What are the Best Parental Control Apps

What are the Best Parental Control Apps

What is the best parental control app for ?

There are actually a lot of advantages to providing your kid with a smartphone. When they carry a smartphone with them, you can reach them when you need to; they can connect with others; and it offers various educational and entertainment apps.

Nonetheless, there are some disadvantages, including alarming realities like bullying, online predators, as well as access to inappropriate content, hence the need for Parental control Apps.

Parental Control Apps

How can you ensure that the benefits offset the hazards?

A possible solution is to set up a parental control app right on their smartphone. These applications enable you to establish digital boundaries on what your kids are permitted to do on their mobile devices and the capability to monitor and see what they are doing on them.

Although some parental control features are built into smartphones, browsers, and computers, these third-party parental control apps offer an added level of security and safety.

Here are some of the best parental control apps that parents would want to look into.

Net Nanny

This parental control app is among the most comprehensive and most trusted applications on the market. Net Nanny enables you to monitor your children’s digital activities while protecting them from harmful or inappropriate content. You could also set limitations on screen time and block your kids from opening inappropriate content.

With Net Nanny, you will get detailed data on the searches and online activities your kids are doing. Likewise, you will receive real-time notifications on any suicide, weapons, pornographic, or drug-related content. Also, this parental control app allows you to block other apps and websites that you do not want your kids to access or set certain times of the day they are permitted to use the internet.

Norton Family

As a major name in the antivirus software industry, Norton now offers a parental control app called Norton Family to restrict and monitor your children’s activities and behavior online.

This parental control app is easy to install. It asks you to register and accept some terms and conditions before beginning. You also need to choose the surveillance level, which varies for different age brackets.

You could create accounts for every one of your kids, and the accounts would remain separate, so monitoring becomes a lot easier and simpler.

Norton Family likewise allows you to block apps, games, websites, and social media platforms from your children’s devices. Settings could be customized if needed, and you could select what kind of notifications you receive.

This parental control app enables you to set up house rules that remind your children which activities or behaviors are allowed and which ones aren’t. Also, you could check on your children’s activities on the app dashboard or opt to receive email notifications if house rules get broken.

Moreover, this app lets you set time limits on your kids’ smartphones for gameplay, social media, or totally block phone use other than for emergency calls, and keep tabs on the interactions and activities your kids are engaging in on different social media sites. What’s more, Norton Family likewise features location tracking. You could choose to get daily, weekly, or monthly accounts on your children’s online activities.

Qustodio

Qustodio is a parental control apps that allows you to monitor your child’s social networks, view their messages, and follow their location. It is likewise a comprehensive application that lets you filter sites that could contain malicious or inappropriate content. Moreover, you could block apps and games that you do not want your kid to access. You could also set time limitations on each of your children’s devices.

This parental control apps also enables you to locate your children’s devices and smartphones at any time. Your child would also have access to a panic button that could instantly alert you to their exact location.

However, with Qustodio, access and monitoring are limited on certain social media platforms. For instance, parents could see when their kid accessed Snapchat and the duration of their access, but they could not see their child’s interaction with other users. Thus, make sure that you know the parental control app’s limitations before installing it.

Bark

Bark allows parents to monitor emails, text messages, as well as more than thirty various social networks for possible safety issues. It watches out for behavior and activity that could suggest danger, such as adult content, online predators, sexual content, suicide, cyberbullying, and drug use.

Bark goes through texts, emails, photos, and videos, and it instantly sends alerts to parents about any worrying interactions. You will get automatic alerts via text messages and emails when this parental control app detects potential risks.

Among the best Bark features is that you will also receive advice from professional child psychologists about how to act on issues if and when they arise.

Kaspersky Safe Kids

This parental control app includes a broad range of free features on its application. These free tools comprise of app usage control, online content filtering, as well as screen time control, which you would need to pay for with other third-party apps.

Kaspersky Safe Kids automatically blocks inappropriate and harmful content; nonetheless, to set specific schedules and time limitations for your child’s internet usage, you would need to purchase the premium version.

Still, the premium version features advanced tools, like real-time GPS tracking, social media monitoring, and geo-fencing. It likewise sends out real-time notifications if your child tries to open malicious websites or content.

Remarkably, among Kaspersky’s most one-of-a-kind features is low battery alerts on your child’s device. When their phone needs charging, you will also receive a notification. This feature puts an end to “my phone just died” excuses whenever you ask your kids why they ignored your text message or call.

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Reminders on Using a Parental Control App

When you decide to use a third-party parental control app on your child’s smartphone or mobile device, you have to make sure that your kids fully understand why you think the application is necessary and that certain restrictions could be eased when some conditions are met.

Likewise, tell them and make them feel that you are always there to support and help them no matter what.

What Every Parent Should Know About Cyber bullying

What Every Parent Should Know About Cyber bullying

Is the dawn of the internet a boon or a bane because of cyber bullying? The internet is a powerful tool for communication. It provides the opportunity to share ideas with people from around the world, build relationships through social media, and keep in touch with friends and family.

However, there are also dangers inherent to online life that may not be as obvious as those we encounter on a daily basis offline. One of these dangers is cyber bullying – when someone uses digital technology to harass others anonymously or at least without identifying themselves – which can have serious consequences on an individual’s mental health and well-being.

As a parent, what should you know about cyber bullying and how can you protect your child from it?

What is Cyber bullying?

The most common form of cyber bullying is through the use of social media. Cyber bullies will choose a victim, target them by setting up fake profiles or joining groups on Facebook and then post inflammatory comments, often ridiculing the designated person before an audience of thousands.

Another way that cyber bullies can torment their victims is by impersonating them online. They might create email accounts in the victim’s name to send racist or insulting messages to other people, or log in to their social media account and publish embarrassing photos without permission.

Sings of a Child Being Bullied Online

There are some signs that a child is being cyber bullied. If your child:

-Starts spending more time behind closed doors or away from the family;

-Seems afraid to use the computer, cell phone or other digital devices

-Avoids using social media and sharing personal information online;

-Has become moody and irritable and has lost interest in schoolwork or other activities they normally enjoy; -Is experiencing problems at school – such as declining grades – for no clear reason.

Parents should also be on the lookout if there are sudden changes in how their child acts when they are online. For instance, if he/she frequently becomes aggressive, tries to isolate themselves from friends, withdraws from family activities, or – in the worst-case scenario – stops going to school. When you see these signs, look for other possible signs of cyberbullying and investigate whether your child has been a victim of this type of harassment online.

What Effects can Cyber bullying Have on a Child?

It is important to note that while some children appear resilient and able to shrug off hurtful comments, others might be more sensitive to such abuse and may suffer long-term emotional damage as a result

For example, research shows that bullying victims are up to nine times more likely than non-victims to experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression at some point during their adolescence. They may also feel insecure about themselves and withdraw from social activities, or is secretive about what they are doing on their devices.

Cyber bullying
Photo by Bermix Studio

How to Keep Your Child Safe Against Cyber bullying

If your child is being cyber bullied, here are some steps you can take to help them deal with the situation:

-Remain calm – this situation will be hard for you too

-Make sure that your child knows it’s not their fault and they did nothing wrong

-Don’t respond immediately – let them have time to cool down first before calling the bully back or replying to emails

-Involve other people in resolving the problem, such as a guidance counselor at school, their parents if they go to boarding school, another adult whom they trust, etc. to whom your child feels close enough to confide in or seek advice.

-If necessary, involve the police because cyber bullying may have criminal implications

-Talk about it – if you think that your child can handle being bullied online without being too affected by it, you might want them to know what’s happening so they can be warier of their surroundings when they go online. You can also teach them how to better protect themselves against future attacks.

-Pay attention to technology – keep sharing rules for digital usage with your children, but don’t ignore technology yourself so that you will know what they are doing on their devices and how. For instance, do you know where all the family smartphones are at night? Or that they’re charging in their rooms? Or that they know how you can track them if they get lost?

How to Talk with Kids about the Cyber bullying They See from Famous Adults

It’s important to make children aware that even if cyberbullying is not as intense and aggressive as other types of bullying, it can still take a toll on their emotional well-being. The reason why they’re often apprehensive about telling their parents or teachers what’s going on is because they might feel that it’s just “part of life”.

As we mentioned earlier, the best thing we can do for our kids is to keep an open line of communication with them so they would know where to go to when they need help – especially if someone is hurting them online or offline. The most important thing I think any parent should do in these situations is listen attentively and be understanding. Kids aren’t likely to open up and talk about their problems if they see that their parents are too busy or dismissive of their concerns.

Cyber security
Photo by FLY:D 

But it’s also important to teach them how to cope with bullying because not all instances can be solved easily. For example, children shouldn’t assume that the problem would go away by itself if they don’t do anything about it – especially if the bully is persistent and won’t stop even after requests were made for him/her to stop. They should know that this kind of behavior might just worsen the situation and that sometimes, direct intervention is necessary before things escalate into something worse than it already is.

How Can Bullied Children Cope With Cyber bullying?

If your child is being bullied online, it can be difficult for them to deal with especially if they are not getting much support from the people around them. What you should do when this happens is empower them by allowing them to share their feelings about what’s going on without getting defensive or dismissive.

Really listen to what they have to say – don’t talk over their voices and try to grab the phone away from them so that you could reply instead. Try not to take too much time in typing replies because the longer you wait, the more hurtful your message can be. This can also discourage your child from reaching out for help. It may sound unbelievable but kids are brave enough to offer solutions that only adults usually think of in these instances.

Sometimes, kids would be so anxious about talking to their parents that they would rather tell them over the phone so they could have more time to organize their thoughts. If you are more comfortable doing this, allow your child some privacy when he/she is telling you what’s going on but make sure that you’re nearby in case your kid needs help.

Just don’t enter the room without knocking or call out to him/her. This can really affect his/her ability to share what happened because it makes them think that you’ll butt in anytime soon – even if he/she is not finished yet with what s/he has to say.

Don’t take things personally – this is one of the hardest things for any parent because we are very protective of our kids. Sometimes, when your child talks about the cyberbullying that s/he’s experiencing, you would feel hurt especially if it was done by someone who is close to you – like a relative or even a family member.

But this should not be an excuse for you to lash out at them because sometimes, what they are saying might be true and it’s hard for them to admit especially if they still love the person. This can make your child feel guilty for sharing his/her feelings about being bullied so don’t add more to their pain by arguing with them about what happened.

Conclusion

If your child is being bullied, the best thing you could do for him/her is to listen and be understanding. This can make them feel safe around you and they won’t be afraid that sharing their feelings would result in a fight or an argument between the two of you.

It’s important that we take every safety measure necessary for our kids so we should teach them what they can do if ever s/he becomes a victim of cyber bullying. One way we can help them prevent such instances from happening again is by staying updated with what’s going on in the online world – especially matters concerning internet safety.

What are Online Safety Issues and How Can You Protect Your Kids From Them?

What are Online Safety Issues and How Can You Protect Your Kids From Them?

Online safety and the different online safety issues are a hot topic these days. With the recent events and news headlines, parents are more worried than ever about how to make their kids safer online.

This article will provide some tips for you to protect your family from cyber-bullying and other dangers of social media. We’ll also explore what can be done to ensure that your kids stay safe in this digital age.

We’ll start by exploring what it means when we talk about “online safety.” What does that mean? Is there something even called “safety?” What’s the difference between being safe online or off?

There are many questions like this that need answering before we dive into how to keep our kids and ourselves protected while going through life online.

Online Safety Issues
Online Safety Issues -Photo by Sergey Zolkin

What are online safety issues kids face today

Most parents are aware of the dangers their kids face on social media. Bullying from creeps and criminals is just one danger in today’s digital age. It doesn’t stop there, though. Your child can be harmed by online predators easily and without even knowing it or being able to prevent it.

We’ll explore these issues more in depth later, but for now let’s discuss some tips on how you can keep your family safe while going through life online.

Online safety for kids is something every parent needs to be thinking about on a daily basis. Regardless of your child’s age, there are ways you can help them stay safe while in the digital world.

Here are some things each and every parent could do to help reduce any issues their kid may face dealing with the dangers of social media.

How does the internet affect your child’s mental health and physical health

As mentioned above, bullying is a major issue for kids these days. Bullying can be in the physical world as well as online. Children who are bullied at school often continue to experience those same issues online. Kids who are most affected by bullying will turn off from spending any time online at all because they don’t want to deal with it anymore or find it too stressful when going through life online.

Online safety is about so much more than just your child not posting their address and phone number out there for the entire internet to see; it’s also about keeping them safe from the dangers of social media which affect both their mental health as well as their physical health.

What should you do to keep your children safe on social media

In the end, it’s all up to you and your child. While there are some programs out there that will attempt to help limit any dangers your child faces online, ultimately it falls down to you as a parent to keep your son or daughter safe on social media.

You know your kid better than anyone else;

-What is going on in their life?

-How do they act when they’re online?

-Are they perhaps spending too much time online?

– Do they seem more depressed than usual lately?

These are just some examples of what you should be looking for if you want to make sure that no one is harassing or bullying your kids while they go through life online.

Online safety for kids is something every parent needs to be thinking about on a daily basis. Regardless of your child’s age, there are ways you can help them stay safe while in the digital world. Here are some things each and every

A parent’s guide to staying up-to-date with internet trends for kids

Parents are often referred to as the “life coach” of their children. It’s up to you and your spouse to make sure that your child is growing and learning ways to deal with life online as well as off. Staying active in monitoring what your kids are getting into online is a bonus as long as it doesn’t seem overbearing or intrusive for your child.

This can be done by simply going through their Facebook or twitter profile page every now and then just to see what is new or trending out there from other teens their age.

Tips for helping your child develop a healthy relationship with technology

One thing we can all agree on is that the internet and social media are here to stay, so it’s important that we do our best in helping our kids develop a healthy relationship with things such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else online.

Since many children today start learning how to use their first tablet device at age three it’s up to us parents to provide them with an environment that allows them freedom of expression as well as encouragement in making good choices while using technology.

Talking and communicating with your child about what they like best about these new devices is a great way to start off any kind of advice you may have for them when it comes to improving their online life.

If you’ve ever been on Facebook for example, you can see how many times your child has been tagged in pictures and all of the people that are commenting on said photos.

While this might be great for them from a popularity standpoint, it’s usually not so cool when parents find out they have been left out at social gatherings or events which were captured by other users and shared with their “friends”.

If you’re having trouble getting your child to understand why this is important then let their friends explain it to them by showing them what was said or done after one of these instances occurred when they were not allowed to go or attend a function.

If your children happen to be gamers online, there can be issues as well such as being hacked into or scammed out of money while playing an online game.

Online Safety Issues – Photo by Robo Wunderkind 

How to protect your kids from online dangers

If you think about it, keeping your children safe is one of the most important jobs as a parent. There are dangers all around us and while we have laws to keep our kids safe from harm there are still things that can happen no matter what age they are.

With many parents working outside of the home or busy with other obligations at times this job can be exhausting and often scary for both teens and adults so here is some helpful information to assist you in making your child’s online safety issues as safe as possible:

Do not allow your children to use unsecured WiFi connections. This means don’t let them log on to any websites which require an account such as Facebook or Gmail unless you know for sure that the connection they are using is secured.

Free WiFi can be just as dangerous as no WiFi at all, so you’ll want to make sure they’re always using a secured connection when it comes to things like social media.

Online Safety IssuesConclusion:

The internet has changed the way we do almost everything. It’s a relatively new invention, and as such, there are still many unknowns about how it will affect our children in the future.

That being said, parents need to stay on top of trends for kids online – both so they can educate their own children and know what dangers may be lurking out there.

One thing is certain: if you’re not monitoring your child’s online activity or teaching them good digital habits now, it could lead to online safety issues and you’ll likely regret it later when you have some online safety issues and they become more mature users with full access to all that the web has to offer.

What is Gacha Life and What Should Parents Know About It?

What is Gacha Life and What Should Parents Know About It?

Created by Lunime, Inc., Gacha Life is a game that allows users to create and customize their own anime-styled characters. Users can choose from over 1,000 outfits for their characters to wear as well as modify makeup and facial features. They can change hairstyle, color, and length in the character creation process.

Users can also participate in 8 mini-games, create skits in Studio Mode, create scenes using props, and chat with other players. They can now share their customized characters on SNS platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The app was created for kids who love anime characters and are interested in creating their own.

What are the Benefits of Playing Gacha Life for Children?

Gacha Life allows kids to create their own characters using various parts, which will in turn boost their creativity and imagination. Kids can also personalize makeup and fashion with the different outfits available. This is a good way for kids to express themselves outside of social media as well.

To add these features, Gacha Life helps children realize the importance of making their own decisions. By customizing their characters and choosing what to wear, they’ll be able to determine how they want to look like in the future. Making these choices will guide them on other aspects of decision making such as when it comes to choosing a career path or where to move etc.,

Gacha Life is great for children who love to play with their friends, as they can invite them in the app. The game is also great for those who want to showcase their creations as users can post images on SNS platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

Gacha life
Photo by Ravi Palwe 

How Can Parents Limit Their Child’s Time on Gacha Life?

As with all apps and games, there are certain settings that can be customized based on the preferences of each parent and family. For Gacha Life, parents can limit their child’s time on the app by setting a daily session duration and the number of in-app transactions allowed each day.

Users can also disable pop-up advertisements which they may find annoying and disruptive.

As another precautionary measure, parents may also choose to monitor their child’s account by setting up parental controls on their device in order to view how much time they have spent playing the game. To protect children from possible addiction or overuse of any app or game, parents should also set guidelines that the child must follow when playing it.

For example, you may set limits on how often the child is allowed to play, or on the day of the week and time of day that they can use it.

Is Gacha Life Safe for Children?

As is the case with most games, Gacha Life may not be entirely suitable for children. The chat feature in the app allows younger players to have conversations with strangers and this may raise some concerns regarding possible cyberbullying from other users in the game.

To avoid such instances, you should talk to your child about what is safe and appropriate when playing online games that they can access on their devices. You also need to be aware of the time they spend playing games so you can limit it accordingly.

You should monitor if the game has caused any negative impact on their well-being. This includes having changes in moods, attention span, and grades among other things. If you notice any unusual behavior from your child after playing Gacha Life, you should talk to them about why they are feeling that way and what triggered such a change.

While the game maker has aimed to provide kids with an app that is creative and fun to play, parents should still monitor their children’s interactions with other players. You should discuss safety issues if you think your child has been exposed to them or if they are asking about them.

If your child is currently playing the game and exhibits any of these behaviors, it’s important to talk to them about the possible causes and how you can help them.

Ways That You Can Use Gaming Responsibly in Your Family

Set Time Limits for Screen Time

Rather than letting a child play for unlimited hours, set a time limit for how long they can play games each day and stick to it. A great rule of thumb is no more than one hour per day of gaming, at most.

If you do let your child play Gacha life game online or on the app store make sure you keep an eye on them while they are playing. You should be checking in with them to find out what their interests are and if something doesn’t seem right then immediately talk about it with them.

Know Your Kids’ Passwords, and Keep Track of How Much Money They Spend on Apps

Look over any spending activity regularly so that you can encourage them to spend time in other ways.

Plan Ahead

Keep distractions out of the way, turn off notifications, and set up large blocks of uninterrupted time so your child can get the most out of their screen time.

There is no online chat involved with this game, but you should still have a conversation about not talking to strangers or giving out personal information when playing games online. Talk about what kind of things could happen if someone lies about themselves or tries to take advantage of your child’s kindness or naivety”.

It is important that you talk to your children before they play this game as it can be very addictive!

Photo by Ralston Smith

Common Concerns about Gacha Life

For younger children, this game can be very addictive and many parents have expressed concern over the time their child spends playing Gacha Life.

This is why it’s so important to set up some gaming time and control how your children use technology. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a good video game but we still need to do things like go outside and play or spend time with family members in person.

This app can also be a good learning experience for children, depending on your child’s age. So if you are worried about your child spending too much time playing Gacha Life, there are ways around it that are tailored to your child.

Since this game is so simple and easy to use most young kids can play it without help from adults. This could be a good thing because they will learn how to use technology and enjoy the entertainment Gacha Life has to offer. Depending on what phones your children have, you may want to adjust settings about when they can access their mobile devices, so they don’t get too distracted by a game like this one.

Conclusion:

We hope that this blog post has given you a better understanding of Gacha Life and how to play it responsibly. If you’re still unsure about whether or not your child should be playing the game, we recommend considering all of these points before making any final decisions on what’s best for your family. Please feel free to reach out if there are other questions that we can answer for you!

What is Identity Theft and How Can You Protect Your Child from It?

What is Identity Theft and How Can You Protect Your Child from It?

Identity theft can happen to anyone–even to your child. It’s especially important to protect your child’s identity, especially with the rise in high-tech crimes and data breaches. The following article will provide tips on how you can protect your child from identity theft.

What is Identity Theft in Children?

Identity theft is a serious crime that has become more prevalent in recent years. It involves the use of someone else’s personal identifying information for fraudulent purposes. The ID thief can obtain your child’s personal identifying information such as their name, date of birth, and address.

As the child grows up, their personal information becomes more sophisticated and can include social security numbers, bank account information, addresses, and even health-related information. These pieces of personal information allow them to open credit cards in your child’s name or take out loans.

About 1 million children have had their identities stolen. You might not realize that a crime has been committed until you receive a call from a creditor seeking payment for something that you did not purchase yourself. It is also possible to have your identity as an adult stolen by someone who steals your identity when they are younger–particularly if they are arrested before age 18.

Identity Theft
Photo by Iulia Mihailov

Why Should Your Child Be Aware of Identify Theft?

Children are becoming the prime targets in many types of identity theft, most often because they have a clean credit report and no large debts. Children are at higher risk for identity theft because there is not much on their record that would draw attention to an ID thief.

Teaching your child how to handle his or her personal information will help them protect their identities as they enter adulthood.

Social security numbers can be used by identity thieves to apply for credit in your child’s name. Parents should instruct their children not to reveal their social security number unless absolutely necessary and remind them that any unsolicited requests for it are likely fraudulent. Children should always ask permission before giving out personal information, even their address or phone number.

Unsolicited offers of free products or prize draws are another way that criminals may attempt to gather information from your child. Teach him or her not to fill out forms on these websites as the information could eventually end up in the hands of an ID thief.

Protecting kids also means turning a computer into a safe playground by making sure they’re playing age-appropriate games and only visiting sites with parental guidance.

How Can You Protect Your Children from Identity Theft?

While good parenting is the best way to keep your kids safe from identity theft, there are a few steps you can take as well. Make sure their social security number isn’t listed on school or daycare forms – instead fill in 000-00-0000. Share with them common scams that involve giving out personal information online and use this information to teach them how to protect themselves while using the internet.

These tips will help children stay safe until they enter adulthood and can potentially start a credit score of their own.

Scare tactics about identity theft may be more effective at keeping your family secure than simply telling them not to talk to strangers or watch what they do online, but it’s important not to scare them too much so that they don’t learn how to avoid these threats.

Identity Theft computer
Photo by J. Kelly Brito

What are Some Ways to Help Prevent Identify Theft in Children?

There are a few ways you can help your children avoid identity theft.

You should tell them never to give out information, like their social security number and birth date, without first getting permission from you. This is very important because this information can be used by someone else for malicious purposes.

One of the best things you can do to keep your information safe is to put a hold on public records that show where you live in case something happens to you. Credit reporting agencies must place an extended fraud alert on all three bureaus if an identity theft victim contacts them within 90 days of discovering fraud or becoming aware of suspicious activity (like a missing credit card).

An extended fraud report will make it more difficult for anyone trying to apply for credit using your identity. You should also contact the financial institutions where accounts have been opened in your name and close them. This will prevent further damage to your credit scores and establish a paper trail for abusive financial activity.

Children who are educated about the consequences of giving out personal information may be more likely to protect themselves from identity theft as they grow up, so one thing you can do is explain why it’s important to not hand out their social security number or other private information without getting permission first.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to create awareness around online safety. Tell your children that ANYONE can post something online – even if it looks like someone they know – and they need to think twice before sharing any personal information, especially their address.

How Does a Child Become a Victim of Identity Theft?

Children are victimized by identity theft for a number of reasons. Thefts can occur through the mail, at school, or during online activity when children reveal personal information in chat rooms. Statistics, according to IdentityTheft.gov, show that as many as 15% of identity thefts involve kids under 18 years old and children make up about 4 percent of all victims of identity theft.

Stolen social security numbers alone cost our economy an estimated $200 billion annually, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Children need to understand that their social security number is not a secret and there’s no reason for them to give it out without getting permission from someone they trust first (like you).

Ways to Help Your Child Recover from Their Stolen Identity

Identity theft can have big consequences for your child, and this doesn’t just mean they’ll have to deal with fraud. Victims of identity theft often live in fear, change their name or even leave behind old friends because they’re embarrassed about the criminal activity that took place in their names.

If someone has taken your son’s number, it will take some time to sort out the mess this person made of his credit report (which is why it’s important to put a fraud alert on his accounts). The sooner you start working on fixing their credit the better off they’ll be later on in life.

When you add an extended fraud alert to your child’s file at each credit reporting agency you help prevent new accounts from being opened using your child’s social security number. Extended fraud alerts last for one year and can be renewed if necessary.

Another good tip is to put a credit freeze on your child’s file. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open new lines of credit in your son’s name because no one will be able to check his credit unless they have his unique personal identification number (PIN). You may need some help from your state or local police department though if anyone tries to access your child’s information without permission.

Conclusion

Children are a prime target for identity theft, and parents need to take measures to ensure their children’s safety. To help protect your child from becoming an identity theft victim, make sure you keep all of your personal information safe by using strong passwords and not sharing any sensitive data online or over the phone with strangers.

If someone does steal your child’s identity, it can be difficult to recover their name because they have no credit history (yet). However, there are ways that you as a parent can help them get back on track after being robbed of their identity in this way.

Be proactive about protecting yourself against identity theft as an adult too!

What are the 6 Reliable Parental Control Tools Your Family Needs to Know?

What should you keep in mind when using parental control apps?

Even if you have already had a serious discussion with your kids about responsible online behavior and screen-time limitations, it is still tough to know how they act or what they do every time you’re not around. Parental controls could help you in your goal to keep your children’s online experiences productive, fun, and safe.

Parental Control

Identifying which kind of parental control app or software is best is totally based on your family’s needs. Some parents just need free simple browser settings for filtering inappropriate content, while some need help limiting screen time. Whatever your parental control app needs may be, our guide could help you figure out the wide range of choices to help you manage your children’s smartphones and devices.

Parental Control: What Does It Do?

There are many parental control and monitoring tools readily available to parents. Some are free and already present on your device or computer operating systems or could be downloaded and installed from your internet service provider. There are also mobile apps or software products that you can purchase or subscribe to.

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This one is a great example.

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How to Choose a Parental Control App

The initial thing you should do is to think of what you need for your kids. Do you intend to block inappropriate sites, restrict what applications they could download, protect them from cyberbullying or even bullying others? Some apps would provide you with virtually everything; other apps just give you an overview, and some simply flag what they believe to be concerning or troublesome behavior or content.

How to Choose a Parental Control App

Network-level Parental Control Devices

A lot of internet service providers offer parental control features as part of the gateways settings or other devices. Also, there are third-party devices and routers that work with game consoles, smartphones, and computers, and other devices that are hardwired or connected through WiFi to your home network.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that these kinds of parental control apps may not work if your child’s device or has an internet connection that does not need access to the home network. The internet service that you are already using might offer these parental controls, and check with that provider’s website to check if they provide parental controls.

Shared Devices

It is not unusual for family members to get access to the same computer or device. A lot of devices, such as Windows PCs, Macs, TV streaming devices, and smartphones, allow you to make two or more accounts so that you could have different device settings for each user. Other parental controls have passwords or security codes that enable adults to bypass controls. Check with your device manufacturer to see what options are offered.

Screen-time Limits

There are applications that you could use to control how long your kids spend on the internet. Some of these apps are conveniently built-into devices, while others are part of apps, services, or games aimed at kids.

These limitations could help you regulate not only how long your child spends using the service or device but the time as well, thus enabling you to set a “bed-time” when the device or smartphone must be shut off.

Screen-time Limits

These parental control tools could be useful, particularly with younger children, but must always be included in a larger discussion regarding the use of social media and smartphones. A lot of parental control apps likewise offer screen time manager among their features.

Stealth Mode

Although some apps don’t allow parents to monitor their kids’ behavior on the internet stealthily, some parental control apps could run in “secret mode,” and the child might not even be aware that they are in use. However, bear in mind that it is still ideal to discuss with your children about parental controls and why you are using them. Your kids would eventually discover that it is there anyway, and you do not want them to question why you’re spying on them. Thus, it’s better to clear that notion at the very start.

Built-in Parental Control in Apps

There are social media platforms and applications that have their own parental controls built-in, like limiting the kind of content your kids could see or who your kids could interact with. Some of these controls are automatically set depending on your kids’ age, while other apps provide parents the capability to monitor and adjust their children’s experience with that particular service.

It is an excellent idea to check out the service’s settings for your kids’ age group and adjust it if possible or if you see it fit. Because of these limitations and control features, it’s crucial that kids be honest with their age since they might not be available if the service does not know your child’s real age.

TV, Streaming, and Online Video

A lot of streaming devices and services also let parents monitor and control the type of visual content their children could watch. You can check with your streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV, together with the services you subscribe to about what parental controls they offer.

Likewise, be aware that online video services such as Youtube have available content that might be inappropriate for your kids. Still, you could block the whole service or just specific types of content, or you could also restrict your children to only kid-friendly streaming services like Amazon Kids, Disney, Youtube Kids, and PBSKids.

TV, Streaming, and Online Video

Bottom Line

One-size absolutely does not fit all when it comes to parenting. A lot of our advice and tips here are for average children, but there are also children whose needs aren’t the same who might need stricter parental controls or monitoring. Just like most parenting decisions, you would need to consider your specific child and their specific needs, along with your own risk tolerance.

Moreover, keep in mind that the only “control” that could fully protect your children for life is not what runs on a device or computer but the one that operates in the system between their ears. Thus, it is of utmost importance to teach your kids critical thinking skills as well as media literacy to help them make good decisions now and as they grow up.

Your child would mature, be independent and perhaps even move to a different city a few years from now, so it’s essential that they develop their own self-control instead of depending on those enforced by their parents or schools.

Online Safety: What are the 7 Surprising Online Dangers to Watch Out For?

How can parents ensure online safety for their children?

The world wide web could be a perilous neighborhood for nearly everyone, but teens and children are particularly vulnerable. From Online Dangers like predators to malware, the dangers of the Internet could pose serious, costly, sometimes even tragic risks.

Online Dangers

Kids could unintentionally expose their whole families to online threats, for instance, by inadvertently downloading malware which could give hackers access to their families’ sensitive information, like their parents’ bank account details.

Safeguarding children when they’re online is simply a matter of awareness—understanding what perils lurk in the corners of the online world and how to safeguard kids against them. Even though reliable cybersecurity software could help protect against particular online threats, the most ideal online safety measure is still open and honest communication with your kids.

Online Dangers
Explaining Online Safety to Your Children


Teaching your kids about the online hazards they might encounter at some point and how to prevent or report those threats are among the most crucial steps you need to take to make sure that they are safe online.


However, you first have to know those risks and consequences for yourself. You would need to keep yourself up-to-date on the most recent apps, technologies, and social media trends. Although it could be challenging, it prepares you to discuss with your kids what to expect on the world wide web.

Explaining Online Safety to Your Children

Here are some online dangers that you should watch out for as a parent:


Cyber Predators


Nowadays, sexual predators usually stalk children online, abusing their innocence, lack of parental supervision, and taking advantage of their trust. This could potentially result in children being ensnared into perilous personal encounters in real life. These predators creep around on gaming platforms and social media that attract children—the same digital venues where cyberbullies hide behind anonymity.


The authorities offer guidance in protecting your kids against predators as well as other internet risks to child safety. Nonetheless, as we have mentioned before, the best safety measure is regularly communicating with your kids about what’s going on in their daily lives.


Cyberbullying


Similar to predators not having to leave their residences to interact with kids, bullies don’t need to be physically near their victims. Cyberbullying across social media platforms is sadly widespread in today’s modern world, and it results in just as much damage and pain as other forms of bullying.

It is possibly among the most difficult threats to cope with, although a viable solution is to stop your kids from signing up on social media sites in the first place. Make them aware that they could create theirs when they are older and wiser. Also, always remind your kids that they could come to you anytime if they are being bullied, online or not. You would not be able to do anything if you don’t know it is happening.


Posting Private Information


Kids couldn’t fully grasp the concept of social boundaries. Your children might post identifiable information online, such as in their social media content, that shouldn’t actually be seen publicly. This could be anything from photos of awkward family moments to your home addresses or even family vacation plans.

Nearly everything that your children post is in public view. Thus, everyone can see it, including you. It is okay to remind them that if you can see it, so could everybody else. Don’t snoop, but speak openly to your children about public boundaries as well as what they mean for your family.


Inappropriate Content

Inappropriate Content

The Internet is ridden with “inappropriate content.” Your kids might be searching for a particular site, or they might come across it unintentionally. Nevertheless, it is actually very easy to see if the sites that have inappropriate content aren’t blocked. The best thing to do here is to purchase parental control software like Norton Family to effectively block sites you do not want your kids to browse.


It likewise helps to keep an eye on your children while they are using the Internet or go through their search histories to know what sites they are frequenting. Putting your computer in the family room is also a good option.


Falling for Scams


Kids are undoubtedly not going to fall for some Nigerian prince offering them cash. However, they could be bamboozled for scams that bait them with things that they value, like free access to internet games or other features.

Children are vulnerable to fall for scams since they are not too wary. As with cyber phishing, hackers could use websites popular with children to identify potential targets and then promise rewards or prizes in exchange for what they want—like the parents’ credit card details.


Old or young, always keep in mind that if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Teach your kids to be suspicious of digital offers that offer too much.


Chat Room “Buddies”


Some sexual predators use social media sites or go into chat rooms to find kids. They would try to befriend them by posing to be their age, oftentimes trying to meet up with them at some point. Creating fake profiles is actually very simple, making it crucial for parents to stress this danger to their kids.

Talk about the warning signals, and emphasize that they could always come to you, regardless of the situation. Encourage your children to chat online only with those that they really know, such as family, relatives, and friends. Moreover, make them aware that meeting anybody they met on the Internet poses real dangers.

Chat Room “Buddies”

Unintentionally Downloading Malware


Malware, or software installed without the permission or knowledge of the victim, does damaging actions on your computer. It includes stealing sensitive personal information from your device or hijacking it, which causes slow performance. Hackers usually trick kids into downloading malware by disguising it as games, and it can be really enticing to children.


Bottom Line:


The Internet could pose serious risks and dangers to kids. However, it could likewise open doors of knowledge for them that our previous generations couldn’t have imagined. Help make sure that your children are safe online so they could experience the joys of the online world and stay away from its dangers. Be vigilant. Be aware. Be actively involved in your kid’s daily lives and always communicate with them.

Handling Children’s Fights

Handling Children's Fights
Handling Children’s Fights

The first thing you need to do is create that calm environment.  You can head off fights and decrease distraction during exchanges by keeping kids focused. Handling Children’s Fights – 1st Turn off the stimulating doo-dads all over the house (games, television, computer), take it easy on the running around, after-school classes, sports, and go go go.  Make sure they get proper sleep. Keep some structure and routine.

 When your house is chaotic, kids will act chaotic.  Sibling skirmishes are almost always a given, but when the fighting starts, it’s easier for children to regain focus if you’ve got a good foundation of structure, expectations, positive attitudes, and low stimulus in your home.

Handling Children’s Fights

When kids argue, separate them.  This turns off the laser eye and shuts down the auto-fire on the machine gun. If your son is ticked off at his sister, remove your daughter and get your son focused back on you.  Let him explain what happened. Repeat what he said so he knows you heard him.  Then direct him on how to handle it. “I understand that your sister keeps messing up your game.  

I get it.  You have a choice to go in the other room, or let your sister join you in the game.  Either way, you need to tell her that when she knocks over the pieces, it makes you upset.”  Then talk to your daughter separately and guide her as we ll.  She can’t keep messing up the game.

Many times I’ll have kids tell me separately what happened and then I guide them on how to talk to the other person about it.  “You can say X or Y, then ask him Z.”  I get them back together, then guide the conversation so they stick to the script and don’t fly off the handle again.

 

Positive Parenting Program

Positive Parenting Program

Positive ParentingPositive Parenting. So I’ve got a soapbox.  This whole, “That makes me sad,” or “That’s a sad choice” drives me nuts! Seriously, you think that motivates kids to act better?  Newsflash!  They couldn’t care less . It’s empty chatter coming out of your mouth, meaning diddly squat to kids. So cut it out!  Tell them that what they did or said is not acceptable, then tell them what you want to see instead.  That is part of a positive parenting program.

Positive Parenting

Listen, I know you want to be kind and to gently let them know that their choice was poor.  But give me a break with the no-discipline discipline.  That only works on highly motivated kids who are eager to please.  Frankly, I only run into those guys once in a blue moon.  And with those kids, it just makes them feel guilty.  And if they are already great kids, there’s no need for guilt! When they make a rare mistake, it’s better to simply state, “It’s okay.  Just make a better choice next time.”

For the rest of the normal ol’ kid population, if a child is mad and screaming his head off, do you really think telling him how sad that makes you has ANY impact?  Heck, no.  He doesn’t need to know that you’re sad about his choices. What he DOES need is direction on how to handle his anger in the future. Find out why he got mad and give help and guidance, not some lame comment about how it makes you feel.

Let’s be honest, here.  This isn’t really about how you feel.  It’s a social riddle kids are supposed to figure out.  Ooooh, “sad choice” means I’m not supposed to do that.  Got it!).  They’ll figure it out all right.  They’ll figure out that they don’t have to listen to you because that’s the wimpy consequence to their “choice.”  They get a sad face from you.  Boohoo.  Disappointed the teacher today.  I’m sure as heck going to feel guilty about that one! 

I find this used more often by teaching staff than moms, as moms are more commonly fed up.  But either way, it’s quite useless. One kid smacks another as they’re walking down the hall to class and the teacher says, “Oh, that’s a sad choice.”  Give me a break!  The kid will look appropriately contrite, then start smacking again as soon as the teacher turns her back.

So how about, at a minimum, telling the kid, “We do not hit others.  Apologize.”  Then send him to the back of the line.  That’s actually telling him what is expected and what he needs to do to make up for it.  No riddles!  He also gets a negative consequence to his actions. It’s a pipsqueak consequence, but he does get separated from his friends (the one he hit. Eh hem.)  Personally, I’d take it further and make him sit by himself at lunch or sit out recess, but that’s just my grumpy ol’ self talking.

 

 

Reacting to Undesirable Behavior

Reacting to Undesirable Behavior

Reacting to Undesirable BehaviorWhen your child starts to talk back or get out of control, try to remember not to get caught up in quick reactions to the behavior. Reacting to Undesirable Behavior – Step back and give yourself a few seconds to assess the real problem.  Once you figure it out, FIX IT.  Do your part and change the way you react to the behavior.  If what you are doing isn’t working, then holy cow, CHANGE IT!

So. In order to change what you’re doing, you need to assess your current approach.  If your current strategy is not ideal, you need to switch gears.  In this chapter you’ll get more detailed help in punishing bad behavior, reinforcing good behavior, and creating a more positive environment.

Reacting to Undesirable Behavior

Punishing Undesirable Behavior

As we discussed earlier, the consequence is what happens after the behavior.  It’s all up to you.  Your reaction determines if the behavior escalates, stays contained, or stops altogether.  Of course, you also provide a consequence to the behavior.  This is what most people consider, “Do this or else.”  But we need to step away from that line of thinking.  Kids don’t respond to threats.  They respond to action.  So think of consequences as our actions to decrease the unwanted behavior.

  • Consequences involve stopping the argument before it starts, redirecting the behavior, and making sure we do not reinforce the nonsense or escalate the episode.

For example, when we refuse to argue back, we stop the argument.  Simple as that!  We hold our ground, make sure the child does what is asked, and stay firm and calm.  This way, we do not reinforce the unwanted behavior. We also keep the situation from turning into a screaming match.  It’s our job to keep their little brains from winding up, escalating, and going into overload.

We do this by, in a sense, throwing a mental bucket of cold water on them.  They start up the complaints, arguments, and back talk, so we step right in, creating a wall.  Nope.  Stop right there.  It goes no further, little dudes and dudettes.  About face, soldier.

If two kids are arguing, literally turn their bodies away from each other.  I once had two high school girls in an all out screeching match.  I gently put my arm around one, physically turned her in the other direction and put some space between them as I told her that we needed to walk to the counselor’s office. She yelled at me, “But she called me a terrorist!” I calmly and firmly replied, “I didn’t ask what happened.  I said we need to go to the counselor’s. So let’s go.”

See?  You don’t start talking about what happened, you don’t answer questions and you don’t start in on the lectures as to why they shouldn’t act that way.  Stop the escalation and redirect to the task at hand.  Consequences are YOUR action only. The consequence is simply, “You will do what is asked.”  Period.  Make the kid do it.

Traditional Punishment” versus ABC Punishment:  Most people consider punishment as the consequence to bad behavior.  The kid typically gets spanked, grounded, phone or game privileges are taken away, no dessert at dinner, etc.  This is appropriate to a degree.  Sometimes a kid does something that you can’t undo, and they need to understand that bad things happen when they make bad choices.  So if they try to drown the neighbor’s cat, sure, they need a punishment that reminds them to make a better choice next time.  I’d never recommend spanking because I just don’t think it’s effective, but the rest of it, I understand.

But in terms of the ABC Guide, punishment simply serves to deter a behavior you don’t want to see. It’s not some lengthy, drawn out course taken as a consequence to a behavior.  In the ABC Guide, punishments are an immediate choice of action by YOU.  The kid does something you don’t like, so you have two choices.  You can punish (P) the behavior or reinforce (R).  Punish means you chose the path of stopping the behavior.  Reinforce means you chose a reaction that trains the kid to act that way again.  Most of the time, we reinforce bad behavior without even knowing it.  Wrong!  We need to reinforce good behavior, not bad.

Let’s do another ABC example and draw out the P a little more. This example shows how to deal with arguing when you’re trying to choose the right consequence but the child keeps talking back to you:

A = The kids are eating dinner.

B = Joey tells Harold he’s stupid.

C = You can:

  • R = scold Joey and send him to his room
  • P = Ask Joey, “Was that a nice thing to say? Apologize to your brother.”  This is a P because you are not letting Joey get away with being rude to his brother.

But now suppose Joey starts to smart mouth or argue? The backtalk is a new B. Here are two examples of what to do:

B = Joey replies, “Yes, it was nice.”

C = Cut Joey off immediately. Say, “Wrong answer. What’s the correct answer?”

Or

B = Joey replies, “But he just. . . “

C = Again, cut Joey off immediately. Say, “I didn’t ask what he did. I asked you if that was a nice thing to say. Yes or no.”

In both cases, keep cutting Joey off until he gives you a “no” answer.  Then make him apologize to Harold.

In the above example, notice that scolding falls under R.  Scolding is pretty darn useless.  So give it up and cut it out. The kid could care less and you are reinforcing the behavior. You’re training him that the behavior is okay.  So what if he gets sent to his room?  Big darn deal.  He probably wants to get away from the dinner table and all the nagging anyway.

Instead, he needs to ANSWER YOUR QUESTION without arguing or explaining why it was okay to call his brother stupid.  Using the ABC model, in order to punish the back talk, you need to calmly hold your ground and make him understand that it’s a simple “yes” or “no” question.  Answer it and apologize.  That’s all there is to it.  That is a true behavioral deterrent because he’ll realize that it does no good to argue with you.  You will cut him off and demand he answer your question.

Or Else: When it comes to discipline for school-aged kids, there is no place for threats of, “You will do this or else!”  “Or else,” does not belong in our vocabulary!  The kid is going to comply, and that’s that.  They may not be incredibly cooperative about it, but the action WILL take place.  If your  kid absolutely, hands down, flat out refuses to cooperate and you have to threaten “or else,” you’re in hot water. Five to twelve-year-old’s should respond to authority. If they don’t, it means they’ve been getting away with the cockamamie bull-crap for way too long.

Set It Up for Success

Set It Up for SuccessTo really get behavior going in the right direction, set it up for success.  Stop being on defense all the time. Try offense.  Go into it with your head in the game, wrapped around what you need to help your child behave.  Get your ingredients out and ready.  You can’t make a batch of homemade cookies without ingredients!  So if your kid is the cookie, what makes you think you can make him sweet and successful if you don’t have butter, sugar, flour, and chocolate chips.

Set It Up for Success

Speaking of Food. . .

Food has always been a hot button of mine.  You feed your kid crap, and he’ll act crappy.  Pretty straight forward. But it still amazes me how much we wrap our lives around fueling our kids with sugary, icky, processed nonsense.  It floors me how people miss the correlation and still come to me in tears over their children’s behavior.  Even teachers shake their heads in wonder at the kids nonsense.  And I shake mine right back as I look at the packaged cinnamon rolls and cookies they’re eating for snacks.  Gee. . . gosh. . . I don’t know why they’re acting crazy!  Got me!  Maybe your entire class has ADHD???

I was recently doing my little speech therapy gig in an elementary school, working with several little autistic cuties around five to six years old.  And here’s the thing about current educational system wisdom: it teaches reinforcements for good behavior.  This translates into a lot of food.  Not regular food.  Yucky food.

So if you have a completely out-of-control child with autism, as soon as they sit still for three seconds, you give them a reinforcer.  Nice job, buddy!  Now sit still for five seconds this time, and you’ll get another reinforcer.  Woohoo! Kind of trains them that good things happen with cooperation.  You eventually extend the time it takes to get a reinforcer and you’ve got a kid that can participate in an activity for a normal length of time.  Easy enough, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong because these teachers are beautiful, wonderful people and they’ve been at this a lot longer than me, so I have to assume they know what they’re doing.  However, as a mom, I can’t quite wrap my brain around all the food being used as reinforcers.  

Because it’s not really food.  It’s junk.  Sugar-infested, hurt-your-teeth kind of junk.  Pretzels would be okay.  I could live with pretzels.  But that’s as healthy as it gets.  Because we’re talking chocolate chips, french fries, potato chips, chocolate granola-bites, gummies, candy, cookies. . . you get the picture.

I was sitting next to a kid the other day who was receiving covered-in-sugar-cereal-squares as a reinforcer. This is a kid who won’t participate in diddly, won’t talk, constantly tries to rip off his clothes, and throws a tantrum every fifteen minutes.  So I understand the need for a reinforcer to participate in music class.  No problem.  But trying to keep a straight face was hard.  

My eyes got bigger and bigger as this kid got a new piece of cereal every five seconds. He ended up looking like a snowman, DRENCHED in sugar, hands and face buried in white.  After music class, he went and jumped on the mini-trampoline like a monkey and one of the teachers said, “Wow, he just won’t stop jumping. I don’t know why.” The other replied, “Does he want a cookie?? What’s the matter with him?”

Time for a moment of pause.

They seriously want to know why he’s acting like a happy kangaroo? Really? I mean, no April Fools, no “ha-ha, got you on video”? Did they really and truly miss the fact that they just gave him about a cup of sugar disguised as food?

I pondered this as I moved on to my next kid. I sat down to work with him, and he started to fuss. The teacher threatened, “Do you want your cupcake?” “Yes!” he blurts. “Then finish your speech” she says. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, cupcake sticker, cupcake squishy toy, whatever.  It’s all good.  We finish working, and no sooner do I put my books and toys out of his sight than his teacher pops over with a half-eaten cupcake.  

A real, honest to goodness, you-eat-it cupcake.  She plops it down in front of him as he digs in to the two inch icing with glee.  I barely managed to keep from yelling something inappropriate.  It was ten fifteen in the morning.  A CUPCAKE at 10:15 A.M.  What?what?!  And he’d obviously eaten the first half earlier in the morning!

Clearly frustrated, I go next door to work with the next kid. His teacher is giving him a test of sorts, asking him to repeat words to see what sounds he needs work on.  Right up my alley!  Lemme at it, sister!  I’ll take over.  So she forks over the test with a good-luck face and pipes, “This involves lots and lots of pancake.”

Oh brother. Really?

Yes, really. Sure enough, I have to toss a little triangle of pancake at him every five words so he’ll sit still and work with me.  And plain Jane pancake isn’t good enough.  He’s got a container of syrup that he methodically dips two sides of his triangle in before popping it in the kisser.

By this time I’d given up, but curiosity won and I asked the teacher whether pancakes were the best reinforcer for him. She shook her head and lamented, “Oh, it’s actually good that he eats those.  He generally won’t eat anything. Most of the time he has ketchup sandwiches for lunch.  He won’t eat meat, cheese, nothing.”

Hmm. Okay.

There’s not much time to figure out where I stood on this since I needed to hightail it to gather my next group of kids. On my way, I passed a basket of snacks that third graders brought from home.  Donuts, chips, cheese cracker squares, cookies, and snack cakes.  REALLY????

You know, if your kid is acting like a toot, chances are you’re a pushover and need to stop.  And that’s one thing.  But if you’re a pushover AND your kid eats tons of garbage. . . wow.  Holy Toledo, you’ve got an uphill battle.

Here’s my advice:  stay away from processed foods.  Sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, anything in a package with eight thousand ingredients  crap, crap, crap.  Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.  There is actually a section in the grocery store that has fresh fruits and veggies, I swear!  

We Mommies tend to get things we can heat up and eat a bit quicker and I completely understand that.  However, I say we form a pact and vow to feed our kids just a smidgen less horse doody.   

Go online or get a book by Dr. Oz or Dr. Andrew Weil and learn what foods are most beneficial. Eat them. Make your kids eat them.  No one will die of taste bud fraud, I promise.

 I’m not saying it will be fun, but we’ll lose weight, have more energy, contract less colon cancer, and enjoy a higher self esteem because we don’t look like a giant, walking donut.  And our kids might actually experience some calm and stop acting like tyrants.  Yippee!

Create an Environment of Trust, Security, and Control

Create an Environment of TrustIf you want to increase cooperation and cut out frustrating behavior, set up an create an environment of trust, security, and control.  Here are six ways:

Create an Environment of Trust

1. Start with Respect. Give respect and expect respect.  For example, respect your child’s limitations and need for rest and sleep.  Don’t overload your kid with activities:  baseball, soccer, piano, dance, etc. Do NOT have a class or activity every single day after school.  Pick one or two days a week for that and leave the rest for actual playing or letting them chill.  Don’t drag your kids all over creation. They can only take so much! If you don’t choose to respect your child’s needs, don’t expect him to be gracious and refrain from crying and fighting when he’s exhausted and overloaded.  

2. No Yelling or Lectures. When you yell, you’ve lost control.  Then bad things happen:  kids stop listening, and you give negative attention.  Stay in command of your emotions.  Keep your volume and tone down.  Stop yelling at them in the car or for chasing the cat with the vacuum.  That will not get rid of the behavior.  Maintain your control when your buttons are being pushed – no matter how upset you are or how bad the crime.  You can do it. You are the grown-up! 

3. Model Desirable Behaviors. Model the behavior you want your child to demonstrate. Use “please” and “thank you.”  Treat your child and others around you (that means spouses too!) with respect and gratitude. I guarantee those eyes are watching!  When you’re in a disagreement with a family member, use language and listening skills that demonstrate how to communicate effectively.  This is how you teach your child to behave during an argument.  Clean up your act because kids copy the bad stuff too.  

4. Provide Structure and Routine. Schedules need to be consistent.  I cannot stress this enough!  Daily and weekly activities should be fairly predictable.  Keep bedtime the same EVERY DAY.  Some kids are more flexible than others, but for the most part, they love routines.  They feel in control and happy when daily schedules and bedtime routines are consistent.  It works best when you keep the time and the routine the same.  Sleep schedules need to be absolutely predictable.  For example:

  • Bath at 7:15 p.m., brush teeth at 7:45, quiet reading until 8:00. Lights out.

The younger kids are, the stricter the routine needs to be.  With kindergartners and first graders, set a limit on books.  When you hit your limit or run out of time, that’s it.  No more.  Remember, kids want to know their boundaries. “Two books” means two books.  Period.  If you think your child’s getting too little reading time, then read more books throughout the day.  When it comes to bedtime, you MUST remain consistent.  No matter how sweet and endearing the plea, you answer, “No.”  Otherwise, the kid won’t sleep and you’ll feel like breaking all your china and checking into a loony bin.  So give your child a firm, loving, and consistent routine to wrap him up in security.

Forget about lax bedtime on weekends or waiting for Daddy to get home from work.   Put kids to bed on time! And don’t run your children around in the evening in order to tire them out.  It will only make them overtired and throw them way off track.  Keep the transition easy by making activities before bed calm, relaxing, and consistent.

Guide children to stay on task.  Understand going in, they will test you.  Expect to send your child to bed heartbroken a time or two.  They’ll be much more cooperative from then on.  If not, put your foot down again.  No cooperation means you’re giving in somewhere and they know it.  So start being consistent!  Structure and routine give kids security.  I swear to Pete, the first time they actually give you a kiss goodnight, go right into their routine on their own and hit the lights at eight o’clock, you’ll freak out.  It’s a great feeling!

5. Repetition of Rules. The less boundaries your kids currently have, the more they will need you to repeat your new rules.  You’ve always caved before, so what makes them think you won’t cave now?  Oooh, look! Mom’s on a kick and thinks she’s going to get me to mind! Ho! Funny!

Expect them to pull the same behavior nonsense. Then change your reaction, stand your ground, and repeat the rule. There’s a new sheriff in town and you need to prove it.   

6. The Two Rules of Engagement. To avoid lame and useless threats, you must say what you mean and do what you say.

See:   The Two Rules of Engagement

Blocking

BlockingBlocking for me is proactive, not reactive. It can end up being an actual physical block, yes. However,  the more important block is mental.

When I sense a child is even thinking about heading down the path of defiance, I move forward and block.  I get in their space and use my body and demeanor to communicate, “You might want to rethink that.” I am never confrontational – just calm and authoritative.

Blocking

In the snack cake example (#2 above), ideally you should not let it get to the point where you have to be on defense and physically block the cabinet door.  After refusing her request, I would watch the child’s body and facial cues and sense her laser focus on the snack cake.

 Instead of engaging the argument (“You can’t have a snack cake right now, they’re only for dessert, blah, blah, blah. . .”) and letting her brain escalate, I would walk to the child and use power phrases or redirection to block the thought itself.  We don’t want her thoughts escalating into action.

Get her focus off the cake and back on you. You could, for example, give a choice of two healthy snack items (for instance, carrots or apples) to choose from as an alternative.  If those are turned down, stay matter-of-fact and say, “Sure, that’s fine.  

You may go back to your card game or work on your science project.”  That lets her know it’s perfectly okay if she forgoes the snack and now she has a choice of two activities.  Keep the activity choices narrow because the potential snack cake fit should clue you in that she obviously needs more boundaries and limits.

When you change your thinking and approach, you can sniff out undesirable behavior before it comes to a head.  Not only do you need to block the snack cake laser and keep it from turning into a ridiculous fight, you need to address the underlying issue: no boundaries or limits.  So make some.

Now, let’s say it does turn into a ridiculous fight.  If she argues that she wants something different than your two choices, just say, “Carrots or apples. Those are your choices.”  Repeat that a maximum of twice. If she keeps coming back at you with arguments, use your calm, authoritative demeanor and take away ALL choices.

 Redirect her to a task. “Because you’re arguing, you’ve lost your choice.  No snack.  Now go work on your science project.”  Again, repeat this a maximum of twice.  (You can shorten it when repeating.  “You’ve lost your choice. Go work on your project.”)  Do NOT give in, even if she agrees to apples or carrots at this point.  If you relent and let her have apples, carrots, or anything else, you’ve just reinforced the arguing.

Next, use physical prompts to guide her to start walking toward her science project, and keep your talking to a minimum to avoid engaging the argument.  Keep your cool, stay firm, and that’s it.  Make it clear that the discussion is over.  No more.  We are done!

 

Task Analysis and Prompting


Task Analysis and Prompting

So now we know that we have to TELL and SHOW our kids how we want them to act.  And sometimes they need help.  The first way we promote positive behavior is by giving better direction using Task Analysis and Prompting.  This approach breaks activities into manageable steps so they are not so overwhelming.  This decreases frustration.  When a task is overwhelming, overload kicks in.  Makes sense, right?

Now, you would think that you only have to break down tasks for the little bitty kids, right? Wrong.  Even as kids get older, they need direction.  We just assume they should know what we’re talking about, so we yell, “Are you kidding. Put that thing right there so it will stay upright!”  All the while they’re trying to figure out what ‘that’ is and where ‘there’ is and getting flustered because you’re yelling.

We have to break steps down into parts.  We have to use language kids understand and be specific. “That” is a pitcher of lemonade and “there” is on a flat surface so it won’t topple over.  And not only do we have to break it down better, we need to give our kids prompts.

Task Analysis and Prompting

Prompting is any assistance given by a caregiver to promote correct responding. Good prompting increases the likelihood that your child will do what you want or ask.  We do it every day without even thinking:

  • Holding your hand out to show your child to take it.
  • Saying, “Put your foot here,” while helping them put on a roller-blade.
  • Touching their back to prompt them forward.
  • Patting a surface to indicate they should sit.

Prompts are instructions, gestures, demonstrations, touches, or other things we arrange or do to help children make the correct responses.  There are five types of prompts: verbal, modeling, gesture, physical, and visual.

Verbal

Verbal prompts are words, instructions, or questions meant to direct a child to do something.  Important: Verbal prompts are the least effective!  This is why parents get so frustrated with kids; there are too many verbal prompts given the wrong way.  We talk too much!  Too many steps, too much direction, or constant yammering only confuses the poor kids.

For example, when getting dressed, the parent will yak: “Put on your shirt. Take those pants off, they don’t match. Put the blue ones on instead.  Put on these socks.  No, stop that, I said the blue ones!”  As kids get older, they can process multiple steps, but we mix it up too much and it gets confusing.  Then the directions become too much information to process.

Here are some examples of verbal prompts: (Please note, the first three are not good or bad. They are just examples of how we use verbal prompts on a daily basis.)  

“Do you want to eat?”

“Let go of the book.”

“Hold still.”

“I told you to stop that!” (This prompt is not specific and does not work. Unfortunately, we do it all the time!)

Modeling

Modeling demonstrates a response. It is generally used in conjunction with other prompts.

Examples:

Saying, “Do you want to eat?” as you act out eating. (modeling + verbal)

Saying, “Open the door” as you open the door for the child. (modeling + verbal)

Gesture

Gesture prompts indicate an action to be performed by pointing, motioning, or nodding toward the child, objects, materials, or activities.  Gesture prompts are also often used with other prompts.

Examples:

Saying, “Do you want to eat?” and pointing to a sandwich. (gesture + verbal)

Saying, “Open the door” while pointing to the door. (gesture + verbal)

Physical

Physical prompts are physical contacts from a caregiver that demonstrate what they want. (When you give physical prompts, you walk the child through the activity.)  Such prompts include hand over hand, escorting, hand on shoulder, hand on elbow, hand on wrist, or any other touch.  Physical prompts require the most hands-on help, but research indicates that these prompts work the best.

Examples:

  • You’re trying to de-escalate an argument between two kids. One is talking and the other tries to interrupt. You gently put your hand on kid #2’s shoulder as a cue to stop talking while you first get the story from kid #1.
  • “Here’s how you fold the towel.”  To show how to fold a towel, you take the child’s hands and guide him through actually folding the towel.

Visual

Visual prompts include written words, pictures, objects, people and places.  You see these all over the place.  For example, as kids begin to learn math, they use worksheets with pictures of animals or blocks.  The pictures get them to understand the concept of sorting, counting by tens, addition, etc.  Or you’re supposed to remember to tell a friend about a book you read and, as soon as you see them, it pops into your head.  Seeing the friend was your visual cue.  Or your kid wants to go outside, but they haven’t finished their homework.  So you don’t say a word, but hold up their math book.  That visual cue reminds them to do their homework.

Other examples:

Putting an index finger to your lips to indicate a child should be quiet.

Furrowing your brow and giving eye contact to indicate a child should stop a behavior.

Here are some resources to consider.

Using Prompts

Kids require prompting all the time.  We just usually do it wrong and then immediately get furious when we get an unwanted response.  Study the different prompts.  Try to stop using so many verbal prompts.  Start using more physical prompts and modeling for difficult activities.  This takes more time and effort up front, but the decrease in frustration is great.

 

The Two Rules of Engagement

The Two Rules of EngagementThe Two Rules of Engagement. To avoid lame and useless threats, you must say what you mean and do what you say:

Say What You Mean

The Two Rules of Engagement

Say what you mean, consistently.  When you give your child a consequence, say what you mean and make it something you can live with.  Do not promise to bust their butt or give them “something to cry about.”  That is not working and it isn’t appropriate. Pick a suitable, specific and fair consequence.

You must have every intention of following through. I’ve heard, “If you don’t stop now, we will leave!” so many times it makes my head spin. Yet I have never once witnessed a parent grab the kid and head out the door.  Not once, not ever. Bottom line, the words are full of hooey and the kid knows it.  So forget cooperation!

Do What You Say

Kids will respond to your warnings if they know you aren’t kidding.  Simply tell them the consequence to any continued behavior and give them time to comply.  If they choose not to cooperate, implement your consequence. DO NOT GIVE IDLE THREATS!!  Do not even think about letting it slide.  Idle threats are a parent’s worst enemy because it means a child has no limits.  Stop what you are doing, get up and go through with your consequence ! EVERYTIME, CONSISTENTLY.

If you promise a new toy as a reward for good behavior all week, hold to it! Define ‘good behavior’ ahead of time and make sure your child understands and complies.  Start a behavior chart so she knows where she stands all week. Believe me, if she fumbles, she’ll pitch a fit.  But if you told her she had to use appropriate language all week, yet her behavior chart clearly has the word ‘damn’ on Tuesday afternoon, she does NOT get that reward.  I promise, she’ll remember it next time.  You may have one horrible afternoon, but don’t wimp out!  You can make it.

The rules of engagement build a foundation of trust.  For example, if ‘five more minutes’ or ‘one more time’ doesn’t seem to work for you, assess whether or not you are saying what you mean and doing what you say.  If your child doesn’t trust you, she’ll consistently be aggressive and obstinate when the five minutes are up.  And you can’t blame the kid.  It’s more likely you’ve taught her ‘five more minutes’ just means she has to turn on the voice and water works to get what she wants.  Transitions are difficult enough as it is.  Do not compound the problem by being inconsistent.

Demanding behavior means you are:

  • Giving too much
  • Not setting limits
  • Being inconsistent

Go through with what you say! Being a pushover to every argument and demand teaches your child that you are not trustworthy.

Be honest when telling your child time frames.  Make sure that ‘five more minutes on the computer’ really means five more minutes on the computer.  When kids do not trust your word, tantrums, rotten behavior and bedtime battles are on the way.  Again, honesty, consistency and limits give kids security.

When I substitute teach at my kids’ school, I have clear rules.  I introduce myself and write my rules on the white board. Each time the kids break a rule, I point it out.  “That breaks rule number one.”  In this way, the kids understand (a) exactly what my rules mean and (b) I’m enforcing them.  The rules must be followed.  Sometimes I’m funny about it, but most of the time my attitude is firm:  No nonsense, you will obey the rules.

Turn Your Head Away

Turn Your Head Away

Turn Your Head Away
Turn Your Head Away

Turn your head away:  This power action is usually only needed with younger children, but the older ones still respond to it as well.  Let’s say a kid keeps repeating the same question over and over.  Suppose I either can’t redirect, he won’t listen to my answer, or I can’t get a word in edgewise to actually answer the question.  At that point, I turn my head away. I deliberately look in the opposite direction and give him the back of my head.  

Doing so removes my attention and gets him to pause and think, “What is she doing?”  Once I get him to pause, I will turn back and regain eye contact.  Then I can use a power phrase  or address it however I feel is appropriate.

Sometimes drama takes over and a child will start ranting about one nonsensical thing or another.  By golly, they want to go to a movie and you are going to take them!  Or they want to get a BB gun and hate you because you keep refusing.  When the talk becomes ridiculous, out of control, hateful, or disrespectful, turn your head away.  Do not engage.  

You can stay there with your head facing the opposite direction, or you can turn your entire body.  You can even walk away.  Once they pause the nonsense, I’d resume eye contact and quietly ask, “Are you ready to calm down and use polite language?”

This works the best when they actually want your attention, help, or action. It lets them know that you will not respond until they approach you appropriately.  However, you can also use this technique when you are trying to get their attention and they blow up.  

But before you walk off, make sure that isn’t exactly what the kid wants!  He can’t have ANY part of an “I want” like “I want to keep watching this show,” or “I’m not finished making these bracelets.” Unplug the television, take away the bracelet beads or craft material, whatever.  

Just make sure that if the child is yelling at you so you’ll go away, don’t leave under the circumstances that he wants.  Look at the WHY to avoid reinforcing the yelling.

Turn Your Head Away

Take it Away:  With more severe behavior, you may have to hit the reset button and take away the source of the problem.  Then make your child earn it back.  For instance, if the television (shows, games, etc.) is causing grief and the kid is sucked so far in that only his feet are left sticking out of the screen, the darn TV needs to go.

 It doesn’t matter if you’ve got conference calls out the wazoo and the television keeps the child occupied.  Nor does it matter if your child loves the TV so much that you’ve christened it as part of the family.  You have an enormous problem if your child throws a temper tantrum when interrupted, or you can’t drag their crazed eyes from the screen when you need their attention.

You might look at this as a consequence and punishment, but it’s really not.  It’s going back to square one, resetting, and reestablishing the fact that you have to earn things in life.  When you give and give and give, it teaches children that things are handed to them on a silver platter.  And I KNOW you know that’s not true.

I’m guessing you’ve worked your butt off your entire life, just like the rest of us. When was the last time you saw a silver platter float your way for no reason at all? Never, right?  Well, think about the lesson you are teaching your child.  Of course you want them to have fun stuff and be happy, but by giving so much and spoiling, we hurt our children.

Yes, I said hurt. We are neglecting their needs. Children need to learn how the world really works, yet we teach them that they don’t have to lift a finger and “poof” they still get games, phones, clothes, electronics, bikes, food. . . everything they want.

When they make a mess in the kitchen, the harder choice for us is to make them stop what they are doing and get their ‘tush’ in there to clean it up.  

Sure, it would be faster if you did it yourself.  You may not even mind cleaning it up.  So what’s the problem?  The problem is that they’ll hit college or the job market with a serious sense of entitlement, no skills, no character, no motivation, no work ethic, and no clue how to take care of themselves.   

Wake up and smell the coffee!!  Just giving a child everything creates a spoiled, unproductive, helpless person, with no sense of self or place in the world.  Lost!  Such kids have needs that misguided parents neglect to meet.  Children must learn to EARN respect, earn their way, and earn the extras they want.  

As hard a lesson as this is, it’s your job to teach them.  And I don’t mean, “Here, dust this table and you can have your game.”  I mean, “We’re getting a chore chart in place.  When you show me you can complete all of your chores on time, without complaining, for one week, then you earn thirty minutes of television a day.  But as soon as you slip on the chart, the TV is gone.”   

My own kids have a chore chart in our home.  They know they must complete daily responsibilities before even asking me to watch TV, play on the computer, or pop in the latest shoot-em-up game.  Get your stuff done, or don’t bother asking if your friend can come over.

 Those are the rules.  There may be sighs here and there, but they have never once given me a “but” over it.  They feel secure with the rules and my consistency.