Some super heroes like Batman have an SOS sign that allows them to react when people need their help.
Batman uses the bat signal and I remember in the old TV Series they did have the red phone. I think it was called the Bat Line. There was an easy way for an individual to contact Batman for help.
Many Risks In Global Connectivity
There are many risks our children face in an open, global scenario. Many kids might even face those risks without even realizing it. Other kids do identify a threat and might not even dare to share the situation with their parents. A mix of guilt or having the Internet removed from them might keep them from disclosing that they are having issues online.
Before allowing access to the Internet or any communication platform it is critical that you establish what is expected like creating a contract. On the other side that gives you the opportunity to also establish what kids should do in case they run into an issue online with others.
Many organizations have an incident reporting process or plan and I highly recommend that your family have a simple one so everyone can communicate when something is going wrong.
The plan should have an easy way so kids can contact you in case they are having an issue. These factors should be taken into consideration when creating that simple plan and educating your children and family on how to react to it.
Quick and Urgent Reporting
If your children feel threatened or even uncomfortable they should quickly talk to you about the situation. It might not be something big but creating a system of early alerts can help your reaction time and improve communications.
Teaching How To Flag Suspicious Behavior
By continuously teaching your kids and family on the many threats and risks people are exposed to online, it can help them identify strange patterns. Kids might be able to spot suspicious behavior even quicker than you. The important part is showing them what might be suspicious so they can identify it quickly. Suspicious behavior might come in the form of strangers wanting to be their friends on Facebook, sending them strange emails, people who aren’t their friends wanting to chat, or text messages from phone numbers they don’t recognize.
Creating a Clear Channel
In order to communicate these behaviours, set up a special email that kids can send strange stuff to you immediately. It might not be a bad idea that kids can actually send a distress signal from their computer or whatever device in the case they need help. We will detail a bit more in another post how having a system of distress signals can be a life saver.
We are currently working on incident reporting plan for the family. I think it would be a great exercise for many of us to come up with items we would like to share with other that are key to keeping our families safe.
If you are interested in sharing your thoughts feel free to leave them in the comments area and we will clearly give you attribution.
Just as Bruce Wayne had to slip into his batman suit, getting the alert that your child needs help is a way to activate the help of the Papaheroes Alliance.
photo credit by Patrick Mize