Often times we find ourselves championing a cause due to personal experiences, a loved one’s tragedy, or issues affecting the well-being of many we care deeply about. For example, our children and the tragedies surrounding cyberbullying, sexting, identity theft, and the social networks.
Such is the case with SocialShield and their co-founder, Noah Kindler, who was the guest of The CyberHood Watch partners, Dave & Bill, on CHWR. Noah’s catalyst for getting involved began after speaking with a friend whose daughter had inadvertently found herself hounded by more than 80 adult men on Facebook. Innocently, her dad uploaded vacation photos of his family, including one with them all in bathing suits, and unfortunately caught the unwanted attention of others.
Arad Rostampour noticed people sharing somewhat private information with a semi-public group of friends and realized how important it was to come up with an idea to help parents keep his or her child safe on social networks. Noah Kindler and Arad Rostampour joined forces to develop and use technology that provided a solution to help parents shield and guide his or her child through the social networks; consequently, they founded SocialShield.
When you visit the SocialShield website, notice the positive overtone and feel presented. There is no doubt the Internet is home to nefarious individuals and organization; however, we should not allow that to overshadow all the great resources the Internet provides. With the right behavior and use of technology, we can enjoy a safe and secure digital life.
Unlike my partner Bill and Noah’s friend, I fortunately never experienced the relentless requests for permission from one’s child to join a social network. However, that does not mean I missed any of the recitals or litanies of, “Can I – Can I – Can I”…Please! You know what I mean.
Fortunately, when you are presented with the question about joining a social network, that is great time to introduce his or her child to what is expected, the consequences, and what are considered safe practices and behaviors.
Following is a piece of advice for parents. The #1 reason most children, and possibly your own, will not come to you with a “digital personal problem” are because they fear:
• You will freak out…
• They will lose his or her computer privileges…
Make sure your child understands, up front that you will not freak out, and you are available anytime they might feel uncomfortable because of what someone says or does online…Even if his or her daughter has used poor judgment. Another reason parents need to embrace technology, to use as a helpful tool for parenting in the digital age. Get involved.
Parents need to understand that monitoring tools are appropriate for better digital parenting. Like any tool, it can be misused. Nonetheless, in today’s digital environment parents need to become familiar with what is available for becoming better digital parents. For further information about better digital parenting, The CyberHood Watch provides a free download of, “Think It Won’t Happen To You”, 17 Steps to Better Digital Parenting.
Not long ago, kids went along unnoticed and hard to find on the Internet. However, with the growth of social networks like MySpace, Facebook, and others we now have the ability to contact, and extract voluntarily far too much personal information.
Noah Kindler highlights the growth of social networking and focuses on the challenges around safety, reputation, and cyberbullying. SocialShield addresses several categories that parents need to be mindful about when his or her child is part of the social networks.
First, who are your child’s online contacts or friends? SocialShield identifies your child’s friends, provides background checks on each friend, including many analytics surrounding the structure of his or her child’s friendships, and further determine who their friends are.
Secondly, what activities are your child focusing on, what is your child specifically doing. For example, the technologies recognize the activities indicative of normal child behaviors in contrast to the behaviors reflective of drugs, sex, violence, and/or suicide. Parents are then alerted, and kept informed of his or her child’s behavior.
Thirdly, alerts. Parents can gauge his or her child’s level of digital maturity, while becoming a responsible cybercitizen. In addition, as he or she earns more trust, the parent can extend their child’s privileges accordingly.
A tip from Noah, parents should approve any photo posted to the web until it is age appropriate for the child to decide…Does your child understand the impact of his or her photo five or ten years from now.
Another piece of advice from Noah was to physically maintain, and keep records of all your child’s passwords. One of the first steps in any investigation is to search your child’s computer and his or her online activities.
SocialShield not only provides the technology to watch over your son or daughters social online digital behavior, but they have the support of authorities who provide relevant content on issues intended to help parents make better-informed decisions when raising responsible cybercitizens.
Jodee Blanco, a New York Times best seller, “Please Stop Laughing at Me” and “Please Stop Laughing at Us” and a former guest of The CyberHood Watch, now contributes for SocialShield. Jodee’s personal experience and insight will help empower others to curb both bullying and cyberbullying. SocialShield has a distinguished Board of Advisors who contribute a wealth of content.
You will find the feedback regarding SocialShield positive, and surprisingly appreciated by both parents and kids. Your child is a citizen of the digital age…Be sure to empower them.
Get involved in your child’s digital life…
Your CyberHood Watch Partner,
david c ballard
Radio Security Journalist