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Cyber Safety: Keeping Teens Safe Online #CyberSafe #CyberTribe #Sponsored #MC

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Disclosure:  I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Cyber Safety Is Your Teen #CyberSafe

With three teenagers in the house, I’m definitely concerned about cyber safety, especially in terms of privacy and cyberbullying. My kids have cell phones and computers or tablets, and they’re on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snap Shat, and probably others I’m not aware of. The boys play video games with online friends, some of whom they don’t know.

As a parent, all of this makes me nervous. Things are very different from when I was growing up…we didn’t have cell phones and computers. We didn’t meet strangers online. We didn’t have cell phones with cameras where we could take pictures that we would regret later, and email or text message out with the push of the button. I’ve told my children not to give out their private information, but now that I think about it, I’ve never detailed what that information is. And the reality is, our children may have different ideas of what is considered “private” than we have. There’s also the issue of the location settings on certain social media sites that should in most cases, and especially for kids, be turned off. For months, mine were on, and I didn’t even know it.

Back when I was a teenager, bullying was more out in the open. But you could escape from it at home. When I was bullied as a kid, home was my safe haven to get away from it. Nowadays, there is no escape. With technology, cyberbullying can follow a kid wherever they go via email, text messages, social media sites, online chat rooms and more. With certain apps, cyberbullying can even become anonymous. 

Cyberbullying is even more prevalent than you may think. 42% of kids have been bullied online. 25% have had it happen more than once. Yet, a staggering 58% of kids who have been cyberbullied or have had something mean or hurtful done to them online have not told their parents or another adult.

A good way to start the conversation about cyber safety with your teens and tweens is to visit the The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)’s CyberSafe site.  The BGCA, in partnership with Sprint, offers the resources you need to help keep your kids #CyberSafe. I took a CyberSmart Parent quiz to find out exactly how cyber smart I was, and found several ways I could improve. One suggestion was to Google your kids. I’ve never done that before, but I did so after taking the quiz and thankfully did not find anything worrisome.

There is also a great resource section that covers issues, offers tips for parents, as well as discussion cards for parents and teens to help open the lines of communication, and links to additional resources.

What I really love about the site though is the fact that you can ask their expert panel of teens questions on cyber safety issues that teens are facing online such as cyberbullying, mobile device safety, online privacy and personal data sharing, especially on social networks. You can even enter to win an iPad mini and $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of your choice simply by submitting a question on how to stay cyber safe. I submitted a couple myself.

Ask the CyberTribe

[Tweet “Is your teen #CyberSafe? Ask the #CyberTribe a question for a chance to win an iPad mini!”]

Here are some talking points we’ve used in our own home to discuss cyber safety.

5 Cyber Safety Tips for Parents and Teens / Tweens 

Don’t give out personal information. That includes where you live, what school you go to, your age, or your telephone number. Don’t make plans to meet someone that you met online in person. There is no guarantee that person is who they say they are.

Be careful what you share. If you think you might regret it later, rest assured you will. Once it’s out there, it’s hard to get rid of.

Deleted doesn’t necessarily mean gone. Just because you’ve deleted something doesn’t automatically mean it’s gone. Someone could have taken a screenshot and be passing it around that way. As I mentioned above, the smartest thing to do is to just not put anything questionable on the internet at all.

Never share passwords. And don’t leave a friend in charge of your phone. Kids act impulsively at times and may do something that they think is “funny,” but the recipient of it may not. My son left his phone with a friend when he left the room during a study hall, and his friend changed his profile. My son didn’t even notice until I saw it a few days later. Believe me, my son didn’t find the changes he made funny at all. Lesson learned.

Keep the lines of communication open. Talk about cyberbullying and other online safety issues with your kids. The BGCA’s CyberSafe site is a great place to start.

Cyber safety is an important issue in this day and age. Thankfully, we’ve got great resources like the BGCA CyberSafe site to help us navigate through online safety!

What are your biggest concerns about online safety with your kids?

Disclosure:  I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.



Monday 30th of June 2014

My kids are grown but I do worry about the grandkids! Great tips, I am certainly passing this on to their mothers!



Sunday 29th of June 2014

Even though Eve has years to go before this point, it definitely freaks me out a bit. It's so important to help kids and teens understand the importance of cyber safety.


Friday 27th of June 2014

This is certainly a great topic to talk about Michelle and thank you very much for sharing. My son is only 3 years old and he's very good with the computer so I for one also want to protect him from all things cyber especially if he's old enough to be on Facebook. It's nice to note as well that these tips do not just apply to our teens but also to us - with all the blogging and social media networking we do, these are all very helpful. I actually have the habit of googling my family's name just to see what interesting info would come out and also the photos associated with them.


Friday 27th of June 2014

My ten year old daughter has an iPhone and I remind her every day that NOTHING she shares is private. These are great tips and good reminders for me on how to keep her safe. Thanks Michelle!

Sarah Fuller

Thursday 26th of June 2014

Keep an eye out for tweens and teens using Snapchat because messages only show for a short period of time and disappear. Way some youth are sending risque communications.