We bought our eldest daughter an iPod Touch for her last birthday. Honestly, we really thought she would just text, check her email, play game apps and take pictures. Our girls have never been gamers, in spite of the fact that we have a Wii. They would just rather dance, and build forts, and have fashion shows and… OK, and watch Disney channel.
As soon as she went back to school and told her friends about the iPod, she came to me asking if she could sign up for Instagram. Now, I am on Instagram and I love it, but thinking about my daughter being on Instagram… I’m not so sure. Apparently, everyone else has an Instagram account. I immediately said no, because I honestly hadn’t thought about it before.
What will you do when your child asks you if they can have Instagram, email, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat? “What is Snapchat?” you say. Oh boy, you need to know about Snapchat before your child gets a smart phone. I ended up letting my daughter sign up for Instagram and talked with her about the issues involved, including turning off the “Photo Map” and making her profile private.
The thing is, there are so many things to think about when kids are online. By the time I finish writing this review, another app or network will be created with the goal of getting kids’ and teens’ attention.
Raising Digital Families For Dummies, by Amy Lupold Bair
I didn’t think I was a dummy. But this book is such a valuable resource and brings up so many items to consider, that I now realize I WAS a dummy before reading it. This book will serve as a reference book that you can go back to when your children reach each milestone in their digital lives.
But, won’t this book be obsolete as social networks change?
The genius of Amy’s approach is that she addresses overarching themes as well as specifics. The most valuable chapter for me right now is Chapter 2: Creating a Digital Family Policy. I am just on the cusp of having fully digital teens, and I don’t want to be caught off guard again when my kids come to me. Some of the topics that apply regardless of platform are:
- Your Digital family policy
- Safety tools for kids and parents
- Online, email and phone etiquette
- Search engine safety
- And more!
Do you know how to check where your child has been online? Is your child making in-app purchases? Are there geo-tags on her photos without her knowledge? If so, a predator can figure out her routines quite easily just by looking at the photos’ metadata.
As parents, we all want to protect our kids. With Raising Digital Families for Dummies, Amy Lupold Bair helps bring our kids into the discussion. Instead of feeling trapped and controlled, your kids will feel like a part of the process of insuring they are good digital citizens. If you and your kids understand the pitfalls, there is less of a chance you’ll fall into them.
I must disclose that Amy is a friend of mine, and one that I would trust with my life… and even my children’s lives. You won’t regret making this book a part of your home library. And while you’re at it, get one for your school library, PTO, or community library. It benefits your own child if everyone else’s children behave well online, right?