Meet The Friday Flyer’s ‘Techie Tipster’ Kerry Keith

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Kerry Keith The Friday Flyer Columnist

Kerry Keith
The Friday Flyer Columnist

The Friday Flyer welcomes new columnist Kerry Keith. Kerry says she is very savvy with cell phone and tablet applications, internet and cell phone security, creating websites, navigating social media, and how technology can help promote a business.

“I’m constantly researching and discovering new applications that will make my business more successful and, more importantly, make my life easier and more rewarding,” she says.

Not only is Kerry well versed in these subjects, she loves to write and is pursuing a master’s degree in Fine Arts in Creative Writing!

She and her husband moved to Canyon Lake over five years ago with their children, ages 13, 10 and 8. However, she began visiting Canyon Lake as a weekender when she was 5 years old. Her great aunt and uncle bought property here in the early 1970s and, when they built their house, Kerry’s parents also bought a house.

When Kerry and her husband moved here, they bought the home next to the one she grew up visiting. Several family members still live here full-time or part-time.

“Canyon Lake has always been and continues to be the place where our family has gatherings. We do a lot of swimming, boating and water skiing in the lake whenever we can and frequent the pool at the Lodge,” says Kerry. “With three kids, most of my free time is spent with them and their activities.”

Kerry was on the USTA Canyon Lake tennis team when she first moved here and looks forward to getting back into tennis. Her son plays a little golf and her daughter is in a Girl Scout troop in Canyon Lake. The Keith family enjoys Taco Tuesday, Movie Night in the Park, Ski Days, trick-or-treating in the Towne Center and car shows.

Facebook and Kids

Kerry Keith and her family have been involved with the community since the 1970s. She is pictured with her husband Ted, son Zander, 8, daughter Mackenna,10, son Tanner,13 and their Golden Retriever. Photos provided by Kerry Keith

Kerry Keith and her family have been involved with the community since the 1970s. She is pictured with her husband Ted, son Zander, 8, daughter Mackenna,10, son Tanner,13 and their Golden Retriever. Photos provided by Kerry Keith

Parenting in the information age certainly has its challenges with ensuring the games and applications your child is downloading are age appropriate and protecting them against cyber-bullying or predators via text or social media.

Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smartphones, 92 percent of teens (ages 13-17) reported going online daily, including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study by Pew Research Center based in Washington D.C. It was also reported that 71 percent of these teens use Facebook.

Facebook has an age limit not allowing anyone under the age of 13 to join the site. In fact, you have to be 13 to have an account with Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, but a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent’s permission.

Kids under 13 these days seem very tech savvy and beyond capable of handling a social media site; however, most research shows that it takes a child approximately 12 years to fully develop the cognitive structures that enables them to engage in ethical thinking. Before the age of 12, it’s difficult for a child to fully grasp the impact of their actions upon others, even online. Ultimately it needs to be the parent’s choice on when the child is ready, as some 13-year-olds still need more time to develop so they’re able to navigate any negativity that may arise.

A safe Facebook account begins by having a dialogue with your child so they understand why and how certain changes can protect them. Start by accessing the “Settings” menu on the home page of their Facebook account.

Click the down arrow on the top right corner and click “Settings” on the dropdown menu. There will be a menu on the left side of the page with several options. Your first option is “Security.”

This section allows you to edit “Login Alerts” and “Login Approvals.” Signing up for notifications via email or text helps prevent someone from being able to log into their account from a different computer or phone if they know your child’s password. Under “Code Generator,” you can add a security code to access the account from an unknown computer, if desired.

Click “Edit” next to “Where You’re Logged In” and click “End Activity” if there are any sessions that are active from a different location other than where you’re located.

The second option is “Privacy.” These settings allow you to determine “Who can see my stuff,” “Who can contact me” and “Who can look me up” on your child’s account. They can be edited so that only Friends or Friends of Friends can see your child’s posts or have the ability to contact them. “Timeline” and “Tagging” offers many settings that can be edited by choosing “Only Me” or possibly “Friends,” depending on your child’s age, to determine who can add or see anything on their timeline.

A great option for your child is to have the ability to review everything they are tagged in, including photos, before it appears on their timeline. “Blocking” is an option that allows them to block someone that will no longer be able to see their posts, timeline or tags.

Further down the left side menu is “Followers.” By choosing “Friends,” it restricts anyone who isn’t a Friend from following your child. It prohibits the public from seeing their page or from being able to contact them. Remind your child that the “Everybody” option for all of these settings allows any of the 1.44 billion Facebook users worldwide to contact them.

Facebook does give you the option to be “Friends” with someone without having to follow them. By moving your curser over a “Friend’s” name, a box will appear. Click the box that says “Following,” then the check will be removed. The Friend won’t know you’re not following them, but it will allow your child from not having to see any posts from that Friend.

Being “Friends” with your child and making sure you are following them is recommended; however, just because you are Friends with your child doesn’t mean you’ll be able to see everything they post. So take the time to talk with them about why these security measures are an important part of their online safety.

Facebook doesn’t tolerate bullying and any bullying should be reported. They also offer a Bullying Prevention Hub at www.facebook.com/safety/bullying/ that provides resources and tools for preventing bullying behavior. When it comes to your child’s safety, there’s no limit to what a parent will do to protect them.

Facebook can be a fun place to share thoughts, photos, or connect with friends. Simply take a few minutes to protect your child so that it will continue to be a positive experience for them.

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Sharon Rice