Online photo safety for kids should be on every parent’s mind. It’s not uncommon nowadays for photos of children to be posted online before they are even born, but is it safe? Announcing your pregnancy by posting a baby scan is a ‘thing’ on Facebook and Twitter. It doesn’t stop once there, a recent survey found that an average parent will post almost 1,000 photos of their child online before he or she turns five. We live in an age of “sharenting,’ so we have to learn how to navigate this new trend in a safe manner.
Our children learn most from watching us and copying what we do. If you want your child to only post photos when they have the consent of the people in them, ask their permission before posting photos of them. Likewise, if they ask you to remove a photo that they find embarrassing, take it down. The chances are your child will do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.
There are no hard and fast rules for this topic, however, there are some things to consider before you hit the share button:
Edit your life:
Be selective about what you share online. Don’t post photos of everything that happens in your life no matter how cute you think your child looks in them. Think twice about sharing photos taken in bathroom and bedroom settings. You can’t control the context in which the photos will be seen.
Ask yourself will this photo cause my child embarrassment now or in the future?
Everything we post online creates a digital footprint and for young people maintaining a good online reputation is becoming increasingly important. Parents should consider any long-term risks of sharing photos of their children online. Some photographs have the potential to go viral.
Check Your Settings:
Social networks regularly update settings, so it is important to review your settings. If you are a regular user of Facebook, the social network allows users to do a Privacy Checkup which makes it very easy for users to understand who they are sharing content with.
Who will see my photos?
Ensure you are happy with your privacy settings and understand who may potentially see your images. It is a good idea to regularly review your friend/connections on social networks. Some networks, for example, Facebook allow users to limit/customize who they share posts with. Some things will always be public. Parents should beware that some posts/photos are always public for example; Twitter profile photos, Facebook cover images and featured photos.
Is your location service disabled?
Many social networks and apps allow you to share your location. Some people may not be aware that this function is automatically enabled on some apps and networks. Consider reviewing this when sharing family photos.
I realize that we ultimately want that ‘connection’ with people- to share our lives, our families, our children, and a great way to do this is through posting photos on social media and online. The virtual world has brought us an entirely new way of interacting and connecting with others, but we just want to ensure that we do so in the safest way possible.
Let’s do it responsibly, and you will find that if they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we will be sharing beautiful novels with our friends, families and loved ones every time we post our cherished photos!
How do we keep children safe in the ‘online world? I know the ‘ordinary world’ we live in can be extremely difficult to navigate (especially with kids). The ‘virtual world’ is no different. Our responsibility can get even more complicated as parents. It makes me wonder how can we protect our children effectively in this ‘brave new world?’ How are we supposed to keep them safe from something that is nearly impossible to control?
Online Safety Tips for Kids:
I didn’t have a guide for how to handle the internet with my children, but now I do. Check out my top internet preparation tips to make sure going online is a positive experience for both you and your kids:
1. Discover the Internet together
Be the one to introduce your child to the internet, because for both us as parents and children it is an advantage to discover the internet together. Try to find websites that are exciting and fun so that together you achieve a positive attitude when it comes to surfing the web. This could make it easier to share both positive and negative experiences in the future so that your children will come to you for anything.
2. Set rules with your child for Internet use
Try to reach an agreement with your child on the guidelines which apply to Internet use in your household.
Discuss when and for how long it’s acceptable for your child to use the Internet.
Agree on how to treat personal information (name, address, telephone, e-mail).
Discuss how to behave towards others when gaming, chatting, e-mailing or messaging.
Agree on what type of sites and activities are OK or not OK in your family.
Follow the rules yourself! Or at least explain why the rules are different for adults.
3. Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information
A simple rule for younger children should be that the child should not give out their name, phone number or photo without your approval. Older children using social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, should be encouraged to be selective about what personal information and photos they post to online spaces. Regardless of privacy settings, once material is online you can no longer control who sees it or how it’s used.
4. Talk about the risks associated with meeting online “friends” in person
Adults should understand that the internet can be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends. However, for safety and to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by an adult you trust. In any case, the child should always have their parents’ approval first. In addition, it’s also a good idea to have a fool-proof plan in place such as calling them shortly after the meeting begins so that they can bail out if they feel uncomfortable.
5. Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online.
Most children use the internet to improve and develop their knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests. Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant. Show your child how to check the information they find by comparing it to alternative sources on the same topic. Show them trusted sites they can use to compare their information.
6. Don’t be too critical towards your child’s exploration of the Internet
Children may come across adult material by accident on the web. Also, a child may intentionally search for such websites; remember that it is natural for children to be curious about off-limits material. Try to use this as an opening to discuss the content with them, and perhaps make rules for this kind of activity. We have to be careful but also realistic in our assessment of how your child uses the internet.
7. Let your children show you what they like to do online
To be able to guide your child with regard to Internet use, it’s important to understand how children use the Internet and know what they like to do online. Let your child show you which websites they like visiting and what they do there.
8. Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives.
The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children, so encourage your child to make the most of it and explore the internet to its full potential.
As we know, the internet is now part of our culture and it is here to stay. Since it is such a valuable resource for us as parents in many positive ways, it’s not something we should be fighting against, rather something that we need to embrace with our children in a healthy way. If we help them to develop these good online habits at an early age, these practices will stay with them through their adult lives and will help them to form a positive relationship with the internet, making their virtual world a healthy and safe reality.
As always, I’d love to hear which blogs resonate most with you! Feel free to reach out and message me on Facebook & Instagram!
My husband Dave is the dad behind PreparaMom and today, he’s sharing with us tips for educating your children about gun safety. David has served for years as a firefighter and a paramedic. In that time, he has learned the value of being prepared for any situation or emergency which is why I tapped him for help with this very important topic.
First, let’s talk about exactly how you should approach talking with your kids on gun safety.
What kids should know about gun safety:
Teach your children to be aware of what a gun looks like and that it can come in many sizes and shapes. Emphasize they are not toys and should never be touched or handled. If a child finds a gun lying out, they should not touch it, but should let you or an adult know. This includes when they are at a friend’s house. If their friend tries to touch or handle a gun, they should let an adult know immediately.
McGruff the Crime Dog has a very simple approach that may be helpful for you when communicating with your children about firearm safety as well as helpful for your kids to remember:
Tell an Adult.
If a child becomes really curious and wants to use a gun, redirect their curiosity to something safer. Nerf guns or blunted bows and arrows are good options for this and can be used in target practice.
Reinforce that even these safer options should NEVER be pointed at anyone and they should NEVER shoot a person (including themselves) or an animal with any type of gun – toy or otherwise. The idea is this should only be used for target practice.
What Parents Should Know About Gun Safety
The most important thing is to educate your child about how to behave around guns. Children should never handle a gun or treat one like a toy. If they see one at a friend’s house, they must be taught to alert an adult so that it can be secured. And kids should never distract someone who is handling a gun, even if they think it is unloaded (like when someone is cleaning or assembling a firearm).
Make sure guns are locked away. All guns should be kept in a secret location that a child does not have access to, like a parent’s bedroom or home office. The gun should be secured with a gun lock that will prevent it from being fired. But it should also be placed inside a locked strongbox or gun safe and the child should not have access to the key or combination.
Gun safety is probably one of the most important conversations that you can have with your kids. The big thing to remember here is to not make this a scary issue. This world provides us with plenty of things to worry about and you don’t want your child growing up afraid of the world around them. But a healthy respect for guns and how to be safe around them is extremely vital.
Want to learn more about firearm safety? Here’s a list of helpful resources:
It’s a sad but true reality – active shootings. While we can debate how we got to this place, what’s most helpful right now is learning how you can be prepared to save you and your family’s life.
Imagine you’re out at the mall, department store, or park. You’re going about your day and checking off lists, watching your kids play or enjoying time in a movie. Suddenly you hear what sounds like firecrackers but followed by screaming and panic. Your reality just changed. You’re in an active shooter situation.
What do you do next?
Three options for dealing with an active shooter situation:
Try to escape the area as quickly as possible. When you go into an area, be aware of at least two exit routes and have an escape plan in mind.
Be committed to escaping regardless if others refuse to get out
Help others escape if possible
Keep your hands up and visible if you encounter law enforcement
Call 911 when you are in a safe area
If you can’t escape, find a location where the active shooter is less likely to find you
Your hiding place should be out of view
Provide protection from gunfire if possible (brick, concrete, cinder block wall)
Use an office or room with a locked door. Use heavy furniture or office equipment to block the door.
If the active shooter is nearby,
Turn off the lights
Silence your cell phone or any other source of noise (TV, radio, etc.)
If possible, call 911 and alert the dispatcher where the shooter’s location is. If you cannot talk, leave the line open to allow the dispatcher to listen.
Remember, you may have to hide for hours until law enforcement secures the threat.
As a last resort, only fight when you cannot hide and your life and/or your family are in imminent danger.
Act as aggressively as possible and fully commit to your actions
Improvise weapons using items around you (fire extinguishers, chairs, etc.)
Law enforcement that arrives first on the scene have the primary job of eliminating the threat, it is unfortunately not to render help. They must stay focused on the situation and work to end the threat as soon as possible.
Help will come as more first responders arrive. It’s an unfortunate reality that we are faced with these situations but being aware of your surroundings and having a plan of action will help you survive. Take a look at this video made by the City of Houston, TX that reviews that same 3 tips for active shooter survival.
If you’re like a lot of us out there, you probably feel like your entire life is tied up inside of your purse. On some days, it may feel like you are carrying Mary Poppins carpet bag of nanny goodies, able to open up your purse and pull out a wallet, checkbook, umbrella, diapers, and wipes along with the unimaginable and unrealistic like a case of water, an emergency kit, and a the ark of the covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
But, if you’ve ever had your purse lost or stolen, then you know that it can be a nightmare of epic proportions. So, here are some of the things I am definitely not carrying in my purse anymore:
Extra credit cards
There was a time when I used to have every major department store and credit card on me at all times, just in case I needed to fly into action and do some emergency shopping at the local Macy’s. This isn’t necessary.
Instead, keep just one credit card and your debit card on hand and leave the rest at home.
Think about if you do lose multiple cards to a thief, then you have to cancel all those accounts which can be a major pain. Many people are getting the “phone wallets” that give them a cardholder on their cell phone. This can be a great idea since most of us keep our phones on us at all times and usually in our hip pockets, which make them much harder to steal than the average purse snatching.
This absolutely has to stay at home from now on. If you think about it, most of us only use checks now when we are mailing in bills. (And some of us not even then.) Everywhere you go now takes plastic, so leave the checkbook at home.
My former self-defense instructor (a retired cop) pointed out that your checkbook has your home address on it which not only makes you easier to track down, but it can also be used to order more checks and destroy your credit rating and bank account.
Again, why take the risk when you carry your debit card? If your card is stolen, you can shut it down before it is used. But if your cash is stolen, that’s it; it’s gone.
It’s also a good idea not to carry cash or limit the amount you have with you because (as many people will point out) if you carry cash, then you are more likely to spend it. When you pass by a soda machine or snack machine, you may think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I’ve got some money” and then you spend it. But if you don’t have it, then you can’t spend it on things you don’t need.
Quick tip to help in case your purse is lost or stolen.
Before you leave the house next time, take a picture of the front and back of your credit cards. This will give you the information you need to call the right number quickly to report the card stolen and to have the credit card number handy. You can write this information as well, if you prefer.
Can you afford to lose your purse?
The important thing to decide when you are packing your purse is this: “If someone were to steal my purse or if I should lose it, how dangerous or problematic would it be for me to no longer have these items?” And for many of us, our purses have become such a “catch-all” for junk that we might not even know what was in there if it did go missing. It’s better to play it safe and keep it simple.
Children are natural-born explorers. They love going out on their own so they can experience the world and have adventures.
But, many parents are faced with the nightmare of what happens when your child wanders off and gets lost. It’s a scary situation that no parent wants to think about, but you do need a plan in place if it happens.
Here are things you can do to prevent your child getting lost:
First, realize your child can wander off and get lost almost anywhere at any time, so you need to be prepared and proactive. Have a conversation early on with your child about what to do if they get lost.
Make it a game for your child to memorize your cell phone number. Give them a copy of the number as they may not be thinking clearly if they’re panicked. This can be on an ID bracelet or a personalized “dog tag” they carry with them.
What To Do If Your Child Gets Lost:
Dress your child in bright clothes
If a child is lost and they’re wearing something bold, they’re much be easier to spot. Take a picture of your child before you go out to the park or the mall so you’ll have a picture of exactly what they look like. This way, if he or she gets lost, you can share this photo easily with security guards who can be on the lookout for them.
Designate a meeting spot
If you’re going someplace that’s especially crowded, like a theme park or shopping mall, explain to your child that they should look for you at a designated spot. This should be someplace easy to find like the main entrance or at a specific ride or store.
That way, if they get lost, they can find you quickly and easily. If you don’t have a designated meeting spot, tell them, instead, to not move at all. Explain that once you realize they’re missing, you’ll instantly start looking for them. If they’re looking for you while you look for them, you could end up chasing each other for hours. If they stay in one place, they’ll be easier to find.
This sounds impossible, but no good is going to come from being frantic and terrified. Try to keep a level head so you can rationally search for your child.
Teach your child about “safe people.”
If you aren’t there within a few minutes, have your child let an adult know that they’re lost. Have them look for a security guard or a store employee with a name tag. These people can do a better job of helping to reunite you with your child than the average person off the street.
Imagine walking through the mall with your child only to turn around and not see them there. Terrifying, right? By preparing ahead of time, you and your children know what to do in this event and you’ll quickly reunited!