Tip of the Week
Parents and children have a lot to talk about at the beginning of the school year: academic performance expectations, attendance at school functions and balancing extracurricular activities with time for homework. Few conversations, however, will be as important as discussing how children should, and should not, behave online. To help protect your child while he or she is online, start the school year with three important conversations:
- How to behave when connecting online: The anonymity of the Internet makes meeting strangers seem appealing and safe. But kids should use at least the same level of caution when meeting someone new online as they would in the real world. Explain to kids why they should never initiate or accept online contact from someone they haven't first met in person; given all the information we tend to give away in our online profiles, it's like walking up to a stranger on the street and inviting him or her into your home.
- How to behave when interacting online: The digital world makes communication fast and easy, yet its drawbacks are many: it's highly conducive to impulsive behavior, it's difficult to accurately convey tone and intention and it's nearly impossible to erase something once it's posted online. Children need to understand the limitations of this form of communication, and that missteps online can have a long-term impact in the real world. The anonymity of the Internet has made it easier for people to be mean to each other, and given rise to cyberbullying. A study by isafe.org found that 58 percent of fourth- through eighth-graders have had mean or hurtful things said to them online, and (even more disturbingly) 53 percent admitted to having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. Help your child understand the type of behavior that constitutes cyberbullying so that she can both avoid cyberbullies and avoid engaging in acts of cyberbullying. In addition to monitoring your child's online behavior, encourage him to have a robust social life in the real world - the environment in which we really learn how to behave with others.
- How to behave when interacting in person: While you're teaching about appropriate online behavior, it's important to reinforce lessons about being a good person in face-to-face interactions. Bullying has been around as long as people have; teach children how to recognize instances of in-person bullying, and help them learn techniques for coping with bullies.
Family Movie Night
"The Dark Knight Rises," now in theaters
Length: 164 minutes
Synopsis: Eight years after Batman disappeared, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham's finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.
Page 2 of 2 - Violence/scary rating: 4
Sexual-content rating: 3
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: 3.5. This is a hard PG-13, but it's still appropriate for teens.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being "bad for kids" and 1 being "fine for kids.")
"Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian," by Eoin Colfer
Synopsis: Seemingly nothing in this world daunts the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl. In the fairy world, however, there is a small thing that has gotten under his skin on more than one occasion: Opal Koboi. In "The Last Guardian," the evil pixie is wreaking havoc yet again. This time his archrival has reanimated dead fairy warriors who were buried in the grounds of Fowl Manor. Their spirits have possessed Artemis's little brothers, making his siblings even more annoying than usual. The warriors don't seem to realize that the battle they were fighting when they died is long over. Artemis has until sunrise to get the spirits to vacate his brothers and go back into the earth where they belong. Can he count on a certain LEPrecon fairy to join him in what could well be his last stand? - Hyperion Books for Children
Did You Know
A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research finds that children whose mothers drink a lot of alcohol during pregnancy have many central nervous system problems.
GateHouse News Service