"If growing up in the digital age is tough, being a #cybersafe parent isn’t easy either. That’s why Boys & Girls Clubs of America, in partnership with Sprint, has assembled our CyberTribe of expert teens — to answer your questions on the issues facing kids online, like cyberbullying, mobile device safety, online privacy and personal data sharing, especially on social networks.
When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to become an adult and have more responsibilities. But, now that I am an adult and raising children of my own, I wonder why I and so many other kids were rushing to grow up. And, unlike our generation, the current generation is faced with so much more than we ever had to deal with. Being cyber safe was not even in our vocabulary as the Internet was not around then. But, fast forward to today's youth and as parents you can't help but be nervous and worried about your children being online and connected all the time. Even if they are not surfing the web, they are pulling out their phones to text friends. So much for needing phones for emergencies or actually picking up a phone to talk to someone. Instead, teens and even younger children today, need a phone to be cool or just to fit in. And, they would rather shoot off a text message, chat message or email than talk to a friend face to face. Shouldn't kid's noses be in textbooks learning? If only they would look up from their phones, or at least put them away.
Because most kids/teens are connected almost 24/7, parents need to make a point to check in on what their kids are doing online and with their cell phones, as well as sit down and educate them about how to be cyber safe? But, where do you start? Thanks to the BGCA CyberSafe site, parents have a great resource right at their fingertips. Not only will they find cyber safe quizzes, be able to check out the CyberTribe Q&A section, and read the cyber safety resources, they can also ask a group of CyberTribe experts their questions about helping keep their children cyber safe.
This is not the first time I have shared about the amazing resources your can find when visiting the Boys and Girls Club Cyber Smart website. Back in January I shared about my time spent on this website and how I found the resources to be very helpful. If you missed my post, you can read it here -- http://www.inspiredbysavannah.com/2013/06/have-you-had-talk-with-your-children.html.
But, even though I am familiar with the Cyber Safe section, their Ask the CyberTribe experts and whole CyberTribe Q&A section including videos is new. The past few weeks, I have been watching the different videos and was shocked just like so many of the parents who competed in their survivor type game show about startling stats that related to our children and topics surrounding cyber smart. Below is a video where one BGCA CyberTribe expert asks two parents a question about cyberbulling. Here watch the video and see the startling answer to the question.
How many teenagers have been victims of of cyberbullying?
Answer: 1 in 3 teens
Have you sat down to really talk to your child about being cyber smart, and making them feel comfortable enough to come to you if they are ever cyberbullied? Probably not, as only 7% of parents are concerned about cyberbullying as it relates to their children. Parents can't be naive when it comes to keeping a watchful eye on our children. Times are different, and children of today have to deal with peer pressure, dangerous behaviors and encounters and the Internet. Just look at these other questions that the CyberTribe experts asked parents (who got the questions wrong)....
What is the average number of texts teens send in 1 month?
Answer: More than 1,000. -- Actually a teen sends 1,600 texts a month on average.
How many teens have been bullyied or harassed through text messages and phone calls?
Answer: 1 out of 4.
Do you have a question related to cyber safety you are looking for answer to? Then, why not pose it to the BGCA CyberTribe expert, who will answer it and post their responses online for other parents to read and learn from. **Everyone who submits a question is entered for a chance to win an iPad mini and $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice!
If you have child or teen, then I hope you will find time out of your busy schedule to sit down and read through the cyber safety resources available through the Boys and Girls Club of America's website. While you are there, take the quizzes and see how knowledgeable you really about able cyber safety. And, then when you are done, make a point to sit down with your children and talk about what you learned, see how they are being cyber smart (not posting improper photos of themselves online or sending through text messages, not sharing personal information or meeting up with strangers, etc.) Before you wrap up your cyber safety talk with your kids, make a point to remind them that if they are ever feeling bullied online or through their text messages, phone calls or even in person at school, that they can come to you for help. Just reassuring them that you are there and ready to help or lend an ear will make them feel like they can reach out and talk to you, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
And, please share the link to the BGCA CyberSafe site with family and friends who have children, so that they, too, can become cyber smart parents and have the resources needed to help keep their kids cyber safe.
Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting #MC for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.