It is our natural instinct as parents to protect our children and keep them safe at all times. If it were up to us, we would shield them from all of the negativity that takes place in this world in the hopes of keeping them innocent as long as possible. As much as we would like this to be true, it is unrealistic to believe that we can be the sole protectors of our kids. This is evident in the fact that we are not together with them 24/7; they attend school, they have social lives, they explore virtual worlds… meaning
they are guaranteed to have experiences for which we cannot control.
While certain issues of safety may seem uncomfortable to talk about, you will only do your child a disservice by not doing so. In fact, by providing them with the knowledge and tools of how to avoid danger, along with what to do if they come across it, you will help transform their fears into empowerment during the times they need it most.
The Internet has been both a blessing as well as a curse for us as parents. When used properly, it has opened up doors for our children with its endless possibilities of educational value.Unfortunately though, it is also a gateway into the evil side of
humanity. There are those in our society who hide behind their screens to embark upon immoral acts, such as bullying and sexual inappropriateness. No matter how sheltered you try to keep your child, the second they turn on the screen, they are exposed.
Some parents take action by monitoring social media pages, putting time limits on Internet usage, or even installing specialized computer programs. These are all excellent ways to protect your child online. Ask yourself though, are they really
enough? This generation of kids is tech-savvy beyond belief, and if there is a will, there is a way. Especially if you take these security measures without informing your child of your reasoning, it will only heighten the chances of defiance. I recommend opening up a conversation with your child about the grim realities of the Internet. They should be made aware that you cannot be trusting of all that you read, nor all that you see. In particular, address predators on the chat sites. This is an extremely serious issue, which each year leads to numerous crimes against adolescents. Speak frankly; speak
graphically, whatever it takes to make them realize that Internet communication with strangers is not a game.
Another area I would focus on is the type of material they select to share online. How well do they grasp the fact that what they do and say is forever in print? Talk about how a future career might be affected, or the day they have children. Inform them that it is in their power to control how positive or negatively they are represented. It is all about choices. The main goal is to have your child choose proper Internet behavior not because you say so, but because they understand the importance in doing so. Help them achieve this by giving them ideas for self-protection, such as passwords and who can view their social media pages. Lastly, encourage non technological activities! There is nothing more rewarding in childhood than experiencing it in “real life.”
The Real Real World
Most emergency situations are unpredictable. From natural disasters to acts of violence, there is no telling when a catastrophe could occur. As adults, we are usually the ones who prepare our households for these types of events. Yet, it is just as crucial that your child be prepared as well. I would recommend beginning the conversation with your child by asking questions. (What would you do if the lights were to go out? What items do you think would be helpful?) Make it a game of sorts, praising them for their answers. Kids become very engaged when they are having fun, and also thrive with positive feedback.
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Author Tim Ralston is an international spokesman and recurringfeatured survival expert on National Geographic’s #1 rated program DOOMSDAY PREPPERS. Tim owns the survival brand
Gear Up, exclusive manufacturer and provider of cutting-edge survival gear and apparel. Contact Tim on Twitter:@gearupguy-tim
Gear Up Center: (480) 306-4945