Teens and tweens today have grown up as digital natives. I know when my teens talk about what they're up to online, I feel as though I could use a translator. But just because our kids grew up familiar with the Internet does not necessarily mean they have learned safe online usage, which makes it important to find sites that can help.
NetSmartz, a leading online resource of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, used their expertise to develop NSTeens to educate, engage, and empower kids as Internet users, The website, www.nsteens.org includes bios, comics, and videos of seven teen characters. Their comic How Much Is Too Much illustrates the consequences of improper Internet use and shows the power of impact teens can have when they use their network to empower people. Videos cover important topics such as social networking, cyberbullying, and offline consequences. Each cartoon video also portrays interviews with teens talking about their Internet use.
Read below for what Moms are saying:
Double Bugs: "I think this is a terrific way to tell your teenagers about being safe on the Internet. It teaches them in a very non-intimidating fun way so they might actually pay attention!"
Robyn's Online World: "It is imperative that parents stay up to date on technology to understand what is available and not just bury our heads in the sand and pretend our kids would never search out questionable things online or be foolish enough to meet a stranger in real life. As the mom of a teenager this is a big part of my job as a parent."
Fefyfomanna: "I think that no matter how often we tell our kids to be safe they still forget. I know that using NSTeens can help us all as parents to keep our kiddos safe. Oh and there's also NetSmartz Kids for those of us with younger kiddos!"
Spark Plugging: "Kids today will grow up using the Internet. However, my concern is that they will grow up too fast using the Internet since there is so much adult content readily available. That's why I'm happy to share a website created on behalf of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, whose mission is to protect children."
Fractured Toy: " If you're a mom of a kid that's online, you know how important internet safety is. I think that if you allow your child online, you need to be teaching them internet safety. My son has yet to be taught about online safety in school. It's our job and NSTeens can help."
My Thoughts, Ideas and Ramblings: "The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has really stepped up to the plate to the challenge of educating our children."
Mother of Bun: "Much of the info is very basic (Don't use your real name or address. Be careful about the photos and stories you post online.) but that's exactly what a lot of kids need to know. The basics. Just those few tips can go a long way."
A Frog in My Soup: "This website does an excellent job of educating and equipping our youth for a safe and fun Internet experience."
Modern Mamma Marvels: "Quite honestly, when my kids reach internet usage age, I hope to be able to use a site like this to reinforce the rules that we will have set up in our home. I hope that this site is still around when it comes time for our family to deal with these very important issues."
Blessings of Love: "Good thing for us moms and dads there are so many places we can go to find out how to keep our kids safe, especially tweens and teens who are allowed to play games without us by their side every moment."
In Search of Balance: "I am already very excited about the potential this site has to offer my students, and I have not even had a chance to see everything on the site."
Mommy Perks: "With the digital world consuming the lives of our teens and tweens, a great deal of responsibilty presents itself: protecting these still vulnerable young adults from the world of cyberbullying and social networking."
Mommy Bits Reviews: "I am so glad it's there! It was developed because as you might notice, our kids are a lot more computer and Internet 'hip' than they think we are."
Every Day is a Miracle: "I recently discovered this really great site that focuses on educating parents and kids about safe use of the internet. It has educational videos and blogs, and it also has a site with information an real-life profiles of teens and tweens, written and presented in a way that appeals to them."
Dawniemom: "Created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to empower, engage and educate kids, to encourage them to become responsible online users, NetSmartz and nsteens.org should be your first stop when introducing your children to the Internet."
Busy Mommy: "Internet safety has to be a priority if you want to keep your kids safe in this crazy world we live in. "
Diary of an Unlikely Housewife: "I dread the day when she will discover chatting, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, the works. Because it's not like I can just hover in the background, watching everything she does. So I figured the best thing I can do is educate her."
Suburban Turmoil Reviews: "I have visited the site and it is engaging, eye catching, hip to teens, non-preachy, and extremely easy to navigate. It would be most appropriate for tweens- those who are just beginning to learn about social networking. Look at it NSTeens with your child and talk about the issues. You'll be glad you did!"
Mom E Centric: "It is that important for our youth to learn how important they are to our society and how their every action has an equal reaction. It’s essential for them to know what it means to be an important part of modern society. And teaching that….that falls on you, the parent."
Wisconsin Mommy: "These days, we have another fear to add to our already long list - danger on the Internet. We have to stay one step ahead of our kids, technology-wise, and make sure that they are safe. NetSmartz has developed a website designed to educate, engage, and empower kids as Internet users."
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.: "NetSmartz addresses some of the things kids probably don't even think or care about right now. How colleges they may apply to someday can find the information they've put online. Employers can find it. Your choices online can affect your life outside the computer."
Parenting Our Children: "I think this site should be reviewed by all tweens and teenagers and ideally should be viewed with your children and make sure they realize the seriousness of this topic and that they don’t have any questions. It is a great resource all parents should use."
A Box of Chocolates: "As they use the Internet more and more, I can't help but begin to think about the danger lurking there. While my children do not go to sites that host chats, yet, I am already wondering how to handle it when they begin to become interested in them."
So a Blonde Walks Into a Review: "As a mother of three, Internet safety is a huge worry of mine. As much as we think we as parents know, there is always more to learn."
The Rogers Family: "While it is tempting to keep the kids as far away from the internet as possible, I think the more sensible choice it is to educate them on how to use it safely."
Get In, Hang On: "So sometimes you need tools to use as conversation starters. NetSmartz Teens is meant to be one of those tools."
Random Thoughts About Pressing Mess: "The internet if a wonderful place, however, it is a dangerous place. So how can we get our children to recognize that they need to be more conscientious of their behaviors on the internet? NetSmartz.org has offered some solutions. NSTeens.org offers a valuable service."
Not So Average Mama: "The world has changed a lot with all of this technology, and our kid’s are right there in it. It’s become a part of life, and now it’s our responsibility to make sure they are responsible online."
Living with Multiple Personalities: "Our children need to know how to stay safe online and sites like these can give us easy guidelines to follow so we don’t get lost in the shuffle of information."
All Rileyed Up: "NSTeens incorporates graphic art to emphasize the importance of not giving out too much personal info online, and for anyone out there with teen and pre-teen kids, you might check out ths NSTeens website, and maybe, just maybe, get a couple extra worry-free hours of sleep at night."
Nature Moms Blog: "We all need to be careful what we put on the Internet and especially kids. This is an awesome, not cheesey way to share that message with them. So foward the site on to any kids you have that use social media to meet and make friends."
Riding With No Hands Reviews: "I’ll definitely continue to visit NetSmartz and NSTeens in the future, because as technology develops, new perils arise, and I want to be prepared!"
The Way I See It: "Children like boundaries. Boundaries make them feel safer. Boundaries also let them know we love them."
Secret Burning: "Children need to know the risks of letting it all hang out online, not for their immediate safety so much as their long-term reputation."
Redneck Diva: "Abby, my tween, declared it "cool". Do you really need more of an endorsement than that?"
The Dirty Shirt: "For parents, some of the things your children talk about may seem alien to you when it comes to online but your main purpose remains the same, to protect them. For me with a 16 year old and an almost 10 year old that want to protect is even stronger now that they are both online. That’s why I am so pleased to have found NS Teens through Mom Central."
Cowgirl Critiques: "They have visual cartoon characters and video educating in online social networking, cyber bullying and more. There’s some great footage of teen interviews. Definitely something you should sit down with your teen and watch, read and learn about.
Kimmy Lou Who's Musing: "have sat them down online to check out NSTeens and NetSmartz, a leading online resource of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, for Internet use: www.nsteens.org"
TechLife: "Aside from being a minefield of potential social faux pas (like, say, spamming all your social contacts to grub for votes!), today’s online teens face serious issues like cyber bullying and identity theft....That’s why I wanted to be a part of the Mom Central blog tour to promote NSTeens, a new Web site from the people behind NetSmartz aimed at educating teens about the potential risks and dangers that exist online and how to deal with them."
Living with Multiple Personalities: "I have two children, ages 11 and 17, and both are highly involved in Internet gaming, social sites, and activities. I keep a close watch on their actions but you can never be too safe NetSmartz.org was introduced to me by MomCentral.com and I’m excited to share the site information with you."
In Search of Balance: "As a mom and teacher, safety on the Internet is a big concern. I was really interested in looking into a resource from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NSTeens, a division of NetSmartz. While I do not worry about my girls right now, my sixth graders are definitely already at a stage where Internet can pose a potential danger."
Kimmy Lou Who's Musings: "Technology is so fast-paced and critical in today's society - my kids have far outpaced my interest and ability, and they're tweens and teens! I worry about their youthful trust being broken in the Cyber word - especially Cyberbullying....".
TECH Life Post: "Even as a fairly savvy and sophisticated Internet user, I found some great information on these sites. Definitely worth a few clicks!"
Cool Moms Rule!: "Now, in case yourteen is looking over your shoulder, reading that description andstifling a yawn, you should both know that NSTeens.org is really laidout well, with a comic, videos and bios of the NSTeens to keep you bothinterested (and aware)."