#1 starts 5th grade on Monday.
I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that I have a child that is so close to being a middle schooler.
I’m so young!
So, so young.
And yet, he’s so old.
It’s kinda freaky and hard to wrap my mind around.
He’s aware of girls now (although I have no intention of ever acknowledging this in real life, ever). He’s more about basketball and soccer and football than swords and super heroes and bad guys. He doesn’t even really like to watch animated shows anymore, choosing instead to spend his TV time watching one of those corny Disney shows with the strangely dressed teenagers dancing through the high school hallways.
He’s also starting to express a real interest in grown-up level electronic devices that goes beyond just playing Angry Birds in the doctor’s office waiting room.
He wants to go online with his Wii to play games. And he wants to be able to use my phone or my iPad to search the Internet to find out exactly how venomous a Black Mamba really is for randomness.
He has his own hand-me-down laptop now and he uses it to read game reviews, and play Cartoon Network, and read my blog?!
Okay, maybe that last one is me.
Either way, I’ve gotten quite comfortable (and maybe a tad bit stalkerish) about reading his history and checking the parental controls.
Because you never know when your almost-11-year-old is going to get curious and figure out that Google is the perfect place to learn about p-o-r-n, um things!
But, him discovering the ability to do nasty Google searches is not the only thing that concerns me about him being online.
There are creepy people online.
And there are identity thieves online.
And there are spooky-McWeird things that my goody-two-shoes-mind can’t even wrap itself around online.
And, offline too.
As The Dudes get more independent, both online and off, I am starting to be more interested in finding things aside from my Mom face to keep them safe.
I went to a T-Mobile event this summer to learn about different ways t0 keep your kids safe, lucky for you, I was only goofing off in the back for like most of it taking good notes.
Dumb Mom’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe Online (And Off too!)
1. Make some rules. Kids need boundaries when it comes to using technology. It’s new and exciting and they can do all sorts of things without you even knowing. So, make sure they know your expectations, and the consequences for if they decide not to meet them. And then spy on them a bunch so they can’t be sneaky about things.
2. Use what T-Mobile gave you. They have all kinds of tracking devices and phone locators and web guards. Personally, I’m not really about the kid tracking devices because I want to be able to rely on trust (talk to me in a few years when I’m living with 3 teen Dudes), but I think the Web Guard app is a spectacular idea. Takes the temptation right away from them so you don’t have to worry about p-o-r-n it and neither do they.
3. Keep it old school. The basics still work better than any app or device on the market and they will come in handy if your child ever finds themselves lost in a place with horrible cell coverage. Talk to them about what to do in case of an emergency; who to call, whose house to go to. Make up a secret code word, set an in-case-of-fire meeting place, teach them to dial 9-1-1. All of that stuff your mama taught you? You should teach your kids that too.
Now, let’s not forget that the Internet, apps, and mobile technology are really super fun too!
With rules and safety precautions taken care of, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t have an exciting and fun and FREE tablet to enjoy and be safe on and stuff!
To celebrate back-to-school, T-Mobile and I have teamed up to give one of you an awesome Springboard Tablet (ARV $299).
It’s a sweet, 4G/wifi capable tablet that uses the Android platform to bring you all kinds of awesome just in time to go back to school! You can learn more about it here: T-Mobile Springboard Tablet.
Want to win it?!
Here’s what to do (as in you HAVE to):
- Leave a comment on this post sharing how you keep your kids safe online.
- Check your ID and make sure you are 18 or over and live in the United States.
Want more chances to win (these are the optional bits)? *Be sure you leave a separate comment for EVERY ENTRY.
- Fan me up on Facebook.
- Love me long time by following me on Twitter (@dumbparent).
- Follow me on Pinterest and Pin this post (probably this fancy wolf graphic with the words works best, but you be the judge!).
Good luck, friends. May the force be with you!
*Contest rules and junk: Only one of each entry per person is allowed. Contest closes Monday, September 3, 2012 at midnight Eastern time. Separate entries will only be counted if a comment is left for each entry.