5 Tips for Summer Water Safety

pool lifeguard water safety

When the weather heats up, it’s natural for children to want to take a dip in the water to cool off. While most adults can easily find their way through bodies of water, children need a little extra help. Drowning is a serious concern, especially when children find their way into water without supervision. Here are our recommendations for keeping your child safe around water this summer.

Pay Attention

In a perfect world, every pool and beach would have attentive lifeguards on duty at all times. However, this simply isn’t the case. Whenever your child gets in the water, whether it’s an inflatable pool or an ocean, stay vigilant. Make sure you know your child’s location and pay attention to how they’re handling the water. If you have a pool in your home and can’t find your child, check the pool first. Paying attention to your child’s swimming habits could save their life.

swimming children in pool with sunglasses

No Swimming Alone

When you’re busy and your child wants to go swimming, you may be tempted to let them go alone. However, anything from cramps to overconfidence in swimming ability can create a dangerous situation. See if they can find a buddy to go to the pool with if you’re not able to go. While a friend or sibling may not be as strong as an adult, they can at least call for help. Tell your child and their buddy who to call in the case of an emergency.

Swim Lessons

One way to help your child stay safe is by teaching them how to swim. By taking swimming lessons, your child learns how to stay afloat and hold their own in the water. Swim instructors make sure your child swims with proper form and technique. Lessons alone will not keep your child safe from harm, but they can help your child confidently navigate the waters under normal circumstances. No child is too young to learn to start swimming; even infants can take water exposure classes and get familiar with bodies of water.

boy with life jacket paddle boarding on lake

Life Jackets

When your child is just learning how to swim or going on an outdoor adventure near the water, wearing a life jacket can quite literally save their life. These are especially important when riding on boats or going near large bodies of water where it’s not always easy to keep track of your child. Children are naturally curious, which can get them into trouble. Life jackets aren’t a substitute for watching your child; they are an added layer of protection. Floaties can help children who are just learning to swim but are not replacements for life jackets.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

Telling your child what to do in an emergency can help keep them safe. However, it’s equally important that you know what to do if something goes wrong. Here’s what you should do in the event of an emergency:

  • Alert the lifeguard if one is available to help.
  • If no lifeguard is present, remove the person from the water if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
  • Ask someone to call emergency services. If you’re alone, provide 2 minutes of care, then call. 
  • Use rescue breathing, CPR and an AED if available.
  • Signs a swimmer needs help: 
    • They’re not moving forward in the water.
    • They’re vertical in the water and can’t move.
    • They’re motionless and face down in the water.

During summer break, children in Florida naturally gravitate toward the water. It’s important to keep them safe when they do. At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Support a Local Orlando Business on National Ice Cream Day

ice cream cone with pink background

Ice cream is essential for getting through Florida summers, especially for kids (and kids at heart)! On National Ice Cream Day — Sunday, July 18th — ice cream shops go all out with special flavors and deals. One great way to celebrate this holiday is by supporting local businesses here in Orlando. Here are a few great options that aren’t far from our Orlando private school: 

The Greenery Creamery 

The Greenery Creamery, an Asian-owned ice cream shop, calls itself “Orlando’s first artisanal ice cream boutique.” With a variety of locally sourced dairy and plant-based ice cream options, you’re sure to find flavors you and your child enjoy. If you have adventurous taste, this is the place to go. While flavors like sweet cream and cookies and cream can be found, there are also options like guava, blueberry lavender and black ash coconut. You can find this shop at their original Downtown Orlando location or at their newer location in Downtown Sanford. 

 

 

woman in pink apron handing ice cream cone

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream 

Another great handcrafted option in Orlando is Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, with locations in Audubon Park, Fern Creek and Oviedo. All of their ice cream is handmade in Orlando. This ice cream shop offers classic flavors like chocolate and strawberry, as well as fun flavors like maple bourbon bacon and rose almond pistachio. In addition to their staple flavors, they have a rotating special menu that includes non-dairy options. 

ice cream in bins

Sperry Deli & Creamery 

Named after Orlando Mayor Frank Ezra Sperry, who served in the early 1900s, Sperry Deli & Creamery recently opened in Thornton Park near Lake Eola. This deli serves Boars Head products and a variety of ice cream flavors. Most of the flavors fall under the typical ice cream shop repertoire. Along with ice cream shop favorites like vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream and cookie dough, they offer sorbets and low-fat flavors. This is a great place to go if you’re looking for a plain and simple ice cream experience.

purple popsicles on pink background

The Pop Parlour 

While The Pop Parlor is not an ice cream shop per se, their popsicles are perfect for cooling down on a summer day. Along with homemade popsicles, they offer specialty coffee drinks and tea, so there’s something for everyone. Like The Greenery Creamery and Sperry Deli & Creamery, The Pop Parlor started in Downtown Orlando, right next to Lake Eola. It has since expanded to UCF and will soon be opening a Texas location. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we emphasize the importance of service to the community, which includes supporting small businesses. Teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Motivating Children and Teens During Summer Break

teen girl having waffles for breakfast

School’s out for summer, and suddenly there seem to be infinite hours to fill. Some children try to sleep the boredom away, while others look forward to spending quality time with their screens. Keeping children and teens motivated during summer break may feel like a chore, it’s far from impossible. Just like adults, children sometimes just need an extra push to get motivated. Here are our recommendations. 

Decide on a Daily Schedule

Planning out a child’s entire summer will be met with groans. However, it’s important to keep them on a regular daily routine. Setting approximate wake-up times, mealtimes and bedtimes can keep them on track without being overbearing. Make sure the times are age appropriate, keeping in mind that teenagers naturally stay up longer and go to sleep later. See if you can incorporate physical activity each day, even if it’s just a short walk. Try to find a balance between structured activities and downtime. This will help your child keep up healthy habits while still giving them a much-needed summer break.

dart board with dart on outside

Help Them Set Goals

Setting goals is essential to staying motivated. Your goals for summer might be to lose a few pounds, read a few books or clean up the cluttered garage. Consider goals for your child that will keep them focused on the future. For younger children, goals like reading at the next grade’s reading level or learning a new sport would be great. For teens, maybe this is the summer they learn to drive or get their first summer job. Help your child set actionable goals, and walk them through the steps to complete them. 

Try a Summer Job or Volunteering

Whether it’s paid or unpaid, working in a structured environment is a great opportunity for older children and teens. It gives them a purpose when they’re not going to class every day. Working helps improve communication skills, build work ethic and develop leadership skills. Either type of job will look great on a college application or resume. If your child has passions for certain causes, help them find volunteer opportunities. If they’re looking to fund hobbies, a paid summer job may be a better fit.

happy young family outside

Plan for Family Time

Whether you’re keeping it local or traveling to see other family members, spending time with your child will help them focus. Come up with screen-free plans and outdoor activities everyone can do together. Make sure to keep your child posted and, if they’re interested, see if they want to be involved in the planning. Activities like camping, riding bikes or going to the park, pool, beach together can be fun and safe to do as a family. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Help Children Find Their Faith

teen girl holding bible

Helping your child learn about and understand the impact of faith on your life will allow it to become a positive force in theirs. There are many ways to help your child find their faith, and some are more effective than others. Here are a few ways we recommend guiding your child on their faith journey. 

Create a Positive Faith Environment

When it comes to learning about faith, children need guidance. Truly understanding how faith can become part of their lives starts with a positive environment. Think of yourself as a leader, not a boss. Encourage your child to join youth groups, Faith based camps and Bible studies so they’ll be surrounded by peers who can talk about faith with them. When they’re struggling, help them turn to prayer for answers. 

mother and teen girl in fruit field

Communicate in a Loving Way

Spend meaningful time with your child so they know they’re a priority in your life. This will earn your child’s trust and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. Rather than asking questions that provoke one-word answers, try asking “What was the best part of your day?” or “How did you help someone today?” If your child trusts that you have their best interest at heart, they’ll open up to you when they need extra help.

Set a Good Example

One way to teach your child to become a follower of Jesus is by exhibiting Christlike behavior. It may be tempting to air out your frustrations with someone when you think your child is not listening. However, they’re probably listening to you more often than you realize. Treat children, family members and friends with respect, and encourage your child to do the same. Be forgiving, especially when you’re talking to your child. While leading by example is great, it’s also helpful for them to have multiple sources that show how to behave. Consider finding children’s books, movies and other media that promote positive character building. 

woman and red haired boy at desk looking at computer

Help them Understand

In today’s world where everyone has information at their fingertips, “because I said so” no longer flies. Don’t just tell your child what the Catholic religion is trying to teach if they have questions. Help them understand. Show them that helping the poor, homeless, disabled and oppressed improves the world while enriching their lives. Help them understand why attending Mass helps them connect with their faith. Rather than just telling them to be polite, explain how being polite helps them see with a positive lens and brightens others’ days. If they understand why they’re acting a certain way, they’ll be more inclined to continue on their path.

Consider Catholic Education

For some children, Catholic education provides necessary guidance for faith exploration. Being around like minded peers who have the same questions they do can have many benefits. Teachers, families and staff at Catholic schools work together to provide a positive faithful environment. Children can join a faith-filled community and learn the importance of service to others. Mass is available at school, and parents are encouraged to join. These are just a few ways that Catholic education can help students find their faith.

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Preparing Your Child for High School

mother and girl graduating

High school can be an overwhelming step for children, especially if they feel unprepared for what’s ahead of them. You can help them get through this process so that high school becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a place they dread going to every weekday. Whether your child decides to continue Catholic education or moves on to a magnet program or public school, there are steps you can take to encourage your child during their transition. Here are ways you can help ease the stress of moving on to high school. 

Plan School Visits

When it comes to choosing a high school, there are many options, and none of them are one-size-fits-all. If your child needs some help deciding where to go, consider taking tours at different schools. Some schools offer virtual tours, so you can get a feel for the campus from the safety of your home. Once they choose a school, make sure to attend orientation with them. See if you can bring them to school performances or fairs on the weekends before they graduate. Look into extracurricular activities the school offers, and encourage your child to get involved in ones that interest them. 

boy studying at desk with notebook and computer

Enhance Their Study Habits

Even if your child breezed through elementary school and middle school classes, they may find high school more challenging. Take these final days of eighth grade to help your child create the perfect study space. Find a quiet area free from distractions, and add tools like planners, labeled binders and calendars to help your child get organized. Help them set aside time for studying so they’ll be used to it when high school comes along. Make sure your child continues reading over the summer, and encourage them to brush up on past lessons so they’ll be caught up when they start school. 

Communicate Openly 

One of the most difficult things to do with a teenager is have a serious conversation. Try to keep communication as honest and open as possible, even if it’s uncomfortable. Ask them about their experiences, and don’t accept one-word answers. Ask about what they learned, who they spent time with, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about school. Keep this habit up going into high school so they’ll know they can turn to you. Listen to what they have to say, and ask how you can help. Encourage them to come up with their own solutions, and offer advice only if they seem stuck. This will also help them become independent, which is an essential part of growing up.

planner and coffee

Set Goals

When your child starts high school, they’ll be in a whole new world full of opportunities, and it can be difficult to stay focused on what matters. The goals they create can be educational, like keeping certain grades or getting into AP classes, and social, like joining a club that’s relevant to their niche interests or helps them get more involved in the community. Encourage them to come up with new goals each year so they always have something to look forward to in the future. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we prepare children to excel in high school and beyond with the help of their families. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Show Educators Love on Teacher Appreciation Week

desk with books apple and pencils

Teaching requires passion and dedication to creating compassionate leaders, especially at Orlando private schools. Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 3-7 this year, has honored the men and women who educate our children since the National PTA established it in 1984. While apples are an iconic gift for teachers, we have a few other ideas for virtual and physical teacher appreciation gifts.

Send a Nice Message

One fun way for your child to show they appreciate their teacher is by sending a thoughtful message. Consider playing videographer for your child, and have them record a video for their teacher. If your child is camera shy, have them write a nice letter or email. To keep them on topic, let them choose from the following prompts, or come up with one of your own:

  • The best thing about your class was…
  • My favorite thing about you is…
  • I will always remember 5th grade because…
  • My favorite lesson you taught me was…

child in yellow shirt drawing a picture

Draw the Teacher

Doodling in class is generally frowned upon, but if you have a child who loves to draw, encourage them to express themselves by drawing their teacher. If you’re the more artistic one, draw it yourself. This type of personalized gift shows that your child cares. No matter who drew the picture, have your child sign it so your teacher will remember your child when they see it. If your child draws the portrait, make sure to look at it before they bring it to their teacher— sometimes well-meaning children create art that requires further explanation.

Make Something

Craft projects are essential for early education. Teacher appreciation week gives your child the opportunity to explore their creativity outside of school. Choose a project that would make a great gift, and help your child make it. Teachers are always looking for storage solutions, so a decorated plastic box or pencil holder could be a perfect present. You can make a tin can pencil holder by adorning a clean soup can with colorful beads and popsicle sticks like the one you see here. Or, as a twist on giving your teacher flowers, have your child paint a plain ceramic flower pot with fun designs, and give the decorated pot to the teacher with a flower or succulent planted inside. 

brown gift box with red ribbon

Give Them a Gift

Not all children love doing arts and crafts in their spare time, and that’s OK. You can still figure out a fun gift for your child’s teacher. A gift card in a nice box can be a great way to show appreciation. To give two gifts in one, consider placing gifts into a reusable water bottle or a mason jar. You can fill either of these useful items with pens and pencils or with candy and mints. Depending on the size, you can even hide a gift card among the items so the gift keeps on giving. These are just a few ways your child can show appreciation for their hard working teachers.

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How Video Games Can Help Your Child Learn

child playing video game

Gaming can open up new worlds for your child, like books and movies but in a more engaging way. When your child plays a video game, they are at the center of their own world. This can come with many benefits, like life lessons, cognitive benefits and career opportunities. At our Orlando private school, we believe play is just as important as attending classes for a child’s development. Here are some of the ways video games can help your child learn:

Educational Content

While not all video games directly relate to education, most can teach life lessons. These games immerse players in thrilling, stimulating worlds. Historical games, like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and the Assassin’s Creed series mix facts about history with challenging scenarios. Role-playing games like the Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts series teach children vocabulary through character dialogue. Minecraft, a popular game for all ages, allows players to build their own worlds. Minecraft: Educational Edition comes with over 500 lesson plans about coding, the environment, history and more. Other games like Math Blaster, Reader Rabbit, and Code Ninjas solely exist to educate children. 

child doing math on whiteboard

Teaches Life Skills

It’s nice that children can learn facts and academic skills from games, but they can also learn skills that will help them in life. For one, video games help children become motivated. They play the main character role, and their success is rewarded throughout the game. With incremental levels of difficulty, children learn the value of practicing and improving skills, which translates to real life. Whether a child plays with a team of pre-designed characters or with real people, video games also help children learn the importance of teamwork. 

Helps with Brain Function

If you’ve heard a parent talk about the benefits of video games, you’ve probably heard that they improve “hand-eye coordination.” While that is true, there’s more to it. With timed challenges and incentives to act quickly, video games help speed up mental response times, which improves real-life troubleshooting skills. Rhythm games help children think quickly and can help with their overall motor skills. By providing instant, ongoing feedback and giving players the opportunity to correct mistakes, video games also teach children how to re-strategize and keep trying if they fail the first time.

child on computer programming

Creating Video Games

Video games aren’t just a fun pastime— they can become a fruitful career. Your child could become part of this estimated $180 billion industry. Creating these games requires code writers, art and level designers, musicians, voice actors, motion capture actors and more. Many of these skills require STEM-based knowledge. Even if your child is not set on becoming a future game designer, they might be interested in seeing what goes on behind the scenes.  The National STEM Video Game Challenge allows students to build games from the ground up, and spectators get to watch the process unfold. This can be a great educational opportunity for gamers of all ages. 

Recommendations for Parents

While video games can be beneficial, like anything, they should be experienced in moderation. Here are some tips for creating healthy gaming habits:

  • Establish firm time limits for your child, and don’t let them start playing before they finish homework or chores. 
  • Encourage your child to play games with friends and family members, helping them learn collaboration and allowing them to engage with others in a meaningful way. 
  • Encourage healthy habits while they’re playing. Good posture, sitting the proper distance from the TV, and not mindlessly eating unhealthy snacks while playing can go a long way. 
  • Before buying a game for your child, find out if it’s appropriate. The ESRB has a ratings scale with ratings like E for Everyone and M for Mature. Not all games are rated, but you can figure out what happens in most games with a quick Google search. 

We believe playing video games is a great way for children to learn about the world around them, whether it remains a hobby or turns into a career. St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

April: Month of the Holy Eucharist

communion cup and plate set at altar

After the reflective period of Lent, Easter comes around, and then Catholics dedicate the entire month to celebrating Jesus’s presence in their lives. Known as the Month of the Holy Eucharist, April is a time when the Catholic Church focuses on the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is unique to the Catholic Church as we believe that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Holy Eucharist

The Month of the Holy Eucharist, also called the Month of the Blessed Sacrament, celebrates Jesus manifesting himself in the Body and Blood while still under the appearance of bread and wine. The institution of the Eucharist started at the Last Supper by Jesus Himself, the last time Jesus and his disciples gathered before his crucifixion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Eucharist as “the source and summit of our faith.” In observation, everyone at Mass kneels in adoration during the transfiguration, the point that the bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  

Ways to Observe

Catholics celebrate the Month of the Holy Eucharist in many ways. Here are a few:

  • Begin to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, an ancient prayer that presents a path to praying through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.
  • Recite the “Jesus Prayer” by repeating the phrase “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner” until it brings you peace.
  • Read about the life of a saint, and pray by his or her side. Many saints have their own prayers regarding the Eucharist.
  • Pour out your heart directly to Jesus by telling Him all that comes to your mind, and listen for a response. 
  • Pray the Rosary, and ask Mary to join you while you do so. 

Soul of Christ (Anima Christi) Prayer

Anima Christi is a prayer that you can say as an act of adoration, thanking Jesus for his continued presence on Earth. This prayer is from the 14th Century and is commonly said after receiving Holy Communion:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me

Body of Christ, save me

Blood of Christ, inebriate me

Water from Christ’s side, wash me

Passion of Christ, strengthen me

O good Jesus, hear me

Within Thy wounds hide me

Suffer me not to be separated from Thee

From the malicious enemy defend me

In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee

That I may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels Forever and ever

Amen.

At St. Charles Borromeo, we believe that having a strong foundation of faith helps children excel in all areas of life. Our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Days of Holy Week

holy-week-cross

To mark the end of Lent, Christians celebrate Holy Week to commemorate the final days of Jesus’ life and His resurrection. Each day has its own significance and is celebrated differently. Take time with your child to help him understand the meaning of each of these days. Here is a guide to Holy Week from an Orlando Catholic school:

Palm Sunday

The sixth and final Sunday in Lent is known as Palm Sunday. This commemorates Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. To celebrate, churchgoers wave palm branches like the crowds of the time. Showing humility and fulfilling a prophecy, Jesus rode in on a donkey. On this Sunday, crowds observing Passover in Jerusalem proclaimed Jesus the messianic king. In some churches, worshippers wear crosses made of palm fronds. Palm Sunday is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” because “passion” comes from a Latin word meaning “to suffer.”

Holy Thursday

The first day of the shortest liturgical season, the Easter Triduum, is Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the last day before Jesus was arrested. To represent the Last Supper, churches celebrate the Last Supper Mass and the last Communion before Easter. Other events include the betrayal of Judas and Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Certain sects refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday,” with “maundy” meaning “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” Aside from giving Communion, churches celebrate with the ceremonial washing of feet, just as Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles this night. After Mass, the tabernacle empties out, and the hosts move to another location for adoration. The church is truly empty during these days of remembrance leading up to the Easter Vigil. 

Good Friday

On this day of Holy Week, Christians do not celebrate but take time for reflection, honoring the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made. Good Friday commemorates the arrest, trial, crucifixion, suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. No one hosts a Mass celebration on this day anywhere in the world, rather a musicless, dimly lit gathering and sometimes a Communion service. There are a couple ways this day is observed. Eat church will have a Veneration of the Cross, where worshippers bow before or kiss a large cross. This is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means we eat smaller meals for breakfast and lunch with a normal sized dinner and not eating between meals. Abstinence means we avoid meat on this day. 

Easter Vigil and Easter

On Saturday, day 7 of Holy Week, Christians practice quiet meditation while remembering the faithful and honoring martyrs. Catholic churches host a candlelight vigil after sundown that begins outside the church with a fire and the blessing of the Easter Candle. All at once during Mass the lights in the Church will come on and we will sing Alleluia as Jesus has risen from the dead and conquered death! Then, all day Sunday, worshippers celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The music, communion, and celebratory nature return. After church, families get together for brunch, Easter egg hunts, and dinner, traditionally serving lamb to mark the end of Lent. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe Holy Week is important for children to observe and understand.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Helping Your Child Stay Safe Online

child online Orlando Catholic School

The internet can be a great resource for developing minds. Children can form connections and find a wealth of information online. However, there is a dark side to having an infinite amount of information and access to others. With the internet being more a part of our lives than ever before, it’s vital to ensure your child’s online safety. Here are our tips for helping your child stay safe online:

Talk About Internet Safety

The first step in keeping your child safe is talking to him about safety. When your child first accesses the internet, start talking about what he’s reading, watching and doing online. Listen to your child’s thoughts on what he wants to do online. Each family handles this differently, but it helps if you establish clear rules. Discuss online behavior and its effects on offline life. Talk about online reputation, emphasizing that everything your child posts will be public and permanent. Remind your child that everyone he talks to online is a real person, so any hurtful comments he makes could have a long-term impact.

Track Your Child’s Online Habits

Keep the computer your child will be using in a central part of the house where you can monitor his activity. Check the browser history to make sure he’s not seeing anything he shouldn’t be. Aside from the websites and apps your child is using, pay attention to how much time he’s spending online. One way to do this is by setting a timer for each session for an agreed upon amount of time, like 30 minutes or an hour. When time is up, say so, and be firm. When it’s bedtime, consider turning off the Wi-Fi so the whole family can get offline for the night. 

online phone on social media next to laptop Orlando Catholic School

Know Who Your Child’s Online Friends Are

Before your child gets online, inform him that not everyone online is who they say they are. Look for warning signs, like spending long hours online at night, phone calls from strangers, and your child shutting off the computer when you walk in. Human trafficking is a growing problem that affects teens everywhere, even Central Florida, so it’s important to look out for the signs and have a conversation with your child. Talk to him about saying no, getting out of uncomfortable situations, and letting a teacher or parent know when something suspicious happens around him. Even if it doesn’t affect him directly, reporting suspicious behavior can save a life.

Along with the threat of human trafficking, cyberbullying is an issue for children, both being bullied and becoming the bully. Become friends with their social media accounts, and monitor their posts. If your child or his friends post something inappropriate, try to talk about it in private and offline. You want to be a trusted advisor, not an embarrassing parent. 

Find the Parental Controls

The good news is that parental controls are readily available. Internet service providers typically offer parental controls, so that’s a great place to start. Figure out how they work, and look into additional options like browser plugins and website filters to keep your child protected. Bookmark their favorite websites so they can easily access them. While you have a certain amount of control over what happens in your home, keep in mind that these filters aren’t perfect, and your child will be using the internet in other places, like at school and at friends’ houses.

mother stands behind child on computer Orlando Catholic School

Help Your Child Protect Themselves

To keep your child safe online, help them protect themselves. Tell your child why it’s important not to share information like their full name, location and school with strangers online. Show them how privacy filters work. No matter how hard we try, sometimes inappropriate messages get through. Teach your child how to report these types of messages and block accounts. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe the internet can be a great resource for children, as long as they use it responsibly.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.