Category: Online Safety for Kids

These Are the Best Ways to Minimize Your Teen’s Digital Footprint

How to Minimize Your Teen's Digital Footprint

Most teenagers are unaware that their online presence leaves a trail that leads back to them. Everything they do online is not only difficult to remove, but it can also impact their future. From applying to college to getting their foot in the door in a career, digital footprints can make or break a teen’s future and goals if they aren’t careful.

Good Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship is the way you behave online. When you were a teen, you didn’t have to worry so much about the repercussions of your actions catching up with you. Teens today should be aware and use caution in interacting socially online. Social media is designed to connect with peers but can easily be used for bullying. That funny meme might seem to be worth sharing at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t affect you negatively professionally.

Be careful when choosing what to put out there in the digital world. If you’re unsure if something would be appropriate to share, take a screenshot of it and send it to a select few. It is essential to teach your teen that good digital citizenship will follow them into college and their chosen career path. It is not uncommon for colleges to rescind acceptance letters for behavior they see on social media platforms.

Dangers of a Digital Footprint

Cyberbullying is a harmful use of social media that is an ongoing challenge that will only worsen without proper guidance for our teens. More than 30,000 suicide deaths occur each year in the U.S. Cyberbullying plays a significant role in this suicide rate because it targets teens that could already be suffering from depression or another disorder. Cyberbullying might seem harmless to some teens, but written words can be easily misinterpreted and taken out of context.

Teens should be careful even when they are joking about what they say on social media. They are leaving a breadcrumb trail that will stay with them forever. It is doubtful that your teen would intentionally hurt someone, but ensure they know the dangers of how their words can be misconstrued. Tell them about the game of telephone where something is whispered into a person’s ear, and then it’s passed around the room. More often than not, the said phrase is not the same once it travels around the room. Teach your teen that their words matter.

Restrict Access To Personal Information

Set guidelines for what your children should share online and what they should keep private. Educate them on the parameters of safely sharing information. They should know not to ever share sensitive information no matter the circumstances. If they question something, encourage them to come to you to be sure before they enter anything they’re unsure of. Don’t wait until something happens to create guidelines for them. They should never share their phone number or address anywhere online.

Negative Digital Footprint Impacts

There are numerous harmful impacts that your teen’s digital footprint can have on their future. College admissions and military recruiting officers can and will take notice of your teen’s digital presence when considering their application. Employers and internships will also look up your teen online when considering them for a position.

Recruiters and coaches will look at your teen’s profiles when considering open positions on their team for colleges. Your teen is also at risk for identity theft every time they post online. Photos shared online are fair game for identity theft. Scholarships for college and internships often ask candidates for their social media profiles to peruse before considering them as applicants.

Anonymity Doesn’t Exist

Privacy doesn’t exist online. There is always someone watching, whether it’s an identity theft attempt, a cyberattack or the government through the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The ECPA authorizes the government’s admission to your files and folders online. The digital communications they can access are Facebook messages, email, your cloud and others.

The Library of Congress is saving tweets from Twitter for future generations. So, your anonymity is nonexistent. Urge your teens to stop and consider their content before they post it. Encourage them not to be impulsive and leave private conversations off of social media. Nothing online is temporary. Once it’s out there, it’s out and hard to remove even after it’s been deleted.

Enable Privacy Settings

Ensure all of your teen’s social media platforms are set to private. Make sure they have their location turned off on apps like Snapchat. They should know about numerous privacy settings if they’re allowed to use social media. Twitter has tweet protection where your followers are the only ones that see your tweets, besides the Library of Congress.

Apps like Instagram and Facebook have options to make your profiles private, so only people you choose can access the information you share. Keep track of your accounts and delete the ones you don’t use frequently. This will make it easier to maintain your digital footprint and gives you a smaller chance of data breach.

Center Stage

Social media has taken center stage in the way children communicate with each other. The game of telephone has become a thing of the past. Do you remember having to ask your parents to call someone long distance? What about call waiting or eavesdropping on your siblings’ conversations from the second phone in the house? It’s a whole new era now. Advise your children how easily they are susceptible to dangers online and encourage them to be selective and protected when posting content.

About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you’ll find her in a yoga class, advocating for her children or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen!

10 Tips for Teaching your Child to Ride a Bike

Teaching Kids How to Ride a Bike

Riding a bike is a great way for kids to get exercise and have fun. It can also be a bit daunting for parents who are new to the process of teaching their children how to ride. Luckily, we have put together 10 helpful tips that will make the process easier and more enjoyable for both you and your child!

1. Safety First: Check Bike Setup, Clothing, and Helmet

Before you start the process of teaching your kid to ride a bike, it’s important to make sure the bike is set up properly. The following tips will help you do just that:

  • Make sure the seat is at the right height. It should be positioned so that when your child is sitting on the seat, their feet can reach the ground.
  • Check that the handlebars are at the correct height and angle.
  • Make sure the chain is lubricated and there is no rust on any of the parts.
  • Inflate the tires to the proper pressure.

It’s also essential to ensure your youngster is wearing the appropriate clothing, such as a helmet and that they are wearing shoes that will protect them if they fall. A good helmet is an important part of preventing head injuries in the event of a fall.

2. Learn Balance Speed Without Pedals

When your child is first starting to learn how to ride a bike, it’s important to focus on teaching them balance and speed before adding in the pedalling component. One way to do this is to have them ride without pedals at first. This will help them get used to the motion of riding a bike and help them build up their speed and balance. Once they’ve mastered this, then you can add in the pedals and help them learn how to use them effectively.

3. Steering the Bike

Now that your child is able to balance on a bike, it’s time to start working on steering. This involves getting comfortable with using the handlebars to control the direction of the bike.

  • Start by having your child hold the handlebars and steer back and forth while standing next to the bike.
  • Next, have them sit on the bike and hold the handlebars while you push them from behind.

Encourage your child to keep steering even when they’re going straight. This will help them get a feel for how the handlebars work.

4. Put the Pedals Back On

Once your child has mastered balance, it’s time to add in the pedals. This can be a little more challenging, so it’s important to take it slow. Start by adding the pedals back on the bike. Have your child stand next to the bike, holding onto it for support.

Show them how to place their feet on the pedals and explain how the pedals work. It may be helpful to demonstrate yourself first. Once they understand how it works, let them give it a try. They may need a little help getting started, but soon they should be able to pedal on their own.

5. Braking!  Stopping Without Falling

When your child is first learning to ride a bike, you will need to teach them how to stop without falling. One way to do this is by teaching them how to brake. There are two types of braking: front and rear.

Front braking is the most common type of braking. This type of braking involves using the front brake to slow down or stop the bike. Rear braking is less common, but it can be useful in certain situations. This type of braking involves using the rear brake to slow down or stop the bike.

When teaching your child how to brake, it is important to start with front braking. This will help them get a feel for how much pressure to apply to the brake lever. Once they have mastered front braking, you can then teach them rear braking.

6. Choose a safe area to learn.

When you and your child are ready to start learning how to ride a bike, choose a safe, open area like a park or playground. This will give them plenty of space to practice without having to worry about cars or other obstacles.

7. Consider the teacher.

When it comes to teaching your child how to ride a bike, nothing is more important than finding the right teacher. Vuly play has some of the best bikes for kids on the market, and our team of experts is more than happy to teach your child how to ride.

8. Check the seat height again

Once your child is on the bike, their feet should be able to touch the ground with a slight bend in their knees. If they can’t reach it, lower the seat. Conversely, if their legs are fully extended, raise them. You want them to be as comfortable as possible while still being able to pedal and maintain control of the bike.

9. Consider a bike skills course

If you want to give your kid the best chance of mastering how to ride a bike, consider enrolling them in a bike skills course. Vuly play offers bike skills courses for kids of all ages, and our experienced instructors will help your child learn the basics of riding a bike quickly and safely.

10. Safety First, and Last

It is important to remember that safety is the number one priority when teaching your child to ride a bike. Make sure they are wearing a helmet and that the area is clear of traffic before letting them go. Explain the importance of staying safe while riding and be sure to enforce these rules once they start cycling on their own.

Summary

It can be a challenge to teach your kid how to ride a bike, but following these tips can make the process easier. Make sure the bike is the right size for your child, and help them practice balancing by having them stand on the bike with both feet on the ground. When they’re ready, have them start pedalling slowly while you hold the bike steady. As they gain confidence, they can start pedalling faster and let go of the handlebars. Soon, they’ll be riding on their own.

Learn more about how great activities like riding a bike can boost the mood of your child.

Online Summer Safety Tips for Kids

Summer Fun

School’s out, and that means your kids have lots of time free to spend online chatting, making plans with friends, and posting fun summertime photos—sometimes without you there to supervise. If that gives you anxiety, fear not. Here are four steps that will keep keep your child safe online this summer.

1. Set Rules for Responsible Use

Sit down with your children and talk frankly about why you care about their internet safety, covering big topics like cyberbullying or identity theft in a way that matches their maturity level. Then work together to define clear, understandable rules for their online interactions. Here are a few basics to consider:

  • Never post personal info like addresses and phone numbers on social media.
  • Avoid location check-ins and photo geo-tagging, which can be used to track where you are as well as when you are away from home.
  • Be wary of free games and other goodies, which can infect your devices with malware. Keep security software up to date and scan everything before downloading.
  • Use secure passwords and protect them. There are several password managers out there that can generate strong passwords and store them all in one place.

Once you’ve agreed upon the ground rules for online safety, put them into a contract to be signed by everyone in the family.

2. Follow Your Own Rules

This is an important follow-up to the previous rule. You want your kids not to text or go online after 10 p.m.? Shut down your phone and laptop at the same time.

Don’t want them posting embarrassing photos of you? Let them veto pictures they may not be happy with you sharing on social media, too.

If you can adhere to the rules you and your kids built together, they will feel more inclined to do so as well.

3. Build Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

In a world abounding with fake news, help your kids think critically about any content they find online. Encourage older kids especially to fact-check stories before reposting on Facebook or commenting on Twitter.

Teach them to question their own motives as well. Just because a comment will generate a lot of likes, that doesn’t mean they should post it. Even one poorly chosen post can cause problems down the line.

The Family Online Safety Institute has also developed a checklist that includes reminders to remove and untag unwanted posts, and to “accentuate the positive” by posting upbeat content.

4. Let Your Kids Know You Will Still Monitor Online Usage

Finally, let your kids know that you may occasionally check up on their activity. Being upfront about your plans to look at their browser history and monitor their Facebook account will establish a sense of trust and keep them accountable.

For young kids who need a bit more oversight, there are plenty of helpful apps available to let you keep an eye on them. Older kids and teens may not need (or want) as much monitoring, so for them, you may be able to check in less often. To really emphasize trust, you can even ask them to put their passwords into a piggy bank for use only in an emergency.

The internet can be a great resource for helping kids learn and be social during their school-free summer months, and following the steps listed here will help them do so smartly, responsibly, and safely.

Eight Great Things to Do with Kids This Summer

How to Help Children With ADHD Successfully Study at Home

How to Help Children With ADHD Successfully Study at Home

Helping children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) successfully study at home can be incredibly challenging. This is because children with ADHD have trouble focusing for long periods, aren’t keen on details, and don’t want to engage in activities that take a lot of mental effort.

Studying requires all three of these things, and children diagnosed with ADHD aren’t exempt from studying because of their difficulties. So, we must find ways to make study sessions at home more enjoyable and productive for their unique needs.

Here are eight of those ways below:

Create a Designated Study Space

For a child with ADHD to successfully study at home, a designated study space is a must. A designated study room or corner for your children can help them be more productive. It can also help their brain know it’s time to focus on their studies every time they enter this space.

Decorate their designated study space with calming colors. Adopt a minimalist style. Be sure there’s room for exercise and play. Finally, kid-proof the space and make it as safe as possible.

When you use this study space with your children, be mindful of how you use your time in it.

Manage Time Attentively

Managing time attentively is a secret weapon in helping children with ADHD study effectively. Break up the time your child spends studying in a way that supports their unique needs.

For example, incorporate regular breaks in every session to ensure your children don’t get overwhelmed with the mental effort it takes to study. You could also introduce time management techniques to them, like the Pomodoro method, to limit distractions and procrastination.

Also, incorporating play into studying can help children with ADHD successfully study at home.

Incorporate Play into Studying

One of the best things you can do in a study session with a child with ADHD is incorporate elements of play into it. Children with ADHD need ways to release energy, especially during study time.

Making time for physical exercise, outdoor play, and creative activities can improve your children’s focus and help them control their emotions and impulses.

Take breaks to play during every study session. Also, incorporate fun, hands-on activities that help your kids learn the topic their studying.

Ask Teachers for Advice

Tapping your children’s teachers for advice on how to help them study and learn better is a brilliant move. Your children spend a lot of time with their teachers throughout the week. So, they likely know a lot about how your children learn best with ADHD.

Set up meetings with your children’s teachers to gain insight into how to use what’s working at school and home. Ask them specific questions about how to help your child retain information better and what kind of environment might be best for them to study in at home.

Enlist the Help of a Tutor

Not only is asking teachers for advice wise but so is enlisting the help of a tutor who primarily works with children with ADHD.

You can reach out to your child’s school and ask for information on tutors in the area. You can also search for tutors specializing in working with students with ADHD on the internet. Interview potential matches and introduce them to your child during these meetings to see how they connect.

You may have to cycle through a few tutors before finding the right one, but it’s worth the work.

Explore Using Digital Tools

Digital tools can also positively influence your children’s study sessions because they can help keep them focused and engaged.

For example, you can gamify studying to stimulate their brains and keep the process exciting. You can use projectors or your television to amplify a lesson. You can also use different apps to make studying more manageable.

Whatever digital tools you use to help your children with ADHD study, ensure they’re kid-friendly and easy to use.

Create a Circle of Support

Creating a circle of support comprised of other parents with children with ADHD can help you gather ideas for how to make studying better for your children at home. You’ll also have people who genuinely understand what you’re going through to lean on when times get tough.

It might also be a good idea to add a behavior specialist or counselor to your circle of support. A study on ADHD revealed that “about 6 out of 10 children had received some type of behavioral treatment or skills training.”

Behavioral therapists can help you find studying methods that work for your children’s particular needs. They can also help your children manage the frustrations and emotional triggers people living with ADHD often face.

Be Inherently Positive

Your circle of support can also help you become inherently positive, especially in situations when parents also are dealing with ADHD. Positive thinking and communication are integral to successful studying at home with children with ADHD.

The last thing you want to do is be frustrated or angry with a child navigating ADHD. Being that way can make them feel hopeless and inadequate. Instead, learn to lift them up at all times. Work on your mindset. And grow your patience as well.

Conclusion

It isn’t easy helping children with ADHD successfully study at home, but it’s essential if you want them to thrive. So, use the tips above to create a positive, productive study environment at home for your children to give them the best chance at excelling in their education despite being diagnosed with ADHD.

About the Author
About the AuthorKatie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in education, mental health, family lifestyle and online safety. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. You can follow her on Twitter.

Safer Search

What does it take to provide a safer web experience for kids? It takes a combination of tools and resources working together in unison: internet filtering, safe and secure browsing, parental control apps, and education. That is our mission at Safe Search Kids as we work to deliver these four cornerstones of online safety to parents, teachers, and students.