4 out of 4 stars
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A digital-security pop quiz for parents and guardians:
Do you know what a “Finsta,” a “bunny hunter,” and a “catfish” are?
Is that redundant calculator app on your kid’s phone more insidious than it appears?
Does your student’s school-issued device filter inappropriate content when he or she leaves campus?
Did you know that more than half of 8- and 9-year-olds have seen porn on the web?
Will your teen’s impulsive online rant keep them from acceptance to their preferred job or college?
Are your family-outing selfies providing child predators with a convenient map?
If the answers to these questions elude you, or you never even thought to ask them, co-authors Chris and Lisa Good have another question for you: Are Your Kids Naked Online? As cyber-security professionals with decades of experience and the parents of 4 teens, the Goods are uniquely positioned to advise parents on how to ensure their children's digital safety. Over the course of their careers, they have been repeatedly approached by bewildered moms and dads seeking advice about managing their kids' online activity. These heartbreaking interactions prompted Chris and Lisa Good to write this guide, subtitled: "How to protect your tech-savvy kids from online self-destruction."
As the parent of 3 small children, the few web-based threats I was aware of before reading this book sometimes kept me awake at night. Unlike colic, potty training, and fear of the dark, internet security isn't a topic my parents can guide me through, as illustrated by their deer-in-the-headlights reaction to my concerns. This gap in my knowledge is the reason I was eager to read and review Are Your Kids Naked Online?, and I found it to be a wealth of important information, tools, and suggestions for any parent or grandparent. With chapters covering school-issued devices, fake social media accounts, the dark web, camouflaged sinister apps, sexual predators, and the pervasiveness of pornographic content, just to name a few, the Good duo obviously sought to be as thorough as possible about this wild, ever-changing landscape.
Unless you have expertise similar to that of the authors, chances are overwhelmingly high that your children are incredibly vulnerable on every web-connected device in your home and in the homes of their friends. From cyber-bullying to drug access and the addictive nature of social media itself, the sheer number and variety of threats online stunned me. Many chapters contain frightening, real-life stories, such as the devastating suicide of a 12-year-old girl who was blackmailed with a suggestive photo she was conned into texting to someone she thought she knew, a crime referred to as "sextortion." Are Your Kids Naked Online? feels well researched, fraught with statistics and heavily peppered with footnotes citing reputable sources such as the CDC, the Pew Research Center, and the World Journal of Psychiatry. In addition, when you register your book, you gain access to more free resources for parents on the book's dedicated website.
Especially useful is each chapter's "What You Can Do" section - an actionable list of suggestions on how to combat, respond to, and/or avoid the problems described in its respective chapter. Many of these ideas were new to me. For example:
or,"Have a written social media contract with your child,"
I also appreciated and felt challenged by the many questions the Goods prompt parents to ask ourselves, such as:"Have a '[technology in the] bedroom is off limits' policy."
While I found errors on nearly every page, the vast majority of these were missing commas in compound sentences, missing hyphens in compound adjectives, and failure to capitalize the first word in a complete sentence following a colon. In my opinion, these are very minor, and I would still say the book is professionally edited. I recommend Are Your Kids Naked Online? to anyone who provides care for a child. It is an indispensable resource on protecting kids and teens from being digitally "naked," meaning unprotected and unwise. For repeatedly asserting that the most important way to protect our children is to build trust by talking to them early and often, I award Are Your Kids Naked Online?, by Chris and Lisa Good, 4 out of 4 stars."Am I using technology in a way that models the behavior I want my children to model?"
Are Your Kids Naked Online?
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