We are so excited to share this important Interview with you! Internet safety expert, victim and missing persons advocate speaks with Irvine Moms to help us be better informed on Social Media and Internet Safety.
Can you share how Parents need to be engaged on social media platforms to better understand what their Tweens and Teens are facing?
The best way to learn how a social media platform works is to download it, make yourself an account, and play with it. Another great way is to play on these apps with your child and let them show you how the apps function. This opens up opportunities to discuss the dangers in a natural way while also not being restrictive
What can you share with us about the ever changing platforms of social media
Which platforms are the more popular ?
Social media platforms are forever changing. They are dynamic and one will fall in popularity while the next will rise. Children are always looking for the newest and most fun app. The problem is, that whatever apps the children use, the predators will also be on. The most popular trend is apps that have a “secretive” feature such as deleting messages or photos.
How can we help our Children stay safe ?
It’s important for parents/guardians to realize that the dangers on the internet are real and present.You must realize that this can happen and you must take steps to protect your family.
– Talk to your children about the dangers. This should not be done in a way that causes intense fear. The goal is to empower them to make good decisions when presented with something risky online. This is also not a one-and-done conversation. It must be ongoing and happen in different ways as your child grows and is naturally allowed more independence and freedom online
– Monitor your children on all devices, including gaming systems, that can access the internet. It’s important to know their passwords and be able to pick up and go through the device at any time. However, this is not about catching your child in the act of something you disapprove of – it is to keep them safe. Which brings me to my next point…
– Let your children know, and remind them, that they can come to you with absolutely any concern and you will not punish, judge, yell at them, or take their devices away. Children are terrified to ask for help because they are afraid that they’ll lose access to their devices. This can cause a child to hesitate speaking up or ask for help. If your child comes to you asking for help, it is important that it is a safe space, you are proud of them, and you will work to fix it together.
– Report immediately if your child is being threatened, harassed, cyberbullied, or sexually exploited online
What tools can you share for Parents to help with Bullying and Cyber Stocking ?
While he internet is a fun, necessary, and integral part of our lives, there are many dangers. A common danger is cyberbullying and stalking online. This is a frightening experience as the child is unable to easily escape it and the bullying impacts nearly all parts of their lives. If you suspect your child is the victim of cyberbullying, or they may be a cyberbully, please talk with them immediately. Report to the proper authorities, as well as faculty at your child’s school.
What advise can you share to make sure we understand and stay ahead of the pace with technology?
It’s impossible to stay ahead of the pace of technology. It rapidly changes and expands with each day. To keep up to date, do not fear a new app that is released, even if you do not understand how to use it. Download and explore the features, have an understanding of it, and do research. Your children are likely to learn and use it before you do. It’s less about staying ahead and more about flowing with the changes.
Thank you Alicia for your time and guidance
Here is Alicia’s info:
Alicia “Kozak” Kozakiewicz is an internationally-acclaimed and highly sought-after motivational speaker, Internet safety expert, victim and missing persons advocate, and television personality who has inspired millions through her in person and on-screen appearances. Passionate and straight-from-the-heart, Alicia motivates her audiences to transcend life’s challenges, pursue their passions, and discover their purpose. Alicia’s extraordinary life story exemplifies the strength of the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity and to deny defeat.
Internet safety expert and founder of The Alicia Project, for the past 17 years she has pioneered insightful Internet safety and sexual exploitation awareness presentations to children and adults. One of the most vocal and outspoken advocates for child safety legislation, Alicia has testified before Congress and works to pass Alicia’s Law, her namesake, which provides funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force enabling them to rescue endangered children.
Alicia was formerly part of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) as the Director of Outreach and Global Impact. As ICMEC’s spokesperson, she used the platform to protect children globally. As a member of ICMEC, Alicia worked toward the prevention, response, recovery, and healing of every missing, sexually abused, and exploited children to make certain that no child stands alone.
She has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America, Anderson Live, Investigation Discovery (ID), The CW, ABC, BBC, A&E, CNN, MSNBC, and many others, as well as in international publications such as People Magazine and Cosmopolitan.