I’ve had such incredible experiences in the television and radio world. My passion for media has given me endless opportunities that I am forever grateful for. However, there is one aspect of my life that surpasses my love for media, and that is my family.
As I started my entrepreneurial journey, I concluded my passion for my family and parenting would be at the forefront of my vision. That’s why when I discovered KidsWifi, a company that invented an Internet-safety device that protects children online, I knew we had to work together. Now, as the official spokesperson of KidsWifi, we are working hard to spread awareness on the importance of Internet safety, and providing parents with a much-needed solution for protecting children as they utilize the Internet.
I had the chance to sit down with KidsWifi and discuss my partnership with them, my personal experiences with Internet and being a parent. I hope you enjoy it, and you learn more about myself, as a mom!
Thanks for the discussion! We’ll first talk a little bit about KidsWifi, and then dive into some fun parenting questions!
As you are aware, KidsWifi’s dream is to protect children in their own homes while they’re surfing the web. How does KidsWifi’s dream align with your own vision for children across the globe?
We want to create a safe environment for our kids to grow and flourish, and the Internet is a place where it’s been really tough for parents to get a handle on keeping their kids safe. I always compare it to the fact I wouldn’t send my kids into Central Park by themselves and say, “good luck I’ll pick you up in an hour,” and I wouldn’t do the same with the Internet. I wouldn’t put my kids on the Internet and say, “good luck navigating that,” without any parental controls. Finally, with KidsWifi, it allows parents a tool to get that control, and to keep kids safe in a way that still allows them to explore and do what they need to do to learn. I’d say, keeping kids safe is something all parents want to do, what I want to do, and what KidsWifi wants to do as well.
What experience with the Internet did you have with your children that really made you realize the importance of Internet monitoring and safety?
We had an incident with my daughter when she was on YouTube watching something called Peppa Pig. I was making dinner, and everything sounded fine from her iPad. However, when I popped over to have a look, the images on her iPad weren’t the images a young little girl should be seeing, and someone had edited the videos inappropriately. So for me, that was a huge wake-up call. I thought, “wow, I really need to educate myself on how I can best protect my children.” Serendipitously, that’s when KidsWifi and I came together. I’m just so grateful that KidsWifi and the team has made it so easy for parents like myself, to just take a deep breath and go O.K., finally there’s something out there that can help me parent properly when it comes to the web. But KidsWifi is not replacing the job as parents that we need to do. We still need to be present; we still need to be monitoring the things that our kids are looking at. But when we have our backs turned, KidsWifi has us covered.
How has your parenting style regarding the Internet changed since using KidsWifi?
My parenting style is the same! I’m always very aware of what the kids are looking at. We still have the same guidelines when it comes to Internet use, just with a little help. My kids can use the Internet a little bit after school before dinner, but nothing before bedtime. So what we end up doing is, because of the great parental controls on KidsWifi, I turn it off and the kids can’t get online past dinnertime. You can completely shut off. It allows me to still parent the way I normally do, just with that extra little bit of security. The other thing is, it allows me to see what sites my kids are trying to get on. Say they’re trying to get on a site I don’t agree with; I can sit down and have a parenting moment. This is a moment of opportunity to sit and discuss why I don’t want them on that site and why I don’t think it’s appropriate. You can use all those moments and turn them into great conversations to discuss Internet safety.
So, is it safe to say your favourite feature is the bedtime shut-off feature, or what is your favourite feature on the KidsWifi device?
The bedtime feature is pretty exciting. I do love that. It’s one of my favourite features. Sometimes my oldest wakes up really early in the morning, and says “I’m just going to go get my iPad,” and I say “Well, technically It’s still bed-time, you still need to finish sleeping, you’re not going to just sit on your iPad!” So that feature allows me to have that control in a situation like that.
The device also allows me to put in the sites that I think are good for them. For example, my kids love National Geographic for Kids. They love to look at animals and learn all about them. So I can allow those types of websites on my sons device; maybe not on my daughters, maybe there’s something I don’t want her to see. Either way, I can tailor it towards each of my kids to make it safe for them. The Internet is a great place. It’s a fantastic tool for learning and education, but just in the right hands.
How do your kids normally utilize the Internet?
My kids are on the iPad. My daughter, Nyla has some certain games that we’ve downloaded for her, all of them are learning games. There are also movies that we’ve downloaded that are appropriate for her age. My son, he enjoys Netflix, and he also has certain games that we’ve downloaded that are okay for him to play.
Do you find your kids surf the Internet differently when they’re alone, compared to if you were sitting beside them monitoring them?
Not at this age. As they get older, the KidsWifi device and its features are going to become more important for us. Right now, I have it for very basic settings for the kids – it’s pretty locked down. As they get older, I’ll take some of the weights off, so they can explore a little further. That’s when we can talk about boundaries and trust. It’s nice that as they grow and become more responsible and have a better sense of judgement, you can tailor your KidsWifi to that. It’s not about not allowing your kids to go anywhere online; it’s about allowing them to explore online in a really safe way.
How many Internet-connected devices do you have in your home? Do you know?
6, 7, 8! There are a lot!
Where do you gain your inspiration as a parent for family activities?
Oh goodness! With this season coming up, I am a sucker for the Holidays. I love Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, even Birthdays – you name it, I love them all! I love to go on Pinterest. I mean, last night I was surfing on Pinterest for craft ideas for the kids. I even like to go on Instagram and type in ‘Christmas’ and see what people are doing this season with their families. Amazon.ca is where I shop for early Christmas presents for the kids. There’s information everywhere online to help inspire activities for families.
Lastly, what’s your favourite part about being a mother?
I don’t have just one! Being a mom, or a parent, gives you a greater purpose. It allows you the freedom to be a kid again. You get down on the ground, things get primal and you just have fun and play. I think as an adult you lose a lot of that play in our lives. When we have kids, it gets re-introduced. And there’s nothing more amazing than having a great sense of play, and I think kids see when you do. Also – a really big snuggly hug at the end of the day, there’s nothing like it.
I’m ecstatic for the opportunity to combine forces with KidsWifi as their official spokesperson. Working together, our goal is to change the Internet for children, one KidsWifi device at a time!