(Written by Elle Yi) One of the potential concerns parents have with their kids online is the complete lack of supervision when it comes to material posted about them. Currently, one fantastic tool for digital parenting methods is the “Google Alert.”
The Google Alert that is free was originally created for consumers to monitor the website for new content on a specific topic. It allows you to have Google automatically search the websites for items of interests and then email the search results to you. It has been particularly useful for tracking information and resources related with certain interests.
In the case of digital parenting, parents can create an automatic search engine that will notify them when any type of media is tagged with their child’s name. During the age of digital parenting, this kind of tool seems a must have. For example, when things are posted on the web with your child’s name, you’ll be the first to know. What do you do if anything unpleasant comes up? That depends on who sent it and where it was posted.
You can generally request that tags be removed from pictures quite easily, and you can choose your method of response to any disagreeable postings. The Google Alert means you and your child can respond quickly before anything gets spread too far. Kids already dealing with cyber bullying will need to be particularly vigilant. This kind of search engine system can simply develop an awareness of one’s digital footprint.
Anthony Rotolo, a professor who teaches social media at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, advocates against parents tracking their children online without any proper communications. He recommended parents have to talk to kids instead of invading their privacy. Parents may not realize how damaging an online invasion can be to a young person who views online socialization as much more significant than a parent might.
Sam Black, an Internet safety consultant at Convenant Eyes and editor of Pure Minds Online, agrees. “If the goal is to catch your teen red-handed, then spy away,” she says. “If your goal is to parent your teen and prepare them for adulthood, then there are better ways to keep up with your teen online and create regular, proactive and relational parenting opportunities.”Black says the best way to monitor your kids’ online use is with accountability.
“The difference between spying and accountability is huge. The child or teen that is accountable for their Internet use knows he is being monitored and it is a standard of the home,” she explains. “This helps empower a teen to live up to the expectations of the home.”
As a result, before parents set up the Google alert, parents need to have enough communications with their kids about online dangers, even ask to go online with their kids to learn more, but never to ‘spy’ or otherwise compromise their privacy. This only hurts the relationship between parent and child and pushes the child to take more covert actions online.