Reclaim the real.
The true ground of our being is nested within family and community that births us., and within Nature that sustains us. Ground yourself in the real. Now, more than ever know your roots.
— #lightwebdarkweb Raffi (Homeland Press, 2013)
That quote is my take-away, as a parent and social media user, from reading Raffi’s latest book #lightwebdarkweb Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Be4 It Re-Forms Us.
You will remember I interviewed Raffi a while back and learnt he was much more than just the singer of “Baby Beluga” and “Down By The Bay”. He is very dedicated to respecting the earth and children. And since our interview…we have a friendship (at least I consider it a friendship – I hope Raffi does too); showing the benefits of the #lightweb (#lightweb = connecting to anyone round the world via online platform).
In Raffi’s book, he exposes both the #lightweb and the #darkweb (#darkweb = predators using online platforms for villainous purposes).
It’s an interesting read for parents. Delving into the topics of online safety for children Kids’ use of social media. Pop culture and technology. Sexualiation, teens, and the internet. Social media and security.
Raffi not only brings well researched points to the page – he does it in a “voice” which engage readers in a friendly yet thought-provoking journey.
My Tips For Talking With Your Kids About Online Security
- Never share private information (this includes address, school, routine)
- Abide by social media rules (You can’t get a Facebook account until you are 13.)
- Use parental controls on your computer
- Follow you kids on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and Pinterest
- Remind them “If you wouldn’t say it to Mom – then don’t put it in a status update”
- Remind them to be respectful. Always.
- Should bullying occur – take action immediately (Don’t be afraid to call the school)
- Discuss “sexting” (I also included in this family conversation – that that the Web has a long memory and you never know who will take a screen shot…show it to their friends…share it everywhere…and you can never, ever, take that moment back. It’s awful but it happens. You have to protect yourself online just as you would in the real world.)
- Predators aren’t just in movies. From identity theft to bullies to adults posing as kids…there are bad people in real life as well as in the virtual world.
- Come to ME. You are your child’s best security. Advocate. Guide. I think it’s important to keep the web “conversation” open and evolving. Ask questions. Be open to them asking questions.
That last point is directly connected to the quote of Raffi’s book (at the top of this post). Rooting your child in the real is very important. It is so easy to get swept up in endless waves while surfing the net that kids can find themselves in trouble. Balance is key – I think. Screen time and screen-less family time. Online surfing (to work the mind) and real life sports (to work the body).
Social media, technology, and the Internet are everyday tools for most everyone nowadays. There’s almost no getting around it (proven by my kids’ latest homework assignment: a Power Point presentation on social media delivered not in hard copy but on a USB key to be presented via the class smart board!).
Technology is a powerful tool. It’s a great tool. But it can be a sharp-edged tool too.