This post for Zabra was written by 5M4M contributor, Geri Chase. While we were compensated for this post, the opinions remain those of the author.
Did you know your teens have an “online GPA”? Social media has become a very normal tool of expression in today’s society. With the advent of computers and the internet, our children have exciting opportunities to reach out to friends, family and even the world through various social media platforms. But because teens don’t always have the experience or knowledge necessary to know what is appropriate online behavior, they sometimes end up with a less than stellar “online resume.” With more and more school admission departments and prospective employers including online profiles as part of the decision making process, it’s important that our teens understand that what they post can have a lasting impact on their lives. Zabra offers the tools parents need to help children navigate the complicated world of social media and maintain a positive online image.
Zabra is different from other online protection software in several ways. First, there is nothing to set-up or install on your computer or device. It is all done through a “cloud”. Parents can set virtual boundaries and guidelines similar to the kinds of rules they have in other areas of family life.
Another way that Zabra differs from other online protection products is that it directly involves the kids in the protection process. Once parents have signed up for the program, Zabra will send your child an email with email and video, specific for their age group and gender. The email and video will explain to your child what Zabra does and does not do to help them with online safety. It will also help children understand that this is not a tool to help parents violate their child’s privacy, but rather a way to help parents and children communicate about online issues that may arise that the child might not know how to deal with.
As we teach our children the importance of being responsible, we have to give them opportunities to do that without feeling like they are being “watched” every moment of their lives. While Zabra’s goal is to offer some parental control, it’s important for parents to understand that they will not be able to see every conversation their child has online. Zabra monitors conversations based on parent’s input by using an “exception-based” alerting system. Alerts will only be generated when your child, or someone on their social network, steps out of the bounds that you’ve set.
Here are some of the issues that Zabra would alert parents to from a child’s monitored account:
- Drug Use/Addiction/Abuse
- Alcohol Use/Addiction/Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, etc.)
- Domestic Violence
In addition to monitoring services, Zabra provides a number of resources to help parents deal with difficult situations regarding online situations their teens may face. Sometimes having a conversation about how to properly deal with cyber bullying or with inappropriate comments being made on a Facebook page can be embarrassing and hard, for both parents and teens. As Zabra states:
“We’re not just an alerting system. We offer parents resources from the nation’s top psychiatrists, doctors, counselors, speakers and authors to give guidance and direction on how to best engage with your child on the tough topics of the day. We also empower parents to handle difficult issues with their kids, by providing them help to deal with serious issues before they become a crisis situation.”
While not impossible, it is certainly becoming more difficult to keep our children away from electronic devices that introduce them to the world of social media. With proper instruction and monitoring products like Zabra, we can help teens maintain a high online GPA while still providing a safety net of sorts should they make mistakes while navigating the sometimes confusing worlds of Facebook and Twitter.
To find out more about how Zabra can help you and your family with online safety, feel free to reach out to them through their social media sites:
Geri Chase is mom to 2 hilarious boys and wife to an insanely funny husband, all of whom like to remind her that the fact that she is a girl does not give her immunity from their testosterone induced humor. While she pretends not to be amused, she secretly laughs herself silly over their antics and frequently blogs about life and family friendly products over at I Am Boymom.