Working with students, for the past twenty years, I have learned to not take some things for granted.
Never let them think you know that they don't know everything.
Learn some of their lingo, but only enough to be semi-relevant, but not too much to make them freak out with your attempts at being 16 again.
When they make a decision about something - be it their outfit for the day or where they want to go to college - feed them, give them at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and know that decision will take a completely different turn.
They may say they have communicated "said info" to their parents, but don't take it to the bank.
In our in-school program, we have two separate lessons, strictly geared at staying safe on social media and learning the schemes of a human trafficker. We reiterate over and over, to the students, to make sure and share this information with their parents. But, I, again, never want to take that for granted.
As parents, we will sacrifice our own comfort, schedule, even lives, for the safety of our children. And, even though most of our parents didn't have to invest time keeping their children safe, in this area of technology, that
doesn't mean it's something we can ignore. "Generation App" needs us to be on guard, ready to go the limit for their protection and preservation.
How are you doing with these simple preventative measures, as it pertains to your child's online safety?
Make your home a safe place. Be the home where not only your kids want to hang out, but their friends find peace, safety, and stability.
Be careful what media you watch. We've known this since they were infants, mimicking our behavior is not learned, it's innate. Be the example they need you to be.
Turn off GPS settings on your phone camera. When you take a picture, there is a map attached to that picture. No one needs to know where you guys ate last night, especially those on social media who you barely know.
Talk to your kids about trafficking. If you feel ill-equipped, see our Parents Tab for resources, email me, and/or make plans to attend this year's Pure Truth for Parents event, October 6.
Monitor your kids' online activity. There are some of the best parental control software available these days. Choose what is going to be best and most productive for you and your family. For a list, email me.
Involve your local schools. Even if we can't service your school (outside of Parker County), encourage your child's school administrators to find a service, program, etc that can partner with them and keep our kids safe.
Know where your kids are going and who they are with. Times are different, friends. Regardless of what we want to believe about our communities, it is always a better choice to be overly knowledgeable. (adapted from Traps, a Traffick 911 curriculum)
Just like it can be nerve-wracking to talk to our kids about sex, it can be difficult to put perimeters, as well as enforce those perimeters, when it comes to social media and being wise online. But, as our motto stands - you are their greatest influence and the loudest voice, in their head. You got kick back when you made them buckle that seat belt, eat their veggies, and ride their bikes with a helmet.
Why is this area of protection any different?