Did you know that kids can hide apps you’d never want them to have on their phones or tablets behind apps that look like calculators or other mundane looking icons? If you want to know more about that, take a look at this article.

Did you know that kids often have “Finsta” accounts to share with friends what they would never want their family members to see. Finsta stands for fake Instagram account. If you want to know more about this, take a look at this article.

If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “I’m not a techie person. By the time I figure out this, there’ll be other ways for kids to hide what they’re doing. There’s no way I can possibly stay a step ahead of them on technology.” If you are thinking that taking their electronics away is the answer, think again. They’ll just use a friend’s phone, tablet, or laptop to set up an account you know nothing about.

Two ways you can approach the conundrum of trying to grow kids into decent human beings are (1) to try to install good character in them; and (2) try to teach them the rewards of good choices and the consequences of poor choices. [If you have other ideas, please share them with us!]

To instill good character, you must model it. If the phone rings, and you ask someone else to answer it and say you’re not there, you’re teaching your kids that it’s ok to be deceitful. If you text and drive, you’re showing your kids that it’s ok to risk your life and the lives of others. I you talk about people behind their backs, you’re teaching your kids that gossip is an acceptable topic for conversation.

To teach rewards of good choices, share with your kids what other young people have accomplished. It doesn’t take long to do an online search to find a kid who launched a drive for backpacks for disadvantaged kids, suitcases for foster kids, a penny collection for a good cause, and so on. You could ask your kids to find a news story of a kid who has done something that your kid would like to do. Some big, historical accomplishments of kids can be found in articles like this one in the Huffington Post. Another idea is to encourage your kids to enter a contest. Do an online search using the words “contest teens,” and you’ll find contests involving everything from poetry and other creative writing, to photography, to travel and sports, and more. If you don’t find anything your kids are interested in, consider setting up a contest in your community.

To teach the consequences of poor choices, you can start with the videos that are available free of charge from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. You can find age-appropriate training videos that show online behaviors and their possibly outcomes at www.netsmartz.org.

If just having conversations with your kids is a challenge, take a look at these short videos that provide some great tips for having effective conversations with kids: GET RESULTS WITH EFFECTIVE CONVERSATIONS.

Perhaps if we encourage our kids to engage with others using their skills and talents, they’ll be less likely to make poor choices (think doing things that give them a sense of fitting in, like eating Tide pods or other wrong behavior and posting it online), and be more likely to fit into groups of kids who are striving to doing good.

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