Does Child Safety Differ in a Truck vs. SUV?

So, Which is it, a Truck or SUV?

As a conscientious and law-abiding parent, you’ll want to have your child in the right car seat when driving. But will your child’s safety be more at risk in a truck vs. SUV?

Child Safety Seats in all Cars and Trucks

First and foremost, the issue of child safety seats must be addressed. Having your youngsters in properly fitted and bolstered seats is the priority. Whether your children are in a truck, SUV, sedan, or minivan, they need to be in an apparatus that is befitting their size, age, and weight.
There are three types of seats specifically created for infancy through about age 13.

1. Rear-Facing Seat

Till two years old or manufacturer’s suggested weight and height.

2. Forward Facing seat

Harness straps and are safe for kids until they outgrow them or are allowed by your state law to move into a booster seat.

3. The third is a booster seat

Secures the child with the vehicle’s seat belts. All the above-mentioned seats need to be installed with LATCH or a locked seatbelt.

The Good Safety News For Trucks

If you do not have proper back seats, you may legally place a rear-facing car seat up front. HOWEVER, you must turn off the front passenger air bag.
If you have an extended cab, you are allowed to place a rear or forward facing car seat or booster IF OVER 80% of the chair fits on your truck’s existing seat.

What an SUV Has That a Truck May Not

Side airbags often come standard in newer SUV models. Head protection side airbags have proven to reduce the risk of death in SUV drivers by 52%. Side airbags in the back have shown to protect children in car seats. Always check with the car seat manufacturer’s manual for proper installation.
Another feature that pickup trucks do not always have is electronic stability control. Without ESC, losing control from skidding and weather conditions are more likely. Stability control comes standard in all SUVs.
Other Truck Pitfalls
Since it looks like the odds are stacking up on the side of the SUV, we might as well list some other safety shortcomings driving our kids in pickups and other types of trucks.

Riding in the Back?

1) Riding in the back seat is twice as safe as riding in the front seat. Many trucks don’t have a proper backseat.

Truck Cargo, way worse than you think …

2) The risk of death of those driving in truck cargo space was eight times higher than those riding, restrained, in the cab. The cargo area is not meant for passengers. Children’s safety seats do not fit or belong there.

No Latch?

3) Many trucks do not have LATCH, which is an attachment system for car seats. The seat has lower anchors along with a top tether for extra safety. Without LATCH, you must use the vehicle seatbelt, which may not provide optimum seat restraint.

Lap and Shoulder belts? Really?

4) Lap and shoulder belts -may not be available in pickup rear seats. This makes it unsafe for older children in booster seats that require those apparatus.

Should There Be a Truck Stop?

When exploring truck vs. SUV child passenger safety, at least in this blog, it seems an SUV would be a safer choice. Does this mean that all trucks are unsafe for children and their seats? Absolutely not. Sometimes we just need to work with what he have and make it the best for ourselves and our kids.

May you and your little ones have safe, memorable, and happy travels in both a truck or SUV just be safe.

 

It Takes a Village and It’s Not Just a Cliché

Raising a child is a monumental task for any parent—whether it’s the year 1, the 1400’s, or 2018. That’s why the concept of “the village” has remained so crucial to child rearing.

The Perks and the Pitfalls

There’s no specific definition of the people in “the village” other than they generally include family, friends, and neighbors, give or take a few. Even before you have children—when you’re pregnant—your people are there to help, give advice, and also, annoy you.

But that’s the beauty of a community-based support system. Everyone needs a hand now and then. And, we also grow and feel a sense of fulfillment when we’re the helper. It’s a give-and-take, information-sharing, and learning/teaching system; Cultivating that philosophy can help you, your children, and your family feel secure—especially in times of parenting dire straits.

How to Build Your Own Village

You may really like your existing biological or married-into family. And they may live nearby. And they may be willing to lend some advice, a hand, some babysitting, and some money. But that’s a lot of some “maybes.”

Most Americans aren’t fortunate enough to check “yes” to all (or even one) of the boxes above. We’re a transient society for the most part, and, face it, family as it was celebrated in the old country, just doesn’t exist here anymore that often. That’s why it’s necessary for young parents to cultivate their own village within their large circle of circumstance.

When They’re Babies…

If mom or dad is fortunate enough not to have to go into the office when a baby is young, it’s an ideal time to make new tribal friends. “Mommy and Me”–type classes are a great way to meet new parents like yourselves. Local parks, zoos, and shopping centers are always full with parents looking for ways to occupy their little ones outside the home. These are ideal environments to meet like-minded peers.

If you’re going to work, many coworkers will share the experience of having their children in daycare, too. It’s a great starting-off conversation point.

Don’t be afraid to chat about your lack of: sleep, healthy meals, sex, or even an adult conversation. Everyone with an infant or toddler is in the same playpen.

When They’re in Primary School…

Volunteering is an awesome way to meet other parents and your kids’ peers. Go to all the meetings, presentations, and shows, if your schedule allows. You’ll find you run into the same adults over and over. Some you will feel an affinity with—others you wished you never met. Either way, they’re part of your extraneous village, and you need to be respectful and grateful to have them aboard.

After-school activities are also another way to collect more members into your kinship. Someone’s always got to divvy up snack-duty, cleanup, or keep score.

By Middle School…

If you haven’t moved locations too often when the kids were really young, by middle school, you should have at least a foot (if not a strong standing) within a workable, helpful village.

By this point, you can trust other parents to drive your kid home from school or a birthday party. You, too, can be expected help other families when their kids need rides or food, or a place to stay until another working parent finally gets home after dark.

By High School…

At this point, it becomes a lot more serious. Sex, alcohol, drugs, impulsivity and other teenage perilous behaviors come into play during this stage of parenting. This is where your village needs to be fortuitous and candid.

If anyone in your village thinks their kid isn’t partaking in (or at least witness to) any of the above, it may be time to offer them a neighborly wake-up call.

No one likes snoops or snitches. But when it comes to your child’s welfare, maybe that’s what a villager’s job is when your kid is a teen. Letting another parent gently know that their child was seen doing  (fill in the blank), can cause embarrassment and defensiveness. But if the information ultimately helps the child, the parent, or the family overall, perhaps your village duty has been accomplished admirably.

Village, People!

However you decide to parent and whatever obstacles have led to hardships in your parenting arena, know that out there, somewhere, there is a village ready to embrace you and yours.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

What’s Up with Back to School Shots?

Staying up to date with vaccines is either mandatory or strongly suggested for school-aged kids. It can give you peace of mind to learn about each vaccine—and how to spare your child from “shot” trauma.

Shots in the Light

Being in the dark about required vaccines may catch you and your child off-guard. A simple visit to the pediatrician may all of a sudden turn into an anxiety-ridden, horror-fest. For starters, you can check with your kid’s childcare facility or school for particular immunization requirements.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not set immunization standards for your school. Your particular state decides which vaccines your child will need to attend the local school. To access more information about your state’s guidelines, click here. It’s suggested that you check back often, as recommendations can change at any given time.

Doctor, Doctor…

Besides the immunization requirements set by your state and school, your pediatrician may have additional suggestions. In fact, he or she may have incredibly strong suggestions for supplementary shots. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) has a list of schedules for routine vaccinations. Click here to check it out.

The Influenza vaccine is not required by schools, but most doctors strongly urge you and your child get one. They are typically administered in the late fall, but getting a shot in early winter may still help you both avoid contracting the virus.

The Rotavirus is another vaccine that helps prevent an illness that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. It, too, is not school required, but pediatricians recommend it.

A more recent immunization is the Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4.) This vaccine protects against a bacteria that infects membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Kids going off to college are urged to consider getting this vaccine.

You and Your Child

As adults, we need to try and remember to get “boosters.” For example, we need to make sure we’re up-to-date on our tetanus shots. We can also benefit by getting a tuberculosis (TB) test every few years. One vaccine, however, that you may not want to neglect is for chickenpox.

If you’ve had chickenpox in the past, you’ll be well-enough immune. If, however, you’ve never had the illness or the vaccine, if you contract the virus, it can be very dangerous. This may also lead to an increased risk of getting shingles, which is excruciatingly painful.

Also painful is experiencing your child’s scream from getting a shot. In reality, shots don’t ‘hurt’ that much,” says Herschel Lessin, MD, a pediatrician at the Children’s Medical Group in Poughkeepsie, NY. “It’s the suffering brought on by the phobia of needles that bring on the pain.”

Make it All Better

Before your kid even gets to the point of hysteria, distract him. For the very young set, you can sing happy songs or blow bubbles. For those over three years, you can give them your Smartphone or tablet and let them watch their favorite cartoon or show.

Don’t make a big deal about getting a shot. You and the doctor/nurse take control and make it as nonchalant and seamless for your child. Get the job done as painlessly as possible and then go out for some ice cream. Staying healthy can have a delicious association.

How To Have A Positive Parent-Child Relationship (Even When You Feel It’s the Biggest Challenge)

Parenting. Is there a right or wrong way to do it?  Billions throughout the world are parents. Regardless,  all parents have different mindsets on how to do their job. The parent-child relationship is a delicate, yet powerfully significant entity in life.

Clearly, making it a positive force is a challenge. Nonetheless, it’s something that is definitely attainable.

Notably, there are many social and psychological reports. They include explaining the impact of family demographics. Next, these include cultural and economic influences.  Additionally, there are plenty of written guidelines, all which aim to help to produce the “model child.”

Get Your Parent-Child Relationship Philosophy Straight

Realistically, there will be dramas.  And yes, children will answer back. Kids will also be non-compliant. So, how do parents stay grounded and consistent when faced with tough challenges? 

Ask yourself this question:  What makes the closest to an ideal parent?

All the while, parenting is accomplished in many different ways, yet, the answers are roughly the same:

  • Unconditional love
  • A positive role model
  • Advisor
  • Teaching children to be independent

Where Things Can Go Awry

In today’s society, a majority of parents forget the foundations. Ironically, many adults veer off this well-laid path by complicating the way they parent. Unfortunately, things like this may happen:

  • Reduced supervision in the home environment
  • Helicopter parents who hover over the child and rescue them from negative situations
  • Drill sergeant parents who shout instructions and control

Even With the Best Intentions…

Most parents come from the good place of love. Oftentimes, however, their personal traits and insecurities dictate how these influence their child’s behavior.  So then, how does one ensure a positive parent-child relationship while not letting personal issues affect on the optimism of the relationship?

Here are a couple of suggestions to boost the parent-child relationship:

  • Let the child fail. As frightening as this statement sounds, through failure, the child will learn. For example, guide and advise, but do not control.  Sometimes, children need to be able to make their own decisions. This is a skill imperative to their future.  In addition, this will help your relationship and fortify independence.

  • An example of this is homework. Helping (or doing)  the questions, or constantly reminding them to complete the task, may not be helpful. Finally, it may result in them not suffering a natural consequence. Overall, nothing here will be learned by the child. Not academics. Not consequences.

 

  • Quality time. Switch off the phones, TV, computers, and sit down to talk.  Dinner time is perfect. Obviously it’s not always possible because of activities and jobs.  Most importantly, then, carve out at least 15 minutes a day to have worthy conversation.  It doesn’t have to be about the meaning of life.  But, it could be as simple as asking how the day went. Or, it could even be sharing a joke.  All of these conversations open up lines of communication.  Children need reassurance that parents are always there to talk to. No matter how hectic life can get.

Have Rules and Set Boundaries

Starting from infancy, the parents set the rules. “Don’t touch that, it’s too hot.” “Don’t hit your brother!” “Don’t draw on the walls,” etc.  The list is endless. However, actions following broken rules have a huge validity on the parent-child relationship.

What set of consequences are in place? And, are they adhered to?  If there is threat of action due to a broken rule, correction must follow.  If not, children feel they can break rules again. Unfortunately, this can also lead to insecurities due to lack of boundaries.

Structure as a Necessity

Noteworthy, humans need structure and rules to flourish and feel secure. Numerous studies have shown this to be true. Structure can make interactions with children concrete.  Success in rule-making for the parent-child relationship follows these simple steps:

  • Set simple rules everyone understands.
  • Be consistent and don’t back down.
  • Don’t feel guilty. Most importantly, these rules are in place to ensure children’s safety.
  • Teach respect, and in turn, empathy.

Society as a Factor

Modern day society can be considered complex. For one, it may have us clambering to the top of a competitive pile. Also, it can be considered egocentric. “Shoot your neighbor, get out of my way, I’m first.”

In order to raise children as non-narcissistic little monsters, efforts may be better focused on education and character.

A Harvard study of 10,000 middle- and high-school students found that four out-of-five kids perceived that their parents valued achievement more than caring for others. That’s pretty sad.

Whether the students’ perception were accurate or not, the information is devastating. In the best of all worlds, parents should lead by example. We need to show compassion for others through our words and actions.

With communication, empathy, logic, rules and consistency, parents have the tools to raise their kids.  The child-rearing road may be full of potholes.  But, with a strong foundation, a good relationship will form and hopefully have longevity.  To read more about parent/child relationships, please check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Sources:

https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/parenting-resources-raising-caring-ethical-children/cultivating-empathy

http://iahip.org/inside-out/issue-24-spring-1996/winnicott-and-parentinghttps://www.loveandlogic.com/about/bios/foster-cline

 

Understanding the Teenage Years

No parent is ever absolutely ready for the changes and challenges they have to encounter and experience when it comes to a teenager. Even though there have been numerous studies trying to explain the reason behind the unpredictable nature of their behavior, there are still some surprising moments faced by every parent during this time. However, understanding why the behavior is such can help you, as a parent; feel more supportive towards them during this phase.

It Ain’t Done Yet

According to neuroscientist Frances Jensen, the teenage brain is still undergoing change and is getting developed which is why their actions do not always seem rational to adults. In this article, we will share some of the realities associated with the teenage years in the hope to educate parents.

The frontal lobes of our brains are considered to be responsible for the decisions that we make and the reactions that we have to things around us. During teenage years, this part of the brain is still in the process of getting re-wired, which is why you should expect yourself to witness a lot of unpredictable responses and bad judgment calls.

Keep It Up

However, this does not mean that you give up on your child; rather it is essential that you play your part as a parent since the habits developed during this time might stay for a long time. Teenagers that develop bad habits such as smoking, drug use and alcohol addiction will face more problems as adults when they try to quit. Thus, it is extremely important that as a parent, you keep doing the best you can to improve your teen’s habits.

Let’s Get Physical

Apart from the biological changes, there are also many physical changes that are taking place during this time of life. Hormonal changes leading to puberty can also be held responsible for the erratic feelings that your adolescent shows – for example, a change in voice, in demeanor, acne, etc. are all changes that make adolescents more vulnerable to having problems related to self-confidence and self-esteem. Your child is at a stage where they are trying to discover and understand their inner-self and at the same time is learning to accept the physical changes that have taken place. It almost feels like they are in someone else’s body. Knowing this, parents are more likely to give the teenage children some benefit of the doubt.

Sleep It Off

Also, the circadian rhythm of the teenager is subject to change as well. Teens, because of this change, feel more alert during the night and need 3-4 more hours of sleep in the morning as compared to adults. Unfortunately, academic needs do not allow them to get the proper sleep, which is what they need during this stage for to be calm and relaxed.

Bottom Line

Even though this time of your child’s life is going to be challenging for both of you, it is recommended that you still play your role to avoid any damaging lifelong effects. As a parent, you need to make sure that you stay connected to your child by being a constant source of support in their life.

To read more about family dynamics, kids, teenagers and parenting, check out GetThrive.com

 

3 Key Exercises to Soothe Your Sore Back

An aching back is zero fun—Here are three exercises to soothe, strengthen, and rejuvenate.

The Core Problem

Many times the origin of back pain comes from a weak core. Strengthening back and core muscles can help you avoid soreness and injury in the future. In the meanwhile, our objective is to get rid of pain. Certain yoga moves can be essential to recreating a healthy spine.

Some of the most common complaints are soreness, stiffness, and aches in the back, neck, and shoulders. Common causes of these complaints are from stress. (Breathing deeply during the exercises will help release tension, too.)

Other reasons for back annoyances are from: sitting improperly in your chair, poor posture, carrying a heavy purse on the same arm, bad mattress and/or pillows, and lousy footwear. This includes flip-flops as well as stiletto heels. Keep these in mind so that when you fix your back, you don’t mess it up again.

The Moves

Our vertebral column is categorized into three sections. The lowest portion is called the Lumbar. The middle is the Thoracic, and the upper section is the Cervical. Certain yoga poses focus on specific sections of the spine. Choose the ones that focus on your area of discomfort. Grab a mat, towel, or place yourself on carpeting or a soft wood floor. Let’s begin…

1) The Cobra

Lie flat on your belly, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Keep your thighs pressed into the floor as well. Spread your hands down on the mat under your shoulders. Keep your elbows pressed into your body.

Take a deep breath in, and lift your head and chest off the ground by straightening your arms. Bring your chin and your glance upwards. Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Exhale while bending at the elbows and releasing you chest and head back to the mat.

2) The Cat

Get on your hands and knees, keeping your back as flat and even as possible. Keep your head neutral and your eyes looking down at your mat. Take a deep breath in and hold it for five seconds.

As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, like a scaredy cat. Relax your neck and let your head hang down comfortably. Inhale and return to your tabletop position, bringing your head back to a neutral placement.

3) The Child

Kneel, tops of feet pressed to the floor, now press your butt down. Reach forward with your chest and arms. Reach your fingertips way out in front of you onto the floor. Your head should be down and your neck relaxed.

Hold this pose for as long as you like. Breathe slowly and deeply and relish this lower-back stretch.

Repeat each move several times or mix and match. There are virtually hundreds of poses that are gentle and promote both healing and health maintenance. Adding yoga positions and stretching to your regular workout regimen can help keep you less sore and more injury free.

Check out www.GetThrive.com for more tips on taking care of your human temple.

How​ ​to​ ​Rock​ ​as​ ​a​ ​New​ ​Parent

Anyone who is about to have his/her first child must admit to being excited and/or nervous. There is so much unknown territory and we want to make it good and right—for our baby and ourselves! Hang in there because here are several tips that can help you rock as a new parent.

 

Welcome to Parenthood!

As a new parent, your brain can swell with so many thoughts and worries. Try to put aside thoughts of the future (like when your child will graduate or get married), or even thoughts of the near future (like how the laundry and dishes will get done.) Your priority needs to be the physical, emotional, and mental health of both you and baby. Here are the most important things:

– Eating

– Sleeping

 

Food For Thought

You can rock this new gig, especially during the first month, by focusing on nutrition for you and your infant. If you are able and willing to breastfeed, that’s great. If you’re having difficulty, consult your pediatrician or a lactation consultant. If you choose to bottle feed instead, that’s OK, too. Making sure baby gets enough to eat will help him/her to thrive.

Parents need to keep an eye on eating properly as well. Try and avoid fast food or junk to fill a cranky tummy. If you can snack on veggies and fruit, that’s a great habit to get into—especially because you are role-modeling for your child’s future eating habits. For meals, think about soups, defrosting pre-cooked meals, or making shakes with protein powder and healthy produce. (And, always accept friends’ and family’s offers to cook for you.)

 

How to Get Some Sleep

Your newborn baby will sleep, perhaps not when you want him too, but he will. And even when you think you’ve got your baby’s sleeping pattern down, it is sure to change. Touch is the most developed sense when a baby is born, so cuddling with your sweetie will be the most likely comfort for him to fall asleep.

Babies sleep, on the average 16 hours a day. Of course, that’s not in a row, and maybe not even more than three hours at a time. They wake to eat and often they wake when their diaper is wet or soiled. So, the first things to check for are hunger and physical discomfort. Once you’ve dealt with those issues, your baby may stay awake for a bit and then fall asleep again or need a little assistance helping her to back to sleep.

Make sure your infant is 100% safe when you lay her down to sleep. She should be on her back, with no pillow, toys, stuffed animals, or anything that could risk suffocation—that includes you. Now it’s time for you to sleep! That’s right, even if it’s for an hour. Take advantage of the quiet time to get yourself some rest. In order to rock as new parent, you can’t be completely frazzled and sleep deprived.

When your child awakes, so will you. And hopefully, you will both feel a bit more refreshed and ready to meet and greet the world together. (The world in this case may mean your living room couch, a blanket on the floor, or a car seat.)

 

Rockin’ the Awake Time

Now that you’re both ideally well fed and rested (OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration), nonetheless, it’s time for the fun to begin!

 

  • Eye contact. Making eye contact with your baby can get his attention. This simple form of visual contact can stimulate his senses. He will learn that this means “playtime”!

 

  • Toys for visuals. High-contrast colors are great to help develop sight and patterns. If it’s an automatic toy or one you’re holding, move it slowly. Colorful soft (material) books are wonderful for engagement visually and aurally (when you’re reading aloud.)

 

  • Music and sound. Toys that squeak or rattle are stimulating (as long as they are not frightening.) All types of music (played quietly or moderately loud) are beneficial to your baby’s development. Music has shown to decrease anxiety and help build neurological links to learning language and mathematics.

 

  • Talking and Singing. Engage your baby with real words. Sounds are wonderful for development, but speaking in full sentences gives the brain an understanding of linking sounds and words. Singing can be soothing but also introduces your baby to vocabulary using an association with rhythm, melody, and tone.

 

Hopefully these tips can help you worry less and enjoy more. One of the finest elements of how to rock as a parent is feeling the joy. If you and baby are eating, sleeping, and playing (also learning), it seems like a recipe for happy days in early parenting. Best of health to you and yours!

 

Sources:

http://www.mom365.com/baby/moms-health/12-great-newborn-mom-tips

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/14/talking-to-babies-brain-power-language

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/120223/the_surprising_benefit_to_singing

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/month-1

https://www.babycenter.com/0_expert-sleep-strategies-for-babies_1445907.bc

https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/child-rearing-and-development/bright-starts-babysdevelopment-through-interactive-play/playtime-articles/visual-stimulation-newborns

 

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Kids Internet Safe Online and Off

The Internet, at times, can be an unbelievably, mind-blowing, helpful resource. On other occasions, it can be a potential danger to our children’s welfare. As parents, a new responsibility that has been added to our list of jobs is teaching and monitoring Internet safety. Here are some tips to help keep our kids safe online and off.

Internet Wonderland

Most of us reading this article did not have Internet when we were growing up. For those of you who did, it may be doubtful that your parents knew enough at the time to advise you on its possible dangers. The time has come, however, where awareness and guidance is necessary to keep youngsters safe while still allowing them the great experiences that the Internet can provide.

The Perils of the Process

Some news material can be alarming and create more fear for parents than necessary. With that said, however, there are extremely unfortunate incidences that that can result from a youngster being online, and parents should take this topic seriously. Here are some grave concerns:

  • Approximately 90% of children under the age of 17 have seen online pornography. Many times the viewing has been unintentional. Sexual content is pervasive on the Internet, not just on porn sites, but regularly on random YouTube videos and online games.
  • One in five teenagers in America who are regularly online report that they have received an inappropriate, unwanted, sexual solicitation. This would include a request for photos, to look at photos, share in sexual talk, or a request for a sexual encounter.
  • Online predators can befriend your child and then exploit them emotionally and/or physically.
  • Online predators can gain information from your child and use it to commit identity fraud or steal from you, the adult.
  • Everything your child posts on the Internet can be seen or sent to anyone, anywhere. The material and/or photos never disappear. This is called a digital footprint.
  • Cyberbullying is pervasive and can lead to extreme emotional disturbance or, at worst, suicidal thoughts and/or actions.

Tips for Keeping Kids Safer

The more information we are armed with, the better we can approach this modern phenomenon known as Internet safety practice. First of all, without frightening your children, explain to them that bad things can happen if they don’t take precautions. Remind them that you are trying to keep them safe. Here are some tips you may want to utilize:

1) Set up filters and blockers on your children’s devices (phone, tablets, computers). It’s helpful to know what programs they are using and what they are downloading. There are also apps that will allow you disable their devices at a preset time.

2) Remove electronic media from your child’s bedroom when it’s time for bed.

3) Monitor your children’s texts every so often. Let your kids know you trust them, but also let them know that you reserve the right to check their media to keep them safe (and especially if you suspect secret activity.)

4) Remind your children to never give personal information. Do not share last names, addresses, phone numbers, and mother’s maiden name. (Online predators will often use social networks and chat rooms to uncover personal information.)

5) Talk to your youngsters about their digital footprint. Remind them that any action they take on the Internet can affect them later when it comes to getting into college or getting a job.

6) Learn who your child’s friends are online and off. Remind your kids that someone they’ve only met online may seem like a friend, but in reality, he/she is a stranger.

7) Be mindful of your children’s emotional life. Let them know they can come to you if they need help. Listen to them (without judgment) and allow them to feel safe sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. (Online predators often act as a “good friend,” listening to kids’ problems, consoling them, and taking their side. Most teens consort with a predator willingly.)

8) Be mindful if your child is acting secretive. Rather than being accusatory, ask your child if there’s something he/she is keeping from you. Remind him/her that it’s OK for them to share with you (or another trustworthy adult like a grandparent, teacher, etc.)

9 )Be mindful if your child seems more withdrawn or depressed. He/she may have been cyberbullied. It’s OK to ask. It’s also OK to check texts and social media.

It is unrealistic to think that you can keep your kids away from electronic devices. It is part of our culture and world, and it is most likely here to stay. How your children use social media will depend on how you explain its perks and pitfalls and how you set up rules. And as any realistic parent knows, our kids will sometimes do what they want to do, regardless of what we have asked. The best we can do is to provide information, safety, guidance, and lots of love—and hope they make good choices.

For other material related to parenting and family health, check out www.GetThrive.com

Sources:

http://www.kidslivesafe.com/child-safety/online-predators-and-cyberbullying-statistics

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/health/online-predators-parents-partner/index.html

https://familyshare.com/22915/WebSafety-5-sneaky-tricks-online-predators-use-to-lure-your-children-from-safety

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35730298