Technology + Kids: 12 Must Do’s To Keep Your Children Safe on Technology

IMG_4333Technology has become ubiquitous in our lives. We use it for work, to communicate, to connect with others, and to be entertained. The units are getting smaller, more portable and more accessible. My son’s iPad finds its way into his hands as often as possible. One minute we are having a conversation, the next that darn iPad or iTouch is the most engaging thing in his life. It happens in a second. So what are parents to do?

The first thing to remember is that the use of technology is not a right, rather it is a privilege. I highly suggest making that a mantra. Say it to yourself often. Know that those tech units are there to be used by us, not to control us – especially not our kids! There are too many pitfalls!

12 Must Do’s To Keep Your Children Safe on Technology

1. Give them access to social media judiciously. Only let your children get social media accounts that are age appropriate. Don’t just let them create accounts because their friends are. Ask yourself: “Are my kids ready for this type of engagement with others and technology?”

2. Become technology literate yourself. You need to know about social media sites, gaming sites, etc… so that you can support your child’s healthy use. The top ones for kids: texting, email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, + Twitter. There are more. They keep changing too. If your kids have accounts on these social media channels you should too!

3. Educate your kids about appropriate internet/social media engagement. Create a contract or have a detailed discussion about what is appropriate behavior online. They need to understand that what they say on social media/internet is public and visible. You bet employers and colleges are getting on social media to see what perspective students/employees are, or have been, doing online.

4. Keep the computer in a common area. This is especially true for younger children, but if possible try to keep all technology use in a common area where you can keep an eye on their use.

5. Educate your children about internet/social media issues. The big ones are cyber-bullying, sexting, identity theft, and even pornography. If your children are online they are likely exposed to some of these issues – or they will be soon. These are so important to discuss before they experience them. Remind them it is essential they talk with you if they see/experience any of these internet/social media issues.

6. Have ALL login info for ALL your children’s accounts. I cannot say this strongly enough. They must give you all login information and let you know when something changes.  Internet/social media accounts are not a given, rather they are a privilege.

7. Monitor your children’s internet/social media use/accounts on a regular basis. Don’t just have an account on all social media channels that your kids are on. Monitor it very regularly. “Friend” and “Like” and “Comment” and “Engage” with your children and your children’s friends. And ask other parents to do the same. It takes a village! 

8. Bookmark your child’s favorite sites. For younger kids and older ones, work together with them to find their top sites and bookmark them. It seems simple, but then they are not constantly entering the names and possibly going to an unintended site.

9. Spend time together online. Just spend some time together online. You will get a sense of how they engage online and it’s just great to do something together. If you don’t know about social media sites ask them to give you a tour and show you how they are used. Let them be your teacher – very empowering!

10. Be aware and stay involved. Notice if your child’s mood is changing when they get online. If they removing themselves from the family to get online or feeling an urgency to get online as soon as they have access. This is where being engaged yourself is priceless!

11. Have a common area where you power technology – not your children’s bedrooms! This seems simple, but your kids need a break from technology. Identify a time they turn in their technology units and have power cords in a common area.

12. Make a technology contract. This can be a document you put together and then discuss with your whole family. How much time is it okay to spend online? What are the behavior expectations? How to handle login info. And so much more. About a year ago a mom created a contract for the iPhone she gave her son and it went viral. The iPhone Contract – This offers a great framework for creating your own a contract!

#boulder #technology #socialmedia #kids #safety

Do You Know What Drowning Looks/Sounds Like?


None of us think its going to happen. We teach our kids to swim. We watch them near the water. But drowning is not always what we think. I just want to raise awareness.

It was almost exactly a year ago when my family was in Mexico. It was there that a friend told me the scariest story about a near drowning of their friend’s 3 year old when there were 6 adults around. Here is what I learned:

  • Drowning is often silent [the victim doesn’t yell for attention or gasp for air so loudly you can hear]

Their story goes that 3 couples showed up at their beautiful house for a relaxing vacation in Mexico. The house had a pool in the back. They were standing around talking when they first arrived since they came from different parts of the country. Kids wandered around. 15 minutes went by and they realized they were missing one child. They calmly looked around. It was then that they found their son floating face down in the water with all his clothing on. They still don’t know how it happened, but it did. It was silent. None of the 6 adults heard anything.

Do you know the signs of drowning? Since it is often silent you need to know what do watch for.

Here is a great article on how to know if someone is in trouble in the water. 

Sunscreen: Keeping Our Kids Safe from Sun AND Chemicals!


The sun is out in full force these days. Around here we went from winter to spring conditions in what seemed like a day! No longer are we thinking about how to shovel out from the over 46 inches of snow we saw in the Boulder area, but we are turning to the age old question of sun protection. I feel like I have to educate myself again every year!

It doesn’t have to be confusing what we put our skin and our little ones. Here is a Glossary of Terms to help get started:

  • UVA: the rays that cause skin cancer
  • UVB: the rays that are responsible for burns
  • Mineral sunscreens: those containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
  • EWG: Environmental Working Group is a consumer group that tests cosmetics, including sun screen to let the public know what’s safe and what’s not
  • SPF: Sun protection factor which is a measurement of the UVB rays only [not UVA]
  • Nanoparticles: EWG states that they are safe in lotion, but not in sprays because nanoparticles can get into your lungs and cause harm.

The most effective protection for UVA is zinc oxide, but it’s tough to put on the kids and leave your skin white and pasty looking. The reason this works so well is it that it reflects the sun and doesn’t allow penetration. But don’t be fooled by companies that use nanoparticles to get sheer coverage because these could be harmful. For more specific information on your sunscreens head to EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.

So What Should a Family To Do? The best thing to do is avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Find shade then and head outside early or late. If you cannot do that then avoid nanoparticles, and use mineral sunscreens. The most effective protection for UVA is zinc oxide, but it’s tough to put on the kids and leave your skin white and pasty looking. The reason this works so well is it that it reflects the sun and doesn’t allow penetration. If you and your kids can stand these sunscreens they are the best.

Delicious Living Magazine recommends the following sunscreen products:

  • Badger SPF 34 Baby Sunscreen
  • Goddess Garden Sunny Body
  • True Natural All Natural Tropical Tan Self Tanner

You can find Delicious Living’s full article on sunscreens here.

Fisher Auto: Bringing the Keeping Kids Safe Project to Boulder

keepingkidssafeThis Friday & Saturday Fisher Auto is bringing The Keeping Kids Safe Project to Boulder.  This is a FREE event where you can have your children’s vital information collected: finger prints and images. You are given these items for safe keeping. I hate to be a part of fueling the fear factor around child abductions, but considering the incident that happened very near us recently I think this may be a valuable resource for families. Even if it is just for piece of mind.

Information from Fisher Auto’s website:

What: S.I.P. Kids will be on hand running the event and taking FBI quality digital fingerprints and photographs of your children.  This inkless digital capture device will provide high quality images that will be added to your child’s file.  This file is then provided to the parent to store for safe-keeping.  The only record taken is sent directly home – we do not database any information.  In case of an emergency, parents will then be able to turn this file over to the authorities anywhere in the world to instantly aid in the investigation, saving crucial time and resources.

Why: Many children are reported missing in the USA each year.  Although some are found within a few minutes or hours police officials say that time is critical in the recovery of a missing child.  A major source of wasted time is in the gathering of resources, fingerprints, statistical information and photographs which can be avoided by providing a pre-made file to the authorities.

When: Friday, 12/7, 3 to 7pm & Saturday, 12/8, 10am to 4pm

Where: Fisher Auto at 6025 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

Summer Time/Swimming Time: What Drowning Really Looks Like

Summer is synonymous with water–oceans, pools, sprinklers–whatever it takes to keep cool. And Boulder Families are heading to the water in an effort to cool off from these ridiculously high temps. My kids and I just got back from Mexico where I was shocked by the near drowning that happened to the 3 year old child of my friend’s family friends at their rented beach house. All 3 couples had just arrived at the house. They were talking and letting the kids play together. After a bit they realized one of the 3 year olds was missing. They found him floating in the pool a distinct shade of blue. One of them was an E.R. nurse. She did CPR. He is okay. Miracle. They reported that none of the 6 adults heard anything. What really struck me was how quietly a child can drown. How is that possible? 

What Does growing look like? 

*Drowning doesn’t look like the dramatic splashing, gulping for air scene Hollywood has painted. Rather, the Instinctive Drowning Response, named by Francesco Pia, Ph.D., is a relatively quiet sequence of events that humans do in order to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. You may not know:

  • drowning people are physiologically unable to call for help
  • drowning people’s mouths are not above the surface long enough to call for help
  • drowning people cannot wave for help
  • drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements
  • from beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, the body remains vertical in the water

If you see these signs, you have a matter of seconds to provide assistance. Additional overt signs of drowning include:

  • head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • head titled back with mouth open
  • eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • eyes closed
  • hair over forehead or eyes
  • not using legs, or vertical in the water
  • hyperventilating or gasping for air
  • trying to swim in a particular direction but not making any progress
  • trying to roll over on the back
  • appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

And just like any other time, kids make noise when they play. If they are quiet in the water, you need to investigate!

*Special thanks to for their post on Safe Swimming. I got a lot of the content for this post from her original post linked above.