Archive for September, 2010

911 Text Alerts Kept University of Texas Students Safe

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

A 19 year old sophomore at the University of Texas opened fire Tuesday while running through the Austin campus using an AK-47, then eventually killed himself.

No one else was shot, and most of the credit for a low body count is going to the university’s crisis-management plan.

As part of this plan, the schools text messaging system reached out to more than 43,000 people, warning students, faculty and staff to stay away from the area the gunman was holed up.  The text also advised students to remain indoors.

Here’s a few important questions to ask:

  • Does your child’s elementary, middle, high school or university have an emergency text messaging system in place?  Services such as Mobile Campus provides real-time emergency alerts for schools across the country.
  • Are you and your family members listed on the text recipient list?
  • If your child’s school has yet to implement an emergency text messaging system, when is planned to be implemented?

An emergency text messaging system is one instance on how text technology can save lives.  It’s also clear that every school should have a system in place exactly like the University of Texas has implemented.

Since almost everyone carries their cell phones, sending emergency messages by text is the perfect solution for emergency and life threatening situations.

Facebook: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Facebook has become the “must-have” social networking account most pre-teens yearn for, teenagers live by, and many adults love.
When you hear “Mom, can I have a Facebook account?” you shouldn’t be shocked. Some parents struggle with the answer, especially when it comes to their 13- or 14-year old child who can’t wait to set up their profile, friend their friends, post their favorite pictures, and update their status.

Only a parent knows their child well enough to decide if their teen is ready and mature enough to handle the responsibility that goes along with having a Facebook account. Remember, Facebook is a mode of communication that has the capability to reach the entire world. If you decide to say “yes”, here are eight rules you should consider implementing before granting access:

• No foul language

• No inappropriate photos

• Only accept friend requests from people they know

• Teach your kids how to use the “Block” feature to stop abusive behavior

• Communicate and educate your teens about Internet Safety

• Monitor their pages, and let them know you’re doing so

• Review their privacy settings with them (‘Private’ is highly recommended)

• Make it clear you’ll need 24/7 access to their account (obtain user/password information)

Keep in mind that only confirmed friends can post to your teen’s Wall or contact your teen via Facebook, so if you’re worried that someone will make inappropriate posts or send offensive messages, you only have to worry about those type of messages coming from friends that your child confirmed.

I refer to them as frenemies.