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In this tenth episode of the Cast of Dads podcast we discussed a very important topic that all parents should seriously be considering, that of educating your children about the various social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. This is particularly personal to me as my oldest daughter (a “tweenager” – pre-teen) is starting to ask more about various social networking sites, AND, has pointed out that many of her 5th grade friends are already on Facebook. This is even despite the fact that Facebook and other social networking sites state that users MUST be 13 years old or older to have an account. Children are introduced to other types of social networks at a very early age through virtual worlds like Webkins or Club Penguin so it is only natural that the more “adult” oriented “worlds” like Facebook or MySpace have a strong appeal. They want to “grow up” fast, but this is truly a scary concept, especially if you allow your children to do this without some sort of education or monitoring from the parents’ side.

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However, before I go into the details of the contents of this important podcast, I wanted to mention an announcement that appears at the beginning of the podcast. It’s a promo for The Boom Effect which is an auction and fundraiser for another dad and one of the founding members of the podcasting community, Tee Morris, who recently lost his wife and will be raising his little girl known as “Sonic Boom” on his own. We encourage you to donate, spread awareness and help in any way you can for this important cause. So far, over $20,000 has been raised for this cause!

In this 10th episode of Cast of Dads, we really dive into our thoughts on how to educate and protect your kids in their online adventures. This podcast isn’t just for the dads, it is for ALL parents out there who are struggling with how to work with their children and their online actions. Topics covered include:

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One of the blogs that I frequent has a nice repost of another blog. Being a father of 3 lovely girls, we do lots of traveling by car. While the DVD player that we have is great (I don’t know how I survived as a kid…kids these days are soooo lucky), there is something to be said about good ol’ fashion word games to create a nice dialog. Of course, the older your kid gets, the more likely they are to slip away into an iPod daze…but it is worth a shot while you still have their attention (somewhat).

Blogger Gretchen Rubin has a great post on some easy word games that you can use while traveling or waiting in line (e.g., to see Santa…yeah right, like kids have enough of an attention span during the holidays). I will definitely try these out the next time I have a chance. It’s really good to engage the brain before it goes too mushy during the holiday vacation!

Here are the first three examples:

This or That: would you rather eat a hotdog or a hamburger? would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?

Imaginary Bedroom: ask your child to imagine the perfect bedroom, complete with magical features.

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