September 19, 2014 at 6:11 PM
From all of the news we hear about the span and scope of digital dangers available to youth, it's clear that parents have every right to be worried about the types of activities teens are engaging in online and through phones. It's natural for any parent to be concerned about what their child could be getting into. Although teens may be disgruntled by it, parents have a responsibility to be aware of what is going on and prevent mistakes from being made in kids' digital lives.
The Rise Of Sexting
If you haven't heard of sexting already, you probably will in the near future. Sexting is sending or receiving a sexually graphic or descriptive text message. Studies show that teen sexting is on the rise and many parents are wholly unaware of it.
Quick facts about sexting:
11% of teens admit they’ve sent pictures to strangers (Cox Communications)
80% of teens who have sexted are under the age of 18 (Cox Communications)
Over half (57%) of teens from a 2012 survey reported that they had been asked to send a sext (JAMA)
12% of teen girls feel pressured to sext (The National Campaign)
38% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have had sexually suggestive text messages or emails—originally meant for someone else—shared with them (The National Campaign)
Plus, according to research, those teens who are sexting or propositioned to send a sext are more likely than their peers to have sexual intercourse.
September 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM
For parents, the concept of protecting children has changed drastically even over the past couple of years. The popularity of smartphones has skyrocketed, making mobile and Internet safety more difficult to keep track of than ever before.
Who hasn't heard about cyberbullying, child pornography, or malware that takes control of a computer's web camera? Just a few years ago, all a parent had to do was keep track of their child's use of the family computer (or, for the lucky kids, their own computers) and possible threats were relatively easy to contain.
September 12, 2014 at 1:03 PM
We’ve all heard it by now: the Internet is forever. A bad social media presence can follow anyone of any demographic down the road. Think of how many times you’ve heard on the news that a teen was expelled, cyberbullied, or rejected from colleges based on one digital mistake. Countless adults have been fired from jobs and penalized by the law based on poor social media choices.
The beginning of a new school year is as good a time as any to make sure that you and your kids are in control of your digital reputations. Use these tips to ensure that you are maintaining reputable social media accounts:
1. Be selective about who you're friends with on social media.
September 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM
When we think of people who are consumers of online porn, we automatically picture grown adults. However, with access to pornographic sites becoming increasingly widespread, a large number of tweens and teens are believed to have viewed some kind of online porn.
How Many Children Are Watching Porn?
Today, it's reported that at least 90 percent of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have watched pornography online at least once. Not only have most tweens and teens seen porn, but boys ages 12 to 17 are actually the largest consumers of online pornography. With this statistic, pornography has even been compared to being the drug of choice for youth.
September 8, 2014 at 1:27 PM
Physical activity for kids is extremely important to overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest children (and adults) get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day; but this is easier said than done. The problem is that kids today are not the same as kids were 20 or 30 years ago.
Times Have Changed
Older generations of children spent most of their time outside playing, while kids today, no matter how old they are, have access to smart phones, tablets, video games, computer games, and other electronics. Technology has a widely-known correlation with childhood obesity and this correlation is especially present in the US. Although this concern is not 100% off-base, technology is not completely to blame.
September 5, 2014 at 2:38 PM
When parents think about social media in the hands of their teens and tweens, it is easy to automatically jump to the negative. While there are some negative aspects of social media, there are plenty of very positive aspects about it as well. Recent research suggests that social media, when used appropriately and responsibly by tweens and teens, may actually be incredibly positive.
Social Media Can Increase Confidence
August 25, 2014 at 2:41 PM
If you've ever had to persuade your child to put down the game controller and go outside -- or if you have to coax them away from their smartphones to eat a well-balanced meal -- you already understand the impact that technology can have on physical activity and diet. While modern innovations make academic research easier than ever, they also come with a whole host of health risks, and teenagers face a bigger threat than anyone else.
It's no coincidence that obesity rates have skyrocketed in the United States right alongside innovation. While great thinkers can harness new technology to make the world a better place, there are downsides to modernization too.
August 22, 2014 at 3:08 PM
The Internet has been revolutionary in our abilities to connect with people all over the world. We now have access to photos and videos at the click of a button, can talk to someone without seeing their face, and exchange our most personal details with strangers. This world, though diverse and often useful, can be a nightmare for parents. Especially parents of children that are just coming into their teens, discovering this big wide world of the internet all on their own.
You want to protect your child from the big scary world until they’re at least 30.
There are a couple of things you may consider doing:
Ban all Internet devices in the home and outside. That means also banning your laptop and phone in case they get a hold of it.
August 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM
Children naturally have wild imaginations and a thirst for adventure. As the primary authority figure in their lives, it's your job to strike a balance between nurturing and being supportive of their curious minds while also monitoring their behavior and social interactions to keep them out of harm's way. This can be a difficult task, especially during the summertime when your little ones are free from the confines of school walls and homework.
If your kids have a growing interest in technology, your duty as regulator can be twice as challenging. Digital parenting definitely has its setbacks, but you can easily overcome them and encourage fun activities for your children without worrying about their welfare. As you plan that next summer vacation, take into consideration these kid-tested and parent-approved digital apps that can hold your juvenile's attention while you're on the road.
August 15, 2014 at 3:23 PM
With summer coming to an end and a new school year beginning, now is the perfect time for families to embark on a digital cleanse! It's pretty easy for physical devices and software to pile up throughout the school year and summer time. Get you and your family refreshed and ready for the new school year!
Cleaning Out the Digital Closet
August 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM
As parents, it's only natural for you to worry about where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing. However, it is just as important to respect their limitations and privacy. So how do you do both?
Nowadays, there are so many ways to use location monitoring that it could be overwhelming. It could be used to share your location on social media, find directions, book travel, and more. It's no wonder than many find location monitoring creepy! On the upside, since most people use location services nowadays, monitoring children can be easier and less-intrusive than it was before.
Recently, we wrote about why location monitoring your teens and tweens is not creepy. Put the idea into practice with these steps:
1. Have a discussion with your child.
August 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM
Oversharing online - the act of posting sensitive personal information - is one of the leading dangers affecting teenagers. In fact, independent studies have suggested that most teenagers are oversharing online. How bad is it for your teenager?
As noted in the McAfee Teens and Screens study, 52% of teens have gotten into a fight because of things they either shared themselves or saw someone else share. And if you don't think your teens are seeing things, think again - 87% of teens have at least witnessed some form of cyberbullying. Here are some other facts to consider:
39% of teens have never changed their privacy settings on social media - whose baseline usually
August 5, 2014 at 3:18 PM
With the advent of the digital age, the evolution of language is happening more quickly, especially among teens. They come up with their own language to express themselves, and often, it's nearly impossible for parents to understand what their kids are saying. Internet slang and lingo cycles so rapidly that it's hard to stay on top of figuring it out, especially when you aren't quite as plugged in as your son or daughter.
To help you understand the latest lingo, we've compiled a list of 10 current slang terms that your son or daughter might be using:
FOMO: This acronym stands for Fear Of Missing Out. This is a form of social anxiety where someone is compulsively concerned about missing out on an event or interaction.
August 4, 2014 at 2:41 PM
Check out what guest blogger and winner of the Annual Parenting Blog of the Year Contest, Mommy Masters' Ellie Hirsch, has to share about her insight on the topic of kids' first cell phones!
It seems like my seven year old asks me for a cell phone on a daily basis. What does a seven year old need with a cell phone? Who is he planning on calling? Would it come in handy in case of an emergency? Do any of his seven-year-old friends have a phone? Should I consider this crazy idea? I never thought this conversation would come up at such an early age, especially since I did not get a cell phone until I was 22.
My son's response to this fact? "You are old so they didn't have cell phones yet when you were my age". TOUCHÉ.
Whether it's a cell phone baby rattle or simply watching Mama texting on the phone,
August 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM
"I'm so excited!! The family and I are headed to Myrtle Beach for the next week. We finally got the car all packed up with beach gear galore. We'll be sure to post pics after :)"
We have all seen a post similar to this. In fact, you may be guilty of having posted something like this yourself! If you and your family are headed out on vacation sometime in the remaining weeks of summer, the worst thing that you can do is share this information online. While you can limit viewership of your social media to only those on your friends list, you still run the risk of them mentioning that they'll be going out with you or that you'll be away from home for an extended period of time.
August 1, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Today's kids are practically born with a cell phone or tablet in hand. The modern-day Internet has provided contemporary youth with access to a seemingly endless amount of information. Young people also have the convenient, yet frightening, ability to remain in constant contact with peers and strangers alike.
Modern technology empowers today's youth in many ways, but it can also inflict scars which could last a lifetime. One aspect of youthful online activities, the relinquishing of personal information, has the potential to cause irreversible damage, and should be carefully monitored by parents.
July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM
My husband Matt and I traveled to Orange County, California during this year’s terrible East coast “Snowmageddon” season. It was sunny, warm and wonderful. When we returned to the threat of another potential snow storm (in April!), we had a text message conversation, discussing how great it would be to move to Orange County. Later that day, Matt logged into his professional social media app on his phone and noticed he had gotten job postings for Orange County. Strangely enough, when I logged into my own personal social media app, I was surprised to discover that I had received ads for real estate in Orange County.
Social media and mobile apps are moving toward predictive advertising and behavior to make our lives more convenient by alerting you about traffic congestion or items that you might want to purchase. The amount of personal data required to power these types of applications is staggering. Companies go to great lengths and expense to create and employ the technology that powers the analytics necessary to perform this complex predictive modeling based on your data.
July 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM
It’s Sunday morning and time for church. Your pastor comes up to preach the Word. He pulls out his tablet and begins reading the scripture. You look around your church and many of the congregants have their mobile devices as well reading along using their Bible app.
Ten (or even just five) years ago this would have appeared odd, but we have now arrived at a new normal. More and more pastors across the country have decided to forego the leather bound Bible that has passed through generations of their family. They have instead chosen to pick up the modern technology of a Bible app on their mobile device. Yes, tech now goes to church.
A Wealth of Information
July 18, 2014 at 3:26 PM
Location monitoring is a recent innovation, based on modern GPS technology. Parents can now use it to determine where their children are, particularly when they are in their teens. As a parent, you may be hesitant about using this impressive bit of technology on kids and teens. Perhaps you may think of it as an intrusion, or you may be afraid that they will be angry with you.
The fact is, however, that teenagers are still minors and that it is your perrogative to use whatever means you have at your disposal to monitor them. Teens are learning and growing during a time when they're given increasing amounts of responsibilities and it is natural for there to be some issues along the way.
July 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM
You would never post your home address online or tell the world that your kids were home alone at that address, would you? Yet many of us are innocently and unknowingly doing just that, by geotagging.
Geotagging is a relatively new phenomenon in that age of smartphones and many teens and parents are unaware of exactly what it is and why it's dangerous. True privacy and safety are becoming ever more elusive and complex in the information age. Here's what you need to know about geotagging to protect your teen's privacy and safety online.
What is Geotagging?
Geotagging is a way of embedding location information into photos or posts made through social media sites, providing the exact coordinates of where a photo was snapped or a post was made (within 10 to 15 feet depending on the accuracy of your GPS chip). Ultimately, geotagging is not a safe practice for anyone for a myriad of reasons.