I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Did you know that June is Internet Safety Awareness Month? Throughout the month, the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) and Spring are inviting you to ask their panel of Boys & Girls Club teens from around the world your biggest questions regarding your online privacy, cyberbullying, social networking and other cyber-related safety issues.
As a mom to a techno-gamer kid, I worry about Jacob’s safety online. I have more relaxed rules than a lot of parents because I raised Jacob from age two to be cyber smart. Yep, age two. That’s when I bought him his first kiddie keyboard, attached it to my computer and set him loose. Obviously, I was right there the whole time! Also, that keyboard blocked his access to most of the computer.
I’ve always loved technology. I knew my son would grow up in a world where understanding technology wasn’t just a plus but a must. As he’s grown, I’ve taught him how to avoid viruses, which sites were well-known for phishing and drive-by malware, and how to keep his identity as safe as possible. He doesn’t sign up for anything without my permission.
Still, as a busy single mom, I can’t keep up with all the latest technology the way I used to. I am sure I’m missing something. It seems like every day a new social media platform pops up! Plus, Jake speaks a whole different language when he’s talking about his favorite games. I have questions, just like everyone else does.
BGCA Cyber Safe Ambassadors: Real Teens Giving Real Answers
When you have questions about keeping tweens and teens safe online, the best person to ask is another teen. Remember when we were younger and thought our parents totally didn’t understand us? That’s because no matter how cool we are (and let’s be honest, I’m pretty darn cool), there’s still a generation gap between us and our kids. Sure, we may keep a running dictionary of all the updated slang, but I doubt any of us actually know when to use the word “fleek.” I can’t even tell you what that means, except that I don’t like it because it sounds like a bodily function.
That right there is why I’m not qualified to answer questions about teenagers: I just don’t speak their language. BUT, the BGCA Cyber Safety Ambassadors are quite amazing. They’re teenagers, so they absolutely understand where our kids are coming from, yet they know how to talk to adults in a way we can understand. So you can ask them any question about cyber safety and they will give you a straight answer from a teen point of view on CyberSafeFutures.org. Plus, after you submit a question, you can enter for a chance to win an iPad mini!
I submitted a few questions of my own to the BGCA Cyber Safe Ambassadors. I asked questions like:
- My son spends a lot of time in gaming environments online. Do you have any tips that I can share with my son to help him learn to recognize possible predators, such as potential pedophiles pretending to be other children?
- Where can parents go to learn about the different types of “gamer” language that kids and teens use in gaming environments so we can better understand what they and their friends are talking about and recognize bullying language or other threats?
- My son wants to share gaming experiences on YouTube like other gamers he loves, where he does a voice over with the game playing on the screen. Is this safe? Should I take any precautions before letting him do it?
I’ll be keeping an eye on the BGCA’s Cyber Safe Site to see if my questions make it onto the site. Questions will be updated each week in June for Internet Safety Month. By getting answers to your questions and sharing it with other moms, we can all help keep our kids safer online!
Visit BGCA’s Cyber Safe Site and submit your own cyber safety questions now! Tell me if they answer your question so I can check it out!