Parenting an online generation
I got a little reminder of the dangers of having kids in this online generation in the last week.
In short Dylan is in a brand new school that has only been open just over 12 months. He is the the 2nd year of students taken into the school and at that one of only 75 kids. The benefit of this is that the one to one relationship between him and the teachers is outstanding, the school not only promote the academic side of things but also spend a large chunk of time promoting and nurturing the social aspects of being a young adult and how to cope.
One of the new advances was the introduction of iPad schooling, just before the school was due to open the parents of the 1 round of students took a vote to make it an iPad school. This introduced a new set of challenges for everyone but these in the main have been addressed and the school students are thriving. For the IT provider of choice this has meant they need to be up to speed on all aspects of internet security and last week they had the first spam email that got through the net.
Dylan when in class opened the mail app and was prevented with an extreme x-rated image – first reaction was too laugh but to his credit he held it and just called the teacher over. After a quick round of checks it was on every kids ipad and these were all deleted. Some kids just laughed it off, some were revolted and some shocked. The school contacted the IT supplier and new spam filters were applied and parents got a SMS to advise of the situation.
My own reaction was it happens, the best laid plans can sometime have a flaw and the key aspect is the learning. Try as we might we cannot always protect the kids from everything. Dylan is 13 and is in the full swing of puberty but we are also open about everything in the house so he was fine and saw the funny side.
I did however take note and decided to review a few things in the house. To this end I wanted to update the protection software on his new phone which is Android based. After a few hours looking around and trying a few offering I decided that the SecureTeen software from SecureTeen.com was the best way to go.
The set up is simple, Install on the device you want to protect – set up a free account, on the desktop or laptop long into the account and start to apply restrictions and filters. These included a lost of websites, keywords and best of all a time system to prevent access to the phone between certain times of the day 7 days a week. On trying this out I set up the slots of non active times between 10pm and 7am daily. when it got to 10pm I tried a few things and all i was presented with was a notification screen and no access to the app. I did however find it handy to set up some emergency numbers so he can dial these while the restrictions apply.
While i may not capture everything It helps but I think the best thing to do is b open and honest with the kids. We find that with Dylan we can at anytime ask for his phone and conduct a spot check. More so we can check what is coming into the phone and make sure no cyber bullying is is taking place. He is more than happy with this as its been the case and agreement since last year when we got him the first phone. Now its part of the fabric of having a phone. You may find if you have not got this in place your child wont be so tolerant just handing over a phone for checks.
For those that need it there is a list of numbers to help deal with cyber bullying below.