The internet and access to online entertainment have become very prevalent in day to day life, especially for children. Children can often spend more time online interacting with friends than they do in real life. This can be a blessing and a curse to parents trying to create a balance between letting there kids be kids and keeping them safe. Here are 5 things parents can do to keep their kids safe online.
It’s that time of year when some families take a break from the everyday by traveling somewhere warm for a week of family down time and fun. For other families, spring break may mean mom and dad work while the kids stay home. Regardless of whether you’re hitting the beach or sitting behind your desk, spring break is a departure from the regular schedule, creating a need to stay connected.
We’ve compiled a few safety tips that will help put parents’ minds at ease when their children are exploring new places on a family vacation or just have some extra downtime on their hands when they’re out of school for spring break.
Spring Break Family Safety Tips
- Use Location Technology. Knowing where your children are using mobile location technology like MamaBear can allow you to loosen the boundaries when in new places, giving your kids an exciting sense of independence as they explore. Whether you’re at an amusement park, a beach resort or on a mountain, MamaBear can help you keep tabs on the family’s location. If you are at work and your kids are home alone, you can put your mind at ease knowing that if your kids roam the neighborhood with friends you can track their locations while at work.
- Practice Social Media Safety. Discuss as a family the potential risk involved when revealing too much about where you are vacationing and how long you’ll be gone. Oversharing on social media can leave your home vulnerable. No pictures of hotel room numbers, or other specific location indicators either. If your kids are home alone, they should not share this information either, as it makes them vulnerable to any predators who might be watching. Monitor what the family’s posting to ensure safety.
- Talk About Stranger Danger. We often feel comfortable in our day-to-day trusted community and social setting. As we step out of our comfort zone when on vacation, it is important to create a greater sense of awareness for who’s around and caution the children with limits of conversation with others physically and virtually.
- Drive and Ride with Caution. If the kids are driving or riding with others during spring break, it’s helpful to use a family safety app like MamaBear to be aware of how fast they’re going. Talk about the consequences associated with speeding and remind them of the importance of wearing seat belts and not drinking and driving or texting and driving.
- Have an Emergency Plan. Where will be the family’s meeting spot if connection is lost? Who are safe people to approach to ask for help? Quiz the family on the name and address of the hotel. Carry identification and health insurance information in case of injury.
You Might Also Like: Teenage Safety Tips on their First Independent Vacation
We hope you have an opportunity to use this great time of year with a break from school to connect with your family and create lifelong memories. Stay safe out there.
Choosing the right family safety app isn’t easy. We’d like to help you by comparing the features of the MamaBear app with a few other apps out there for Android and iPhone.
In our last comparison, we looked at Life 360. Now let’s check out the similarities and differences of MamaBear to Apple’s iPhone app Find My Friends.
Find My Friends is primarily a tracking app. With Find My Friends, users request connection to people they want to view location. Once a friend accepts the request and installs the app, a user can see their friend’s location and vice versa with the option to turn off location sharing.
MamaBear and Find My Friends share a few similarities.
- View current location of people
- Proactively send location. Find My Friends calls it “Notify Friend” and MamaBear calls it “check in.”
- Set arrival/departure alerts
There are also a few key differences.
Here’s a the breakdown:
- Who it’s targeting. MamaBear’s emphasis is on family safety, whereas Find My Friends is marketed in part as a social app for use by adults and their friends and companions.
- Location history. MamaBear offers a view of historical location points up to 7 days.
- Message feed. MamaBear presents all alerts and messages received for up to 7 days.
- Social media monitoring. MamaBear notifies parents when their child makes a new friend on Facebook, follows someone new on Instagram or uploads a photo, gets tagged or @mentioned, receives a message that includes inappropriate words, bullying language or any other restricted words the parent sets.
- Driving speed monitoring. MamaBear offers alerts when kids drive or ride over a preset speed limit including how fast and where.
- Optional location sharing. Find My Friends allows all user to turn off location sharing. Families using MamaBear can’t turn of child logged in location sharing from the app, though the parent’s location sharing is optional.
- Temporary sharing. Find my friends offers a group of invited friends to share location for a pre-set timeframe.
There are many great apps that offer a variety of fun and useful features! MamaBear strives to offer parents concerned about their children’s safety peace of mind and comfort.
Sleepover parties generate lasting memories for our kids and lasting bonds with their peers. Some of my greatest childhood memories were while staying at a friend’s house and now my two boys beg to sleepover with a friend or have a friend stay the night just about every weekend. Today, digital media and screen time have turned sleepovers into a new environment and have become part of the parental discussion before sleepovers – should my kid bring their device, will you monitor their use, what time will you take their devices away for night, will they be behind closed doors with their devices?
Video rentals and late night board games have given way to streaming movies, social media and internet connect game consoles. Connectivity to even more people outside of the sleepover is now an option. The peer pressure and potentially skewed judgment of fun with friends mixed with available connectivity can lead to some embarrassing or reputation damaging consequences.
Adult content, chat rooms, webcam chat rooms, desired attention and bullying on the web and on social media are all very real threats that kids could face during the well intended sleepover. And then of course, there’s always the discussion of sneaking out to prank another friend or get into other mischief. Did you ever sneak out at a sleepover? Do you worry your kids will?
The MamaBear app can help minimize anxiety when you let your children stay the night out. Our location and social media monitoring can put your mind at ease and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous situations for our kids.
Give your children freedom to create some of the best memories of their lives when they aren’t with you. They can learn powerful lessons in independence, responsibility and accountability. But, you don’t have to suffer with worry and anxiety or text them every 5 minutes to check on them. Let the powerful suite of tools MamaBear app offers alert you to only the information needed to protect your kids. Parents can receive alerts if the child leaves the house or moves at preset driving speed. Social media alerts give parents an early warning about compromising photos, posts and inappropriate contacts and followers on Facebook and Instagram. The MamaBear child monitoring app gives parents the tools they need to sleep easy while the kids spend all night doing what they do best, being kids.