Las Cruces Magazine

Fall/Winter 2015-16

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Page 83 of 107

84 I Parenting Bullying: Internet Safety: Monitoring Software: Playing it Safe: National speaker and trainer John Linney has these tips for starting your child out on social media: · Make sure kids are only connected to people they know. No strangers! · Start out slowly on safer platforms, like Pinterest. Build up to Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter as kids demonstrate responsible social media behavior. · Always connect with your child on any social media platforms they use and monitor what's going on. · Help your child customize privacy settings and turn off location functions. · Follow the age guidelines of each platform. Don't lie to sign up a child who is too young. · Don't helicopter, but maintain an open door policy for discussing and monitoring social media so that kids learn responsibility. Tips courtesy of John Linney, owner of Impact Coaching & Speaking. Check out John's podcast at key and say, 'Go figure it out,' but we do that with social media all the time," says John. "They can hurt maybe five or 10 people with a car. They can hurt or be hurt by thousands with the phone. If we are going to give them lessons on the car, we need to give them lessons on how to use social media responsibly." John created a digital contract when his daughter began using social media. The document outlined his expectations, appropriate behavior, consequences, and monitoring. "You don't have to be a heli- copter parent, but we do need to check in once in a while," he says. "If we can teach kids the boundaries, no matter how the apps change, they're going to be ok." Myth #5 Monitoring is an Invasion of Privacy Trust and respect of privacy are import- ant in the parent child relationship, but that doesn't mean children and teens should have free reign on the Internet. Parents should definitely be aware of what their kids are doing with social media, says John. The level of monitoring varies great- ly from one parent to the next. "My husband and I have our computers in one room where all monitors can be seen," Dawn explains. "We do not allow electronics in bedrooms, and we have installed Net Nanny for Internet protec- tion." The Thompsons allow their children to begin using social media at 15-years- old, but they have the passwords and link to the kids' social media accounts. The Bruders monitor, but not quite so closely. "We consider ourselves 'liberal' in the most positive connotation possible," explains Pearie. "We decided that as long as it's slightly monitored, it's the way of the world." A parent's job is raising a child in a physically and emotionally safe environ- ment. Monitoring should be both face-to- face and digital. "Young people are great at creative thinking, but they haven't developed consequential thinking," says John. "They don't develop that until their mid-20s. We have to guide them so that they understand consequences." To parents concerned about the privacy issue, John asks, "If your child had 50 peo- ple in their room, would you peak in once in a while to see if they are ok? Of course you would." Above all else, he says it's about keep- ing lines of communication open: "Listen without judgment. You want them to be able to come to you if they are having problems online or if they are being mis- treated." Through monitoring and open commu- nication, one parent found out her daugh- ter's friend was cutting herself. The parent was able to use the situation as a teachable moment. She spoke with her daughter and came up with a plan on how to deal with it. Together they were able to get the friend the support she needed. "Social media is powerful," says Pearie. "Like with anything, moderation is im- portant." m FYI Parents, consider including in your child's supplies a container of mosquito repellant. Repellants may protect students on the way to school and are helpful with after school sports or activities. Remember you can protect yourself at home by eliminating standing water, now help protect your kids at school. You can also call the mosquito hotline to report problem areas. 575-541-2547

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