Wednesday, 3 September 2014

5 critical lessons to teach kids about online safety

Although the recent nude celebrity hacking scandal involved a sophisticated and criminal invasion of privacy, experts say the event provides parents with a timely opportunity to teach their kids some critical online safety lessons.  
According to Shannon Curtis from “Kids will already be talking about the nude celebrity scandal and how it happened, so the event provides a perfect opportunity for parents to connect with their kids in a current way about online safety”.
According to Curtis, the critical lessons every child should learn about online safety are:
1. Recognition that we all have a digital footprint that lasts forever. Before posting content online ask yourself is this something you would be happy if a teacher or parent were to see it. If not you probably shouldn’t be posting it online.  
2. Think carefully before sharing photos of others. If you do not have permission to, if it is inappropriate, or if will make another person embarrassed or upset then don’t share it.
3. Ensure that your children understand the importance of privacy settings and are familiar with how to set them across any social networks they are active on.
4. Reinforce the importance of having different and strong passwords for each website or online account. Strong passwords contain a minimum of 8 characters, a mix of upper, lower case characters, numbers, symbols and do not contain your name.
5. Encourage them to report any inappropriate content or behaviour they experience online.

Monday, 1 September 2014

5 wishes for my children...

Ever since I had my boys, I’ve tried my best to raise them to embody the qualities I feel will most contribute to them having a good life, to becoming good men.

I want them to accept others, and accept themselves. To be themselves regardless of what others think, and allow others to do the same.

To grow into kind men, who respect others, who respect women, and who respect themselves.

It isn’t always easy, but I’m trying.

And then I had my daughter.

She’s begun to look at me the way babies do, with love and adoration and pure dependence.

And it hit me – I will be the most influential role model in her life, as all mothers are to their daughters. It’s not enough to simply teach our children, we have to live the life we want for them – or at least try to.

It’s up to me to show my children, not just tell them, how to live a good life, a positive life, the best life possible.
Although actually living these lessons is even more difficult than trying to teach them. Here are the five simple life rules I hope myself – and my children – can learn to live by.

1. Have compassion but also conviction:

Having compassion is crucial for a healthy soul and a happy heart. It’s vitally important to have empathy, to put yourself in another person’s shoes, to avoid placing judgment.

At the same time, compassion shouldn't be confused with capitulation or with support for a behaviour you don’t condone.

Have conviction in your beliefs, your opinions and your view of what’s right and what’s wrong.  And don’t allow your compassion to be taken advantage of.
Sometimes compassion can weaken our conviction, and vise versa – but it is possible to have both.

2. Stay true to your values:

Figuring out what our values actually are can be confusing. Especially in a society where so many different views, opinions, beliefs and attitudes are thrown in front of our faces on a regular basis, thanks to technology and social media.

Most of us experience pressure to change our values – either directly or indirectly – by our peers, our friends, our colleagues or our loved ones.

And we can end up questioning our values, making allowances or convincing ourselves of something different.

At the end of the day though, most of us know deep down what our true values are – it’s an instinctual feeling, an intrinsic belief.

And it’s that uncomfortable feeling, that knot in the stomach that tells us when those values are being questioned – by others or ourselves.

It can take more strength to stay true to your values than to compromise them. But in the long run, you’ll thank yourself for it.

3. Live your truth:

Probably the most important lesson, and perhaps the most difficult, is to simply live your truth.

Be you.

Don’t change because someone wants you to, or asks you to, to make more friends or to fit in.

Love the best way you know how and expect the same in return.

Be compassionate and forgiving, but strong and independent.

Know how to treat others, and how to be treated.

Be true to your values, and value yourself.  Your health, your happiness, your beliefs, your life.

4. Be loyal to those who are loyal to you:

Sometimes the people that are the most loyal, that love us unconditionally, are the ones we take for granted.

And that can mean focusing our time and energy on those we want in our lives, or who we wish to impress, rather than the ones who are already there.

Don’t risk losing – or hurting – the people who love you the most. Don’t waste your energy on people who are half-hearted about you and your feelings and your life. Instead spend it on the people who steadfast stand by your side, who support you without fail and realise how lucky they are to have you.

And, equally as important, expect the same from others.

5. See the beauty in life, even when it’s far from view:

There are battles, sadness, anger, horror, fear, frustration and confusion. Sometimes it feels like that’s all there is.

Don’t let the hard times make you bitter and hateful. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel, no matter how low you need to go… just remember to come back up.

There is always beauty, love, laughter, joy and peace in the world – sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it.

*originally posted on

What do you believe and live by?