Category Archives: cyber safety

National Cyber Safety Awareness Day

Today is National Cyber Safety Awareness Day. A few years ago, this day would be unheard of but unfotunately, cyber-bullying has become one of the greatest dangers effecting our kids. And, it’s not just teens. One of the largest growing poplulations on the Internet is 2 – 4 year olds. As our young children gain more exposure online, the threats also will increase.

According to social media monitoring company,TrueCare, cyber bullying affects nearly 1 out of 2 children in America today. To help combat this epidemic, TrueCare offers parents an online monitoring service that will alert a parent to inappropriate content or harassment that is occuring. Sadly, bullying is not the only issue. It is estimated that over 5,000,000 predators surf the Internet and 77% of the targets for these predators were age 14 or older. Another 22% were users ages 10-13.

Whether it’s limited understanding of what kids are doing online or the denial of how serious the problem is, many parents have no idea what’s going on in their child’s life online. According to TrueCare, over 81% of parents don’t monitor their child’s online activities. Our kids are living online and if we are going to protect them we need to be there as well. According to I-Safe.org 58% of kids either bullied or harassed online have not told their parents. This unnerving statistic drives home the importance of our role as parents and caregivers to be pro-active, talk to our children and take note of changes in their activities and personality.

Let’s all take a stand and say NO to cyber bullying. Don’t let your child become another victim in this new reality.

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Filed under Child Safety, cyber safety, Cyberbullying, Internet safety

How can we stop the epidemic of bullying? Let’s start teaching tolerance by example

Today I was the guest speaker at a conference about cyberbulllying.  Whether it’s cyberbullying or “traditional” bullying, it’s a problem that’s growing.  Within the past 24 hours I’ve read two stories about  bullying and I’m sure there are hundreds more that didn’t make the news.  The first involved a boy who had his arms broken by thugs because he is a cheerleader.  Then today I just read about a freshman at Rutgers who killed himself after being taunted online by his roomate who secretly videotaped him.

How do we protect our kids?!  I worry every day about my special needs son and how kids in town my taunt him.  Even my younger daughter is worried about this.  The bottom line?  Kids can be cruel beyond belief.  They think it’s funny.   They make fun of kids that are “different” in some way.  For me, it goes back to the parents.  What have they learned and heard growing up?  Have they learned tolerance for all people?  

I recently came in contact with someone who espoused to be “Christian” and was preaching about how people of different religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations were evil.  I’m sure his kids are some of the ones who are committing these acts of bullying.  So, once these bullies do their dirty work and their victims are pushed to the point of killing themselves, do they feel righteous?  Do they understand that they, in fact, are the evil ones.  

If we want our kids to behave in a kind and tolerant manner then we’d better start teaching it at home.

 

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.  

 

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Filed under cyber safety, Cyberbullying

Warning Mom & Dad – The Latest Cyber Safety Issue – Chatroulette – by Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom

Just when you thought you had heard of all the ways complete strangers could interact with your child or your son or daughter could become a victim of cyber sexting, here’s the latest – chatroulette.

Invented by a teenager (why does this not surprise me?) chatroulette is a site that anyone with a webcam can sign up for.  Once you do, simply by pressing a button you will be linked through the webcam with a random stranger from anywhere around the world.  If you don’t like the person you get hooked up with, just press the “next” button and you’ll be connected to someone else.  Yes, your teen will be video chatting with anyone in the world.  This has become wildly popular because rumor has it that a bunch of celebrities are on it.  But seriously, what do you think the odds are that your daughter will connect with John Mayer?  Yes, about as likely as getting attacked by a shark in the desert.  More likely, she’ll be connected with some slimy guy who’s desperate to hook up with some pretty young thing. 

As The Safety Mom – www.safetymom.com, one of the things I’m committed to is getting parents smarter – or at least as smart – as their teens.  Yes moms, you need to know the latest on what your teens are doing so you can head them off at the pass.  So, consider yourself now in the know about chatroulette – you can check it out at www.

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises, www.safetymom.com and Safety Mom Solutions, www.safetymomsolutions.com the premier babyproofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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Filed under cyber safety, Uncategorized

If Adults Can Be Fooled By The Craigslist Killer, Imagine What Our Kids Face?

When you look at Philip Markoff, the 22-year old accused of being the "Craigslist killer," you could never imagine that he could be responsible for such crimes.  According to his fiancee, he's a nice, clean cut, intelligent med student.  But the police have painted a different picture – that of of a cold-blooded killer who went trolling for his victims online. 

I'm sure his postings looked innocent enough and, when accompanied by his photo, painted an image of an all-American guy just looking for a good time.  It's easy to see how his victims were duped.  And if it's that easy for an adult to be conned, just imagine what our teens are facing?  How easy is it for a 14- year old girl to assume she's chatting online with a guy from college who asks to meet her at the mall only to discover it's some 44-year old psycho? 

It's hard to keep up with what our kids are doing online but it's vital! We need to establish a level of trust with them so that they understand we're not trying to control their lives but merely protect them from crazies out there.  Top things to remind them of:

– Never give personal information to anyone they meet online – this includes cell phone number, address or school they attend.

– Let friends know about people they've connected with online.

– If they are going to meet someone in person that they met online they should only go with another friend and never alone.

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