Do your kids have a dream?
The rise of technology, along with the Internet and social media, has brought great opportunities for everyone. We know more than we ever did, and we have more ‘friends’ – whether they be fans or followers or connections. However, alongside this are the risks of cyber bullying, malicious hacking and online fraud.
Using the Internet is part of everyday life, especially for our young people. So how can we, as parents, leaders and pastors help them harness the opportunities the Internet offers, whilst avoiding the pitfalls? Here are three ways for you to help your kids.
Being in front of a computer does not make you faceless and unreachable, but behind each profile there is a person, with a real address and real intentions. And some of these intentions may be to harm your children, especially on social networking websites. Your children need to understand that the people they connect with and share photos with may not be who they say they are. The Internet makes it possible for people to live out their fantasy lives.
On the flip side, there is a sense of control and power that comes with interacting virtually, and it is easy for kids to forget that insults and threats delivered over the Internet are as real as and even more frightening than when said to a person’s face. Remember that the perpetrators, as well as victims, come from families and, somewhere with every victim, there is a horrified parent, shocked and bewildered that their children are involved in that sort of behaviour online; that’s why it’s important to educate your children.
GET A MENTOR
Most parents are struggling to keep up to date with social networking websites, and with what children get up to online. Most of us can deal with Facebook and Twitter, but what about Instagram, Ask.fm and the numerous other forums which are all over the Internet? How can we understand – let alone monitor – what our young people do online? It is wise to actively seek someone to connect with your children online. This is where family, church and friends come in useful.
Look out for a responsible young adult, who perhaps your children look up to, or who shares the same interests. Encourage that friendship, and get the young adult to help guide your child. Our churches are full of committed 23- to 29-year-olds with the skills and expertise and time to befriend and guide a young person. It really takes a community to raise a child.
It is commonly said that the best way to defeat darkness is to put on the light. The Internet brings great opportunities, and can serve as a catalyst to develop the skills of young people. There is a website or an app for every interest under the sun.
So, if your child enjoys writing, get them involved in writing competitions and publishing books online. If it is music, get them an app that mixes music, and they can upload their recordings. Do they enjoy drawing, perhaps? There are apps for doodling, animation and graphics. Are they technically inclined? They can learn how to program and write software. There is more to the Internet than Facebook. There is virtually a ‘How to’ video on YouTube for every subject.
The Internet is a huge encyclopaedia that can help and encourage any interest or hobby. You simply need to take the time to explore it, and help your children achieve their dreams, using the Internet in a positive way
My Choice App
Think about positivity on the Internet, and then install TED Talks, the app for the popular TED Talks website, which features short videos of inspirational thoughts from leaders in the fields of technology, medicine. FREE.
Spring clean your PC
Let’s face it, summer is done and a new season is here. Kids are back to school, and the routine starts again. Soon it’ll be Christmas and then New Year, and so on.
One of the many tasks we never do is to spring clean our laptops and computers, and this can make them vulnerable to malicious attacks and viruses. These machines then slow down, and precious time is wasted waiting for files or webpages to upload.
Four actions to take…
Buy an external hard drive and back up all your data and applications. Even if your computer crashes, you still have all the important files.
GET RID OF OLD PROGRAMMES
Browse through the programmes listed on your hard drive, and uninstall unused programmes. Check browsers for third party plugins, and delete unused ones.
UPDATE YOUR MACHINE
Ensure that you are running the latest stable versions of programmes, especially the anti-virus software.
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS
It may be obvious, but do not use passwords such as car numbers or children’s names. Hackers now have sophisticated ways of guessing passwords, so use random configurations of letters, numbers and characters.
We’d like to hear from you if you’ve launched a new website or mobile app, or are using technology in an innovative way. We might even feature you in Cyber Corner.
KENO OGBO runs Spiral Web Solutions, based in London. She is passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals using websites and other online marketing tools. To contact Keno email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07958 004 739.