6 Digital Safety Steps Parents Should Take to Protect Kids Online

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I want to start off by thanking Ginger Kadlec for taking the time to interview me about such an important topic for parents all over the world. Here are the show notes from my podcast interview. At the bottom of the article is the link to a recorded version of the interview.


In this show, Yoursphere Founder and President Mary Kay Hoal

acknowledges that while it’s very common for parents to feel overwhelmed about the technology their kids are using, she stresses the importance of being digitally educated in order to keep their kids safe online.

Mary Kay shares six (6) key steps to ensure children’s online safety, including:


1.  Be actively involved in your child’s social media experience — know your child’s user name and password for each app.


2.  Research and really understand the social media apps your child is using (including their terms of use).


3.  Develop a list of apps you are comfortable — and uncomfortable — with your child using.


4.  Talk with your child about WHY s/he shouldn’t be using a certain app, as well as the reasons other apps are ‘okay’.


5.  Apply the same level of parenting oversight and diligence online that you do with your kids off-line.

6.  Safety-enable the digital devices you give your child.


Mary Kay suggests parents check out Yoursphere. Yoursphere offers a healthy social media experience parents can enjoy with their family. For reviews and tips on social media safety, she recommends Yoursphere For Parents and Common Sense Media. She also offers hands-on suggestions about blocking websites, music lyrics and other explicit content a child may encounter online.


Mary Kay provides thoughts on communicating with kids about online responsibility and safety, as well as the responsibilities parents hold in providing their kids with digital devices. She addresses an “Open Phone Policy” and emphasizes the goal to provide kids a positive social media experience. She discusses items like technology agreements and using monitoring software like TeenSafe.


Mary Kay also reviews a few social media apps that can actually be dangerous for youth including kik, Snapchat and Tinder which are commonly considered “sexting” or “hook-up” apps. She also shares information about a calculator app that locks photos on devices so they can’t be viewed from the primary photo stream (i.e,  so those photos are hidden from parents).


“Parents need to know there’s a whole lot of apps that are there specifically to get our kids and teens to behave in inappropriate and anonymous ways that put our kids and teens at risk,” Mary Kay says. She encourages parents to exercise vigilance and become more educated about the “popular” apps their kids (and their friends) are using.


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