MamaBear’s Most Popular Posts in 2015

mamabear popular blog posts 2015

As digital and social media use continued to rise in 2015, MamaBear was there to explain new trends and problems to parents throughout the year. As we enter another year and look forward to even more changes to come, take a minute to recap the most important issues and posts from the MamaBear blog in 2015.

Is Instagram Safe for Kids: A Guide for Concerned Parents

is instagram safe for kids

In 2015, Instagram grew to be one of the most popular social media sites for teens. With more than 300 million users, the photo-sharing app became a platform that parents absolutely needed to be aware of. MamaBear published Is Instagram Safe for Kids: A Guide for Concerned Parents to help parents navigate the popular site and learn how to protect their children who use it.

The Hurtful Side of Social Media: Horrific Threats Via Instagram for One Teen

instagram safety for kids

Many parents still believe that social media is not a serious issue. But in our post The Hurtful Side of Social Media: Horrific Threats Via Instagram for One Teen, we looked at the real severity of danger in the digital world. The post looked into the story of one family who got school officials and police involved when their daughter started receiving death threats through Instagram. It also included tips on how parents can prevent the same thing from happening to their children.

Parents Are Oversharing on Social Media and It May Be Impacting Their Kids

Parents Oversharing Social Media

We regularly discuss dangers related to the habits of children and teens who use social media on our MamaBear blog. We flipped the coin in our post, Parents Are Oversharing on Social Media and It May Be Impacting Their Kids. In the post, we looked at why parents share on social media, how often they share, and how their over sharing can negatively affect their children.

Preparing Your Teen Driver to Hit the Road

Preparing Your Teen Driver to Hit the Road

MamaBear strives to protect teens online and on the road. In our post, Preparing Your Teen Driver to Hit the Road, we covered the most important considerations for parents with a new teen driver. From reviewing common driving mistakes and setting driving rules to creating a driver’s contract, the post gives parents a full prep lesson before they pass the keys over to their teen.

How To Use Bear2Bear – MamaBear’s Customer Referral Program

mamabear referral program

In 2015, we encouraged our users to share the benefits of our app with their friends and family. In the post, How to Use Bear2Bear —  MamaBear’s Customer Referral Program, we explained how parents could use our referral program to become a premium member for free by sharing MamaBear through text, email, or social media. We want more parents and families to experience the benefit of the MamaBear, The Ultimate Parenting App™, so we made it simple for our users to spread the word.

Family Safety in 2016

As we start 2016, MamaBear would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe New Year. We hope you use these resources (along with the other helpful posts on our blog) and the MamaBear App to make 2016 the best and safest year yet.

To start this year on the right foot and protect your family while providing yourself peace of mind, get MamaBear for free on both iPhone and Android devices.

 

Table Talk Topic: Expressing Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time that reminds us to express our gratitude and be more thankful, but throughout the year parents have an opportunity to bring that type of gratitude to the dinner table.

Thanksgiving is a time that reminds us to express our gratitude and be more thankful, but throughout the year parents have an opportunity to bring that type of gratitude to the dinner table.

We don’t need to ask “What are you thankful for today?” in order to prompt conversations about gratitude with our families. There are many ways to bring more appreciation to the dinner table, and talking about being thankful might be more important than you think.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Being Thankful

Parents.com reports that children as young as 15 to 18 months can start to understand the concepts of gratitude. Barbara Lewis, author of What Do You Stand For? For Kids, explains that around the age of two or three, children can start to verbally acknowledge their gratitude for things in their life like people, pets and toys. And by age four, they are able to grasp the concept of being grateful for abstract items like love and kindness.

Since children are aware of gratitude at such a young age, it’s important to cultivate it early on and continue the process as they grow.

The Benefits of Being Thankful

Living a more grateful life can benefit your child throughout their lifetime. Those who practice gratitude feel less entitled and disappointed. They are more likely to be positive and find more satisfaction in their lives. All of which can affect mind and body. WebMD reports that practicing gratitude can decrease stress, boost the immune system, and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Questions That Encourage Gratitude

Sitting around the dinner table is the perfect time to ask open-ended questions that can help your children practice gratitude. Because answering the basic question, “What are you thankful for?” might be hard for kids at first. These questions make it easy for them to identify and discover things they really appreciate and give you a chance to express your gratitude.

  • Who was the best teacher you ever had?
  • What is the best part of being a part of our family?
  • What is one of your favorite memories from a family vacation?
  • What is one thing you couldn’t live without?
  • What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend or after school?
  • What’s your favorite thing to do with your grandparents, aunts or uncles? Whom do you feel closest?
  • What is something someone did to help you today?
  • What’s your favorite thing about dinner tonight?
  • What is your favorite part about living in our town?
  • Who is your best friend in school? Why?
  • What book is your favorite to read before bed?

Turn these questions into conversations. When your child responds, make sure to point out how lucky they are to have those experiences, items and family members. Point out that not everyone in the world has access those things.

This is a good way to get kids to see how much they really have to be thankful for, and help them acknowledge and cultivate a feeling of gratitude and gratefulness.

Show Your Gratitude 

Children mirror the image of their parents, so be sure that you are practicing gratitude in your own life, especially when interacting with your kids. Share answers to the same questions.

Be sure to say “thank you” to them regularly even for small moments and events. (“Thank you for eating all your vegetables. Thank you for helping me clear the table. It made dinner easier and more enjoyable.” )

And most of all, remind them how grateful you are to be their parents.

Talking around the dinner table is a great way to build a deeper connection with your child. Maintain that connection inside and outside of the house by using MamaBear Family Safety App, which offers easy check-in features that can keep you and your kids connected anywhere, anytime. App is available for iPhone and Andriod devices.

How to Have a Safe and Fun Halloween With Kids of All Ages

Halloween safety tips for kids

From costume advice to trick-and-treating rules, use these tips to make sure you have a fun and safe Halloween with your kids of all ages.

Tips for Kids Ages 0-5

Even small children and toddlers can be a part of Halloween festivities with the right planning.

Costumes

Make sure store-bought costumes have no choking hazards or loose buttons or accessories.

Toddlers love to be on their feet even though they are still a little wobbly. To ensure that can safely move around, hem long costumes and capes so children have no loose fabric to step on.

Before you put any makeup on your child’s skin (even if it is just a few dots on their cheeks), test the makeup in a small spot to make sure the product doesn’t irritate your child’s skin.

Events and Activities

Look around for events that specifically state that they are for younger children. Halloween is supposed to be spooky, but you don’t want it to be scary for your kids. Make sure that the events you are attending have specified that the event is friendly for small children.

Trick and Treating

Toddlers will likely want to walk during some of their trick-or-treat experience. But don’t let them walk on their own in dark or crowded areas.

Smaller kids may be unable to eat the candy they collect. Let them enjoy the fun of putting candy in their bag, but don’t let them put anything in their mouth until you have inspected and approved it.

Tips for Kids Ages 6-11

At this age, kids are a little more independent and will want to experience more Halloween activities. But you should still put rules in place to make sure they have a safe Halloween.

Costumes

On Halloween, kids may come in close contact with decorative candles and flames. So it’s important that their costumes are flame-resistant. Check the labels before you buy any costume or accessory to ensure it is resistant to fire.

Events and Activities

Kids at this age may still be a little too young to carve their own pumpkins, but they can get involved with the activity another way. Let them scoop out the insides of the pumpkin, and instead of carving designs, let them draw faces on pumpkins with markers.

Trick and Treating

Set candy rules early on. Kids should not eat any of the candy that makes it into their bag until their parents have inspected it.

Tips for Kids Ages 12-17

Preteens and teens are still old enough to want to enjoy Halloween, but often want to do it on their own. If your kids are going to celebrate Halloween on their own, make sure they are equipped with tools and knowledge to keep them safe.

Costumes

When kids are trick-or-treating on their own, you want to be extra careful about the visibility of their costume. If your child is in a dark costume, add LED lights or glow stick jewelry to make sure they stand out in the dark.

Trick and Treating

Before your kids walk out the door, lay out a map of their intended trick-or-treat route.

Kids this age probably won’t wait to get home to eat a few pieces of candy. So teach them how to inspect their candy on their own. They should only eat candy in commercially-wrapped packages from neighbors that they know. Everything else should wait until you can inspect it.

Set check-in times when kids need to update you on their status and location.

Halloween Safety App

If your kids are trick-or-treating on their own for the first time, it can be a little nerve-racking to let them go on their own. But with the MamaBear, The Ultimate Parenting App™, you can have added peace of mind.

The app, which is free for both iPhones and Androids, can send you an automatic update when your child meets a certain destination. MamaBear doesn’t rely on your child remembering to check in with you, it automatically shows their location on the family map so long as they have it running properly on their phone. With MamaBear  you can enjoy a more relaxed evening while your kids have a fun and safe Halloween.  

More Halloween Safety Tips

Parents Are Oversharing on Social Media and It May Be Impacting Their Kids

Parents Oversharing Social Media

Parents spend a lot of time worrying about their children oversharing on social media.

But for many parents, oversharing wasn’t something they were thinking about when they were posting baby pictures, videos of toddlers, and funny stories about their child’s embarrassing “firsts.”

When it comes to social media, are parents as guilty as their teenagers when it comes to oversharing?

How Many Parents Are Sharing?

Both mothers and fathers say they use social media and many admit to sharing photos, videos, and/or anecdotes about their children on social media. According to a national survey conducted by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s hospital:

  • 84% of moms use social media
  • 56% of moms use social media to discuss parenting
  • 70% of dads use social media
  • 34% of dads use social media to discuss parenting

Why and What Are Parents Sharing?

Parents reported that sharing parenting stories made them feel less alone and over 50% said that sharing helped them worry less.

They also said that “sharenting” was a useful way to get feedback about parenting. The survey found that nearly 70% of parents use social media to get advice. Parents most frequently discussed:

  • getting kids to sleep (28%)
  • nutrition and eating tips (26%)
  • discipline (19%)
  • daycare/preschool (17%)
  • behavior problems (13%)

Sarah Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the U-M Department of Pediatrics, talked about the positives and negatives of sharing about parenting, “On one hand, social media offers today’s parents an outlet they find incredibly useful.  On the other hand, some are concerned that oversharing may pose safety and privacy risks for their children.”

How Parent Sharing Impacts the Kids?

While many parents use social media to discuss parenting, they are still concerned about what that might mean for their kids and feel that other parents are sharing too much.

Three-quarters of parents said they see other parents sharing information or photos that are embarrassing or inappropriate and information that identifies a child’s location.

Others are worried about what their own sharing will mean for their children:

  • 68% worry about their child’s privacy
  • 67% worry someone else will reshare their child’s photos
  • 52% worry the child will later be embarrassed by the information

These concerns are valid. Oversharing on social media has created some problems for parents.  

Parents have experienced “digital kidnapping,” where an individual steals photos of children and reshares them as if the children were their own.

Photos of children taken as babies or toddlers have become the basis of cruel jokes and cyberbullying, such as the Facebook group about “ugly babies.”

Related: Do You Know Enough About Cyberbullying to Protect Your Child?

How Parents Can Keep Privacy as a Priority

Parents are responsible for managing their children’s privacy from birth through their teenage years. They are also responsible for setting a good example and giving their children the tools to manage their own privacy when they become adults.

So, before you hit the share button, consider how the photo or information could affect your child if spread throughout the internet. Then, when children are old enough to have  their own social media accounts, use MamaBear, The Ultimate Parenting App™, available for iPhone and Android devices, to monitor what they post and what is posted about them, and to  teach them how to safely manage their accounts on their own.