Monthly Archives: June 2011

Monitor Your Kids’ Internet Use without Spying

Reposted with permission: posted by jevans on May 23, 2010 for KidZafe.blog.

(I don’t often post entries that someone else has written. However, Jenny Evans has said this as well or better than I could have and with her permission, I didn’t have to reinvent this information. I hope you find it useful. Please contact me if you would like more information about a fantastic, easy to use parental monitoring system that will protect your kids online and on their cell phones.)

So you’ve had the Internet safety conversation with your child: no giving out personal information online, no talking to strangers in chat rooms, and no sending elicit photos or texts. What next?

As a parent, you need to monitor your child’s online activity to make sure that your teen or tween is actually following the rules you’ve already discussed. That’s not spying – it’s parenting. When you give a curfew of 11 P.M., you don’t go to bed at 9:30 and assume your teen will get home safely because you’ve already discussed it. You stay up until they get in (which is, hopefully, before curfew time) – just to make sure they’re following the rules that will keep them safe.

It’s much the same with online activity. Parental monitoring can put a swift end to situations that could potentially become dangerous to your child.

How else will you know when a strange new “friend” appears on your child’s MySpace page? Or when they are approached by an anonymous stranger in a chat room?
Here are some statistics that point to the need for parental monitoring of your kids’ online activity:

• Three in five teens say having personal information or photos on a public site is unsafe and one in four say they know someone who has had something bad happen to them because of information posted electronically. Despite this fact, half have posted photos of friends and three in five have posted photos of themselves (2009 study by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).
• About one in five teens have engaged in sexting – sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos through text message or email – and over a third know of a friend who has sent or received these kinds of messages. (2009 study by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children).
• More than 70% of young people talk to strangers online (According to a Dateline survey)
Look at your tween or teen’s friend list on their social networking sites, and make it a point to read their messages and posts on YouTube, MySpace, or a personal blog. Are you worried about invading your child’s privacy? You can’t invade privacy where there isn’t any, so any public Internet activity (like the ones I’ve listed above) is your right and responsibility to monitor.

What about private communications, like personal texts, emails, and private chats? That’s also something you need to monitor – but how and when you do it is between you and your child. That’s right, it doesn’t have to be a secret. In fact, it’s more effective if it’s not. Just letting kids know that you’ll be randomly viewing their texts or chat logs will significantly change the way they act online. The point of monitoring is not to “catch” kids doing something bad on the Internet, but to deter them from dangerous online behavior in the first place.

As a parent, you also need to take advantage of solutions that monitor your child’s online activity. Because you can’t be sure you will see risky activity or risky contacts, services like ours can help you to keep a watchful eye on your kids – not to spy on them, but to keep them safe. To be candid, you need to be looking out for dangers your kids are not equipped to handle alone.

Kids encounter all kinds of dangerous situations in life, and depend on their parents to keep up with what they’re doing and keep them safe. Whether it’s putting up a baby gate to keep a toddler from falling down the stairs or keeping a watchful eye as they play in the yard or monitoring a child’s Internet and mobile phone activity to protect them from cyberbullies and child predators, it’s all a day in the life of a parent.

11 Teaching Spirituality to Children Encourages Deeper Connections and Reduces Stress in the Family

Teaching our children to be spiritual beings is a great way to develop a deeper connection with them.  This deeper connection can create harmony and reduce stress within the family.  Children want to know who they are and that they have a connection to something greater than themselves, whether that be God, the universe, nature, the force or whatever you want to call it.

I think that I am luckier than most because although I grew up with one particular religion in my family, my parents let me experience other religions and encouraged me to learn about other cultures and beliefs.  I’ve read the old and new testaments and the books of almost every major religion on the face of the planet. I grew up with Native American friends and learned many wonderful things from them about nature and being connected.  One tribal story teller told me of the march of the plains Indians to the Florida everglades.  He said that the army believed that those who did not die along the way would soon die in the swamps because they had no experience in the swamps and would be ill prepared to survive.  He said that what they did not understand is that if you are connected to nature, you are connected to nature no matter where you find yourself and nature and the spirits will tell you how to survive.  Those Indians integrated into the Seminole Tribes and flourished in the Everglades.

What fascinated me most when learning about other religions and beliefs was how alike they all are.  I discovered that underlying the basic tenants of almost every major religion on the planet are the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus, the Master of Masters of ancient Egypt.  The knowledge of the Law of Attraction comes from the Hermetic Principles.  Learning all these new things gave me a better, deeper understanding of my own religion.  And I’ve never lost that sense of connectedness with Everything and my wonder with the world around me.

Children are actually born spiritual and they retain that until they start school where that aspect of their being is altered by the rules, the curriculum and the beliefs of their teachers and peers.  Before school they tend to live in the present moment, they love unconditionally, they don’t know to believe their thoughts, there’s no competition, and like sponges, they soak up everything they come in contact with.

There are many things that you do with children and teenagers to help children remain connected to their spirituality, none of which conflict with any religious beliefs in your family.  Here are a few ideas:

Create a gratitude journal.  Every day, preferably in the morning, everyone in the family should write down at least one thing they are grateful.  It can be anything from being happy to be alive, to thanking another family member for something they have done for them.  Or have everyone state what they are grateful for during dinner.  It’s a great conversation starter and creates a closer bond between family members.

First thing in the morning have everyone in your family set their intention for the day.  This is an important practice in the Law of Attraction.  Teach them what an intention is, have them state their intention, for example, I intend to be mindful in school today, or I intend to have a happy day.

Have a guided meditation before bed to calm everyone down and put them in the space to have good dreams.  Include setting an intention to remember their dreams prior to the meditation.

Practice yoga together or take a family Tai Chi class.

Explore nature together: teach children about transformation by learning about butterflies; teach them about interconnectedness of life by talking about eco-systems while hiking in the forest or the desert or playing on the beach; teach them about conservation by picking up trash wherever you are.

The ways to nurture spirituality in children is endless, limited only by your imagination.

 

2 COMMUNICATION: A KEY TO GOOD PARENTING

While I was trying to decide what to write about today, I became frustrated because I kept coming up with all these “how to cope with” ideas.  I didn’t really want to write a blog post about that today.  So I took a break to read an article I’ve been wanting to read about Quantum Psychology that focused on eliminating “isness” which included all forms of the word “is” or “to be” from our language.  The article included examples of how to eliminate “is.”

John is unhappy and grouchy    to     John appears unhappy and grouchy in the office

John is bright and cheerful         to     John seems bright and cheerful

That is a bad idea                       to     That seems like a bad idea to me

Bread is better than crackers    to     I prefer bread to crackers

As I was reading this article, it occurred to me that this concept can be used to become a better parent.  “Isness” is judgmental.  Just because we perceive John to be unhappy and grouchy, doesn’t mean that John is feeling unhappy and grouchy in the way we think.  John might be affected by poor lighting in the office, or poor air circulation, or some other thing that we aren’t aware of.  Maybe John ate a high carb sugary breakfast and his blood sugar dropped.  We really don’t know.

If we apply this principal to our children, it seems to me that we would save ourselves from a lot of negative interactions and be more productive, thereby eliminating a lot of stress in the family.

For example, if your child appears to be whining and you don’t know why, rather than tell him “I hate it when you whine” try, “You seem irritated by something, can you tell me what you need?”

Of if they appear to be in a bad mood or angry instead of “Don’t take your bad mood (anger) out on me,” try, “You seem to be in a bad mood (angry), did something happen?”

In this way, we are not judging our kids, we are not telling them how they feel.  We are telling them how we perceive them at that moment and opening a door to allow them to communicate to us how they are feeling or what is going on with them at that moment.  Modeling nonjudgmental communication is a great way to teach your children, especially your teenagers, a more productive way to communicate that makes deeper connections possible.