I saw TRUST in January of this year at the Looking Glass Theater on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. I was enthralled by the amazing performance of a young girl and her family, whose home was invaded by a predator, via her 13th birthday present, a Macintosh laptop.
In April, I started working with TrueCare. I quickly became aware of the many dangers that lurk online. I soon became an advocate for the issue, informing everyone I could about the information I had learned that day.
It’s been 8 months now. I have met many amazing people, including the staff at TrueCare and their team of expert advisers, to help bring the latest information to parents and communities. I have been motivated by Detective Richard Wistocki’s desire to speak to kids and parents in school settings on the many situations he encounters on a daily basis. I use his stories to fuel TrueCare messages and safety tips as he advises us on the latest information in cyber safety and cyber crimes involving children. I have also been inspired by TrueCare advisor Mary Jo Rapini’s insight into why kids act this way, why they bully each other and her lessons to parents on how to spot the signs of bullying. And TrueCare advisor Alison Rhodes – “The Safety Mom” – has helped me understand how important it is to be a parent first and friend second when it comes to their child’s online safety. It has been a privilege to talk about the issues with this team and make a plan of action and be able to call it “my job.”
The other inspiring groups of people I have met are parents, parents who have experienced issues related to social media who want to share their stories so they can prevent situations that occurred in their own home. One of my goals in the coming year will be to expand this group to share, educate, and connect with parents to help keep all kids safer online.
My head is swimming with the information I read every day related to the Internet, kids, social networks, texting and the misuse of it all. My heart is burning with the passion I feel to make the information widely available to those who need it and those who don’t yet know they need it. I’m saddened and angry that so many situations could have been prevented if only the parents were paying closer attention.
TrueCare is committed to providing a service to help parents monitor their kids online. In this coming year, I challenge the TrueCare family to spread the word about online dangers to your friends, families, acquaintances, or anyone who will listen and be a true advocate for these issues. I hope you will let us know what type of resources you need to navigate the issues in your home and even share your stories so others can learn from them.
Together, we can work to change the understanding of the need for monitoring and parental involvement in 2012.
TrueCare Media Relations Specialist