Keeping Up With Your Kids’ Digital Life: A Coeur D’Alene Mom’s S - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Keeping Up With Your Kids’ Digital Life: A Coeur D’Alene Mom’s Story

Posted: Updated:

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho – It's a struggle every parent can relate to: how do you monitor your kids' digital life to make sure they're safe, without watching their every move or scrolling through every text or Facebook message? 

It's not easy – but one Coeur D'Alene mother has made it easier. 

It all began at a conference three years ago, when Hannah Masters realized that kids today have more technology – and spend more time using it – than their parents often know. 

"When I saw that I needed to be engaged in my child's digital world, some light bulbs went off," she told KHQ. 

So she helped develop aBeanstalk.com, an online system that ‘connects' parents with their kids text messages as well as online accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MySpace. 

Masters made an agreement with her 14-year-old son, Sean.  He was allowed to have a phone and an online presence, but she needed to know when potential problems arise.  They set the controls to monitor for certain red-flagged key words that could indicated messages about cyber bullying, drugs and alcohol, sexting, profanity or suicidal thoughts. 

Any time Sean sends or received a message that is ‘red flagged' by the system, Hannah gets a real-time notification in the form of a text or email.   

"I saw the cyber bullying, I saw the requests for the naked pictures," she said, explaining that once she's notified, she then has a conversation about it with her son.  "He knows when certain things hit his phone, mom's going to be talking to him about that." 

Surprisingly, the 7th grader told KHQ he doesn't mind being monitored.  In fact, he said his parents have given him more freedoms because they don't have to watch his every move or scroll through every message – only the serious stuff. 

"I'm going to have peace of mind, I'm going to know I've got it covered," Hannah said.  "I'm not going to miss anything, and only in the case that something is out of bounds or you're in harms way or something I need to know about comes up, then the system is going to give that to me." 

While Sean admits the system takes some getting used to, he also said he's safer because of it. 

"Kids make a lot of bad decisions without even knowing it – especially middle schoolers," he said.  "There was a kid not too long ago that killed himself from bullying that I knew.  It was really sad, and it was all over Facebook." 

"If they were falling into harms way, would you want to be notified or not?  Simple question," Hannah added. 

She says it's not about spying, it's about being connected and having those important conversations with your kids when they're in trouble, nipping potential problems in the bud. 

To sign up, visit abeanstalk.com.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:19 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:19:20 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>