Dr. Kara Beair, DO & Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC
Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust
Times have changed and summer for kids isn’t what it used to be. In the age of computers and cell phones, kids who are normally in school all day now have many more hours each week to interact online.
Parents need to be super diligent in making concrete rules for electronic communication and monitor to ensure kids are safe.
Predators know kids are vulnerable this time of year, and will take advantage of anything they can to hook our kids, and they can do it before anyone knows what is going on. Whether you are home with your kids all day or not, they are still vulnerable as long as they have access to online activities.
Here are some safety tips for summer; adapt them to your family schedule and make the best plan for your family.
- Educate the kids about electronic safety and predators. Make sure they tell you immediately if they are approached in a sexual or bullying way by any connection
- Let them know you hope they won’t go behind your back and against your electronic rules, but if they do, and find themselves in trouble, to come to you immediately. Anyone can be an unwilling target and it can happen before they know it. Open communication is key.
- Make rules for what hours kids can interact with others electronically; ensure everyone sticks to the plan
- Insist kids turn all location services off so that predators cannot locate them if they are online
- Let kids know during the summer that connecting with new “friends” electronically can be dangerous, and you will be monitoring new connections they intend to make
- If you are not home, think about having kids do chores or other activities where computers and cell phones are off limits except to communicate with parents
- Allow the kids to have responsible friends over; rent movies, or take them to activities outside the home to keep them busy and off the computer
- Encourage the kids to participate in summer camps, volunteering at camps or other charitable organizations
- Invest in an online security service that keeps the trash away from the kids as much as possible, and alerts you immediately when anything suspect happens
- No one is totally immune anymore in our electronic world, but family communication and a plan will help avoid a negative online experience for those you love.
Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma and National Certified Counselor
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