ALOHA Mind Math Reminds Parents about Digital Safety During the Holidays

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ALOHA Mind Math offers parents tips and resources to help keep their children safe when using gifts such as new digital devices over the holidays. Parents can take action to protect children, and themselves, from the risks that come with new technology gifts

“Children have a lot of free time during school holidays like the Christmas Vacation. This can lead to fun and learning or to trouble,” said Mani Manickavelu, President and CEO of ALOHA Mind Math.

ALOHA offers parents tips and resources to help keep their children safe when using gifts such as new digital devices over the holidays. Let’s face it, today’s children are of the digital generation. They use technology in school, at home and at friend’s houses. Between tablets, computers, gaming devices and smart phones, children may feel more comfortable with technology than some parents do. But parents can act to protect children, and themselves, from the risks that come with new technology gifts.

Online safety, Child Predators and Cyber bullying are the Top Three Technology Concerns for Parents:

“Children have a lot of free time during school holidays like the Christmas Vacation. This can lead to fun and learning or to trouble,” said Mani Manickavelu, President and CEO of ALOHA Mind Math. “There are many great math and reading apps out there that can help kids keep learning while away from school,” he added. But, If children have uncontrolled access to the internet, they can be exposed to inappropriate information before they are ready. They can also be at risk for cyber-bullying or even child predators.

Digital Safety Tips for Children:

  •     Set parental controls on devices before gifts get wrapped, so they are safer when unwrapped.
  •     Keep devices that connect to the internet, computers and tablets, in high-traffic areas of the home so use can be monitored.
  •     Monitor tablet/computer search histories and cell/smart phone internet searches, phone calls and text messages.
  •     If children are younger, consider buying a tablet or learning device without internet access.
  •     Talk with children about internet safety – The resource below, aimed at younger kids and pre-teens, has great guidelines and conversation starters: http://www.safekids.com/kids-rules-for-online-safety/.
  •     Parents need to talk with older children who use social/game sites to help them handle any issues of bullying from both perspectives. The anonymity of the internet emboldens some kids; while other children end up the victims.

Teach Kids to Think Before they Act Online

  •     If a link seems questionable – don’t click it. Another free resource: http://www.thinkbeforeyoulinkinschool.com/
  •     Help kids set up smart screen names (not their own name) and change site settings for more privacy when playing games.
  •     If someone they don’t know contacts them, train children to ask a parent before responding. Make sure they know that if they tell parents about something that made them uncomfortable, that they won’t get in trouble, especially if they tell right away.
  •     If someone asks a child to keep a secret about something online, help children learn that this is a bad idea that they need to tell a parent right away.
  •     Teach them not to share personal information passwords, birth dates and years, phone numbers, when or where they are going that day, or when they go on vacation.
  •     Have them confirm with a parent first before downloading games, photos or anything unless they and the parent KNOWs and TRUSTs who /where it is coming from.
  •     Help them learn to think before they type and hit send or reply.
  •     Teach them that if they wouldn’t say it to the person’s face, or in front of a parent…they shouldn’t say it online. Here is a government site with a section about this: http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0033-heads

Tips for Parents on Digital Safety this Holiday Season:
Set up home computers and tablets so they are protected from issues a child might unknowingly create such as downloading a game that also installs a virus, malware or spyware on your computer. This can be a minor annoyance or lead to a hacker being able to monitor parent’s banking passwords.

The first thing parents should do when getting a new holiday computer is set up an antivirus program and firewall, then parental controls. Some stores will help walk you through this process. These programs will help protect both children and expensive devices. Buy an anti-virus program when you purchase the computer (it may come with one already). Set it up FIRST, BEFORE adults even use the device to check your email. Then set up parental controls. Train children to let a parent know if the antivirus window pops up. Ask them to stop what they are doing – so parents can evaluate the message.

Make Passwords strong, and don’t post where kids can access them. Even though strong passwords are hard to remember, we need to create them as parents, and teach our kids too. Tell them not to share passwords with friends or strangers. Don’t use easily “guessable” passwords – a family or pet’s name, birth date or anniversary. Use at least one capital letter, one number and one symbol. Tip: take a favorite book title or song lyric and use the initial letter of each word to create the password; include a symbol, capital letter and number, and make it at least 8 characters long. Example: a password could be formed from the movie Frozen lyric: “Let it go, let it go,” liG!8liG!; Although the repetition here makes it weaker.

ALOHA
Founded in 1993, ALOHA, a leading provider of mental arithmetic and English Reading/Writing programs, has been guiding children between the ages of 5 through 12 to achieve academic excellence in grades 1 through 5. The interactive learning process is proven to enhance a child’s math, reading and writing capabilities. The teachers also assist children in developing skills and abilities such as observation and listening that result in the overall growth of the child. ALOHA is currently training children in 19 states and in 20 countries with 4,200 different centers. For more details on this unique program please visit http://www.alohamindmath.com or search for the center closest to you by using our locator http://www.alohamindmath.com/locations.

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