Digitally aware parenting

Mary Kay Hoal, Family Internet Safety Expert, explains why it is so important that parents are digitally educated and digitally aware, and shares advice on steps that parents can take to make sure that their children are being safe online
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Digitally aware parenting

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When I tell parents that it is uber important to be a digitally involved, a digitally educated and digitally aware parent, that means not just going to the browser checking their smartphone to see what sites they visited. It means digging deep into the site so that you can see what culture awaits them. There is a site called My Yearbook that you think it would be fine. Your child is in high school. Nothing is wrong with my yearbook. When I immersed myself in my yearbook, I found out they are making plenty of money off an application that still exists today called Owned, O-W-N-E-D. You think gosh, what was that. They boast of buying and selling people within the community. You swipe your visa card, how sweet. You get lunch dollars. But here we find within the site young 14 and 15 year old girls in sexually explicit positions boasting that they will send a picture of their breast if indeed you buy them. Then, you have a man over here that´s bought the two girls. He is ranked in the community and has status because he owns two 14 and 15 year old girls. I say the culture is corrupt. I say it´s unhealthy. I say it´s not okay. My son, Jack, who is 13, he wants to go on and get a college scholarship. He would love to go on and play in the NFL or the NBA. He loves all sports. And the conversation that I was having with him was about three football players that lost their college scholarships because of what they had posted on facebook. Now, Jack is going to grow up. At some point, today, tomorrow, in a year, he´s going to be on his own deciding what he´s going to post online. I told Jack. I want you to remember this conversation because he was absolutely floored that three football players lost their scholarship because of what they posted on one social network. And I said Jack. Whether it´s facebook or another site in five years, four years, it doesn´t matter. When you are at that point, when you are going to make a decision about something that you post, I want you to be the one athlete that remembers the conversation with his mom where he said you know I remember that. I am not going to post it. That´s what I want every parent to have the opportunity to do. Have that conversation because you are knowledgable. You understand what the consequences can be. And with that, your child can have a positive and safe experience online and enjoy social media for what it was meant to do.

Mary Kay Hoal, Family Internet Safety Expert, explains why it is so important that parents are digitally educated and digitally aware, and shares advice on steps that parents can take to make sure that their children are being safe online

Transcript

Expert Bio

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Mary Kay Hoal

Family Internet Safety Expert

Mary Kay Hoal is a nationally recognized expert on children’s online safety. She is the founder and president of Yoursphere Media Inc., which focuses on the family and publishes the kids’ social network Yoursphere.com. Mary Kay also offers parents Internet-safety information and tips at YoursphereForParents.com. She has been profiled on CNN, Fox & Friends, FOX Business, E!, Lifetime TV, ABC News Now, and The Reader's Digest. Mary Kay is also part of the "Web Avenger" team for ABC's 20/20.

In 2012, Mary Kay founded The Yoursphere Media Foundation and Coalition for Internet Safety Education and Reform (FCISER), which is dedicated to creating a network of community educators that provide children, their parents, schools and communities, with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools they need to have a positive and safer digital experience.

Mary Kay has also been published on sites such as DrLaura.com, Yahoo! Shine and ABC News where she's able to reach millions of parents. 

 

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