From Sexting to Cyberbullying, how can Parents Protect their Kids Online?

by Janice

My son is only eight years old, but he has already started to ask me when he can get a Facebook page.

early-teens-surfing-web-online-safetyWhile I can assure him that an eight year old doesn’t need a Facebook page, it won’t be long before he will be signing up for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and countless more online accounts. He will be texting, IMing, posting and updating and I will be at a loss of how to monitor all that public information.

So I was thrilled when I heard about SafetyWeb.com, a brilliant online service that compiles and monitors publicly available information and reports back to parents any suspicious or inappropriate content. SafetyWeb is NOT about “snooping” on your kids or reading your teenagers private emails – it is about helping parents to protect their online reputation and protect them from cyberbullying.

I am so impressed with SafetyWeb, 5 Minutes for Mom has partnered with them to continue to spread their service and their resources to parents. I also asked Geoffrey and Michael if SafetyWeb would sponsor 5 Minutes for Mom for Type-A Mom Conference. SafetyWeb is a company I want to share with our readers!

safety-web-online-safety-kidsSafetyWeb provides you with the tools you need to stay on top of the “social web” and empowers parents to engage their children about how to interact online safely. We keep parents informed of all the various networks out there and let parents know when we find anything that might warrant further exploration. While nothing can replace the responsibility a parent has to communicate with their child, SafetyWeb can help by making sure that you are in the know about the world they live in. Together, we can help keep kids safe.

The two geniuses behind SafetyWeb are the kind of guys I want in my corner! SafetyWeb founders, Michael Clark and Geoffrey Arone, each have outstanding resumes, building some of the web’s largest online services such as Photobucket, Tiny Pic, and social media browser Flock.

Geoffrey has 12 years of successful product development, co-founding the dance video website DanceJam with MC Hammer, founding the social web browser Flock, and founding DAG.com, as well as product positions at Real Networks and Oracle. In addition, Geoffrey knows firsthand how colleges use the internet in their admissions protocol, personally conducting admission interviews for his alma mater. He understands how critical it is for young people and their parents to protect their online reputations.

Michael was the first executive hire and architect at Photobucket and has over 15 years of direct experience building scalable systems He is one of only a handful of people in the world who has scaled a web service to over 100 million users.

In addition to all of their technical experience building web services and software, Geoffrey and Michael have also assisted in the arrest and prosecution of sex offenders! Yes, these guys know exactly how to help parents protect their teenagers online.

SafetyWeb-online-safety-kidsGeoffrey and Mike have developed SafetyWeb and the SafetyWeb website as a resource for parents. “SafetyWeb is not a substitute for good parenting and communication,” Geoffrey explains. The goal is that parents will use SafetyWeb and their website as a catalyst for communication between parents and their tweens and teenagers about how to use the Internet safely and appropriately.

In fact, there is so much information on the SafetyWeb site, parents and kids can easily empower themselves with FREE resources about online threats such as Sexting, Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Facebook Privacy, Social Networking Safety Tips, Video Sharing, Online Reputation, and more! You can even download a free poster about cyberbullying to print out or embed on your site.

safety-web-online-safety-kidsIf you want to check out SafetyWeb, they offer a free search that allows parents to type in their children’s names to see what online accounts are associated with that email. To sign up with the service that provides detailed, ongoing monitoring and reporting, it costs $10 per month or $100 per year.

In this day and age, when our child’s online trail will be searched by universities and employers, and 42% of kids report being bullied online, having a service like SafetyWeb can be a key component for parents to help and teach their children to keep safe online.

JOIN US ON TWITTER as we talk about Online Safety, such as Sexting, Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Facebook Privacy, Social Networking Safety Tips, and more with author, educator, and online advisor for t(w)eens & parents, @Annie_Foxand @SafetyWeb this Wednesday, September 22 at 9-10:30pm ET.

The hashtag for the event will be #SafetyWeb. To keep up with the conversation follow:
@Annie_Fox
@SafetyWeb
@5minutesformom
During the event, we will also tweet from our personal emails so that we don’t reach our maximum number of tweets allowed. So we recommend you also follow us at:
@SusanCarraretto
@JaniceCroze

I talked with SafetyWeb co-founder Geoffrey Arone about online safety for tweens and teens for a 5 Minutes for Mom podcast. Talking with an expert like Geoffrey was so enlightening! We covered topics such as, “Do colleges really search online during admissions protocol and for what information are they looking?” and “What should a parent do if they discover inappropriate photos or videos of their child online?” Click on the podcast icon below to listen to my full interview with Geoffrey.

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Thanks to SafetyWeb for sponsoring 5 Minutes for Mom at Type-A Mom Conference and for their ongoing support of 5 Minutes for Mom and the mom blogging community. This post also contains affiliate links — by using affiliate links, readers can support websites!

Written by Janice Croze, Mom Blogger and co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom.
Tweet with us @5MinutesForMom



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 W.C. Murphree September 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I worry about the children of our future, My children are grown but now I have grandchildren and I know it will not be no time at all till they are exposed to all the social media. I guess all you can do is teach them right and pray for them to do the right thing.

Reply

2 Annie Fox September 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

W.C. Murphree, I understand completely how unsettling it is for parents and grandparents to think about the dangers social media exposes their kids too. And while it is true that adults who would do children harm lurk online, it’s more often the case that cyberbullying is peer-to-peer harassment. In fact, most often the kids who use social media to torment other kids are former friends of the victim.

Social media, per se, isn’t the culprit. It’s just the “playground” in which positive and negative interactions take place.

I don’t know about praying, but I’m totally with you when it comes to parents teaching their kids what is and what isn’t appropriate behavior online. And of course, parents need to be tuned in to their kids’ lives. Not to snoop, not to disrespect healthy boundaries between parents and teens, but to pay attention and to do at least as much open-minded listening to our t(w)eens as we do talking with them. Bottom line, I tell the kids and parents I work with: Don’t ADD to the (social) garbage. Don’t write it. Don’t read it. Don’t forward it.

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3 jill conyers September 21, 2010 at 5:48 am

An interesting note. As a psychologist contracted with a school district I went to a training on this subject about a month ago. A new problem is textual harassment. It’s way too convenient for the harasser.

Reply

4 Sarah Link October 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm

How do you feel online safety and security now that many social networking sites are so easy to access by everyone?

Reply

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