checking with your phone provider to see if the texting functionality can be turned off during certain time frames, such as between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
- Monitor and Engage. Yes, your child’s privacy is important; but never as important as his safety. At the very least, review mobile phone records, Internet history pages and their phone often. With the emergence of Smart Phones, a parental intelligence system is really the easiest and most constructive way to stay engaged with kids’ social networking and mobile phone activity. These services ensure that you are able to have your child’s back, without constantly looking over their shoulder.
“When I was in school, we passed notes; today, the kids send texts,” said Tim Woda, Internet and child safety expert and co-founder of uKnow.com. “Kids haven’t really changed much over the years, only the tools the kids are using to communicate have changed. Parents need to understand that their first line of defense is common sense – and to not allow themselves to become intimidated by the technology their kids are using. Talking with your child openly, agreeing upon rules, and monitoring to ensure that he is meeting your expectations will ensure your child does not let technology get in the way of a great school year.”
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Arlington, Va., uKnow.com powers the world's leading Parental Intelligence Systems including uKnowKids.com, KidSafe.me, and SafeCyberKids.com, among others.
uKnow.com helps parents protect their kids from child predators, sexting, and cyberbullying with a special focus on the social networks and mobile phone. uKnow.com provides parents with a bird's eye view of what is going on in their child's digital world so that they can keep their finger on the pulse, and when necessary, take action to protect the safety and privacy of their kids. You can find uKnow.com on Twitter, on Facebook, or follow our blog.