I approached the mother of a family we have been friends with for a while and asked if she would be willing to host one of our first Digital Boundaries Workshops. She immediately began to tear up and say absolutely yes. I was thrilled but concerned and confused by her tears. She confessed that, while we had discussed setting up internet safety solutions in her home nearly a year earlier, we had never made the scheduling work and she felt horrible. Especially because her son, who was in third grade, had just been caught searching for information on some very adult topics online. A younger child on the school bus had told him what he should search for and curiosity immediately took over. “We need to do something as soon as possible.” she said, “I wish we hadn’t waited, I hope it’s not too late.” We did a workshop for her just a couple weeks later.
This response is all too common. Our work for families gets far more attention from parents who’ve been through some kind of related struggle than those who want to set up preventative measures to keep their family from such a story becoming their reality. Our children are being called digital natives by psychologists. This is a label that identifies them as a generation that’s so used to technology, it’s like it’s their native tongue. If you’ve spent any time with a young child or teen you’ve probably been impressed with their ability to maneuver digital devices. It’s hard for parents to keep up. It’s even harder if you’re an older parent or a grandparent who feels left behind by the online world. My “Setting Digital Boundaries” living room workshop is an easy way to get some training that will set you on the path towards understanding the digital world your kids are growing up in. Starting next month (August 2017) these workshops will be available both live and through skype.
What Happens at a Workshop?
I jokingly tell people that our Setting Digital Boundaries Workshop is like a Mary Kay party. You invite your friends over and serve up some snacks. After everyone has had some time to arrive and say hello we begin the presentation. Instead of selling you make up I’ll be teaching you and your friends how to protect your children online. After updating you on some of the latest dangers and threats available to your kids online I teach you our internet safety plan that I call S.A.F.E. (Setup Accountability Filtering and Education)
Each section of this presentation will be spent unpacking the four keys of our S.A.F.E. plan all the while highlighting some of the best resources you can use to protect your family. Each section ends with a time for questions. The sessions last anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes and afterward, I always stay available to answer more questions and give feedback on some of yours and your friends’ tech safety needs.
These workshops are so valuable because of how quickly the internet safety atmosphere changes. Our book is helpful for getting you started and teaching you some of the terms that you need to understand to protect your kids online. A book, however, can’t give you step by step help with your internet safety goals. A blog post or YouTube video can’t listen to your specific internet safety needs and diagnose the best plan for protecting your family. That’s what makes Setting Digital Boundaries Workshops so critical.