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Does Bullying Impact Your Child's Developing Brain?

Topics: digital parenting, bullying, cyberbullying, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, kids & technology, facts & stats, tweens, health & wellbeing, Consequences of Cyberbullying

Snapchat and Teens: Why Parents Should Be Concerned

Topics: iPhone, Snapchat, social media, Android, dangerous apps, Mobile Phones/Apps, other social networks

How Instagram's Recently Added Features Affect Your Teen's Safety

Topics: social media, privacy, instagram, dangers & safety, For Tweens & Teens, terminology

Hookup Apps and Teen Users: Should We Be Worried?

Topics: iPhone, social media, Android, dangerous apps, social apps, Mobile Phones/Apps, other social networks

Digital Parenting: The 24-Hour Battle

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, Digital Parenting Tips

Talking to Your Child About Mobile and Internet Safety

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, communication

How to Organize Your Family's Tech Cords and Accessories

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Digital Parenting Tips

The Impact of Cyberbullying on Young Children

Topics: cyberbullying, Internet Safety, victims of cyberbullying, Consequences of Cyberbullying

3 Major Reasons to Act on Your Teen's Technology Addiction

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Teens, kids & technology, tweens, addictions, health & wellbeing

Photo Leaks: The Latest Scary Digital Trend

Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, peer pressure, Photo & Image Sharing, digital trends, Social Trends, Privacy & Reputation

Internet Security For Parents With Young Children

Topics: Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, online predators, parental mobile controls, prevention, Spying vs Engaging

The Risk of Facebook Depression in Teens and Tweens

Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, dangers & safety, impact on health, health & wellbeing

3 Effective Digital Parenting Mantras to Live By

Topics: Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, peer pressure, positive parenting practices, Spying vs Engaging, discipline

Parents Must Get Involved In Mobile and Internet Child Safety

Topics: Parental Intelligence, parental monitoring, Internet Safety, Spying vs Engaging

Redirecting Teens and Technology for a Better Body Image

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Teens, digital trends, tweens, Social Trends, health & wellbeing

A Sweeping Look at 2014's Biggest Digital Trends for Teens

Topics: iPhone, Parental Intelligence, Android, social apps, digital trends, dangerous games, Social Trends, Mobile Phones/Apps, social media news

3 Fundamental Steps to Take in Digital Parenting

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, location monitoring, Digital Parenting Tips, Mobile Phones/Apps, Tech-Free Zones

5 Essential Stocking Stuffers for Kids with Smartphones

Topics: iPhone, Android, Mobile Phones/Apps, Devices

Major Florida Sextortion Case Serves as a Warning For Tweens

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, online predators, child predator methods, dangers, flirting & sexting, In the News, Victims, child app

Protect Your Teens From These 3 Digital Dangers

Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, Internet Safety, oversharing, online predators, child predator methods, Privacy & Reputation, underage users

LATEST POSTS    

Does Bullying Impact Your Child's Developing Brain?

Posted by Tim Woda

January 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM

To many, bullying is still considered a “soft” form of abuse because there are no visible injuries. After all, only our feelings are hurt. 

Read More

Topics: digital parenting, bullying, cyberbullying, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, kids & technology, facts & stats, tweens, health & wellbeing, Consequences of Cyberbullying

Snapchat and Teens: Why Parents Should Be Concerned

Posted by Tim Woda

January 15, 2015 at 5:41 PM

In case you have been out of the loop on the latest and most popular apps for smartphones, one of the hottest apps for tweens and teens is Snapchat. This is an app that allows users can send pictures and videos to other people that disappear within a span of 10 seconds.

Theoretically, this sounds terrific. However, it is possible for other people to capture your Snapchat pictures permanently by simply taking a screenshot of your message. 

Concerns For Parents

An important component of mobile and Internet child safety is knowing what the concerns are for any given technology that your children may be using. There is a pretty long list that one could include when it comes to Snapchat. Lets take a look at some of the security concerns:

    • Anonymous Users - Users are allowed to remain anonymous under whatever screenname they choose to use.

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Topics: iPhone, Snapchat, social media, Android, dangerous apps, Mobile Phones/Apps, other social networks

How Instagram's Recently Added Features Affect Your Teen's Safety

Posted by Tim Woda

January 9, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Instagram, one of the fastest growing social media platforms is a lot of fun for kids. It allows them to share photos of things they find interesting, and add filters and captions to those photos. Like a micro-blogging site, with pictures, Instagram's popularity with teens has exploded in the last three years. With that being said, Instagram is also constantly evolving, and while it can be 'good clean fun', there are some dangers that lurk on the social media app.

Throughout the past few years, Instagram has experienced some major changes that you might not be aware of. We've collected a few of these more recent changes and feature additions, and have assessed how they may affect your child's Instagram safety.

Picture Map

In 2012, Instagram rolled out their “photo map” feature. The photo map, which is now being used by millions of Instagram users, tracks were pictures have been taken, and, in some cases uploaded. This location sharing feature, which is meant to help individuals keep track of their travels, can be dangerous especially for young children.

Read More

Topics: social media, privacy, instagram, dangers & safety, For Tweens & Teens, terminology

Hookup Apps and Teen Users: Should We Be Worried?

Posted by Steven Woda

January 8, 2015 at 11:36 AM

As if being a child in this world is not stressful enough, there is now pressure on many young teens to download and use hookup apps. There are many free, available apps to choose from, with no parental consent required. While most are made out to be geared towards adults, the horrible truth is that the creators know that kids are using them, and apparently do not care much. Either that, or they just don't moderate their applications the way that we feel like they should.  

Remember AOL dial up chat rooms? You would get kicked out so fast if you even made the slightest remark that was off base. The ninety's had it right. There was someone moderating every word that was spoken in those days. Unfortunately, this is a totally new era with a totally new set of rules and expectations.  

With all of that being said, the fact of the matter is that there are no moderators. No one is watching to make sure that kids are not downloading these apps onto their smartphones or other devices. That is just not the way that it goes anymore. It is the job of us, the parents, to ensure the safety of our children.  

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Topics: iPhone, social media, Android, dangerous apps, social apps, Mobile Phones/Apps, other social networks

Digital Parenting: The 24-Hour Battle

Posted by Tim Woda

January 7, 2015 at 7:28 PM

Parenting your children is something that takes skill and grace. It is sometimes a struggle when they want to resist you and your expectations of them. This is made even harder for some parents in the area of digital parenting.

When asked to set rules for their children and monitor those rules in the online realm, some parents feel helpless. However, there are a few things you can do to keep your children safe.

1. Have A Frank Conversation With Them

It all starts with talking. Many parents believe that the things that they say go in one ear and out the other with their children, but this is really not true. Your child does hear and understand what you are saying. If they choose to listen to you or not largely has to do with what enforcement tactics you use to make them obey.

Read More

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, Digital Parenting Tips

Talking to Your Child About Mobile and Internet Safety

Posted by Steven Woda

January 7, 2015 at 10:41 AM

There is no question children are interested in cell phones and social media sites. From a very young age they see their parents on smart phones, and they watch them get online to update their status and post new photos. More and more often parents give their young children phones and tablets to entertain them on airplanes or at restaurants. It's not surprising then, that most kids begin asking for their own cell phone or tablet well before their teen years.

Many parents see the obvious advantage of giving their children access to technology that can help keep them safe and let them check in with parents more easily. The big question remains: how do parents balance the desire to give their children more independence with the need to prioritize mobile and internet child safety?

New articles come out every week warning parents of dangerous apps online. Sadly, predatory apps do exist, and corrupt people will use these apps to try to take advantage of children. However, most teenagers do not intend to use their phones or the Internet to get in trouble. They want to connect with their friends, and often they just don't see how using the latest trendy app could put them at risk.

Read More

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, communication

How to Organize Your Family's Tech Cords and Accessories

Posted by Steven Woda

January 6, 2015 at 1:16 PM

After the holidays, it's fairly likely that you have new gadgets and devices to play with and to keep charged. In our plugged-in culture (we're still not quite there on wireless charging!), it's easy to feel buried in electrical cords for the bazillion different types of technology we own.

From cell phones to tablets and everything in between, it can be overwhelming. When you (or your child) needs to charge your phone or the latest e-reader, where's the charger? They all look the same, but unfortunately, they're not all universal. It can be a headache and cause a great deal of frustration (not to mention that when you find the correct charger, it's in a knot with the other hundred cords).

To help reduce the stress of searching for power cords, chargers and cables this holiday season and beyond, there are a few simple solutions. Once a system is in place, you'll find that sought-after power cord in seconds, and you won't have to enlist an army of helpers to untangle or look under sofa cushions.

Tame the Cord Dragon

To begin, sort your cords into categories. Round up the family and have everyone collect all the cords for each gadget. You'll be surprised at the pile that you find! Popular ones for most homes include: iPhone, Android, HTML, e-reader, tablets, cameras, etc.

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Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Digital Parenting Tips

The Impact of Cyberbullying on Young Children

Posted by Tim Woda

January 6, 2015 at 11:14 AM

There have been extensive efforts in the 21st century to limit bullying, particularly in schools. Parents now understand how detrimental bullying can be for young children and are trying to put an end to it.

Unfortunately, the emergence of the Internet and social media makes this task quite difficult. The anonymity and speed of the Internet makes bullying too convenient. Parents have to constantly be on the lookout as to what their children are doing online and practice mobile and Internet child safety. Simple conversations can quickly turn into inappropriate behavior that can have long-lasting effects on a child's mental health.

Read More

Topics: cyberbullying, Internet Safety, victims of cyberbullying, Consequences of Cyberbullying

3 Major Reasons to Act on Your Teen's Technology Addiction

Posted by Tim Woda

January 5, 2015 at 2:54 PM

As a parent of a teen, you already have to deal with teens testing limits, staying out past curfew or maybe even experimenting with sex and drugs. Some parents turn a blind eye when their teens are always on their phone- texting or on social media. After all, there are many worse things to worry about, right?

Wrong. Technology addiction in teens can create the same consequences as drug experimentation or getting in with the wrong crowd. It could prevent a teen from developing into a mature, well-rounded adult. It could mean that you’ll have your teen around for much longer than expected because he can’t concentrate enough to stay in college or have enough patience or will to keep a job.

Turns out, teenage tech addiction has become so damaging that some parents are having to send their kids to technology addiction rehabilitation centers for a good helping of support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy.

What could be so bad about my teen playing video games and texting for hours if he’s already done his homework for the night, you may ask? Here are three major reasons to act on your teen's technology addiction. 

1. Attention deficits. Teens, these days, have three forms of technology in front of them sometimes while doing homework- a smart phone, a laptop or computer and a TV buzzing in the background. Many teens, tweens and millennials take pride in constant multitasking. Over time, their brains have been rewired to create easily distracted people who have a hard time focusing. 

Read More

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Teens, kids & technology, tweens, addictions, health & wellbeing

Photo Leaks: The Latest Scary Digital Trend

Posted by Steven Woda

January 2, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Today, news stories about teens getting caught up in sexting and resulting photo leak scandals are a dime a dozen. As parents, we usually say to ourselves “that could never happen to my child” when we see stories like these, but the truth is that a digital slip-up like a photo leak can happen to anyone.

Just a few years ago, advancements in video, photos and messaging technology all seemed so harmless. Now, sexting seems to be all the rage as teenagers experiment with these advances in technology. Disturbingly, sexting photo leaks appear to be becoming somewhat a trend among teens and, as sexting continues to be prevalent, the images are imprinted on technology forever.

Here are a few synopses of photo leaks that have happened in towns across the US. An especially disconcerting facet about these photo leaks is that each case has occurred in just the past six months:

  • In November, two students from McLean High School in Virginia acquired and organized folders containing compromising photos of 56 female classmates. They passed around the folders to other students in a carefully concealed Dropbox page. The 16 and 17-year-old teens plead guilty to three misdemeanor charges each for distributing obscene material.

Read More

Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, peer pressure, Photo & Image Sharing, digital trends, Social Trends, Privacy & Reputation

Internet Security For Parents With Young Children

Posted by Steven Woda

January 2, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Young children can get into just as much trouble online as their parents. In fact, young children may be more in danger because they do not necessarily know the boundaries of what they should and should not do. Therefore, Internet security should be a primary concern for any parent with a young child. 

Keeping Children Away From Sensitive Information 

Vodaphone.com recommends the following for children under the age of 5: 

KEEP devices like your mobile out of reach and make sure you have passwords/PINs set up on them for the times you might lend them to your child... or for when they simply get hold of them themselves!

It is too easy for a child to start crawling through your personal information and data if they are able to access your phone without having to enter a pin. It is simply the safest to keep those devices locked up and out of reach. 

Curbing Child Identity Theft

Quick facts about the prevalence of identity theft:

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Topics: Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, online predators, parental mobile controls, prevention, Spying vs Engaging

The Risk of Facebook Depression in Teens and Tweens

Posted by Tim Woda

December 31, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Providing children with Internet security does not only entail keeping them safe from obvious dangerous such as sexual predators and scams. It is also important to note that there are side effects of the Internet which children should be protected from as well. Sadly, some of the things that children may need to be protected from are self-inflicted. 

Facebook Depression

Facebook depression is a phenomenon that has sprung up as a result of Facebook and other social networks. Since Facebook is the most popular social network, it was the one on which the term is coined. A good explanation on why this is a worry comes from parenting.com,

Teen development is, in large part, about separating from parents and gaining peer acceptance, and social networking sites allow them to do both. But if online harassment or rejection occurs, such as “de-friending,” symptoms of depression may be the result.

Why Facebook Depression Exists 

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Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, dangers & safety, impact on health, health & wellbeing

3 Effective Digital Parenting Mantras to Live By

Posted by Steven Woda

December 31, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Are you the parent of a teenager? If so, chances are that you know the struggle of trying to keep them safe while also letting them live their life. That is what so many parents have to worry about these days. It is even harder when it comes to broaching Internet security and knowing how to approach disciplining them in the age of information.

Here are some easy digital parenting mantras that will make your job a little easier:

1. You Are The Parent

The bottom line when it comes to keeping children safe online is to remember that you are the parent and are in control. You get to set the rules for your children, and they are to obey those rules. You can make sure that the rules are fair to them while at the same time maintaining their safety. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is what you are supposed to be doing as the parent.

2. The Internet is a Privilege, Not a Right

In the same vein, kids and teens might need to periodically be reminded that their Internet use is a privilege granted to them, not a right. From their persepctive, widespread Internet access has been available to them for as long as they can remember. For this reason, it can be easy for teens, tweens and even young kids to feel entitled to have continuous Internet access from their phones or other digital devices.

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Topics: Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, peer pressure, positive parenting practices, Spying vs Engaging, discipline

Parents Must Get Involved In Mobile and Internet Child Safety

Posted by Tim Woda

December 30, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Even though many parents understand that they should use parental controls on their home computer, many never establish a means for getting the job done.  According to a McAfee survey, most parents left their kids alone while surfing the internet and over half the parents surveyed didn’t know if their kids had a social networking account, like Facebook. Another study indicated that approximately 72 percent of teens do have social networking profiles and almost half of them are public profiles viewable by anyone.

Parents must realize that Internet security is needed across multiple devices. With the advancements in technology, children have Internet access on smartphones, iPads, tablets and other mobile devices. Mobile technology can expose children to not only the good, but also all of the bad on the Internet.

Personal monitoring of mobile devices isn’t always possible since kids use them on the way to school and even while school is in session.  Many school systems around the country are experimenting with pilot programs using mobile learning with the goal of replacing textbooks and other coursework with technology. Both parents and school administrators will need to make sure they use the technologies available to make these mobile devices safer and more child-friendly both at home and at school.

Turning the Tide

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Topics: Parental Intelligence, parental monitoring, Internet Safety, Spying vs Engaging

Redirecting Teens and Technology for a Better Body Image

Posted by Tim Woda

December 29, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Technology is great, isn’t it? We can scroll through Facebook and see what our family and friends are doing. We can start a conversation on our desktop and continue on our phone in the woods while we mushroom hunt. Then we can send a picture when we find the biggest one. Technology can help us learn and help keep us entertained.

But can too much technology be a bad thing?

Parents are trying to maintain a respectful distance and still keep an eye on their kids’ interactions and relationships, contending with Snapchat, Face-time, Facebook, Skype, texting and endless selfies. A teen or tween can base their entire reputation on their online social life, wanting to look as good as or better than the images they see.

Even games and movies are filled with unrealistic images of sleek men and women, with size 2 avatars and beautiful, slim princesses dancing with barrel-chested princes. A steady diet can skew a child’s reality of how “normal” people look.

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Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, Teens, digital trends, tweens, Social Trends, health & wellbeing

A Sweeping Look at 2014's Biggest Digital Trends for Teens

Posted by Tim Woda

December 26, 2014 at 2:20 PM

YouTube challenges, hashtags and other digital trends spread like wildfire among the group of children who are in that magic, impressionable age between grade school and high school. Most digital trends are harmless and quickly forgotten; some can be positive, and some are downright bad news. 

As 2014 winds down, now is a great time for parents to reflect on the year's top digital trends. Here is a glimpse of some of the biggest online fads from the past year.

Social Media is Still King. But Which Networks?

Facebook has long lost its groove among those younger than thirty. A social media network where Grandma might leave a sweet message for everyone in school to see isn’t where kids want to hang out. Newer networks like InstagramSnapchatKik, and Vine have blossomed in teen popularity towards the middle and second half of 2014.

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Topics: iPhone, Parental Intelligence, Android, social apps, digital trends, dangerous games, Social Trends, Mobile Phones/Apps, social media news

3 Fundamental Steps to Take in Digital Parenting

Posted by Steven Woda

December 23, 2014 at 10:09 PM

There is no use in trying to jump into digital parenting all at one time. Rather, a step-by-step approach is preferred and more successful over time. Following a set of steps allows your child and you to have a good understand with one another and hopefully work together to have a safe time on the Internet.

1. Have a Conversation With Your Child 

Showing an interest in what your child is doing online is a great basic first step. You want to show them that you care about whatever the latest app is or perhaps what websites they like to visit. You may be surprised by how much your child is actually willing to share with you on this topic. It opens the door to deeper conversations about Internet safety

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Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, location monitoring, Digital Parenting Tips, Mobile Phones/Apps, Tech-Free Zones

5 Essential Stocking Stuffers for Kids with Smartphones

Posted by Tim Woda

December 23, 2014 at 11:23 AM

If your teen or tween is expecting a smartphone from Santa this year, make sure he has all the gear he needs so you both get the most out of this life-changing and bank-balance-draining purchase. From keeping the phone powered so you can always stay in touch to protecting it from damage, these five essential smartphone accessories will not only make great stocking stuffers, but they'll help with parental peace of mind.

1. A Durable Phone Case 
As soon as the phone is out of the box, it needs to go straight into a durable, drop-proof case such as the Otterbox Defender. Offering three layers of protection, including a plastic interior shell that cushions the device and a built-in screen shield to prevent scratches and scrapes, this case is practically indestructible, making it the perfect accompaniment to a smartphone this season.

2. Back-up Power 

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Topics: iPhone, Android, Mobile Phones/Apps, Devices

Major Florida Sextortion Case Serves as a Warning For Tweens

Posted by Steven Woda

December 19, 2014 at 2:48 PM

A Florida child porn case is making headlines because of its sheer magnitude. Lucas Chansler, 31, was sentenced to 105 years in prison for his coast to coast sextortion of young girls. Authorities found around 80,000 child porn pictures and videos on his computer and amongst his possessions.

Chansler used video chat to convince 350 girls between the ages of 13 and 18 to send him explicit pictures and videos. The images were sent between 2007 and 2010. Chansler admitted that he extorted the young girls to send nude pictures by threatening them. He pleaded guilty on 9 counts of producing child pornography. He'll likely spend between 15 and 30 years in prison and he'll be forced to pay a quarter of a million dollars in fines for each of the 9 counts.

Chansler didn't target girls in his home state of Florida or any other specific region. He went for anyone and everyone he could ensnare. His victims were spread out across 26 states. Chansler used video chats to weasel his way into conversations with the girls by pretending to be an acquaintance. He used multiple screen names to alter his identity with his victims.

Read More

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, online predators, child predator methods, dangers, flirting & sexting, In the News, Victims, child app

Protect Your Teens From These 3 Digital Dangers

Posted by Tim Woda

December 19, 2014 at 2:44 PM

All good parents have a parental instinct to protect their children. This instinct no longer extends only to the real world, but to the online world as well. Mobile and Internet child safety has become as important if not more important than typical safety measures. Here are a few common Internet safety dangers that parents and teens should approach with caution.

1. Chat Rooms 

One of the areas where children can be targeted is on chat rooms. The ability to remain anonymous makes these rooms a prime area to attack for predators. This is not to say that everyone who uses a chat room is a predatory, but it does mean that this is one area where they are often attracted.

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Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, Internet Safety, oversharing, online predators, child predator methods, Privacy & Reputation, underage users