Hi Everyone!

Did you know National Internet Safety Month is observed in June?

This year the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit public-private partnership focused on cybersecurity awareness and education for all digital citizens, launched a “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” campaign to encourage Internet users to slow down, be mindful, and think about how they interact and communicate with others online. NCSA’s campaign also encourages adults to teach a young person about better online safety so that they use good judgment and behavior in their digital life.

When I first learned about NCSA’s “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” campaign, I thought about the digital footprint of my fabulous and creative niece who is a digital native, a recent high school graduate, and a soon-to-be college “fresh-woman.” I wondered what she knew about being safe online and protecting her digital footprint. So I called and chatted with her about the importance of being safe online, making smart choices on what she posts online, and promoting a positive self-image in her digital life. I also told her that I would continue to check in with her throughout her college experience to make sure she is managing her digital activities in a responsible manner.

America’s Most Wanted chatting with women bloggers at Internet Safety Discussion
Cox Communications PR professional Stephanie Davis and me at Internet Safety Discussion

After my conversation with my niece, I decided to attend Cox Communications’ Internet Safety Discussion featuring America’s Most Wanted John Walsh and Leticia Barr, a family internet safety and security expert, social media consultant, and founder of TechSavvyMama.com (one of my favorite digital sisters — she is the green dress in the photos contained above) on June 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. During the discussion, I learned several tips I plan to pass on to several friends with children (some are my nieces and nephews).

•95% of tweens use mobile devices. Only 20% parents enforce controls (we gotta do better).
•Parents should talk about Internet safety with their children as early as possible (good aunts should reinforce these teachings!)
•Caretakers (grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters etc) should know about and enforce the parents’ Internet safety rules when they are taking care of the children.
•The United States does not have a national standard for teaching online safety in schools (we need to advocate for one).
•Children are not immune from identity theft (we have to do a lot of educating with children on these matters).
•Parent should model what they want for their children when it comes to technology (so should extended family members who spend time with the children).
•Common Sense Media rates apps for age appropriateness (great tool for parents to use in helping children use technology responsibly): www.commonsensemedia.org.
To learn more about the discussion, go to Twitter and search for the hashtag #coxtakecharge.

Great moments at the Internet Safety Discussion
Kelly Heisler of Everywhere, Lifetime Moms National Accounts Manager, and Danica Kombol of Everywhere at Internet Safety Discussion

After the discussion, I attended a blogger reception and after-party sponsored by the Everywhere, a social media marketing firm based in Atlanta (one of my favorite firms to work with). Both events gave me an opportunity to:

•Congratulate Leticia @techsavvymama! She rocked the discussion and looked stunning in her Land’s End green dress and sandals!
•Reconnect with the Everywhere team Danica Kombol @danicakombol and Kelly Heisler @kellyheaisleratl.
•Take photos with America’s Most Wanted John Walsh @johnwalshamw.
•Chat with Stephanie Davis of Cox Communications @Cox_Comm.
•Meet and learn about digital sister bloggers including @Stimey, @Delora, Kellie Geres @dcnanny, Andrea Khoury @novahousewives, and Micaela @supernovamommy1 (and many more fabulous women!).
•Hang out with some of my favorite “Blogalicious” digital sisters such as Xina Eiland @xeiland, Thien Kim @thienkim, and Eva @socamomdc.

All in all I had a wonderful time learning, sharing, and connecting with new and old digital friends!

PS: How do you stay safe online? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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