Friday, November 14, 2014

PTA/Life Lock #ShareAwesome Contest - How's your online decision making?

We played out an interesting experiment one weekend to see how many times over the course of a weekend, we'd typically pick up a device for an answer to a question:  the weather, a product, a movie time, a recipe.  I think we were each surprised at the frequency.  That doesn't even count any connection to social media or games. It is part of our daily lives and our kids don't know a world before these devises.  My kids had their first cell phone at age 2 (for parenting reasons, so they have an even bigger head start than most kids).

Online saftey is a key issue for me.  I don't reveal my location, employment, house numbers or any number of identifying information about myself.  My personal Facebook privacy settings are pretty tight and I rarely use location services.  I watermark over my kids' faces on photos I use for my blog Facebook fan page or any other public social media site.  On the other hand, I like sharing and connecting with friends and family online.  I like seeing photos of their lives and sharing photos of ours and it can be exchanged in a safe way.

As my tween son has started texting with friends, my rule is "If you wouldn't send it to Grandma or Papa, don't send it."  That includes use of language, photos, links, and friendly banter.  Same goes for his app games like Clash of Clans with the chatting feature.  Real and/or full names are not to be used and all of his emails are forwarded to my account.  We've had conversations about nothing ever "disappears" from the Internet.  Once you put it out there, it's out there and there can be some serious consequences to safety, reputation and character.  I've held firm that social media is restricted until age 13.
I don't understand this game, but a crew of friends play and chat.  The chats "disappear" after 100 messages and kids build up 100 messages in a matter of minutes.
The National PTA has joined with LifeLock to bring online safety to your awareness and into your families.  The #ShareAwesome campaign seeks to build an understanding among parents and students that no matter the device, the app or the networking site – the skills we need to be safe and positive online are similar to what you need offline.

I think the key thing is to check in on devise activity.  Every now and then I have to reel it in and question some decisions and/or discussions.  It's a good place to keep open and frequent conversation.

  • The #ShareAwesome contest invites social media users to share a smart and safe decision, uplifting accomplishment, or positive action for the good of others using hashtag #ShareAwesome on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Students who enter a photo between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will be eligible to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship! Visit to learn more.

  • I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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