Tuesday, March 17, 2009

“Minds ripen at very different ages.” Stevie Wonder

As I mentioned earlier I was working on an Internet safety lecture for parents. I researched a lot of sites and as many books as I could get my mitts on. Some were more help than others. One particular site that stood out was that of CNET’s article on Developing safe and Smart Internet Citizens by Stefanie Olsen. This article provided a nice back bone for my lecture. I agree with the theme of the article that different ages need different strategies and the idea is not to protect your kids by severing the connection but by making kids smarter and more informed. If you head over to the site they have plenty of great tips for each age group. I plan over the next couple of weeks to mention a few other sites or ideas on Internet Safety for kids and adults.
On the same subject one site mentioned something I had not thought of speaking about but had been doing for a long time and that is Google Alerts. I know I have written about the service before. I use it to keep track of news with certain keywords. I also use it for my own name. For parents or anyone I recommend setting two Google Alerts for your own name and another for your email address. This way if your name or info surfaces on a blog or site you will be notified. This is good for kids so they can be aware of any cyber bullying and for parents keeping an eye on their children. This is not an invasive way to help your kids and it could save them from being in a jam. It just alerts you about the same info that everyone else has access to. Two more things about Alerts and names. If your name is very common like John Smith then maybe you should forget about using the service for that and just do the email alert. Also if you are going to use your name make sure it is in quotes or you will get all sorts of different pieces of non relevant info.
So if you are a parent or not give either of these a try.

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