Keeping your kids safe online

My husband and I grabbed the chance to attend the free Keep Your Kids Safe Online parenting seminar organized by Web Safety Philippines last August 14, 2010 at the Victory Center in Greenhills. Most people in our circle of friends think that I and my husband (who's in the IT industry, by the way) are already that tech-savvy considering what we do for a living. Nevertheless, we were surprised to learn that we still had much to do in terms of keeping our son safe in his online activities.

Remember when I posted about Well, that isn't the worst that our kids can encounter in the Internet. In the seminar, I was able to discover Jessica Slaughter and how cyber bullies tortured and changed her life. See the video below:

Three speakers shared their insights that day: Sonnie Santos, future Pastor and founder of Web Safety Philippines and Business Values 2.0; Carlo Ople,blogger, avid online gamer,and marketing consultant; and, Chay Mondejar-Saputil, founder and principal consultant of Chimes Consulting.

Photos courtesy of Business Values 2.0.

I learned a lot about techie internet security stuff but I won't elaborate it here because I know my boy reads my blog and I cannot let him discover the security filters and parental controls I made in his computer. Anyway, as shared by Sonnie, the acronym FEEDS aptly describes the entirety of the seminar.

Here are the things we need to do to protect our kids and secure their safety in the online world:

F - Filter

Here is where all the techie stuff that Chay shared to us comes in. As parents, we are responsible in keeping our computers updated with virus and malware protection. Use only genuine operating systems and softwares to benefit from the regular security updates that are being sent by its manufacturers.

E - Engage

Be involved in their online lives. Know their online friends and talk about their online activities without sounding snoopy. Make kids realize that relationships in the real world are more important than those in the virtual world. Carlo shared that he got addicted in online games when he was younger because he felt empty in his own home. According to his experience, kids get hooked inn online games to ESCAPE their problems and to SUBSTITUTE what they lack in the real world with what they find in the online world.

E - Educate

Teach your kids not only about internet safety but also proper internet etiquette. To teach internet etiquette, you must set the correct example. Did you see how Jessica Slaughter's dad react in the video? His violent threats only made the cyber bullying worse.

D - Discipline

Set clear rules and time limits. Rap is only allowed to use his computer on Saturdays. On school nights, he is only allowed to use it for research. My TV rule also applies which means no skipping meals, water breaks, baths, chores, and homework when he's using the computer. I should also be able to see what's he's doing so his door should be always open. Sometimes, I work in his room. Chay suggested that the computer should be in a public area in the home like the living room or the kitchen but I don't have the extra space.

S - Spiritual

Instill in your child a good relationship with Jesus (or your religion's god if you are not Christian). I personally believe in the power of prayer and that a prayerful parent will never go wrong. I feel blessed that our son is even more prayerful than we are and I know he has his values intact.

I highly recommend this seminar to parents and educators alike. Head on over to the Web Safety Phiilippines site to learn more about their upcoming seminars. You may also inquire about having the seminar conducted in your community or in your child's school.

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