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Now, more than ever, what your kids are doing online can affect their entire life.
Let me help you find out what information your kids are sharing, with whom they’re sharing it, and help them understand the do’s and don’ts of internet safety.
The 14-year-old suspect accused of stabbing nine people at a high school in Pickering kept a blog that tracks a disturbing pattern. “I want to die. My existence as a whole is meaningless and I feel nothing but pain and sorrow with every waking moment,” one post from November says. In a December post she mentioned trying to kill herself by “overdosing on medical drug.” She posted several times about being bullied because she identifies as gender-fluid. Then, last month, perhaps the most disturbing post: “I’m kinda shaking and freaking out right now because I really want to go to school tomorrow with knives and just hurt and kill as many people as I can.” The Globe’s Dave McGinn spoke to Debra Pepler, a professor of psychology at York University and scientific co-director at PREVNet, a network of researchers and organizations dedicated to stopping bullying in Canada about the importance of keeping track of your kids online and how to help them deal with bullying or other issues… Read the rest here.
As a mid-20-something year-old, I grew up alongside the internet. I started out with the communal computer in my living room to teach myself how the internet worked under parental supervision, but at the age of 13, I was given my own computer and left to my own devices.
I found myself in the depths of the internet chatting with friends but also with strangers on ICQ, MSN, AOL (the original Facebook messenger) and online forums. I was left to navigate the interactions I had with these people whom I’d never met, never seen, and could never identify as being who they said they were without any guide.
As a young kid on the internet, I found myself in situations that I should have not been in. Once, my email account got hacked because I gave away too much information to a guy who was angry that I wouldn’t send him nude pictures, per his request, and used that information to get into my account. Boy, did I learn my lesson when he sent out an email to my entire contact list that I was failing a class – I was lucky that was all he did.
I am now an adult who has learned a significant amount about how to act online, and, with a large online following, I have learned even more about what it means to be safe online. I run an online, worldwide, charitable awareness campaign called Uncover Ostomy, that has brought along a lot of online attention from men whom I’ve never met and everything that comes with that: unwanted messages, requests to meet up, marriage proposals, and threats.
I am also a digital marketing professional with a Master’s Degree from New York University and I currently run my own freelance digital marketing company called In Social. Not only have I grown up with the internet, but I now live and breathe it. The internet is where I find entertainment, where I do my not-for-profit work, and where I make my living.
But why me? Why am I the one you should trust to keep an eye on your kids and teach them right from wrong? It’s not only because I’ve been there, because I’ve experienced it, and because I live on the internet. It’s because I get it.
It’s a known fact that kids don’t like to listen to their parents, right? But there’s a good chance they’ll listen to someone like me.
Let’s work together to keep them safe – what have you got to lose?