May 10, 2011

EIE Recognizes National Family Month

 Dear Friend,


National Family Month begins this month. This five-week period between Mother's Day and Father's Day has been distinguished by Congress as a time to recognize the importance of children and families to the future of our country.  During this time, many of our nation's families will be preparing for the end of the school year, providing increased opportunities for parents, grandparents and all caring adults to play a more consistent role in the physical, emotional and virtual health and welfare of their children. 


Texting, online gaming, and using social networking sites and other social sites, such as YouTube and blogs, are among the most common activity for today's children and adolescents.  Recently, a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics emerged examining the impact of social media and social networking on children, adolescents and families.  The study highlighted that children and adolescents may face amplified risks when they navigate and experiment with social media. Such risks include cyberbullying, sexting, privacy concerns, and a new phenomenon called "Facebook depression", whereby the intensity of the online world is thought to trigger depression, social isolation and youth risky behaviors. When parents, educators and other caring adults are involved in children and adolescents' online lives, these risks are significantly reduced.  Every child and adolescent needs a digital mentor or parent so they can enjoy the educational, collaborative, entertainment and communications benefits of the social web.


There is no better time than the present to play an active role to help your kids enjoy the many benefits of the social web, free from the dangers. As we continue to mentor children and teens around us we must remember that their online and offline worlds are merging and there must be a proper balance of virtual play, physical play, and relationship building.  


During this year's National Family Month, we have a few simple steps you can take to become educated, equipped and empowered to protect your kids as they navigate the social web:


1.       Learn more about the issue.  Do you really understand the basics of social networking? Remember, popular sites like Facebook require users to be at least 13 years old to become a member. There are also sites available for younger children such as Club Penguin and Togetherville. Visit our site to learn about the benefits and dangers of social networking and to get equipped with basic tipsto help you parent online.


2.       Learn about the safety measures needed to protect your kids. You can download our free Internet Safety 101SM® Rules & Tools® Checklist today to learn about the non-technical rule parents should follow and the technical tools (parental controls) available to support you and protect your kids. 


3.       Order our program for yourself or share our resource with a friend, your community, or your library.  The Internet Safety 101SM®Program is the nation's only comprehensive, multi-media adult Internet safety education resource available.  The program provides parents, educators and other caring adults with the knowledge and resources needed to protect kids from the dangers of online pornography, sexual predators, cyberbullies and dangers related to social networking, online gaming and mobile devices. 


4.       Join a social media site like Facebook and become a fan of Enough Is Enough®.  The more familiar you are with the social networking sites your teens frequent, the better equipped you will be to provide guidance and an appropriate level of supervision as your teens grow and learn in the social web.


For the Sake of the Children,

Donna Rice Hughes

President, Enough Is Enough®