Tips For Keeping Kids Safe Online

The proliferation of social media, online gaming, online forums and cell phone usage have given today’s children technological access never dreamed of just a generation ago. Children now have access to a staggering amount of online content, people and information. With these advances, parents now have even more challenges when it comes to keeping their children safe and happy. They want them safe from predators and happy in the sense that they are free from online bullying. Both of these concerns are foremost in the minds of parents as their kids create Facebook pages, play online games, and text incessantly.

Here is a rundown of some of the top threats to your children’s well-being. In a constantly connected world, knowing where the danger lies is the first step in prevention and safety.

Predatory Adults

According to enough.org, there are currently over 600,000 Registered Sex Offenders in the US and more than four percent of all children, while online, will be exposed to some form of suggestive solicitation from an adult. Naïve or rebellious children could fall prey to these online predators.

Peer Bullying

The media has covered some high-profile cases of teen suicide and online bullying in the last couple of years. According to some statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 52% of students report being cyber bullied at some time, while 25% report repeated bullying via their cell phones or social media profiles (statisticbrain.com).

Inappropriate Content

Pornography and inappropriate content is everywhere on the internet. According to Alexa.com, four of the top twenty sites with the highest web traffic are pornographic in nature. When you consider what often comes up in a search engine when entering a seemingly innocuous search, or the amount of inappropriate spam emails you receive, it’s not hard to see why this is such an issue with keeping kids insulated from inappropriate content.

Narcissism and Compulsion

Children, and especially teens, are hyper-aware of social status and image. This mindset can lead to unhealthy amounts of time on such social media sites as Twitter or Facebook. Kids get caught up in trying to be constantly aware, connected and interacting online in the hopes that they will gain acceptance or be more popular.

Secrecy

Further data from the US Department of Health states that only 52% of teens exposed to bullying or inappropriate solicitation, report the incidents to their parents. There are no numbers on exposure to inappropriate content but it is probably a safe bet that a lot of those incidents go unreported as well.

All of these threats are very real and, considering the amount of time children spend online, could present themselves on a daily basis. Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe, while bridging the gap between parental monitoring and proper education for your children.

• Kids must “friend” their parents on Facebook and allow them to be “followed” on Twitter. As teens get older, parents are certain to receive pushback but this is a surefire way to see what your kids are posting and what is being said about them. It is a fine line between monitoring and interference, so caution is advised.

• Do not let kids create their own personal email addresses until they reach a more mature, responsible age. Any account being created online, should be linked to the parents email. This will not only let you monitor what sites your children are registering for but will usually require that you authorize usage and provide you with time to either discuss any concerns with your children or deny the request.

• Make sure that your kids are educated on what’s appropriate to post online and that they never provide contact information or post inappropriate or suggestive pictures of themselves. In today’s world of social media, kids can be their own worst enemy. They shouldn’t post anything online that they wouldn’t want on a billboard, as this is essentially what online posts are. And removing or controlling content on the internet once it’s out there, is not a simple matter.

• Young adults tend to want to add as many other peers as possible to their social media circles. But the reality is that many of these “friends” are not vested in your child’s best interest and oftentimes become a source for ridicule or cyber bullying. Make sure your kids only accept requests from friends they know and trust.

• Strict rules and guidelines need to be set forth and agreed upon prior to allowing kids to go online. These rules and guidelines should also be revisited often as your children’s online experience grows. You should set limits on what’s acceptable, limit the amount of time spent online and make them understand what you will and will not accept in terms of behavior.

• Children are by nature naïve, curious and trusting. This is dangerous. So monitor your children’s activities. Review their browsing history through the browser tools. You can also purchase programs that will enhance your monitoring capabilities.

• Set your parental controls on your computer. Every operating system and browser has a set of parental controls. You should be certain to set the appropriate limits or settings for each. You can also adjust the settings on Google and the other search engines to be strict, ensuring that only appropriate content is returned regardless of the search.

Educating yourselves and your children is ultimately the most important step you can take. Sit down with your kids and set ground rules. Revisit those ground rules every time your kids get a new device, create a social media account, or register for an online gaming. Parents have the unenviable task of walking the fine line between building trust and keeping kids safe. Applying a combination of education, guidance and monitoring should help.

Right Brain Kids – Art Activities for Toddler Education and Parenting

It was an eye opener to me when my friend show me how her toddler is able to read at young age of 18 months old! Her son is attending enrichment school on right brain training. I’m not sure the popularity for this in other countries, but I’m sure right brain education for toddler is hot now!

I always wander what other methods to train toddlers’ right brain? After I have done many research and reading, I found one of the best way is providing some art and craft tasks for them. Here, I share some of my parenting tips from my experience and research.

Tips #1 Decorate your home with colorful posters

Display lots of strong colorful posters or cards, striking color is the best. This is to train the observation and focusing at home.

Tips #2 Flash at least 100 pcs of colorful flash card everyday

Plan a fix schedule of the day to flash at least 100 pcs of flash cards to your toddler. The best timing is after the child having milk or meal,and happy to play any games with you. This is to train the brain to be sensitive to different color.

Tips #3 Motor skill training for basic art and craft skills

Take note that all the motor skill is critical to allow your children to learn how to draw and control an art brushes. Activities such as pouring water from big cup to small cup, bead threading, tearing paper, practise how to hold children plastic scissors, but must be accompany by parents, train how to use chock-stick besides using spoon while feeding, train how to hold different type of pen, pencil, brush, thin, thick, long, short, big or small.

Here simple craft activities for you!

Craft #1 Finger drawing using water color or poster color

Take a piece of paper, poster color, and let your toddler using their both hand to scribble, scribble and scribble…

Craft #2 Pasting stickers

You can buy from any stationery store and super mart for children sticker and let them paste sticker on an old daily.

Craft #3 Egg painting

You need to keep some egg shells without breaking the whole egg during cooking. This can be done by punching a small hold on top of the egg, and pour out the egg into a bowl. Securing the egg on a wooden stick and let your toddler color the egg using poster color.

Craft #4 Self or family portrait

You need to prepare family photos or your kids photo for this. Other material needed such as recycle color paper, newsletter or folder divider etc, seashell, hand made clay, paper glue, different colors of marker or color pencils. Ask your child to cut out the family members or self photo, paste it on color paper, then decorate the surrounding of the color paper with marker or color pencil, paste so other items such as seashell, clay etc to make the art work 3D looks.

Above tips are basic methods to train potential genius child in art at young age of 13 – 18 months old. It can be continue used for children above age of 1.5 years later with more complex activities and art and craft projects. Enjoy right brain parenting!

Basic Tips on How to Home School Your Kids

It is estimated that around 1 million students are homeschooled in the United States every year. Homeschooling is an excellent way to stay close to your children; give them the proper care they need while helping them become well-rounded adults. Homeschooling allows you individualize; to find education that is best suited for your children.

Reasons for Homeschooling

Find out whether you share the following thoughts about why homeschooling is required: (i) Parents have religious belief that they can provide better education at home; (ii) Parents thinking that the environment at school will not be congenial for their children; (iii) Homeschooling will help develop character and morality of a child; (iv) There are subjects taught at schools that are not in accordance with the faith, thinking of the parents; (v) The child has special needs or disabilities.

Now, the question arises whether or not homeschooling has any adverse affects on a child’s education; maybe not. Homeschooled children have above average test results on the ACT and SAT college entrance exams. Also, homeschooled kids are sometimes better at social adjustment than kids who go to school. The way the homeschooled children make up for not attending a regular school is by participating in homeschool support groups, scouting, church and recreational activities, and other associations.

Getting Started with Homeschooling

One way of knowing more about homeschooling is by joining local support groups. Such groups can be found by word of mouth or through public or private schools, religious groups, or state or national associations. Each state has at least one homeschooling association. These groups offer necessary advice and information and hold conferences at which families who school at home discuss legal, philosophical, and teaching issues. Some school districts allow homeschoolers to attend public school part-time.

Following are different homeschool methods: (i) Diane Lockman’s authentic classical trivium (The Classical Scholar) unit studies, (ii) Charlotte Mason’s methodology, (iii) Montessori or Waldorf methods, and (iv) eclectic blends of different styles.

Is Homeschooling for Everyone?

No. Homeschooling is hard work. It can also be expensive, as you have to pay for educational materials and extracurricular activities. You may also be faced with a loss of income if one parent has to quit a job to homeschool. References: The Responsibilities of Homeschooling Homeschooling means being able to devote yourself to your children all day through. You, as a parent will fully responsible for the direction, depth, and breadth of your child’s education for the rest of its life. This is a very big responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

Ask yourself these questions to see whether you are ready. Why do you think you want to homeschool? What is it that your child will be able to achieve by being homeschooled that he or she will not receive in a regular school? What do you consider a “good” education? These questions can help you make the decision, and help you create the right environment that will be best your children.

Tips for Parents & Teachers: How to Criticize Kids Constructively

Criticism is one word that raises your eyebrows and sulks you down. Arguably, it has no positive connotation for most of us. So, it is never received in a healthy way either. So the matter of concern is, when we as adults can’t handle criticism, what about the kids, who are subject to severe and regular criticism. Everybody who is somebody in their life, comments and takes the liberty to pass judgement on their each and every act, unfortunately most of which is in critical form.

So how to safeguard them or how to prepare them so that this unwarranted criticism does more good than harm to them.

Criticism, or if they can be called Feedback, are both constructive and destructive. Receiving feedback is a skill, and like most skills, it requires practice, and a willingness to change and improve. Most children get plenty of practice. Ironically, adults need to help them make that practice count – by giving them feedback on how they handle criticism.

Feedback – both positive and negative – is challenging because it hits us in the vulnerable soft spot between our desire to grow and our deep need to be accepted and respected. The key to take a feedback in a positive manner, is to adopt a “growth mindset.” People with a growth mindset believe that effort and challenge make us better, stronger and smarter, while those with a “fixed mindset” believe that our inherent assets are static no matter what we do.

But, not all of the criticism kids face is constructive. Some of it is born out of ulterior motives or dark intentions, but the good news is that a growth mindset can protect kids from this sort of feedback as well.

A growth mindset is the best gift we can give our children. Thus armed, they can be brave in the face of constructive criticism, believing it can make them better, stronger and smarter. They won’t need us to safeguard their interest because, given a growth mindset, kids can handle the truth all by themselves.

So, what to do?

Don’t hesitate to criticize:

Many kids have trouble hearing feedback because they don’t experience it often enough. While it’s natural to want to protect children from pain, when we protect our kids from criticism or focus excessively on praise, we push them toward a fixed mindset.

Stop constant praise:

An effusive praise may encourage a fixed mindset and consequently discourage children from taking on new challenges. Worse, it can deflate, rather than shore up, self-esteem in some kids. Children need to get used to hearing constructive feedback, and it’s our job to teach them how.

Mind your body language:

Non-verbal communication is part of delivering feedback, and can help kids hear it more effectively. Uncross your arms, get down on kids’ level, smile and keep your face relaxed. If you are tense when you hand out criticism, they will be tense when they receive it.

Switch up your pronouns:

Instead of framing feedback in terms of “I’m so proud of you”, turn the statement and anchor feedback in the pronoun “you,” as in, “You should be proud of yourself,” or “What did you feel best about?” or “What one thing would you like to change?”

Empower for change:

Lessen your control and hand power over to the children and help them adjust their efforts to use feedback effectively. Ask, “Is that how you’d hoped this would turn out?” or “What would you do differently the next time?” Help them see the way forward with comments like, “How do you think you could take this project from good to awesome?”

Set new goals after a big failure. Once they have picked themselves up, help them pick some new goals based on what they have learned from the situation at hand. Their goals should be their own, devised by them, based on their experience.

Criticism comes to everyone, eventually. It’s inescapable, and more relevantly, it’s a necessary part of growing up. As we can’t protect children from it, the best we can do is ensure that they are equipped with the emotional fortitude and strength of character they will need to forge ahead, stronger, smarter and braver for the experience.