ParentMap, August 2010

Published on: August 01, 2010

August ParentMap

Is your child online?

A better question: Is your child safe online?

This month, we take a close look at the question with a guide that every parent should read.

How can you limit the digital dangers? What's the best way to keep kids safe in social media — now, and in the future?

Also in August, "orgasmic birth" — find out more about this growing trend ... get a primer on why our child's mindset makes all the difference ... and find out about ways to boost your kids' summer reading fun!

Subscribe Now!Read the entire issue online, or scroll down for links and cool online only content.

Ages & Stages:

Getting School Ready: Coping with divorce, part #3

Out & About:

Feature: Avoiding Internet regret


Online only! Click here for this month's special "online only" content.

About this issue

Holding the line

“Once it’s out there, it’s out there” are words I will repeat often to my digitally chaste 9-year-old. She will hear this well before the distant and undisclosed day when she is allowed access to social media or her own cell phone, unlike many of her friends today (“Avoiding Internet Regret”). If you read this column with any frequency, you know I am not swing dancing with extreme conservatives on many issues.

But I am diggin’ my heels in on this one. Our young kids are overexposed, and parents need to enter — and stay — in their child’s social media life.

I will attempt to protect my little ballet- and jazz-dancing, violin-playing, book-loving aspiring actress from Internet regret and digital distraction. She witnesses the regular scuffle as her 19- and 24-year-old sibs are required to check their objet de digital at the door when dining with the family. My 50-something husband — who was romantically labeled “tech challenged” a mere two years ago — is now a pacesetter with his “Crackberry” addiction, often flanked by our older children BBM-ing each other when they are within whispering distance. They will read this and shout “J’accuse!” — asserting my equal addiction to my Palm Pre. But let the shut-down challenge begin!

I am not what you would call a Pollyanna, but love the suggestion to “never open, download or post anything online that you wouldn’t share with your grandmother.” Well, Grammy’s teeth would drop out if she could see the risqué club costume photos my daughter’s friends posted on Facebook. That post led to my being “unfriended” after I offered up a few colorful fashion critiques.

Face it: Many actions of our youth we would not want replayed. Thankfully, nobody was recording and posting our every indiscretion for friends, Grammy and employers to see, share, comment on, and “like it” to the universe.

Leave your devices behind and grab your family during the remaining few days of summer for a float down the Yakima (“Raft-tastic”) . . . or maybe you’re in the mood for a Howl-in!

We all agree that summer and childhood go by too fast, so help your kids by role-modeling a little digital shut-down, and help make August go by nice and slow.

— Alayne Sulkin, Publisher/Editor

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