Today, Amy Kelly, CEO, and Founder of Parent eSource shared an hour of her time to talk about the Digital Divide that exists between children and parents and to announce the launch of their new site, “Get Socially Active”.
“How does social networking make you feel” is a question Amy Kelly poses that we as parents should be mindful about and a question that we should ask our children. How does the social networks influence our child’s self-esteem…Amy has a thousand friends and David only has fifty friends.
I can recall a moment when I realized as a young parent the significance of the comment, “Do as I say not as I do”. I may have got away with that, “BC” (Before Children), but that thinking would no longer apply when setting the example for my children. I am sure; I am not the only parent that faced this realization…Your behaviors are on display for modeling, so it is time to be a role model.
I mention the later paragraph because several guests of CHWradio have alluded to how having children became the catalyst for their passion and involvement for making the Internet a better place for his or her child. This is what sparked Amy Kelly to build Parent eSource for other parents, so that they could become empowered to help their children to make better-informed decisions for living a safe and secure digital life.
Amy has a background in secondary education and technology and when mixed with the passion for keeping her children safe in the digital age makes for an awesome force in bettering the lives of other parents and their children.
In the process of discovering and talking with other parents about technology and children, Amy and her husband became aware that at some point there became a disconnect when his or her child reached the age of tweens and teens, not that that is anything new in the world of raising children. However, Amy and her husband took heed to these comments and became more interested in the “why” of the disconnect, especially when technology is as involved as much as it is in the life of a child, a recipe if left unattended could be an unfortunate tragedy.
Again, both Bill and I are reminded with Amy’s comment that “communication & awareness” are key components to keeping the door ajar for an open dialogue with his or her child. Too often, we hear how a simple conversation a child had with his or her parent because the door of communication was left ajar avoided a lifetime of tormented memories…for everyone!
Something Amy mentioned that needs to be communicated more is that tweens and teens are quietly and desperately wanting to talk to his or her parent, but do not know how to begin the conversation. Again, another reason why it is so important for parents to develop a continuous and open dialogue with their children. That is why organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) developed the program, “Take 25”. As Nancy McBride, National Safety Director for NCMEC explained the program, parents need to take twenty-five minutes and have an “in the moment” conversation with his or her child, on a regular basis. Is your child worth 25 minutes of one-on-one time?
According to Amy Kelly, parents top concerns are about cyberbullying and how do I keep my child safe online. Parent eSource has teamed up with and will soon launch a new site, “Get Socially Active” that incorporates some phenomenal technology that will actually, in real time, advise parents if a nefarious individual is conversing with his or her child online. There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to monitoring your child’s online activity. One that it is spying or invading your child’s privacy and the other to verify your child’s behavior as well as who is contacting your child online.
Like any great tool comes great responsibility and precautions. I do not believe we are going to abandon the Internet because there are bad individuals or that the Internet can be used inappropriately. The Internet is here! Your children are part of it, so, if you are going to parent in the 21st Century, then you better use the same tools that nefarious individuals use to lure and groom your child online. Trust your child but verify.
One of the first things law enforcement wants to search in the case of a missing child is their computer records. These records are a timely and critical lead in tracking your child…who has she or he been talking to. Imagine how important to the investigation to have a record of your child’s online activities. You are the parent and how you use the monitoring tool determines if it is inappropriate…Not all cars are used for road rage.
“What is particularly unique though is that we can show parents what conversations are trending inside their children’s network. So, it is not just about monitoring what their kids are doing but really gaining insight into the influences to what their kids are being exposed to online” explained Amy Kelly.
I would much rather know I have access to whom or who is conversing with my child, and more importantly that my child knows that I have that access to know…Trust but verify.
Imagine if Wall Street knew we had the ability to monitor in real time their intentions, a farfetched comparison, but just imagine it for a moment. If your children know you might be present, kind of like having the PC in a common place with parents around, they are more likely to behave appropriately.
Parents, do you realize that there are an estimated 7.5 million kids on Facebook under the age of thirteen and 5 million of those are under the age of ten. What are you doing as a parent to help your child navigate the social networks? This is another reason why Amy’s new site, “Get Socially Active” is so timely with helping parents to help his or her child navigate the Internet and the social networks.
Our conversation with Amy Kelly continued for another half hour, so you will not want to miss out on what was said…Download the show here to listen to later at your convenience.
Thank you, Amy for sharing your time, all that you are doing to empower parents, and becoming a partner of the CyberHood Watch.
Your CyberHood Watch Partner,
david c ballard
Radio Security Journalist