Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/customer/www/preparamom.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/divi-overlays/divi-overlays.php on line 3008
Top Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

Top Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

Let’s face it… we’re parents and we worry about everything, especially when it comes to our teens and social media safety.  There are so many reasons why social media can be extremely dangerous with all of the horror stories of kids being lured, abducted, sexually assaulted, and bullied.

I know your teenager doesn’t want to be told what to do and what not to do, but by offering these guidelines you can set safe parameters for them to explore the entire world of social media without being bullied, ripped off, scammed, or disrespected while they’re just trying to have a good time online.

It is possible for your teen to have a safe, positive experience within the social media world, if the proper boundaries are in place.

First Steps:

  • Make sure your teen’s social media pages are set to private, not public. 
  • Turn off geo-tagging, so they cannot be located from their social media posts.
  • Do not let your teen “friend” people they do not directly know. Teens should NEVER make plans to meet someone they met on social media.
  • Report inappropriate content (bullying, hate speech, obscenity) to the social media platform AND be sure to block the poster.

Social Media Safety tips to talk about with your kids:

  1. How often do they check their settings on all social media pages?

Encourage your child to regularly review the app or social networking privacy settings. Many social networks are set to public by default, meaning anyone can see your child’s posts, pics, and videos.  We would recommend using a ‘friends-only’ setting. Keep your teen accountable, and ask them to participate in their own safety settings on a weekly basis. They will feel like you are entrusting them with the responsibility to take care of themselves, while giving them a task that keeps them safe.

  1. How many social networks are you currently using?

Just like their bedrooms, it is important that children give their social media presence a spring clean every so often.  Remind your child to deactivate any old social media profiles/accounts they may have signed up to. This can help minimize the risk of getting hacked.

  1. Is it possible to copy a photo, video, or snap without the other person knowing?

Explain to your child that anything that appears on a screen can be copied and shared regardless of the privacy features of the services they are using.  Nearly all mobile phones can save what is displayed on screen by pressing a couple of buttons. It is just as easy to capture what is displayed by taking a photo of the screen using a camera or camera phone.  Make sure they understand that once their content is posted online, there is the risk of that photo or video being seen by others forever, so make sure they think twice.

  1. What type of information/photos are okay to share online?

It’s a good idea to give some guidelines about what to avoid discussing or sharing online.  Some children may not understand how quickly content can be shared online, it may be helpful to explain that even by deleting a post/photo it may still be too late, and the content may already have been shared.

  1. Are they accepting friend requests or follows from strangers?

Make sure they understand, that they should only accept friend requests or follows from people that they know.  Tell them that they should not be chatting or messaging with any people online that are not personal friends, because these conversations can lead to dangerous encounters that they will wish they had never started.  Explain that what might seem innocent at first, can have major repercussions later that can’t be undone.

Try to be as open as possible with your teens about these topics, and include them in monitoring their own safety so they will feel that you are entrusting them with newfound responsibility because they are getting older.  

This will make these conversations a lot easier, and ultimately bring you closer to your teen, empowering them to feel like they can talk to you about anything.

Here some links if you would like additional information on social media safety:

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 our kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Online Photo Safety for Kids

Online Photo Safety for Kids

online safety for kids

Online photo safety for kids should be on every parent’s mind.  It’s not uncommon nowadays for photos of children to be posted online before they are even born, but is it safe?  Announcing your pregnancy by posting a baby scan is a ‘thing’ on Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t stop once there, a recent survey found that an average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of their child online before he or she turns five.  We live in an age of “sharenting,’ so we have to learn how to navigate this new trend in a safe manner.

Our children learn most from watching us and copying what we do.  If you want your child to only post photos when they have the consent of the people in them, ask their permission before posting photos of them. Likewise, if they ask you to remove a photo that they find embarrassing, take it down. The chances are your child will do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.

There are no hard and fast rules for this topic, however, there are some things to consider before you hit the share button:

online safety for kids
Edit your life:

Be selective about what you share online.  Don’t post photos of everything that happens in your life no matter how cute you think your child looks in them.  Think twice about sharing photos taken in bathroom and bedroom settings. You can’t control the context in which the photos will be seen.

Ask yourself will this photo cause my child embarrassment now or in the future?

Everything we post online creates a digital footprint and for young people maintaining a good online reputation is becoming increasingly important. Parents should consider any long-term risks of sharing photos of their children online. Some photographs have the potential to go viral.

Check Your Settings:

Social networks regularly update settings, so it is important to review your settings. If you are a regular user of Facebook, the social network allows users to do a Privacy Checkup which makes it very easy for users to understand who they are sharing content with.

 

Who will see my photos?

Ensure you are happy with your privacy settings and understand who may potentially see your images. It is a good idea to regularly review your friend/connections on social networks. Some networks, for example, Facebook allow users to limit/customize who they share posts with.  Some things will always be public. Parents should beware that some posts/photos are always public for example; Twitter profile photos, Facebook cover images and featured photos.

Is your location service disabled? 

Many social networks and apps allow you to share your location. Some people may not be aware that this function is automatically enabled on some apps and networks.  Consider reviewing this when sharing family photos.

I realize that we ultimately want that ‘connection’ with people- to share our lives, our families, our children, and a great way to do this is through posting photos on social media and online.  The virtual world has brought us an entirely new way of interacting and connecting with others, but we just want to ensure that we do so in the safest way possible. 

Let’s do it responsibly, and you will find that if they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we will be sharing beautiful novels with our friends, families and loved ones every time we post our cherished photos!

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.

Bully Proofing Kids

Bully Proofing Kids

When I was in elementary school, I was made fun of quite a bit because I looked and dressed differently. Thankfully it never went any further than name calling. 

But even with just that, those childhood memories are still ingrained in me. And I’m not the only one. It seems more and more that we’re hearing about people who were bullied in much the same way as children.

Kids can be so mean and hurtful and the bad part is, they may not even realize they are doing it. They either haven’t had someone to teach them that the behavior is unacceptable, or they haven’t learned exactly how to behave properly. 

One thing I knew for sure about having kids of my own was that I was going to make sure they knew how to stand up for themselves and even more important, that they aren’t the ones being the bully.

Some things I emphasize with my kids on an ongoing basis about bullying:

  1. Utilize teachable moments (i.e. tv/movie bullying scenes, real life examples). This is a great way to engage them in a conversation about what their thoughts are when watching these scenes and how it should have been handled.
  2. Ignore the kids that aren’t being nice. Most of the time, bullies will only continue to bother you if they know they can get a reaction from you. If you ignore them, they will move on and leave you alone.
  3. Engage your kids in activities that boosts their confidence and self-esteem. This can include sports and other extra-curriculars that help give them confidence. But it can also be from giving them tasks and jobs around the house, helping them get that boost of accomplishment.

On the other hand, what’s even more important is that my kids know it’s never ok to treat others badly. With that in mind, I ask them to remember that they should always:

  1. Be kind
  2. Be helpful
  3. Be considerate
  4. Stand up for others
  5. Not say anything if they don’t have any nice to say
  6. Put yourself in the shoes of others and ask yourself if you would want that to happen to you

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.

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.

 

19 Ways to Prepare For The Dreaded Teen Years

19 Ways to Prepare For The Dreaded Teen Years

Picture this…your daughter has made it to her senior year in high school, she’s confident in herself, is a straight A student, top of her class, successfully juggles work, sports and school, everyone loves her, she has a good attitude, is ambitious, well rounded, and responsible.  It’s basically everything you could ever hope for your daughter to become.

So why do we cringe then when people ask us, “so are you ready for the teenage years?”  Why do most of us dread these years? Well we can’t help to feel that way when we hear stories like “my daughter committed suicide, my son is getting into fights at school, they are being bullied, my daughter is pregnant, my kids rebel at us every chance they get, getting into trouble with the law, and of course, my kids have major attitude.

BUT…..What if there was a magic pill that we could give to our kids that will guarantee they turn out like the perfect angel we envision them to grow up to be?  Hah! Fat chance right?

The truth is that we can’t guarantee our kid’s teen years will be smooth sailing. Obviously we all know that much.  As parents, we have the best of intentions for our kids. So if there is no magic pill, what would be the next best thing? A friend recommended, “Taking off to Hawaii for a few years to meditate and find enlightenment while the husband stays back and holds up the fort”.  Sigh…if only that was reality.

In all seriousness, I do believe we as parents, can make or break these teenage years.

As a parent who has yet to go through this phase myself, there is tremendous value in learning from parents who have survived the much dreaded teenage years.

So I hope to share some advice that I have collected and some “things I would have done differently” from other parents that you and I may be able glean from to help us to best prepare ourselves and our kids through their adolescent life as best as possible.  The more we know, the better we can prepare.

  1. Always listen listen listen.  Have a lot of discussions and talk with them about everything.  Praise them when they share with you “So glad you were able to tell me that” So the communication ways stay open.  You want them to come to you when they face a tough choice. Also have many talks about sex. Made huge difference in late teen sand early 20’s.
  2. Set clear expectations and boundaries so that you can give them their independence and room to make mistakes and learn and grow from it
  3. Teach money and responsibilities at an earlier age
  4. Be more open minded
  5. Encourage them to make their own decisions so they would become independent & self determined individuals
  6. Don’t lecture, preach, or nag, but rather listen and guide them.  Respect their thoughts
  7. Earning money to get what they wanted.  Saving more for it makes the appreciate and value life more.  Teach then they can do and become who or whatever they dream, when they get out in the world, but for now do what I say when you’re under my roof
  8. So I can pass on my bullet proof vest, cape, safety goggles and box of tissues and tell all of you to hold on, be consistent, set boundaries, learn to deflect the eye roll, monitor social media and communicate with your child as their parent
  9. Too many outlets these days ie via social media so it allows them to avoid the issue instead of facing it.  Social media makes heightens peer pressure, low self image and self esteem because it’s so easy to see your friends and compare yourself, even though it is all a facade.
  10. Don’t fight with them to get your way.  Work on compromise and problem solving with them.  Let them take the lead on coming up with a game plan because that’s the only one that will work
  11. Don’t give them everything they want, make them earn it themselves
  12. Let them fall down a few more times in life.  I look back and think I didn’t prepare them well enough for disappointment in the real world.
  13. Set expectations but let them create their path (earn money, behavior, respect, set goals etc)
  14. Provide structure and keep them busy in their younger years with activities so they have less opportunity to get themselves into trouble or associate with the wrong friends
  15. Be 100% open and honest
  16. Instruct them that they always have choices, but consider the consequence of each decision
  17. would be more hands on with their goings and not so much freedom.  Talk more
  18. Never be so busy that you don’t have the time
  19. Teach them to be a leader and not a follower.

All of these pointers are so important!  Boy do we have a lot of work to do ahead of us to prepare.  The one thing I have been hearing being repeated multiple times is to do whatever you can to make sure the line of communication is open.  The last thing we want is for our kids to shut down and feel like they can’t come to us to discuss their problems.

If you have read this far, you’re probably thinking, “sure…easier said than done!”  No doubt about it. All we can do is our best and hope for the best. What I do know for sure is that the earlier we can incorporate some of these skills and values into our kids, the easier it will be when our kids become teenagers themselves.

Among all the dreaded stories are the ones that give us new parents the hope that our kids will turn out ok.  That we can trust them to make good and safe choices. Stories that inspires us to strive to experience the same kind of relationships with our kids and stories that we can look forward to for ourselves as well.  So there is light at the end of the tunnel when you hear comments like these:

“I have 3 teenage girls 14, 16, 18 and 22 year old son.  I am loving this stage of life more than any other stages so far”

“I’m loving the teen years so far!!!…I have 2 teenage boys, they’re like little men, with their own opinions and jokes!  Fun time for sports”

“It has its definite stresses but I love it!  The conversations are awesome”

“It is so fun to watch them grow into the adults they will be, and the conversations we have now I wouldn’t trade for anything”

So let’s get out there and raise our kids to grow up into strong, independent, and successful men and women of the future. Let’s not dread the teen years but instead, look forward to them and make them be the best years we possibly can.

graduation

Image by greymatters via Pixabay

Stay Prepared for Life’s 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.