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Category: Online Safety for Kids

Introducing Kids to Positive Role Models

positive role models for kids

Child development happens partly as traits emerge from within, but another big part comes with children learning from the adults in their lives. Role models convey values, acceptable types of interaction and behavior, and ways of living in the world to kids. Providing good role models for your kids is a key part in supporting their positive development.

How do you find role models for your child? You can be a good role model yourself, of course, but children benefit from the presence of additional adults they can look up to and seek advice from. Here are some resources for giving your kids positive role models.

Historical Figures

When you’re not yet sure what your kids’ interests are, start with well-known contemporary or historical figures to see who catches their attention. There are plenty of well-known men, both historical and in contemporary culture, for boys to look up to.

And when it comes to raising daughters, there are lots of positive role models we can point to both in present times and from history. Check out this curated video playlist of powerful women in history to share with your older kids.

For younger kids, even Matel has created dolls based on historic women. It really helps your cause to point to people who actually lived: their lives, their challenges, their triumphs, and their struggles. It might just be inspiring, and at the very least, it will be educational.

As your children express interest in particular well-known people, you can start looking around in your own community for in-person role models, too.

Community Members

Ask your kids what traits they admire in those famous figures and think about people in your life who embody those qualities. You can look for role models who have the types of careers your kids are curious about, but better than that, find people who display desirable traits like compassion, integrity, and motivation. Younger kids learn what kind of people they can be from their role models. When they’re older, it’s more suitable to help them connect with people in professions they may want to pursue.

Who do you know at your children’s school, at your workplace, at church, in your own social network, or in your family who might want to form a relationship with your kids? Think about who you admire; chances are the same qualities will make that individual a good role model for your kids.

Fictional Figures or Celebrities

Though there are some limits to fictional role models, your kids may at some point idolize a fictional figure, so better to prepare for it and send good options their way. Discuss with them what they like about their favorite characters and how they see themselves being similar or different.

When choosing media to watch with your sons, consider these shows with strong male role models. Trying to find books for your daughters that aren’t just about princesses or romance? Here is a helpful list sorted by age group (from preschool through teen years) of books with strong female characters.

Be prepared for your kids to come home one day wanting to be exactly like a celebrity they saw on YouTube. The most important thing in this situation is how you talk to them about these role models. Rather than discouraging them from their infatuation, ask them what they like about their new favorite person. Keep the conversation going by asking your kids what that celebrity is up to over time (and give yourself more opportunities to discuss poor decisions said person might make).

Yourself

You are the first and most potentially powerful role model for your kids. Your children are watching and learning from you before they can even speak—and your actions will convey more than your words. You can’t do everything perfectly, but there’s a lot you can do to show them what kind of person you hope they’ll become by being that person yourself. For instance, one tip  is to take good care of yourself, which will help you better care for your kids while demonstrating the value of self-care.

General advice is great, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to convey positive traits in day-to-day life. For instance, how do you teach your kids about healthy eating without simply telling them what to do? Try to include them in the food shopping and give them choices about what they want to eat.

Once you start exploring, you can find positive role models for your kids in all kinds of social circles and fields. A good mix of people—historical figures, community members, and fictional characters—gives your kids plenty of opportunities to identify different facets of being human they want to emulate and can provide you with ample material for discussion.

by Hilary Thompson

Child development happens partly as traits emerge from within, but another big part comes with children learning from the adults in their lives. Role models convey values, acceptable types of interaction and behavior, and ways of living in the world to kids. Providing good role models for your kids is a key part in supporting their positive development.

How do you find role models for your child? You can be a good role model yourself, of course, but children benefit from the presence of additional adults they can look up to and seek advice from. Here are some resources for giving your kids positive role models.

Historical Figures

When you’re not yet sure what your kids’ interests are, start with well-known contemporary or historical figures to see who catches their attention. There are plenty of well-known men, both historical and in contemporary culture, for boys to look up to.

And when it comes to raising daughters, there are lots of positive role models we can point to both in present times and from history. Check out this curated video playlist of powerful women in history to share with your older kids.

For younger kids, even Matel has created dolls based on historic women. It really helps your cause to point to people who actually lived: their lives, their challenges, their triumphs, and their struggles. It might just be inspiring, and at the very least, it will be educational.

As your children express interest in particular well-known people, you can start looking around in your own community for in-person role models, too.

Community Members

Ask your kids what traits they admire in those famous figures and think about people in your life who embody those qualities. You can look for role models who have the types of careers your kids are curious about, but better than that, find people who display desirable traits like compassion, integrity, and motivation. Younger kids learn what kind of people they can be from their role models. When they’re older, it’s more suitable to help them connect with people in professions they may want to pursue.

Who do you know at your children’s school, at your workplace, at church, in your own social network, or in your family who might want to form a relationship with your kids? Think about who you admire; chances are the same qualities will make that individual a good role model for your kids.

Fictional Figures or Celebrities

Though there are some limits to fictional role models, your kids may at some point idolize a fictional figure, so better to prepare for it and send good options their way. Discuss with them what they like about their favorite characters and how they see themselves being similar or different.

When choosing media to watch with your sons, consider these shows with strong male role models. Trying to find books for your daughters that aren’t just about princesses or romance? Here is a helpful list sorted by age group (from preschool through teen years) of books with strong female characters.

Be prepared for your kids to come home one day wanting to be exactly like a celebrity they saw on YouTube. The most important thing in this situation is how you talk to them about these role models. Rather than discouraging them from their infatuation, ask them what they like about their new favorite person. Keep the conversation going by asking your kids what that celebrity is up to over time (and give yourself more opportunities to discuss poor decisions said person might make).

Yourself

You are the first and most potentially powerful role model for your kids. Your children are watching and learning from you before they can even speak—and your actions will convey more than your words. You can’t do everything perfectly, but there’s a lot you can do to show them what kind of person you hope they’ll become by being that person yourself. For instance, one tip  is to take good care of yourself, which will help you better care for your kids while demonstrating the value of self-care.

General advice is great, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to convey positive traits in day-to-day life. For instance, how do you teach your kids about healthy eating without simply telling them what to do? Try to include them in the food shopping and give them choices about what they want to eat.

Once you start exploring, you can find positive role models for your kids in all kinds of social circles and fields. A good mix of people—historical figures, community members, and fictional characters—gives your kids plenty of opportunities to identify different facets of being human they want to emulate and can provide you with ample material for discussion.

by Hilary Thompson

Teaching Kids about Privacy Settings

Parents face immense challenges due to continual advancements in technology and easy access to the internet. Mobile applications, daily web surfing, online video games have become the norm within every family. The ever changing social media landscape may be one of the most challenging issues for parents.

What’s hot now can be replaced by a new social media platforms within a short couple of years. In terms of learning, the latest websites or apps can  help young kids in primary school and beyond learn more efficiently while making it exciting.

No matter what kids are doing online, it’s important to revisit education regarding privacy settings on a regular basis.  Here are some points for consideration as parents navigate this topic.

1. Basic Rules for Kids

It is vital to set up some internet rules for your children at home. In order to keep children safe while online, examine the applications and devices which are used by each child and set up privacy tabs and parenting controls.

It is a good idea to sit with your children and teach them how to use the internet for their advantage in order to learn something new. Set up some basic rules for your children according to your household. For example, never to give passwords to anyone.  Whatever you post should not be disturbing and uncomfortable for others to watch.  And remember to get permission before giving any identifying or private information.

2. Explaining the Importance of the Privacy

No child or teen wants to be spied on, so it’s critically important to promote positive communication and explain to them why privacy concerns are so pressing. Ravenous demand for more and more content on social media puts a person under pressure to share something as well. Take time out to communicate with your kids what should and should not be shared because the world outside is watching.

Secondly, remind them to be civilized as their audience or friends might not have privacy settings. Communication about digital privacy is not a one time conversational.  Things change rapidly online and settings must also be reviewed regularly.   Kids need to understand and remember the value of staying safe in the virtual world.

3. Showing Respect

Respect and empathy are some of the basic skills every person should learn in life. While we talk about privacy settings, privacy itself is a fundamental right of each and every individual. Teach your kids to respect the privacy of others around them, including teaching them about what internet privacy truly means. It might not be feasible if they share someone’s information without their consent or post a picture without asking them. Teach your children to be careful about using anyone’s electronic device outside your home as well.

4. Using Privacy Settings

It is imperative to learn how to use the privacy settings for yourself first. This can be a challenge if you don’t even use the applications that your kids are using.  If in doubt, just “Google it” for tips and resources about a particular website or app.

While discussing this topic with younger children and teens, read the terms and conditions of a particular social media platform or app.  Do it with them and allow them to set and change their privacy settings during the conversation.   Such as:  the sharing any data, turning off location tracking or the microphone, using a strong password which cannot be copied or easily cracked.

As much as possible, stay away from public Wi-Fi to keep your connections safe. Making sure that the social media profiles of Facebook, Instagram, etc. are private so no one can excess your information.

5. Hire A Tutor

The issue of privacy setting is quite sensitive and complex. There are times when you are not able to teach your children the value of privacy effectively. In that rare scenario, it’s better to encourage teachers in their schools to have an extra session about this topic. If that is not possible, then consider hiring a tutor who can teach kids how to use the internet safely, browsing with them to help them understand the importance of privacy settings inside their home and within in any social surroundings.

Keeping Up with a Digital World

It may seem impossible to keep up with every social media site or app that kids are using these days.  Trust between parent and child, tween or teen is the starting point to keeping lines of communication open.  Ask your kids what apps they are using. This is a good start.  Chances are they are not even on Facebook anymore.  There are so many new and exciting options online and ultimately, young kids and teens will go where their friends are going.  As mentioned, open communication to build trust and a healthy environment within your home will go a long way to aid us all in this ever evolving digital age.

Parents face immense challenges due to continual advancements in technology and easy access to the internet. Mobile applications, daily web surfing, online video games have become the norm within every family. The ever changing social media landscape may be one of the most challenging issues for parents.

What’s hot now can be replaced by a new social media platforms within a short couple of years. In terms of learning, the latest websites or apps can  help young kids in primary school and beyond learn more efficiently while making it exciting.

No matter what kids are doing online, it’s important to revisit education regarding privacy settings on a regular basis.  Here are some points for consideration as parents navigate this topic.

1. Basic Rules for Kids

It is vital to set up some internet rules for your children at home. In order to keep children safe while online, examine the applications and devices which are used by each child and set up privacy tabs and parenting controls.

It is a good idea to sit with your children and teach them how to use the internet for their advantage in order to learn something new. Set up some basic rules for your children according to your household. For example, never to give passwords to anyone.  Whatever you post should not be disturbing and uncomfortable for others to watch.  And remember to get permission before giving any identifying or private information.

2. Explaining the Importance of the Privacy

No child or teen wants to be spied on, so it’s critically important to promote positive communication and explain to them why privacy concerns are so pressing. Ravenous demand for more and more content on social media puts a person under pressure to share something as well. Take time out to communicate with your kids what should and should not be shared because the world outside is watching.

Secondly, remind them to be civilized as their audience or friends might not have privacy settings. Communication about digital privacy is not a one time conversational.  Things change rapidly online and settings must also be reviewed regularly.   Kids need to understand and remember the value of staying safe in the virtual world.

3. Showing Respect

Respect and empathy are some of the basic skills every person should learn in life. While we talk about privacy settings, privacy itself is a fundamental right of each and every individual. Teach your kids to respect the privacy of others around them, including teaching them about what internet privacy truly means. It might not be feasible if they share someone’s information without their consent or post a picture without asking them. Teach your children to be careful about using anyone’s electronic device outside your home as well.

4. Using Privacy Settings

It is imperative to learn how to use the privacy settings for yourself first. This can be a challenge if you don’t even use the applications that your kids are using.  If in doubt, just “Google it” for tips and resources about a particular website or app.

While discussing this topic with younger children and teens, read the terms and conditions of a particular social media platform or app.  Do it with them and allow them to set and change their privacy settings during the conversation.   Such as:  the sharing any data, turning off location tracking or the microphone, using a strong password which cannot be copied or easily cracked.

As much as possible, stay away from public Wi-Fi to keep your connections safe. Making sure that the social media profiles of Facebook, Instagram, etc. are private so no one can excess your information.

5. Hire A Tutor

The issue of privacy setting is quite sensitive and complex. There are times when you are not able to teach your children the value of privacy effectively. In that rare scenario, it’s better to encourage teachers in their schools to have an extra session about this topic. If that is not possible, then consider hiring a tutor who can teach kids how to use the internet safely, browsing with them to help them understand the importance of privacy settings inside their home and within in any social surroundings.

Keeping Up with a Digital World

It may seem impossible to keep up with every social media site or app that kids are using these days.  Trust between parent and child, tween or teen is the starting point to keeping lines of communication open.  Ask your kids what apps they are using. This is a good start.  Chances are they are not even on Facebook anymore.  There are so many new and exciting options online and ultimately, young kids and teens will go where their friends are going.  As mentioned, open communication to build trust and a healthy environment within your home will go a long way to aid us all in this ever evolving digital age.

Tech Trends That Will Make the Internet a Safe Place for Kids

Tech Trends for Safe Kids Internet

Children nowadays access the Internet daily for school or pastime starting from a very young age. And since they might be too young to understand potential threats and consequences of their actions, parents, educators, and online service providers are obligated to step in and make the Internet a safe place for kids.

If you’re a parent, you already know that keeping children safe in the ‘Internet of Things’ era is an uphill task. However, technological advancement doesn’t only mean more risks or dangers for children online. Here are some technological trends that are making the Internet a safer place for children.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things or IoT, in short, enables a seamless connection between multiple devices. In a broader sense, everyday devices contain sensors and stream data to and from the Internet.

Ironically, many IoT devices like baby monitors and smart toys have gone from a way to protect children to devices that could put them at significant risk.

Regulatory bodies are continuously making efforts to impose safety standards on manufacturers of such devices and toys. These regulations call for stronger protocols and encryption and more options available in parental controls so that parents can filter out questionable content and the amount or nature of data being collected.

Using apps that sync across devices, parents can access and control many of these devices from a distance. This is greatly beneficial for monitoring which data is being exchanged, through which channels, and ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands (or ears). It makes it easy for parents and educators to keep an eye on children’s activities both online and offline.

User and Entity Behavior Analytics

Online parenting forums are awash with hacking incidents where passwords and usernames fall into the wrong hands. Once a hacker gains access to your account or device, they can waltz in and do as they please.

Unfortunately, not all breaches are detected fast enough to prevent damage or data leaks. This is especially problematic if personal data of children are involved.

In the future, such incidents should create less worry for parents, though.

One of the latest advancements in cybersecurity is User Behavior Analytics (UBA). The technology uses data analytics to identify anomalous user behavior and alerts administrators about suspicious activities.

UBA uses machine learning technologies to “learn” about a user’s normal and regular activity pattern. It can then differentiate between a legitimate user’s activity and an attacker who has gained entry by compromising log-in credentials if these activities don’t fit the norm of the legitimate user.

While UBA is still only in the realm of large organizations, its ability to quickly detect and respond to unusual activities in places that children frequently visit makes it a viable solution for minimizing future data breaches and leaks.

Multifactor Authentication

Many applications, websites, and devices use Multifactor Authentication or MFA in short, to improve account security. Technically, MFA refers to any system where a user must use at least two authentication forms to access a device, an application, or a website.

If your children use devices or applications, you’ll find MFA handy. Immediately after you log into a device with your username and password, the account server will prompt you to provide a second and independent authentication form.

It’s more or less what happens when bank security asks to see your social security card even though your funds are already secure.

MFA’s concept is that it’s difficult to pretend you’re someone you’re not when you have to prove who you are in different ways repeatedly.

If you’re monitoring how often your child uses a device, MFA will make it hard for your child to use the device even after getting their hands on the device without your approval. Most importantly, it will help keep out those that shouldn’t have access to it in the first place.

AI and ML

AI, along with IoT and other emerging technologies like ML, are continuing to change how we use the Internet. Nearly all modern devices that enter the market are IoT enabled. This includes not only smartphones but also TVs and gaming consoles, as well as almost all Virtual Reality gaming setups.

Together, these technologies are shaping a safer Internet environment for children. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning come complete with advanced language processing abilities. That means that unsafe content can easily be filtered out.

As an example, such technology enables fast image processing that analyses the content of the image and then interferes before a child can see it.

Recently, Instagram updated its filters to remove comments intended to upset or harass its users automatically. The new filter hides negative comments about a person’s character, appearance, and any other content that poses a threat to a user’s physical health and well-being.

Wrap Up

The Internet is an exciting place, but is it really safe? Can you, as a parent, allow your children to use it unsupervised? The answer is probably a resounding no.

Online safety is a continuous battle that never ends. Malicious attacks, inappropriate content, and data theft methods continue to evolve along with the technologies intended to prevent them.

So what can a busy parent do? The answer lies in taking advantage of tech trends designed to prevent malicious content from showing up in searches.

Using safe environments such as Safe Search for Kids, YouTube Kids, and implementing all available mechanisms to filter out inappropriate content on devices is a start. Tech progress and trends like some of these mentioned here will contribute to making the Internet a safer place for kids.

About the author:

Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialized in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

Children nowadays access the Internet daily for school or pastime starting from a very young age. And since they might be too young to understand potential threats and consequences of their actions, parents, educators, and online service providers are obligated to step in and make the Internet a safe place for kids.

If you’re a parent, you already know that keeping children safe in the ‘Internet of Things’ era is an uphill task. However, technological advancement doesn’t only mean more risks or dangers for children online. Here are some technological trends that are making the Internet a safer place for children.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things or IoT, in short, enables a seamless connection between multiple devices. In a broader sense, everyday devices contain sensors and stream data to and from the Internet.

Ironically, many IoT devices like baby monitors and smart toys have gone from a way to protect children to devices that could put them at significant risk.

Regulatory bodies are continuously making efforts to impose safety standards on manufacturers of such devices and toys. These regulations call for stronger protocols and encryption and more options available in parental controls so that parents can filter out questionable content and the amount or nature of data being collected.

Using apps that sync across devices, parents can access and control many of these devices from a distance. This is greatly beneficial for monitoring which data is being exchanged, through which channels, and ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands (or ears). It makes it easy for parents and educators to keep an eye on children’s activities both online and offline.

User and Entity Behavior Analytics

Online parenting forums are awash with hacking incidents where passwords and usernames fall into the wrong hands. Once a hacker gains access to your account or device, they can waltz in and do as they please.

Unfortunately, not all breaches are detected fast enough to prevent damage or data leaks. This is especially problematic if personal data of children are involved.

In the future, such incidents should create less worry for parents, though.

One of the latest advancements in cybersecurity is User Behavior Analytics (UBA). The technology uses data analytics to identify anomalous user behavior and alerts administrators about suspicious activities.

UBA uses machine learning technologies to “learn” about a user’s normal and regular activity pattern. It can then differentiate between a legitimate user’s activity and an attacker who has gained entry by compromising log-in credentials if these activities don’t fit the norm of the legitimate user.

While UBA is still only in the realm of large organizations, its ability to quickly detect and respond to unusual activities in places that children frequently visit makes it a viable solution for minimizing future data breaches and leaks.

Multifactor Authentication

Many applications, websites, and devices use Multifactor Authentication or MFA in short, to improve account security. Technically, MFA refers to any system where a user must use at least two authentication forms to access a device, an application, or a website.

If your children use devices or applications, you’ll find MFA handy. Immediately after you log into a device with your username and password, the account server will prompt you to provide a second and independent authentication form.

It’s more or less what happens when bank security asks to see your social security card even though your funds are already secure.

MFA’s concept is that it’s difficult to pretend you’re someone you’re not when you have to prove who you are in different ways repeatedly.

If you’re monitoring how often your child uses a device, MFA will make it hard for your child to use the device even after getting their hands on the device without your approval. Most importantly, it will help keep out those that shouldn’t have access to it in the first place.

AI and ML

AI, along with IoT and other emerging technologies like ML, are continuing to change how we use the Internet. Nearly all modern devices that enter the market are IoT enabled. This includes not only smartphones but also TVs and gaming consoles, as well as almost all Virtual Reality gaming setups.

Together, these technologies are shaping a safer Internet environment for children. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning come complete with advanced language processing abilities. That means that unsafe content can easily be filtered out.

As an example, such technology enables fast image processing that analyses the content of the image and then interferes before a child can see it.

Recently, Instagram updated its filters to remove comments intended to upset or harass its users automatically. The new filter hides negative comments about a person’s character, appearance, and any other content that poses a threat to a user’s physical health and well-being.

Wrap Up

The Internet is an exciting place, but is it really safe? Can you, as a parent, allow your children to use it unsupervised? The answer is probably a resounding no.

Online safety is a continuous battle that never ends. Malicious attacks, inappropriate content, and data theft methods continue to evolve along with the technologies intended to prevent them.

So what can a busy parent do? The answer lies in taking advantage of tech trends designed to prevent malicious content from showing up in searches.

Using safe environments such as Safe Search for Kids, YouTube Kids, and implementing all available mechanisms to filter out inappropriate content on devices is a start. Tech progress and trends like some of these mentioned here will contribute to making the Internet a safer place for kids.

About the author:

Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialized in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

Fun Online Activities That Give Kids Confidence

How to Build Confidence in Kids

Is your child a little shy? Do they suffer from a lack of self-esteem? It’s a difficult time to be a child. With so many distractions, it can be easy to put personal relationships on the back burner.  Children can dive down a black hole into the internet void, spend countless hours completing video game campaigns, and plug into the virtual world.

While they’re doing this, they can tune out others and lose grasp of meaningful relationships. Once these relationships disappear, the impact can translate into other realms of your child’s life. They may lose the confidence to talk freely and openly to others or second guess their ability to do well in other aspects of their life such as schoolwork. 

Sometimes the internet, a place designed to connect individuals across the globe, can feel daunting and dividing. When this transposes itself into ordinary life, it can become a problem and a burden. That is why I put together a list of online activities that stray from the gloom and doom and promote healthy habits and elevate self-esteem. 

Afterschool Gaming Clubs

Does your child’s school offer after school programming? If they do, odds are that they may have a program specific to online gaming or video game creation. If not, then try checking out local community centers. If all else fails, these resources will help you create your own after school program. 

These types of clubs are becoming more and more prevalent and can create a sense of community with your child. Not all kids are into sports or art. These clubs are the perfect option for the video game obsessed youth and can offer more than just a community of fellow gamers. Some clubs dive into video game creation and actually allow the students to create their own games, teaching meaningful skills while enjoying games with peers. This sense of community can be extremely important for boosting the learning and the self-esteem of your child. 

Educational Games 

Online educational games are not only fun, but they can provide your child with the confidence necessary to speak up in class. Kids are much more likely to raise their hand and participate when they have background knowledge on the topic. These educational games are the perfect way to get something out of time spent online.

There are tons of online educators out there. It is only a matter of knowing where to search to find the organizations that have put together games meant to further learning. Learn how to refine your search to find highly reputable site to try out, such as found on this online educational games.

Kid-Friendly Social Media Sites

Social media is a scary place, even for adults. But, there are platforms out there specifically for kids. At first you may think that this sounds like a terrible idea and an easy way for strangers to interact with your child. But, these sites take safety seriously. Unlike the Myspace and Facebook’s of the world, these sites are focused on safety and provide a great introduction to social media for kids of various ages.

Most of these sites allow parents to control their child’s overall usage and monitor their accounts. This means that your child can enjoy the interaction with peers, while you assure they don’t go overboard with it. Some sites are extremely basic and only offer the simplest of features, while some are in-depth and showcase some top-notch safety features, such as required background checks. It may be best to monitor your child’s presence on these sites at first, but eventually these social media sites should provide your child with communication skills that will transfer to the real world. 

Geocaching

Have you heard of geocaching? This is a great activity for young kids to do with the rest of the family or a wholesome activity for older kids to take part in with friends. Not only does this activity get you outside, but through their easy to use app you join an online community of treasure hunters.

So, what is geocaching? Geocaching utilizes GPS coordinates to show the locations of various geocaches (containers/treasure chests). Individuals then navigate to the geocache and find hidden goods. There are several different categories of geocaches that keep the search interesting every time. You can solve a puzzle to discover coordinates or find geocaches specific to major landmarks. This interactive community allows you to utilize your online skills to navigate the real world. 

While it is great for children to be outside exploring, it can also be very stressful for a parent. If you have older children and want to keep track of their whereabouts while they’re out and about exploring, then I suggest investing in a GPS-based tracker to ease your worries. 

iNaturalist

This is an environmentally-focused parent’s best friend. Not only does this app (also web-based) offer the opportunity to learn about different species, but similar to geocaching, it also gets kids outside. Look out for something called a “bioblitz” in your area. The National Park System, as well as numerous State Park Systems and non-profits hold these events to gather as many observations as possible in a specific period of time. For instance, while I worked for Tennessee State Parks, we developed a statewide bioblitz and created a variety of family-friendly programming around the event. This can be a great way to get out with the family and explore an area otherwise not accessible. 

The feeling of discovery can be a tremendous joy for children and adults alike. By discovering different plant and animal species, children learn about the natural world and increase their observational skills. This can translate directly to social and academic situations. According to childrensmuseums.org, “The informal understanding children gain through experimentation, observation, and comparison in play lays the foundation for higher-order thinking and later learning of formal STEM concepts”. For more information on iNaturalist and how it can benefit your child’s learning check out their site

Discovery

Regardless of which avenue you and your child take, the most important thing for improving self-esteem is the feeling of inclusion. These activities provide a community for your child to become a part of and share experiences. Those experiences will help define your child as an individual and grant them an identity to believe in. Hopefully, after discovering themselves and learning to believe in their abilities, your children will transfer this new, increased self-esteem into every aspect of their lives. So, get them involved and start building those memories.

Author Bio: Chandler Clayton is a freelance writer, specializing in education and safety. He draws upon his years of teaching environmental education to empower learning in children and adults of all backgrounds. He has been featured on sites such as SafeWise, USA Today, and Newsday.

Is your child a little shy? Do they suffer from a lack of self-esteem? It’s a difficult time to be a child. With so many distractions, it can be easy to put personal relationships on the back burner.  Children can dive down a black hole into the internet void, spend countless hours completing video game campaigns, and plug into the virtual world.

While they’re doing this, they can tune out others and lose grasp of meaningful relationships. Once these relationships disappear, the impact can translate into other realms of your child’s life. They may lose the confidence to talk freely and openly to others or second guess their ability to do well in other aspects of their life such as schoolwork. 

Sometimes the internet, a place designed to connect individuals across the globe, can feel daunting and dividing. When this transposes itself into ordinary life, it can become a problem and a burden. That is why I put together a list of online activities that stray from the gloom and doom and promote healthy habits and elevate self-esteem. 

Afterschool Gaming Clubs

Does your child’s school offer after school programming? If they do, odds are that they may have a program specific to online gaming or video game creation. If not, then try checking out local community centers. If all else fails, these resources will help you create your own after school program. 

These types of clubs are becoming more and more prevalent and can create a sense of community with your child. Not all kids are into sports or art. These clubs are the perfect option for the video game obsessed youth and can offer more than just a community of fellow gamers. Some clubs dive into video game creation and actually allow the students to create their own games, teaching meaningful skills while enjoying games with peers. This sense of community can be extremely important for boosting the learning and the self-esteem of your child. 

Educational Games 

Online educational games are not only fun, but they can provide your child with the confidence necessary to speak up in class. Kids are much more likely to raise their hand and participate when they have background knowledge on the topic. These educational games are the perfect way to get something out of time spent online.

There are tons of online educators out there. It is only a matter of knowing where to search to find the organizations that have put together games meant to further learning. Learn how to refine your search to find highly reputable site to try out, such as found on this online educational games.

Kid-Friendly Social Media Sites

Social media is a scary place, even for adults. But, there are platforms out there specifically for kids. At first you may think that this sounds like a terrible idea and an easy way for strangers to interact with your child. But, these sites take safety seriously. Unlike the Myspace and Facebook’s of the world, these sites are focused on safety and provide a great introduction to social media for kids of various ages.

Most of these sites allow parents to control their child’s overall usage and monitor their accounts. This means that your child can enjoy the interaction with peers, while you assure they don’t go overboard with it. Some sites are extremely basic and only offer the simplest of features, while some are in-depth and showcase some top-notch safety features, such as required background checks. It may be best to monitor your child’s presence on these sites at first, but eventually these social media sites should provide your child with communication skills that will transfer to the real world. 

Geocaching

Have you heard of geocaching? This is a great activity for young kids to do with the rest of the family or a wholesome activity for older kids to take part in with friends. Not only does this activity get you outside, but through their easy to use app you join an online community of treasure hunters.

So, what is geocaching? Geocaching utilizes GPS coordinates to show the locations of various geocaches (containers/treasure chests). Individuals then navigate to the geocache and find hidden goods. There are several different categories of geocaches that keep the search interesting every time. You can solve a puzzle to discover coordinates or find geocaches specific to major landmarks. This interactive community allows you to utilize your online skills to navigate the real world. 

While it is great for children to be outside exploring, it can also be very stressful for a parent. If you have older children and want to keep track of their whereabouts while they’re out and about exploring, then I suggest investing in a GPS-based tracker to ease your worries. 

iNaturalist

This is an environmentally-focused parent’s best friend. Not only does this app (also web-based) offer the opportunity to learn about different species, but similar to geocaching, it also gets kids outside. Look out for something called a “bioblitz” in your area. The National Park System, as well as numerous State Park Systems and non-profits hold these events to gather as many observations as possible in a specific period of time. For instance, while I worked for Tennessee State Parks, we developed a statewide bioblitz and created a variety of family-friendly programming around the event. This can be a great way to get out with the family and explore an area otherwise not accessible. 

The feeling of discovery can be a tremendous joy for children and adults alike. By discovering different plant and animal species, children learn about the natural world and increase their observational skills. This can translate directly to social and academic situations. According to childrensmuseums.org, “The informal understanding children gain through experimentation, observation, and comparison in play lays the foundation for higher-order thinking and later learning of formal STEM concepts”. For more information on iNaturalist and how it can benefit your child’s learning check out their site

Discovery

Regardless of which avenue you and your child take, the most important thing for improving self-esteem is the feeling of inclusion. These activities provide a community for your child to become a part of and share experiences. Those experiences will help define your child as an individual and grant them an identity to believe in. Hopefully, after discovering themselves and learning to believe in their abilities, your children will transfer this new, increased self-esteem into every aspect of their lives. So, get them involved and start building those memories.

Author Bio: Chandler Clayton is a freelance writer, specializing in education and safety. He draws upon his years of teaching environmental education to empower learning in children and adults of all backgrounds. He has been featured on sites such as SafeWise, USA Today, and Newsday.