momready archives

Safety First

Posted by Thomas Joel
Safety First



I think it’s safe to say that the pre-teen and teens years are some of the roughest times in a person’s life. You are most likely starting a new school, your body is going through some weird changes, and your parents want to know every little detail of your painstakingly long day at school.

I know that when I went through this period in my life each and every day I wanted to time travel into my college years. I wanted to get home from my awful middle school and lock myself in my room until I had to show my face at the dinner table. Interestingly enough my fourteen-year-old daughter is the same way. The car ride home from school consists of me asking simple questions like “How was your day” or “Are your classes going ok” and her answering me, while staring into her iPhone screen, by making some type of grunting noise that is always translated as “fine.”

Her generation is obsessed with social media, anything from SnapChat to Instagram. These kids are always posting what they are doing and who they are hanging out with on these platforms. Once she gets into my car she starts scrolling through any and all of her social media apps. The rare times that she lets me peek over her shoulder I can see some not too nice things being said other about people on these sites, but if I try to say something to her I get a response like “Mom stop snooping!”

I can never get her to put down the phone and actually talk to me about anything that’s going on, whether it’s good or bad. At this time in her life she is really susceptible to what others have to say. Any positive or negative comment can put her into an altered state. So when she gets into my car after school I can usually tell if she had a good day or bad day by her tone and body language.

One day when I picked her up after school, I noticed that she wasn’t standing with her typical group of friends. She was standing alone, which seemed off to me. She’s the type of person that loves to be around her friends all the time. There’s a group of five of them and if you see one the others aren’t too far away. So to see her all by herself was very concerning.

She ran into my car and didn’t say a word. I started to drive away and I asked my typical question “How was your day” but this time I got radio silence. She wasn’t even looking at her phone she was just staring out the window. For her to not be engulfed in her phone means a lot. Since the moment I bought her that phone she has been glued to it. The only thing I could think of that could be bothering her must have been on that phone. I tried asking her if something was going on with her and her friends at school and all she said was “I’m never looking at my phone again.”

This response was a huge red flag to me. For a girl who is attached to her phone this comment means a lot. Of course I asked her why she didn’t want to look at her phone and what was on it, but she wouldn’t say anything or let me see it. At this point I knew I had to do something to help her because something was really wrong.

When I got home I turned to the internet for help. I searched anything and everything related to cyberbullying and cyberbullying detection tools. We are living in a super high-tech world I can only imagine what kinds of programs have been created to find cyberbullies.

I came across this app called Keepers Child Safety when I was looking through blogs. This app is able to identify suspicious and abusive messages through texting and social media. Once the app sees these messages it sends the parents an alert showing them the messages and the severity of the messages (see screenshot below). As soon as I found this app I immediately downloaded it onto my phone and my daughter’s phone.

Cyberbullying is not a fun thing to have to endure or even witness, so when I started getting alerts from Keepers I was thankful but also concerned. I was able to see that my daughter was being bullied by the girls that she thought were her friends. Since she wasn’t able to come to me herself to discuss what was going on this app allowed us to have an open line of communication. She felt more comfortable coming to me to talk and figure out a plan to take care of this situation.

I’m so grateful that I found Keepers and was able to help my daughter in a way that I didn’t know that I could. I want to share this app with you all in the hope that it can help you or someone that you know. Let’s stop cyberbullying once and for all.