Part of the Children's Martial Arts Tradition is to help them to improve physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially through martial arts classes. And, we hope that these lessons and improvements stick both in and out of the martial arts studio. However, with technology our ability to observe and watch over our children is greater than ever, but there are new risks as well.
We are teaching the kids to be confident, embrace a healthy lifestyle and develop a strong and sound work ethic. We hope they become leaders in their groups and communities each in their own way. However, a significant part of martial arts is still physical techniques and self-defense. Although, they may not help in the online realm direcctly, the combination of qualities we work on will help empower them to make better choices and the right decisions.
That said, the better educated, and the more resources we have as parents will only enable us to provide them with better tools and healthy skepticism.
Understood.org is a great resource, especially when kids might have learning or sensory processing issues. Even if your child doesn't, still worth the occasional read.
Here is a synposis from one of their recent articles: "9 Ways to Protect Your Child From Online Predators"
1 - Talk to your child about online predators
Online predators often target children who are lonely or who have low self-esteem. Many kids with learning and attention issues struggle with social as well as academic skills. That’s why it’s important to help your child be wary of strangers she meets online.
2 - Discuss risky behavior.
All kids are prone to risky behavior, but children with learning and attention issues can be especially at risk. They may want to express their independence and they may be curious, especially about topics like sex or drugs. But explain that discussing these topics online with people they don’t know can be dangerous.
3 - Spell out what a risky relationship is.
Give examples to help your child understand what a healthy relationship looks like and when she’s in danger of being exploited. Talk about unhealthy risks, such as using drugs or sending sexy photos. Make sure she knows that being pressured to keep a relationship secret or to do something that makes her uncomfortable is a sign that she’s in a risky relationship that should be ended right away.
4 - Talk about the dangers of chat rooms.
One way predators make connections with children is by having private conversations in chat rooms. Talk to your child about why she should never chat privately with someone she doesn’t know, no matter how innocent it seems.
5 - Warn your child about online flirting.
Talk to your child about how flirty conversations may seem exciting at first but can quickly escalate and lead to feeling uncomfortable or used. Help your child know what behavior is acceptable online, including blocking messages from certain users and telling a trusted adult about being harassed.
6 - Bring up sexy selfies.
Make it clear to your child that if someone asks for a provocative picture, your child must stop typing, log off and tell a trusted adult.
7 - Be clear about offline safety rules, too.
Talk to your child about why it’s important never to agree to an in-person meeting with someone she only knows online, especially without your knowledge and permission. Explain that meeting up in person could put her in real danger.
8 - Consider surveillance software.
These methods aren’t foolproof, however. That’s why your best option is to try to discuss things with your child frankly and frequently.
9 - Tell your child that she can always talk to you.
Make it clear to your child that you want her to come to you with any questions or worries. Let her know that she can tell you anything and you won’t get mad even if she broke a rule.