The other day my ten-year-old daughter mentioned, quite casually, that someone she knew only as “The Panda” had befriended her online. “Who?,” I asked. “The Panda,” she said. “They have been chatting with me in a game I was playing.” It got me thinking about how vulnerable our kids are to online predators — especially now that they are online so much more than usual.

Scary, right? Not one of the things I calculated into the distance learning adjustments we as families have made but I’ve had my wake-up call. 

Of course, nothing replaces parental supervision. With our home now serving as the dynamic hub of work, school, and life all under one roof, we realized that now is probably a good time to review the parental controls, app permissions, and privacy settings on all of our devices.   

Here’s the link to the district’s digital citizen website . It contains lessons originally designed for teachers to use during the school year, but parents might find them helpful in refreshing student’s awareness. Also, this checklist , provided in a middle-school parent workshop last year, can help ensure all points are covered in digital safety conversations. Lastly, click here for a useful article that has additional links to curricula and resources for parents and teachers:

I’m learning, these are not one-and-done-types of lessons, but rather something that should be periodically reviewed just like earthquake drills so that it is fresh in our kids’ minds. It is clear to me that along with our kid’s distance learning, we are learning too.

All my Best,
Allyson Damikolas