There are so many brand new work-from-home-ers that have emerged over the past few weeks, but what can we do to support those small businesses who are just like us, especially when we don’t have any money to spend?
It really is a time to work together, just like the media keeps shouting from the street corners…
We’re all in this together.
Moving the needle is about sharing.
It’s easy to start doing something that moves the needle for you, but it’s harder to share that success with others because you begin to think subconsciously, that sharing sharing someone else's success might lessen the result for you.
But in reality, what I’ve learned is that when you share someone else's success, or teach someone else how to do something, you can actually relish in the results that it creates for you.
If you happen to be especially passionate about helping women who have a creative talent that they want to share with the world, you're in the right place!
Hope and inspiration is everything, and it’s everywhere.
Being kind, compassionate and thoughtful is the best way you can help a small mom business. You don't have to spend any money.
Just spend a moment.
It doesn’t matter if you already have a job or if you’re starting up your own gig because you’re suddenly unemployed…here are my suggestions about how you can support your local creative business owner at no cost.
Top 5 things you can do, today, to support a local small business owner, FOR FREE!
Like their Facebook Business Page.
Although it’s not a direct source of revenue, liking a small business owner’s page will help them establish credibility for their brand online. Can you take it a step further and leave a 5-Star Review on their page if you’ve had a positive experience with them?
Like or leave a positive comment on a post on their Business Page.
Facebook has changed their algorithm to prioritize your friends over business pages in your home-feed.
This means that small businesses have a hard time getting their post in front of people. To generate more activity for them, you can leave a like or a comment on one of their posts which will spark the algorithm to show that post to others, and the engagement compounds. The more likes and comments a post gets, the more people will see it.
Follow them on another social media channel.
Do you follow your local small business on Instagram or have you subscribed to their YouTube channel? If you haven’t, you might not know about everything else they do online!
All it takes is a click, and it’s free, so why not follow them on all the channels that you use? You can find my YouTube channel here.
Like/Favor their Etsy Shop.
The Etsy algorithm works the same way as other algorithms, you don’t have to buy something to favor their shop.
It’s a great way to help them establish credibility so that when others are searching for what they sell, their shop looks credible.
If your local small business owner has a blog, take a minute and leave a comment!
This is two-fold: When blog readers see positive comments, it helps establish credibility for the topic they are reading about because they can clearly see that others have gained some insights into how that topic is helpful.
If you read a blog and you learned something new, leave a comment and let them know you appreciated the article. Secondly, when people leave a blog comment, it helps boost their overall SEO ranking inside the Google algorithm as well.
That means when a user of Google happens to be searching for a topic, that blog may come up higher in the search results.
If you are a small business owner yourself, I encourage you to share this post so that other people know how they can support you at this important time.
I also challenge you to do the above for another small business, comment, like, and share it with your own network…because these simple actions can really help them, especially at this very difficult time.
Whether you have (or want to have) and Etsy Shop, or you’re a blogger, or you make DIY products that you can sell, or whether you have a special knowledge about a topic that others would be interested in learning…by promoting your business using the proper Pinterest Marketing techniques, you can earn an income beyond what you ever thought was possible for yourself.
And here's something: Teaching is what a small mom business can do to reverse engineer her success.
For me, my business success came from developing an expertise specifically in one nîche, Pinterest Marketing.
Once I learned how to use Pinterest effectively to propel my small business to start making money for my blog, I realized it was a business model that others could easily follow.
Use this time at home to learn how to use Pinterest the right way and see what is really possible for yourself.
I encourage you to join my Private Facebook Group, Pinterest Marketing. It’s a free resource where I post tips about how to market your blog or business using Pinterest, but it’s also a place where you can connect with other bloggers, social media influencers, and online entrepreneurs who are also on a similar journey.
I’m doing the best I can to walk along side you; I hope you’ll join me.
This is certainly the time of year for reflection and soul searching. Like so many of you reading this, I’ve always been determined to juggle it all. Whether it’s juggling the household, work, laundry, groceries, pets, or working tirelessly through the night to craft the Fort Nite Bush (a DIY Halloween costume) we’re exhausted but we just keep going.
That’s the life of a mom.
But what about…gasp…our passions?
We go to college, start our career, realize the need for flexibility when we finally have a family, and we try to do it all.
If your husband has a good job and you’re fortunate enough to be able to stay home for a while, that can be a game changer. Whether it’s an extended maternity leave, even for a year or two (or three) when the kids are little…but then they go to school and you realize that in order to continue living the lifestyle to which you are accustomed, you need to go back to work.
But you need a flexible job. One that allows you to get the kids off to school and then pick them up after school, right, so you don’t have to pay for childcare. Because who wants to work to pay for childcare? That’s ridiculous.
Here we sit, ladies. Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree. Work Experience. The motivation and drive to do good, and do well. To make an impact. To be fulfilled by helping others.
We just need to do it between the hours of 9 and 3 damn it!
That’s not a “might be nice to have” that’s our reality. If the job doesn’t fit into that window, we just won’t do it.
Or worse, we settle.
We make things work. But then something suffers. The healthy dinner gets replaced with something quick. We miss a game or two. We don’t get to tuck our kids in at night.
Things are different now. Back when I started my first blog and freelancing on the side, the year was 2006.
Companies weren’t hiring for remote positions back then. At the time, I had just left a posh corporate job. At the time I was making twice what the hubs was making. I worked my way up the corporate ladder that decade, and ended up traveling around the US training corporate marketing teams. But then it happened. I got pregnant. My mom was sick. I needed flexibility. It was a significant crossroads.
You just couldn’t find a good paying job with flexible hours back then, so for me, freelancing was my only choice.
Fast forward to today and I think everybody recognizes that the dream of a corner office has been replaced with a need for flexibility. Especially among parents.
People often ask what I do for a living, because I have the coveted luxury of flexibility. To work from home. To drop the kids off at school, go to their sporting events, and even volunteer. When I tell people that I run an online business, they are always intrigued.
What exactly do I do all day?
How do I make money with my blog?
Do I have clients?
This blog post comes at a time of reflection and new beginnings. I want to show you just how easy it is to monetize your passion…whatever that passion may be.
So just to test the waters to see if it was truly possible to start over from scratch and create a new business with little up-front investment, I started something that is seemingly unrelated to my work, but actually, it’s not unrelated at all.
Who would have thought that anybody, literally anyone, could create a stream of income working from home…selling motivational quotes? I have my freelance biz, and my clients, why would I need to do this?
Because I wanted to show a class of students how incredibly easy it is to monetize your passion.
But then I realized that I can make a huge impact if I teach other women to do this. This can be a game changer for them. For YOU.
Confidence Girl. You Got This!
This.is.it. This is why I get out of bed in the morning. Because I know that I have what it takes to help other women realize their dream of creating income the way I do. Are you ready to create a life you love? Your dream business?
If so, you might be interested in my new Pinterest Marketing Course. (Want to get a preview of my videos? If you haven't seen my YouTube channel, you can go there and preview some of my favorite videos about running an online business) but I'm reserving the good stuff!
That's right…no fluff for the public YouTube channel, just step-by-step directions for my most loyal friends and fans. Actionable videos that will help you get your online business started, whether you're just in the idea stage, or you're ready to move ahead full throttle.
I decided to package it all up and call it: The Pinterest Business Plan
I always feel confident when I have a stream of income coming in, so why not find a way to help other women feel that same feeling?
So there are actually various different ways to start an online business without much up-front capital. Starting a business today is not like starting a business 10 years ago. You don’t need to go to the bank and borrow $20,000 or more…unless you’re actually setting up a physical store.
Online business is different. You can get started for very little. In fact, you can start a blog for less than $100. You can start an online store for less than $100. You just need to know where to begin.
Want to know how to do it? Well you’re in the right place! Keep reading!
Working while raising a family is so much harder than I ever imagined.
Who are these women that make it look easy?
One of my dear friends commented that she thought I made it look easy.
But what she doesn’t see is when I’m laying in the fetal position on my bathroom floor with a migraine while my kids are packing their lunch and calling their aunt for a ride to school. It’s okay. I took some heavy duty medication, so I’ll be back to normal in an hour. But that’s my normal. It has been for 25 years.
When my kids went to school, I tried going back to work.
I wanted predictable.
A predictable income, every 2 weeks.
I tried to be a hard worker, a dedicated employee that never complained. For years, I consistently showed up an hour before I was scheduled to be there, I worked through lunch, and many days, meeting ran over so I just stayed another hour after my workday was supposed to be over. Just in case I had to come in late because I had a migraine.
I had an unfortunate encounter when the digital marketing agency that I worked for decided they were going to discontinue offering digital marketing services and instead focus on mobile app development. That sounds a little techy, but it really just meant that I was out of my “full time income” and back to freelancing.
Okay, well I’m the eternal optimist, so no big deal.
It just means that my income was a little less predictable. But wait, it actually meant so much more than that. You know the cliché, when one door closes, another opens.
You don't need any special skills to start an online business. You just need the drive to create your own opportunity.
I’m going to show you how. How to monetize your passion…whatever your passion may be. Because in order to be successful, you need to be willing to pivot.
When I had a full-time job, it always felt so linear. Like that’s what you’re supposed to do. My ego felt important because the work I was doing for clients was important, but my soul was completely misaligned. It paid the salary, but it didn’t make me feel fulfilled. Plus I was missing out on my kids, I was gaining weight because I couldn’t find the time to work out, and I was serving scrambled eggs for dinner because I didn’t have time to get to the grocery store.
So lets create some opportunity out of nothing, shall we?
For the boutique, I simply curated a selection of adorable blouses and fabulous clothing and set up a very simple online storefront. Which I run from the comfort of my computer. And I invested nothing but my time.
Now granted I’ve been creating websites for 14 years, but I’m telling you right now….setting up your website is not the hard part. All you have to do is follow my instructions, step-by-step. I’m about to make it very easy for you!
Whether it’s starting a blog, starting an online boutique, selling your knowledge expertise as an online coach, whatever you’re passionate about doing, my Pinterest Marketing course will help you turn your passion into a thriving online business!
As a small online business owner who has worked from home for the last 14 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to prioritize, get things done with countless interruptions, and become more efficient.
Online jobs, specifically work from home jobs that women can do from home have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, but they are even more in demand now that we’re all required to stay home.
However, it’s important to recognize that stupidity like filling out surveys and signing up for coupon apps is never going to pay the bills.
Not only that, when you provide your email address to companies such as those, you set yourself up for more spam than you ever imagined.
In this article you’ll learn about different types of work from home ideas, as well as how to actually get started on your journey. After all, moving the needle is important, now more than ever.
Work from Home Ideas for Moms
It’s no secret that working from home can seem like a luxury. After all, once we have children, we know full well the responsibility that family comes first. The trouble is, most of us have to make the critical decision between paying for some form of childcare and balancing that with how much we can make at a job outside the home…one that has hours that accommodate our family, and doesn’t leave us mentally exhausted.
Whether you already experienced how difficult it is to work outside the home, or you’ve been thinking about a critical pivot so that you can finally have both flexibility and income, my first piece of advice is don’t get stuck in comparisonville wondering why others make it seem so easy when your own wallet is actually empty.
Here’s the stark reality, if you want to earn a living from home, there are only two choices:
1. Work for a company that hires remotely, or
2. Start your own business
Remote work can be found rather easily if you have a marketable skill. In other words, if you are educated or if you have a knowledge that is unique.
Jobs like content writers, copy editors, marketing strategists, SEO specialists, medical billers, bookkeepers, customer support representatives, and virtual assistants are among those that are hired for most often in a remote capacity, and It’s no secret that you can find most of these kinds of jobs on Indeed or flexjobs.com.
If you don’t have interest in working for a corporation though, then what you’re really searching for in work from home ideas, is:
What kind of business can I start from my home?
The answer is, it depends on your interests.
Starting a home-based creative business has been one of the most rewarding journeys that I have ever taken. It’s allowed me both freedom and flexibility to be a more present mother and wife, as well as continued to help pay the bills.
Anybody can do this…YOU can do this, but it’s important to follow advice from those who have done it before and not some random YouTuber who promises that you can make $700 an hour by following some shady tactic or a Facebook advertisement suggesting you to invest in their “system”.
Starting a Home-Based Business
This is not a high-level, out of reach kind of article. It’s not an “order this expensive thing and you’ll be good” type of advice. That’s nonsense. I promise to help you get where you’re going.
The reality is, tricks and hacks are not long term solutions at all.
All those Instagram photos of people working from home with a steamy latte, a clean desk, and a gorgeous outfit are not reality. In fact, in my experience, most of those posting the beautiful photography actually are not earning any money at all, or they don’t know how to monetize.
As I write this, I’m wearing pajama pants with a purring cat on my lap, and hair that has relied on dry shampoo for one too many days. So yeah, this is the non-instagrammable version of work from home life, however, I promise, all hope is not lost.
The first and most important thing you need to know is that everyone starts somewhere, and starting a business from your home does not happen overnight.
The second most important thing to know is that starting a home-based business is actually not that much different from starting a regular business. Sure, you don’t have the overhead of paying for an office building or employees, and you certainly don’t have to go to the bank and take out a loan of $10,000 or more to start your business, but you do have to invest in yourself as well as the tools necessary to get your from point A to point B.
Starting a business is not free.
Starting a blog is not free.
If you want to start a blog or any kind of home-based creative business, you do have to create a website, and it’s not free.
If someone told you that you can create a free blog, then they have never made any money from their website.
I’m not talking about creating a website where you document your life, I’m talking about starting a blog to actually put money in your wallet.
You can expect to spend around $100 or less if you want to DIY your own blog.
Keep in mind that most small businesses pay upwards of $5,000 to a creative agency to get a great website, so a hundred bucks is nothing.
Now I’m using the word blog more generally, because it doesn’t really matter whether you want to start an online fashion boutique or an Etsy Shop to sell your own creations, either way, starting a business still requires a small investment of both time and dollars.
With that in mind, here is my short-list of the most lucrative work from home job ideas for moms, even if you have no experience.
Top 5 Work from Home Businesses for Moms
Start a Blog
Starting a blog is very exciting because you have an opportunity to write about whatever your heart desires and get paid for it.
It’s very rewarding, but it’s important to remember that starting a blog is like starting a business, it takes work and it doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s important to keep your expectations in check if you go this route. Remember, people don’t care what you ate for breakfast, so that type of blogging isn’t going to pay the bills.
Start a Social Media Marketing Business
If you are good at using social media for business and you want to provide this as a service to other businesses, then you can start your own social media marketing business.
Depending upon which social channel you use, you can do everything from running Facebook Ads to managing Pinterest Accounts. If you don’t want to create your own website to offer these services, you can always get started by offering your services through a company like Upwork.
Start an Etsy Shop
If you love to create, you can sell your creations on Etsy. Starting an Etsy Shop is relatively simple and you could be up and running within hours, not days.
Whether you want to sell tea, jewelry or custom pillows, Shopify comes complete with all the integrations you need to make that happen from start to finish. It’s one of the only ecommerce systems that is an all-in-one solution for selling anything online.
Start a Service-Based Work from Home Business
If you have a particular type of knowledge, whether it’s in a professional industry such as law or accounting, or even if you’re a musician, you can provide services for those who are looking for that type of service and do so from your home.
With everything from virtual assistant services to social media marketing services, getting started is as simple as starting a blog. The first thing to do is look up your name, or your intended business name as a URL.
Those are the five different business models that will make you the most money over the long-term.
But what about the nitty gritty of actually growing your business?
Maybe you only have 200 followers and someone else you know has thousands, or even millions.
Maybe you’ve heard you can make money blogging but you aren’t quite sure how that works.
Maybe you have a product you’re trying to sell, or knowledge about a specific topic that you’re tying to monetize, yet nobody is opening up their wallet to buy.
The Journey toward a Successful Online Business
In order to stay connected, stay efficient, and stay resilient beyond the four walls your living in right now, lets start with 5 things you can do today to start making progress:
Wake up at a consistent time
It’s so easy to get lost in vacation mode, especially right now when you are being told to stay home.
In order to define what success looks like for an at-home entrepreneur, you’ve got to get into a consistent rhythm that works for your schedule. Only you know what your schedule is.
It’s so highly dependent upon what stage of life you’re in. Whether you have kids, what age they are, and your current work situation.
Pull out a journal and outline what an ideal schedule looks like for you. List what you want to accomplish in your day. From time for exercise, time for work, to time for family, before you can truly feel accomplished and happy, you need to define what those goals looks like.
Be intentional about how your fuel your body
I’m not saying everyone needs to start juicing, here, but lets get real. Binging on cheetos and chocolate peanut butter ice cream is not going to make you feel better.
It’s a good time to plan your grocery list carefully, and be hyper-aware of what you’re eating and serving your family. It may sound cliche, but you are what you eat, and so are your children.
You have the ability to make conscious decisions about what you eat and what you feed your family, so if you want to ensure your kids aren’t bouncing off the walls, then pay close attention to what they eat.
Create your workspace
I get it, not everyone has the luxury of a closed office space in their home, and your office doesn’t have to look like the ones on Pinterest.
Trust me, I do have an office space in my home, but the internet connection isn’t good in the office, so I end up working from my kitchen 90% of the time. But what I’ve found is that when you define a space, even if it’s your kitchen, you’ll be more efficient and get more done than you would if you sat on the couch with your laptop on your lap. That isn’t what working from home is about.
I rarely, if ever, sit with my laptop on my lap. I just can’t type that way. I rarely have the TV on when I’m working.
At your workstation, you should have your computer, charger, a notebook or your journal, a glass of water, cup of coffee or tea, and headphones. Then, turn off your notifications. Cell phone, email, slack. Focus and efficiency only happen when you’re not distracted.
Each day, (or the night before) start out by writing 3 things you want to accomplish that day to move the needle. One thing I do to focus is to work in only one browser tab at a time.
When I had lots of tabs open, I got distracted. In order to focus on accomplishing one task at a time, I try to keep the browser tabs to a minimum so that I can finish what I started.
I’ll be the first to say that things don’t always go as planned when you’re working from home, but if you take the time to sit your family down and have a short meeting about expectations, things will go much more smoothly.
The kids need to know that when the door is closed, they shouldn’t barge in. Do you need to tape a sign on the door during specific hours of the day when you have a planned conference call or need quiet time to record a video?
It sounds rather simple, but your life will be much less stressful if you take the time to communicate with your family about the expectations you have for them. Let them know the importance of leaving you alone at that specific time, or that breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be at specific times of the day so that they’re not complaining that they’re hungry while you’re on a conference call.
If you are an office worker and you use Slack, change your away message or notifications to block out the time you need to accomplish your work and your family time.
Set the expectations and then follow them.
It’s likely that your plans will change. In the moment when you feel out of control, take 3 deep breaths and remember the things you can control: your thoughts, your response, and your own actions.
It seems simple enough, but taking a deep breath activates a response in your body that can help equalize your fight or flight response that makes you overwhelmed in the first place.
Acceptance of the fact that your current situation isn’t perfect is the first way to breath life into your plans. Close your eyes, and focus on telling yourself that you are resilient and adaptable.
You might find yourself working odd hours or unusual places like your basement to escape the chaos. It’s important to let go of the perfection you see on Instagram and fill yourself with gratitude for what you have.
But how exactly do you express gratitude when you yourself are feeling so overwhelmed?
Successful people don’t actually do extraordinary things, they do ordinary things better than the average person.
It’s easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed, especially trying to navigate this new normal. In these moments, the first thing I do is send a text message or a Facebook message to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while to let them know I’m thinking about them.
The simple act of reaching out can help you feel connected and shine a bright light in someone’s day. It’s a free and easy way to just say hi. It will make you feel better. I promise!
Moving the Needle: First, Define Progress
Slowing down and expressing gratitude is great in theory, but up until now, many of us just didn’t have the time to do that.
One of my mentors taught me this:
If it’s not a “hell yes” it’s a “no”.
Will this time really change us?
Will we truly learn to slow down, be grateful for family time, or learn to go deep with a small group of people?
Now that we do have the time, it’s important to outline what things you can do to create the biggest result in your business, to drive you to move forward and change the impact on your wallet and your freedom.
What should you do more of and what should you do less of so that you can generate real results?
What action can you take to put the most money in your wallet in the next 30 days?
What is it that will bring you the most joy?
What will give you the most freedom?
What will make you more efficient?
Whatever you’re actually measuring here, you need to define it. Establish the one thing, whatever it is, the one goal you want to accomplish.
Which of the 5 businesses above do you want to focus on?
Write down the 3 biggest positive outcomes that will happen for you when you accomplish that goal. Write it down in your journal and write down today’s date.
In order to keep yourself accountable, you need to write down your goals.
This is where moving the needle comes in.
Focus your energy on what exactly you need to do in the next 30 days, in the next 3 months, in order to get closer to those results.
Work backwards with your goals. If your goal is to start making money with your blog or start an online business so you can finally have financial freedom, you will need to be realistic.
Look, there are no blogging fairies that are going to pay you to write about your your daily routine. So figure out what your goal actually is and then be realistic about what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
Thinking about starting a blog? Use that form above to see if your preferred URL is available, then download my free Start a Blog checklist to help you move closer to your goal.
Looking for a list of the top Apps Parents Need to Know? You're in the right place.
Do You Know What Apps Your Kids are Using? Here’s everything you need to know about 15 of the newest apps middle schoolers use that you should be monitoring on their phones, and how to keep your kids safe online. Middle school and high school parents…consider this a warning about the dangers of these popular apps. Online safety, especially on cell phones is important for both tweens and teens, and often, the dangers lie in very popular photo and video apps, messaging apps, social media apps, video chat, and yes, even explicit content apps.
This is especially important if you’re the parent of a child in 4th to 9th grade. And if you think it’s not happening in 4th grade, you’re dead wrong.
This is the world we live in now. Even as early as grade 4, there are dangerous apps parents need to monitor. Oh, you say your 4th grader doesn't have a phone yet? If they use any device, then you might want to keep reading.
I know…this isn’t normally what I write about on my blog, but it’s such an incredibly important topic in the aftermath of all the recent violence in American society that I couldn’t ignore the fact that kids all over our country are going back to school this week. Cyberbullying is ever present, and apps that allow users to hide their activity are especially popular.
Is violence directly related to kids and their phones? I think that’s debatable, but there is one thing I can argue for certain…the more parents that are informed about what these apps are, and the more they take the initiative to monitor what their kids are actually doing on their phones and devices the better off we’ll be.
How do I know about the most dangerous apps kids use?
I feel that I have a bit of insight in knowing the dangers of what kids do on their phones because my husband is the principal of our local high school in the community in which we live.
I can tell you first hand, many parents do not pay much attention to the principal or what he or she actually does on a daily basis, especially if your child is a rule follower and doesn’t get into trouble at school.
At our high school, there are approximately 1400 students in grades 9 through 12. My husband oversees a team which includes: 2 Assistant Principals, 5 Guidance Counselors, 4 Office Secretaries, 150 Teachers, and countless other personnel to help ensure that these children are kept safe and of course become prepared for college or career before they graduate. And that’s just grades 9-12. Our school is a mid-size public school in a mostly suburban part of town. We have 15 other public schools, some larger and some smaller, within a 30-mile radius of our community.
To put this into perspective, compare that to your office. Typically the C-Suite oversees a large team of people who report up through their hierarchy. If you’ve ever been a Vice President, part of the C-Suite in corporation, or even a director in a medium-sized company, you can appreciate the amount of time you put in to the leadership of the team who reports to you.
Now, imagine you have not only that team who reports to you, but you are also responsible for the safety, security, schedule, and overall well-being of 1,400 kids on a daily basis. It’s a damn hard job.
Now, WHO is supposed to be monitoring what the kids are doing on their phone?
He selflessly works 16 hours a day, almost every day of the school year. In the summer, he’s fortunate to be able to go back to a regular 8 hour work day. I’m not exaggerating in the least, I’m both grateful and proud of him, because he never complains. In fact, he considers his job a service to our students and our community.
I'm sharing this to give you some perspective, because most of the time, all I see (on social media, ironically) are parents complaining about how the school is doing nothing to prevent kids from engaging in dangerous social media. Interestingly, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree sometimes.
In all seriousness though, the stark reality of our world today is that more often than not, situations are triggered from kids and all the social media on their phones. If there happens to be a “situation” such as a child who posts anything that resembles a “threat” on social media, my husband is immediately forced to drop anything else he was doing (such as a performance review of a teacher for example) and spend the rest of his day, evening, or weekend for that matter, doing interviews with students, parents, the FBI, and others to make sure proper procedures are followed.
These procedures…they’re put in place by the federal government. Schools have to follow the law of course. Then maybe the school district plans a “town hall” so that hundreds of other community members can come together for a meeting to be informed about the situation and what the school is doing to keep their children safe. This is the unfortunate reality of communities all across our nation.
With all of the recent violence in our country, you can bet that the administrative team spends a lot of time making sure there are procedures in place to keep children safe. With news of online predators, human trafficking, and gun violence, sometimes parents become immune or even potentially forget about something that seems harmless but is extremely dangerous…the apps their kids have access to on their phones.
Who’s job is it to teach online safety?
Schools have some programs in place, but do you know if your child pays close attention to what their counselors are teaching at school?
Do you know what apps are on your child’s phone? Who do they interact with on these apps? They might say that they are talking only to their friends at school, but what happens when the friend has an older brother or sister? The “friend” list expands, and suddenly they are “friends” with a lot of people you don’t know…or worse…they don’t know?
When is the last time you looked at your child's phone?
What happens when your 4th grader bears witness to others who are posting mean words or photos through one of these apps?
What happens when your 6th grader bears witness (through an app) to a friend who is posting about how they are depressed and threatening to kill themselves? Does your 6th grader know how to respond?
What happens when your 8th grader bears witness to sexting and the sharing of questionable photos through these apps?
What happens when your 10th grader bears witness to a potential fight after school, or worse, a threat against another student?
And when your 12th grade daughter decides to meet up with a strange boy who’s been “sexting” with her but doesn’t go to her school and she’s never met him before?
If you think this is not happening in your part of the country, you are dead wrong. This isn’t the world we grew up in, but it’s the absolute reality for our children.
On the first day of school, my husband has an assembly for all students to inform them of the expectations of the school day, as well as the consequences for taking actions, including suspension for sports and school. Yet twice a week, he suspends students for vaping. Maybe they were caught in the bathroom with paraphernalia. Or maybe they were caught in a remote hallway of the school while everyone else was in class. Parents come to his office and utter words such as “my student would never do that” … except it was caught on camera.
Kids succumb to temptation and peer pressure through these apps, and it’s worse than it was when we were in school because they don’t just leave the peer pressure at school at the end of the day…social media goes home with them.
Before I get in to the dangerous apps list, parents and teens should know these two important points:
Once a picture or video leaves your phone and is sent to someone else, it is out of your control.
Someone can use that picture or video against you (your child).
Here are the Apps that parents should know about for the start of the 2019/2020 school year:
PS: Watch the video below to see what they look like for easier reference
Ask.FM: This app lets users ask anonymous questions and is known for cyberbullying.
Badoo: A dating and social media app where users can chat and share photos and videos based on location. The app is supposed to be for adults, but it’s been reported that teens create accounts with a fake birthday.
Bumble: Similar to Tinder, but requires girls to make the first contact. Law enforcement has stated that kids and teens can create fake accounts and falsify their age.
Calculator: This is one of several apps that are used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.
Grindr: A dating app geared toward the LGBTQ community based on location.
Holla: This is a video chat app that lets users meet people in seconds. Law enforcement officers say users have seen racial slurs and explicit content.
Hot o meter: The app lets users rate other’s profiles, view profiles of people in their location, and chat with strangers.
Kik: Children can use this app to bypass traditional text messaging features (such as when you turn off notifications after a certain time in the evening) which gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Whisper: An anonymous social network that lets users share secrets with strangers. This also shows a users location.
Live.Me: A live-streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos. Users can earn “coins” to “pay” minors for photos.
MeetMe: A dating app that connects people based on location. Users are encouraged to meet in person.
Skout: A location-based dating app that is supposed to prohibit people under 17 from sharing private photos. However, note that kids can easily create an account with a different age.
Snapchat: One of the most popular social media apps in the world, Snapchat lets users take and share photos and videos. The app also lets people see your location.
TikTok: An app popular with kids that lets users create and share short videos. Law enforcement said this app has “very limited privacy controls” and users can be exposed to cyberbullying and explicit content.
WhatsApp: A messaging app that allows texts, video calls, photo sharing and voicemails.
What can parents do about these dangerous apps?
Are you prepared for the start of the school year?
Take some time to review your child’s phone for these apps, and talk through your expectations. In my personal opinion, I’m paying for my child’s phone and phone plan, so it’s technically MY phone, they just get to use it. That means until my child is an adult and no longer living in my house, I have full and complete access to monitor their phone, their apps, and connect with any social media profiles that they use, including connecting with their friends.
If their friends do not “connect” with me, then my child is not allowed to connect with that particular friend. These are just my rules, but I take my children and their behaviors very seriously.
I’ve seen parents take to social media to “complain” about rules, actions, or policies that have been put in place at their school. Many times, people tend to comment on a topic without having all the facts about the topic.
Parents should exercise respect and set a positive example for their children with regard to online behavior. I’m all for your first amendment rights, but lets be mature about it; if you don’t have all the facts about a situation, your best bet is to keep your comments to yourself. I’ve bore witness to online comments spiraling completely out of control, with people chiming in about a topic they have no knowledge about. Please recognize that if your comment could potentially be hurtful or harmful to someone else, even if that person is your arch enemy, you should make sure you gather all the facts before you fuel the fire.
I hope this article encourages you to take a closer look at what your children are engaging with on social media apps. Practicing good online habits begins with us…we’re all in this together, so for the sake of our kids and their future, lets stand strong and make sure we are spending time to have these very real conversations with our children.
Well, that was a bit of a deep dive on a topic that I typically don’t blog about, but honestly, it’s been on my mind and I just think there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children. As parents, raising children is not an easy job, in fact it’s harder than any other job I’ve ever had.
I spent the first 10 years of my career in a corporate marketing job, but when my children were born, my dreams of a corner office were replaced with a need for flexibility.
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