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Child Safety in the ‘Online World’

Child Safety in the ‘Online World’

online safety for kids

How do we keep children safe in the ‘online world?  I know the ‘ordinary world’ we live in can be extremely difficult to navigate (especially with kids).  The ‘virtual world’ is no different.   Our responsibility can get even more complicated as parents.  It makes me wonder how can we protect our children effectively in this ‘brave new world?’  How are we supposed to keep them safe from something that is nearly impossible to control?

Online Safety Tips for Kids:

I didn’t have a guide for how to handle the internet with my children, but now I do.  Check out my top internet preparation tips to make sure going online is a positive experience for both you and your kids:

online safety for kids

1. Discover the Internet together

Be the one to introduce your child to the internet, because for both us as parents and children  it is an advantage to discover the internet together.  Try to find websites that are exciting and fun so that together you achieve a positive attitude when it comes to surfing the web.  This could make it easier to share both positive and negative experiences in the future so that your children will come to you for anything.

2. Set rules with your child for Internet use 

Try to reach an agreement with your child on the guidelines which apply to Internet use in your household. 

  • Discuss when and for how long it’s acceptable for your child to use the Internet.
  • Agree on how to treat personal information (name, address, telephone, e-mail).
  • Discuss how to behave towards others when gaming, chatting, e-mailing or messaging.
  • Agree on what type of sites and activities are OK or not OK in your family.
  • Follow the rules yourself! Or at least explain why the rules are different for adults.

3. Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information

A simple rule for younger children should be that the child should not give out their name, phone number or photo without your approval.  Older children using social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, should be encouraged to be selective about what personal information and photos they post to online spaces.  Regardless of privacy settings, once material is online you can no longer control who sees it or how it’s used.

4. Talk about the risks associated with meeting online “friends” in person

Adults should understand that the internet can be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends.  However, for safety and to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by an adult you trust.  In any case, the child should always have their parents’ approval first.  In addition, it’s also a good idea to have a fool-proof plan in place such as calling them shortly after the meeting begins so that they can bail out if they feel uncomfortable.

5. Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online. 

Most children use the internet to improve and develop their knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests.  Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant.  Show your child how to check the information they find by comparing it to alternative sources on the same topic.  Show them trusted sites they can use to compare their information.

 

6. Don’t be too critical towards your child’s exploration of the Internet

Children may come across adult material by accident on the web.  Also, a child may intentionally search for such websites; remember that it is natural for children to be curious about off-limits material.  Try to use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity.  We have to be careful but also realistic in our assessment of how your child uses the internet.

 

7. Let your children show you what they like to do online

To be able to guide your child with regard to Internet use, it’s important to understand how children use the Internet and know what they like to do online.  Let your child show you which websites they like visiting and what they do there.

 

8. Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives.

The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children, so encourage your child to make the most of it and explore the internet to its full potential.

As we know, the internet is now part of our culture and it is here to stay.  Since it is such a valuable resource for us as parents in many positive ways, it’s not something we should be fighting against, rather something that we need to embrace with our children in a healthy way.   If we help them to develop these good online habits at an early age, these practices will stay with them through their adult lives and will help them to form a positive relationship with the internet, making their virtual world a healthy and safe reality. 

As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you!  Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!

 

For more information, check out these resources:

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Firefighter Dad Dave Shares Parenting Advice

Firefighter Dad Dave Shares Parenting Advice

Firefighter Parent Advice - PreparaMom

International Firefighter’s Day, a day nationally recognized to our brave men and women who protect our homes, is May 4th this year.  My husband Dave is one of those courageous firefighters.

He is a big part of the operations here at PreparaMom and PreparaKit and I thought it might be nice for our audience to get to know what he does as a firefighter.

 

What Does a Firefighter Do All Day?

 

First, a little background. Some have mentioned to me that they have this totally inaccurate picture of firefighters as guys who sit around the station and wash the fire-truck while they just wait for a call to come in. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

Firefighters have to stay in peak physical condition because their lives and the lives of others depend on it. That means two hours a day of mandatory gym time, plus constant training and practice to maintain skills and competency.

Firefighter Parent Advice - PreparaMom

Staying in Peak Condition is Part of the Job for Firefighters!

 

Firefighters have to carry 100+ pounds of equipment when they go into a burning building and handle high-pressure hoses that could knock most people over. For a better idea of how much it takes, you can check this video out.

Inspections, community help and outreach, as well as equipment checks and maintenance, means no real time to yourself because at any moment, it’s expected that you have to be out the door within two minutes of a call and to the scene of the emergency within five minutes. Let’s just say they learn real quick to use the potty quickly! ?

 

What Advice Does a Firefighter Have for Parents?

 

Dave has a pretty good idea of how to be prepared at a moment’s notice to be on the move. Trust me, I know first hand!

I specifically asked him to share any unique advice for parents from a firefighter perspective to help parents be better prepared for emergency situations.

Dave’s main emphasis is on preparation and awareness. Seeing as this is the main part of his job, it is no wonder that he would be keen on these areas!

 

Being Prepared Means Staying Calm In Emergency Situations

 

Preparation as a parent can mean making sure you fill up your gas tank as soon as it gets near a quarter tank, ideally half a tank. Having gas in your tank means you can be assured to get as far away as you need or get to the help you need. This is something he is always on me to keep up with.

Dave always makes sure to keep supplies in the trunk of our car for emergency situations. Supplies such as water, first aid kit (this is a really good one!?), blanket, disposable gloves, utility knife, and flashlights.

 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

 

With awareness, you need to be alert to what is going on around you at all times. Kids usually do fire drills at school and now they’re adding active shooter drills as well. But sadly, these alarming situations can happen anywhere and at any time.

I never realized this but whenever we fly on an airplane, he is already checking out the exits and talking to our son about the exit plan. If you’re on an airplane, prepare your child by talking to them about what they would do if there was an emergency and where they would go if they had to exit the plane quickly. (Don’t blow off those instructions before the flight given to you by the flight attendant.)

If you’re in a restaurant or movie theater, you need to be able to find two different exit points you can use. Head for the nearest one; but if it’s blocked, you should be able to adjust and switch to a different exit.

He is always telling our kids that it’s fine if you get scared in a situation. But don’t lose your head and start panicking. This is when you’re going to get into a serious problem. As long as you know in advance what to do, you can fall back on that and stay calm and collected while you get out of harm’s way.

 

Thank a Firefighter for the Work They Do!

 

Firefighters have a tough job as evidenced by all the work and training that they do. I couldn’t be more proud of my husband.

This year, for Firefighter’s Day, thank a firefighter for all that they do in the community. And spend this time talking to your children about what they can learn from firefighters so they can stay prepared and be safe year-round.

 

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

 

At the beach, the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Appropriate Sports by Age

Appropriate Sports by Age

Age Appropriateness of Kids Sports - PreparaMom

Parents instinctively know that sports are good for kids. It’s obvious the exercise, social interactions and discipline taught will all benefit our kids.

Our children observed lots of different sports and determined which sports they were most interested in.

As I learned, there are sports that are better for kids at different ages for different reasons. So then, which sports are appropriate for specific age groups?

 

Let’s take a look at the general age appropriateness of athletic competitions.

 

Toddlers

This is not the time to try anything with heavy contact or lots of rules. Your child needs to be focusing more on interacting with other children and learning how to play together.

I took our kids to Gymboree classes where they interacted with other kids and enjoyed hands on play, music and singing.

 

4 to 5 Year Old’s

Now they can start to have a little more structure in their physical activity. Consider signing them up for team sports like T-ball and basketball. (Obviously, the basketball is going to have to be modified so they can reach the basket.)

Some hard core golf players have their kids start playing golf at this age. Miniature golf is fun for the kids!

Pay special attention to how the coaches handle these kids. At this age, it’s about learning the rules of the game and how to play without too much of a competitive edge. Avoid heavy contact sports and consider something like football if it is no-touch, flag football.

 

6 to 9 Year Old’s

Once a child is regularly starting school, their ability to concentrate and focus for an extended period of time should be increasing.

Their physical maturity with hand-eye coordination and vision should be more acute. This is the time for more team sports such as football, soccer, softball, and baseball but it’s also a good time for athletic classes.

Two good recommendations that stress flexibility and motor skills are gymnastics and martial arts. And, if you haven’t already taught your child to swim, now’s the time. If they excel at this, you may want to consider signing them up for a swim team.

 

10 Year Old’s to Teens

At this age, your child may have gotten a taste for different sports and found one that they really like.

Their bodies are more resilient, so you can consider contact sports at a more competitive level such as football, hockey, soccer and lacrosse as well as those which focus more on hand-eye coordination such as basketball, baseball/softball, and volleyball.

If your child prefers solo sports, the teen years is a perfect time to continue with, or sign up for events such as gymnastics, skating, martial arts, archery, swimming/diving, or track.

 

Know There Will Be Cuts and Scrapes

Just be forewarned they’re going to get cuts and scrapes along the way. This is just a function of being a kid and being active. Make sure the league or school they’re playing for has a concussion protocol that they follow for more serious injuries.

The important thing is to talk to your child and find out what they’re interested in.

Be Prepared for Sports at All Ages

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Sports Related Kids Injuries – Know the Stats

Sports Related Kids Injuries – Know the Stats

Sports Related Kids Injuries - Know the Stats - PreparaMom

It’s been common knowledge for years that one of the best activities for children is playing some form of sports. Between the lessons learned about teamwork, commitment and resolve as well as the benefits of exercise, it’s easy to see why 30 million children and teens participate in sports every year.

Unfortunately, that also leads to a very high rate of injury among these children and teens. When you hear about the horrific injuries that pile up in professional sports, you must realize that 40% of all sports-related injuries happen to children between 5 and 14 years old.

Here are more stats that put the problem of kids’ sports related injuries into perspective:

1. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over half of all sports related injuries could have been prevented. This underscores the need for children to wear proper protective gear and to be careful when practicing or playing a sport.

2. Sports contribute to almost a quarter (21%) of children’s traumatic brain injuries. Some of the worst offenders are recreational activities such as biking and skateboarding. However, other contact sports such as football, basketball, hockey, and soccer also have issues with concussions.

In the case of biking and skateboarding, children should always wear safety head gear. In other sports, schools need concussion policies in place for the diagnosis and treatment of this condition so that injured students aren’t put in harm’s way by playing hurt.

3. In one year, there were 1.35 million emergency room visits for children all stemming from just 14 sports. What makes this especially problematic is the Sports Related Kids Injuries - PreparaMomfact that these are ER visits, which are generally more expensive for those dealing with insurance payments.

But also, many times parents don’t follow up with treatment because they think the problem has been taken care of by the ER physician. Often the ER doctor is just getting the child stabilized and out of the “danger zone” and full treatment requires attention from the child’s regular doctor.

4. The three biggest injury offenders are football (215,000), biking (200,000) and basketball (170,000). However, trampoline accidents accounted for 65,000 injuries to children each year. This shows that sports activities at home can also be the cause of injuries to children as well.

Look, we all want to take care of our children and as much as we want to, you can’t wrap them up in bubble wrap and protect them from the world until they’re 18. You must let them go out and experience the world and if you don’t let them take part in sports activities, you’ll seriously hinder the physical and social development.

However, you must consider if contact sports are the right option for your child and in all situations, you need to ensure your child is protected with the right gear and gets the right treatment if they are injured.

Stay Prepared for Life’s Sports Accidents

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind. Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.