Digital Parenting: Engage

Digital parenting is one of the hardest parts about being a modern day parent; the possible dangers that come with digital interaction, especially when unmonitored, are well known thanks to news articles and TV specials.

To help parents raise their children, companies have produced plenty of products meant to keep children safe, from filters to site blockers to parental intelligence systems. Parents often develop their own systems to keep children safe online; they may put a limit of the amount of time a child spends online or prohibit the use of a computer in a child’s bedroom.

I believe that it is important for digital parents to avoid creating restriction upon restriction. According to Connectsafely.org, based on surveys of 25,142 families of 9-to-16-year-olds in 25 countries, researchers came to the conclusion that parents' active engagement with their kids' Internet activities works better than restricting them.

"For parents, talking to their child about the internet, encouraging them to explore alone but being nearby in case they are needed and talking to them about what they do online are all ways in which they can reduce online risks without reducing their child's opportunities," said EU Kids Online research director Sonia Livingstone in a press release.

This is not to say the resources available online should be ignored. However, perhaps before jumping to block every single site on the Internet, a quick conversation is all that is really needed. Calmly explain to your children that there are dangerous people online, and that nothing online is truly private. Motivate your children to think: Is this something I want people outside of my house to see? In short, teach them to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

Remember: giving children guidelines is more effective than enforcing restrictions; as tempting as it is to create rule upon rule for your children, encouraging open dialogue between you and your children will lead to a more trusting relationship for both parties, and as a result will let parents talk to and monitor their children with less resistance.

Related resources:
uKnowKids Parenting Blog & Resource Center

 

The Problem: Sexting and Predators

It is hard for me to believe, but today is the nine year anniversary of buySAFE’s birthdate.  Time sure does fly by when you are having a good time. 

When I left buySAFE a few months ago, I promised to keep you up to date on my next entrepreneurial adventure.  In the spirit of start-up birthdays, I thought I would share with you a few interesting details about my next venture.

Sexting is rampant. Predators are everywhere. Obviously, buySAFE was founded to make the Internet safer for online shoppers, and we did that for tens of millions of consumers.  This time around, we want to make technology safer for our kids (Fatherhood has a way of inspiring you to do such things).  Our new start-up is tackling two serious, prevalent and complex problems: Sexting and Predators.  The market simply hasn’t provided any effective solutions for parents yet, and we intend to fill that gap.

The business was inspired by my brother, Tim Woda, who as the parent of older children, has had to confront these difficult issues directly.  It seems like every time I speak with a parent of tweens or teens, they express the same frustrations and fear about allowing their kids to use digital technologies.  Since there are more than 37 million kids in the U.S. and more than 1.2 billion kids globally between the ages of 9 and 17, I believe there is an interesting business opportunity here.

The following is a short video overview of the Sexting and Predator problems that parents face today.  If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.  I welcome your assistance.  Also, please share this video with your friends and family.  I believe it is important that we educate parents to make sure they are fully aware of the digital dangers they must manage on behalf of their kids. 

I recognize that I haven’t told you how we are going to attack these scary problems, but I will over the coming months.  I wanted to tease you first!  🙂  Before telling you everything, we have to finish building out our product and raise a bit of capital to finance our public launch.  Both of these activities are ongoing (and going well), and I will share more as we make additional progress.

I will continue to provide you with regular updates here on this blog, but if you want to get more frequent updates, feel free to become a fan on my Facebook Fan Page.  I am using it to share my daily thoughts on this start-up adventure.  Thanks, and stay tuned!