How To Keep Kids Safe When Using Facebook Kids

Facebook now has an app for kids, so you don't have to spy on text messages.

Facebook Messenger For Kids just launched recently. If you’re like me, you’re worried about how to keep your child safe when they’re on social media. Do our kids really need to start using social media at age six? I’m not so sure. But I know that I’m going to make sure I know how to use Facebook Messenger For Kids safely because my kids might want to sign up for it. I plan on figuring out how to spy on text messages too, just in case. So here are a few ways that you can keep your child safe when they’re using this new app:

Chat With Parents Before You Add Them

In order to add another child to your child’s friends list, you need to friend one of their parents. Then, that parent adds your child to their child’s friend list, and vice versa.

In theory, this is great, because we should always know the parents of our kids’ friends. Well, it pays to chat with them before adding their child. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late and you have to spy on text messages to learn that they might be a bad influence.

I added the parent of one of my son’s friends, and I sent them a message saying hello. The message she sent showed me that I don’t really want my son to be friends with hers. Let’s just say the conversation gave me a little too much information about their private lives. I really don’t want my son to get in the habit of oversharing like that. That’s why it’s a really good idea to get to know the other parent a little more before adding their kid to your child’s friends list.

Check Your Child’s iPhone Or iPad Daily

The Facebook Messenger For Kids app doesn’t let parents spy on text messages to see what their children are typing. You can see everything they type or text through the app, but only if you have the actual device that the app is on. So, one option is to leave the app on your phone and let your child use it every so often. Then later, you can check their social media activity. Or you can make it a habit to check your child’s iPad or iPhone every day to see what they’re doing on Messenger For Kids.

Set Ground Rules

It's important that your child stays safe online.
Be sure to talk with your child about Internet safety.

Even though Facebook For Messenger is designed to be used by kids who are between 6 to 12 years old, you should still sit down with your child and create some ground rules for social media. Talk about what is appropriate to post and what isn’t. Make sure your child knows that even though they’re only talking to friends and family, they still shouldn’t post any personal information. Just because the data on the app is protected doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable. Facebook has been hacked before, so keep that in mind.

How To Handle It When Your Son Is A Bully

I had to face the fact that my son is a bully.

When I got a message on my phone at work to immediately call the principal of my oldest son’s school, I was worried. Did Wyatt get hurt? What was going on? I called back as soon as I could. Unfortunately, I was shocked to hear the principal tell me that after work, I had to attend a school meeting to address a bullying problem. Bullying? My son wasn’t getting bullied. He was fine. And there was no way my son is a bully.

I told the principal there must be a mistake, but he said that there wasn’t. My son wasn’t getting bullied – he was the bully. I almost dropped the phone in surprise. I agreed to be at the meeting and hung up. But the rest of the day, my mind was racing.

The Shocking Realization

How could my son be a bully? We raised him to have compassion and empathy. We raised him to be kind to others. How did this happen? And didn’t I see it? I really wanted to call my son and immediately demand some answers but I didn’t. I knew I had to talk to the principal first. Instead, I just texted my son and told him to meet me at the school’s cafeteria instead of waiting for me outside.

He knew he was in trouble when I told him we had to go talk to the principal. He got visibly more uncomfortable the closer we got to the school office. When we got there, another child and a parent were waiting. My son was squirming at this point.

My son was bullying another boy.
I couldn’t believe that my son had been bullying another child.

I was too embarrassed to meet the other parent’s eyes. How do you face someone when your son is a bully? I didn’t make eye contact because I didn’t know what else to do. When the principal was ready for us, we all went into a conference room.

The Proof

I asked the principal about what my son had done. He handed me stacks of papers – printouts of screen shots of threatening and offensive messages belittling, berating and humiliating the other boy. All of them were traced to his social media accounts and phone number. Dumbfounded and upset, I asked my son if he sent these messages and made these posts. At first, he tried to deny it. But when I pointed out that I knew they were his social media accounts because I set them up, he broke down and told the truth. He did it.

I was bitterly disappointed in my son. And horrified that he had done such terrible things. I promised the principal and the other parent that we’d take care of the situation. I apologized to the other parent and their boy. But I know an apology can’t make up for what that child had to go through.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I feel like a failure as a parent because my son is a bully. But my wife and I are committed to fixing this problem, instead of pretending it didn’t happen. If you find out that your child is a bully, the best thing you can do is acknowledge the problem and fix it. Don’t make excuses and don’t let your child off the hook. Fix the problem.

Your Teen Can Now Shop On Amazon

Amazon allows teens to now shop with parental controls.

While none of my kids are teenagers yet,  I’m always wondering how much independence I should give them when the time comes. Amazon just rolled out a new feature that eases some of my worries. It now allows teens to shop on Amazon with their own account, but with parental controls. I think this is amazing – teens will have the freedom to shop for what they need, and their parents can approve their purchases. Here are a few reasons why I love Amazon’s new feature.

Shopping Independently

Save on gas by letting your teen shop online instead.
Now, teens can go shopping without needing a ride to the mall.

Teens want nothing more than to be independent. Most of them are aware of the different types of parental controls out there and try to resist them. With Amazon’s new feature, teens can learn how to shop on their own. Because they’re probably used to shopping with their parents or friends, they now finally have the chance to do it independently. Teens also receive their own logins so they don’t have to use their parents’ accounts. This allows them to create wish lists, keep track of their orders, and receive personal recommendations.

Learning The Value Of A Dollar

Amazon is known for its competitive selection of products from thousands of categories, as well as their low prices. Shoppers can easily compare the features and prices of different products so they can snag the best deal. When teens are able to do this themselves, they start to learn the value of a dollar. What will get them the best bang for their buck? These smart shopping skills will stick with them for the rest of their lives. It’s also possible for parents to apply a spending limit to their teens’ accounts so they stick to a budget.

Monitoring Purchases

What’s remarkable about this feature is that teens have the independence they need, while parents can check their purchases before they’re processed. They no longer have to worry that their children are spending their money on something inappropriate or unnecessary. It only takes a few seconds to approve or deny an order, which is easy for busy parents. Plus, teens can even include notes with their orders to let their parents know what they’re for.

While some people out there might disagree with me, I personally think that Amazon’s doing a great thing here. Parents should take advantage of it and help their teens become more independent and financially responsible. What do you think? Send me a message and let me know!

How the New Apple Watch Makes Parenting Easier

Find out who's calling you on your Apple Watch with a people lookup.

While there are some dangers of modern technology, you simply need to learn how to use these devices properly. Most of us are familiar with tablets, computers, and smartphones, but there are other electronics that can help with parenting. Just the other day, Apple revealed several new products. The one that caught my interest was the Apple Watch Series 3. It now allows you to make phone calls right from the watch itself, without having your iPhone nearby. And if you’re not sure who’s calling you, you can always use do a people lookup. You just can’t underestimate the convenience of this handy device for parents.

Phone Calls from Anywhere

The Apple Watch can be used without your iPhone nearby.
You no longer have to worry about keeping your iPhone on you to make calls on your Apple Watch.

In the past, if you wanted to make a phone call from your Apple Watch, you needed to have your iPhone on you. With the series 3, though, you can make a call while your child is playing a game on your phone in another room. You also won’t have to worry about giving teachers, coaches, and babysitters a new phone number just for your Watch. It’ll use the same number that’s associated with your iPhone.

Less to Carry on You

When you’re getting your children to daycare or school, then rushing off to work, you don’t want to have to remember to bring your phone, too. Because it’s attached to your wrist, the Apple Watch is almost impossible to leave behind. It’s also much easier to access apps and texts from your wrist than digging your phone out of your pocket.

Monitor Your Fitness Levels

With the Series 3, the Apple Watch has several new fitness features. It now has a virtual coach, increase water resistance, and more. Because keeping up with your job, spouse, and children can be so exhausting, parents don’t always have time to exercise. However, the Apple Watch can keep track of how many steps you take a day and motivate you to push yourself even further.

Stay Connected

If you choose to purchase an Apple Watch for your child as well, they’ll experience all of these great features too. Plus, it’ll be easier to stay in touch with them. Kids might not hear their phone go off in their pocket or bag, but they’ll certainly notice that you’re calling when they have the Apple Watch. You can also go through their device later on and run a people lookup to make sure they’re not talking to strangers.

Safely Using Smartphones and Tablet Computers

Keep your phone's data safe with DDI Utilities.

These days everyone seems to have an iPhone, even children who might be a little too young. Tablets and smartphones are becoming some of the most-used devices, quickly replacing desktop computers and laptops. Maybe that’s due to the current obsession everyone has with touch screens. Or maybe it’s because these devices are more portable. Because they’re used so much on the go, it’s very important to keep your information backed up. An app like DDI Utilities can help you recover your contacts, pictures, and more if your phone breaks.

What many people aren’t aware of, is the potential dangers of using these devices, both for adults and children. People don’t seem to know – or don’t want to know – the ways that modern technology can harm them. If someone is wondering what they can do to keep their body and mind safe when using these new electronics, they have come to the right place.

Keep Good Posture

There are a lot of people who like to recline in a chair or lay back on the couch when they are using their electronic devices. One of the best things that they can do is learn to have good posture when they are working, or using their electronic devices. It’s hard for someone not to use their cell phone when it contains so much important data, but it can always be backed up with DDI Utilities. This way, you do not have to constantly make sure everything is up to date and saved.  This gives you more time to relax and enjoy time with your family.  I also promote getting up from your device and walking around; this is good both for your mind and your body.

Typing on Tablet Keyboards

Tablets need to be handled safely and carefully.
Tablets are very handy devices, but they should be used with care.

Lots of people think tablets are just as good as laptops when they have a keyboard. The keys on a tablet keyboard, however, are much thinner and don’t have as much give to them as regular keyboards do. That makes it easy to bang away at these keys, which don’t provide much of a cushion for one’s fingers. There have been a lot of reports of people who have begun to get pain in the joints, in their wrists, fingers, and thumbs, because they’ve been typing too aggressively.

Using Phones at Night

I used to be a big culprit of using my phone at night.  However, now I know, that using your phone at night has been found to give people problems. There have been a lot of people who have grown accustomed to staying on their phone into the wee hours of the night. Those of you who tend to do this should at least turn on the Night Mode of your phone, if it has one. If not, it’s better to stay off the phone at night, as the light from the phone tricks your brain into thinking that it’s not time to go to sleep.

iPhone 6 Plus, 7 Plus, and Other Big Smartphones

Another thing that consumers have reported problems with is using a new, bigger smartphone. Upgrading to a “Plus” model of the recent iPhone editions has caused some problems. Many people have issues transferring data from an old phone to the new phone. You don’t want to lose all of your data, but with the help of DDI Utilities, you don’t have to worry.

If you want to stay safe when using modern technology, follow these tips. I’d also love to discuss this topic with you if you have any questions contact me here.