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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

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

Making Your Teens Your "Friends"

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, positive parenting practices, Spying vs Engaging, parenting styles

Girl Scout Cookie Sales Go Digital, Move Poses Internet Safety Risks

Topics: Internet Safety, identity theft, child identity theft, online predators, internet scams, child predator methods, Digital Footprints and PII

Why Sexting Through Apps Will Never Go Away

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, video sexting, apps for sexting, flirting & sexting

Internet Security For Children In Chat Rooms

Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, Internet Safety, internet security, online predators, password protection, child predator methods, Privacy & Reputation, warning signs, Big Data

Digital Parenting: Do You Know What Your Children Are Doing?

Topics: Parental Intelligence, parental monitoring, Spying vs Engaging, trust both ways

5 Ways To Stay Secure on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, password protection, Privacy & Reputation, Big Data

Cyberbullying on Sports Teams: It Happens More Than You Think

Topics: cyberbullying, Internet Safety, anti-cyberbullying, victims of cyberbullying

Daughter of Police Sergeant Victim in Sexting Scandal

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, peer pressure, dangers

YouTube Challenges and Peer Pressure

Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, YouTube, peer pressure, Social Trends, other social networks

Digital Parenting: How To Proactively Enforce Your Rules

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

Teens Try Virtual Reality Texting and Driving Simulator

Topics: digital parenting, texting, Parental Intelligence, texting while driving, texting and driving, behavior, bad behavior, Mobile Phones/Apps

Social Media and Distorted Teen Body Image

Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, tumblr, instagram, dangers & safety, other social networks, health & wellbeing

5 Essential Navigation Apps for Your New Driver

Topics: iPhone, texting, Android, texting and driving, Mobile Phones/Apps, Cellphone Rules & Safety, texting rules & safety, Positive Apps, Navigation Apps

4 Cardinal Twitter Safety Tips for Teens and Tweens

Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, oversharing, For Parents, twitter, monitoring, password protection, dangers & safety, Privacy & Reputation, For Tweens & Teens

Teens and Social Media: Are Social Skills Slipping?

Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, Teens, instagram, behavior, impact on health, health & wellbeing

Location Sharing in Facebook's Messenger App: The Basics

Topics: social media, apps, privacy, Facebook, location monitoring, monitoring, GPS Monitoring, Mobile Phones/Apps, Child ID, Driving/Speed Monitoring

Contest Designed to Help Teens Resist Texting and Driving

Topics: texting, texting and driving, bad behavior, Mobile Phones/Apps

5 Alarming Apps That Your Teenager is Probably Using

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

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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

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.

Read More

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

Making Your Teens Your "Friends"

Posted by Tim Woda

December 17, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Social media is a little bit like driving a car. If used properly it is a wonderful tool to accomplish good or add enjoyment to your life. If used improperly however, it can not only be dangerous, it can be a weapon. Parents need to be aware of the impact their influence can have not only on their children's day to day lives but on their future as well.

In this day and age, with few exceptions, there is no keeping teens and social media apart from one another. The lessons parents can teach their children through their interactions on sites like Facebook and Instagram is invaluable. The lessons are not only as to how they use these sites, but why and when.

Read More

Topics: digital parenting, Parental Intelligence, communication, positive parenting practices, Spying vs Engaging, parenting styles

Girl Scout Cookie Sales Go Digital, Move Poses Internet Safety Risks

Posted by Steven Woda

December 15, 2014 at 9:24 PM

In the new "Information Age," it seems that everything eventually ends up on the Internet. Up until the beginning of December 2014, however, Girl Scout cookies were an exception. Most Girl Scouts would begin by selling a few cookies to close friends and relatives, then move on to canvassing their local neighborhoods door-to-door, and finally expand to other nearby towns. 

The recent announcement by the Girl Scouts of the USA that members will soon be allowed to set up their own personalized websites to market Girl Scout cookies to a wider audience has been met with mixed reactions by parents.

The Promise of Online Sales

By enabling Girl Scouts to contact far-off relatives, parents' co-workers, friends of friends, and even outright strangers, overall sales are sure to boom. Valuable experience will likely be gained in running these "miniature online businesses," which will serve them well in years to come. Scouts will be able to post their photos as well as a short "cookie commercial" video online. They will also be able to send eCards to potential customers. 

Read More

Topics: Internet Safety, identity theft, child identity theft, online predators, internet scams, child predator methods, Digital Footprints and PII

Why Sexting Through Apps Will Never Go Away

Posted by Tim Woda

December 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Smartphones are amazing devices which have opened up so many opportunities for people ages three to 100, unfortunately they have also brought their own challenges. One such challenge is the issue of teens and tweens sexting through apps

We would like to think this is a phase, but the safe bet is that this type of behavior will never disappear. The good news is that there are ways to inform your kids about the dangers of sexting and hopefully they will make the smart decision to abstain from such actions. 

First of all, it is important to understand that sexting will always continue to be a smartphone risk, and waging a war on it will just be a waste of time and resources. When a child receives a smartphone they are given more power than they know what to do with and unfortunately teenagers can be very persuasive (especially when hormones are involved).

While there are surely measures parents can take to keep track of what their kids are texting, sexting can occur through so many devices and apps that it's difficult to monitor. A mixture between raging hormones, at-hand technology, and the perception that this behavior is cool guarantees that sexting will remain as common place in our society as make out spots were in the 1950s.

Read More

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, video sexting, apps for sexting, flirting & sexting

Internet Security For Children In Chat Rooms

Posted by Tim Woda

December 10, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Chat rooms are one place on the Internet that can cause a lot of fear and worry in parents. With a multitude of stories coming out about terrible things that have happened to children and others as a result of chat rooms, the concern is understandable.

Ultimately, chat rooms are not recommended for children. There is endless potential for online predators and identity thieves to be lurking around chat rooms and disguising themselves as being young and friendly. If you choose to allow your child to visit them, here are a few chat room tips that can help put your fears at ease: 

Moderators Of The Service 

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Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, Internet Safety, internet security, online predators, password protection, child predator methods, Privacy & Reputation, warning signs, Big Data

Digital Parenting: Do You Know What Your Children Are Doing?

Posted by Steven Woda

December 9, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Ask the average parent about what their child did on the social networking sites just last night, and they are probably going to have no idea. The problem is not that they are bad parents, but merely that technology has made the job of parenting that much harder. Digital parenting is now a full time job, but there are some measures parents can take to make the job a little easier.  

Getting Into The Lives Of Your Children 

It may sound like exactly the wrong tactic to use, but just getting into the online lives of your child or children is actually the first step to take to make a difference. Many parents are hesitant to do so fearing the backlash from their child.

Read More

Topics: Parental Intelligence, parental monitoring, Spying vs Engaging, trust both ways

5 Ways To Stay Secure on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Posted by Tim Woda

December 8, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Free public Wi-Fi can be compared to free public restrooms. While a wireless hot spot may be very appealing, particularly when you are out and about without a data connection, you must remember to use caution just as you would no matter how desperately you might need to access a public restroom. 

It might be a good idea to review some important tips with your family members, including children who are heading off to school or doing any sort of traveling. Anyone using a laptop, smart phone or tablet needs to be aware of some of the dangers lurking out there, so it is important to use some safety tips in order to choose a network wisely.

Make certain that the network you connect to is legitimate, not just a facade for someone who wants to intercept your data. How can you be sure it's legit? 

  1. If you are out in public, such as in a restaurant, coffee shop or even at the public library, verify the name of the network they are offering for free.

Read More

Topics: Parental Intelligence, online privacy, password protection, Privacy & Reputation, Big Data

Cyberbullying on Sports Teams: It Happens More Than You Think

Posted by Tim Woda

December 8, 2014 at 12:58 PM

The threat of cyberbullying isn't limited to any one group of kids. Students in the chess club are just as likely to be a victim of cyberbullying as students on the football team. If you don't believe that, then take a look at the story below. 

KTTC News reported a case of cyberbullying at a local high school in Minnesota. In this case, members of the football team were caught engaging in cyberbullying. Here are some points from the case:

  • Football coaches at Southwest High School heard about instances of cyberbullying

  • Several players who engaged in cyberbullying were benched for a must-win game

  • The principal of the high school said cyberbullying can be more damaging than traditional bullying

Read More

Topics: cyberbullying, Internet Safety, anti-cyberbullying, victims of cyberbullying

Daughter of Police Sergeant Victim in Sexting Scandal

Posted by Tim Woda

December 5, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Parents, teens and tweens across the world can learn a lesson from Michaela Snyder's story. Michaela, 15, is the daughter of a police sergeant and she is making her story known in an effort to make a positive impact on teens who are tempted by peer pressure.

When Michaela was 12 years old, she grew interested in a boy in her same grade. This crush turned out to be a tragedy that all parents and youngsters should know about. Michaela admits that she was so infatuated with her new boyfriend that she would do just about anything to maintain the relationship.

Oftentimes, tweens and teens lack self confidence and will do unhealthy things for the affection of others. Michaela's boyfriend asked her to send semi-nude pictures from her cell phone. At first, Michaela refused but then felt pressured into sending the pictures as the boy gave her an ultimatum. She had to either send him the salacious shots or he would leave her.

Read More

Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, peer pressure, dangers

YouTube Challenges and Peer Pressure

Posted by Steven Woda

December 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

The digital age has moved peer pressure from classrooms and neighborhood blocks onto the Internet. Teens follow the pack on social media websites and apps like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. The main difference between the old form of offline peer pressure and today's online peer pressure is public. When peer pressure is applied on a medium that more than a handful of people can see, teens are often tempted to succumb to it even if they'd rather not.

Before the Internet exploded in popularity, teens were often lured into shenanigans by their friends while hanging around in public parks, school parking lots and backyards. Since these situations were limited to a small group of people, fewer knew about the social pressure. Now that peer pressure is online, it is viral. If someone is hazed, taunted or challenged on the web, just about everyone will know about it.

As a result, youngsters feel an extraordinary amount of pressure to respond to social persuasions to avoid hurtful criticism, teasing and social ostracism. It is very difficult for teens to buck the trend and take the road less traveled. Many succumb to peer pressure simply because their refusal to do so will be made public through social media.

Of particular note are the viral YouTube challenges. Most of these are absurdly gross but their proponents have lured in numerous teens.

Read More

Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, YouTube, peer pressure, Social Trends, other social networks

Digital Parenting: How To Proactively Enforce Your Rules

Posted by Steven Woda

December 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

There is absolutely no reason why digital parenting has to be something that your children despise. When used correctly, digital parenting techniques enable you to set rules and boundaries for your children that they will respect. It takes time, but learning the right principles to use greatly improves outcomes. 

It Is Not About Outsmarting Your Children 

First things first: good luck trying to stay one step ahead of your children, particularly when technology is involved! Thecybersafetylady.com.au has a better definition of what parents should be doing to better

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

Teens Try Virtual Reality Texting and Driving Simulator

Posted by Tim Woda

December 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Every generation of teens tends to think that they are invincible. It is part of the exuberance of youth we have all enjoyed. That care-free attitude is much to be envied, unless it leads any young people to assume that the dangers of risky behavior don't apply to them. However, simulation technology gives this generation of teenagers the chance to see how vulnerable they are to the dangers associated with texting and driving.

If you asked most teenagers if they knew that texting and driving was dangerous, they would probably tell you that they did. However, teens texting and driving remains a major problem. The knowledge that they have about the dangers of texting and driving has not influenced their behavior as much as we might hope. Until they experience the consequences first hand, it may be hard to convince them that they should change, but no one wants teenagers to have to get an accident before they make a commitment to keep themselves safe.

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Topics: digital parenting, texting, Parental Intelligence, texting while driving, texting and driving, behavior, bad behavior, Mobile Phones/Apps

Social Media and Distorted Teen Body Image

Posted by Steven Woda

November 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

The parents of young people invested in digital social media need to keep out front of technology the best they can. Issues with eleven-year old children viewing pornography for free online, tweens trying to acts grown up by sexting, kids developing negative attitudes about themselves and their body images are in strong competition with the widespread issues of bullying peers in school environments.

Teen Body Image

What is body image? Do you know the term "thigh space"? Where do teens begin to get distorted ideas and negative feeling about their young, growing, healthy bodies? 

In today's social focus on outer beauty, no kids are insulated from feelings of inadequacy and despair. Parents concerned about their child's body image must become educated regarding the realities of what kids are faced with on the internet relating to teen body image.

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Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, tumblr, instagram, dangers & safety, other social networks, health & wellbeing

5 Essential Navigation Apps for Your New Driver

Posted by Tim Woda

November 22, 2014 at 5:36 PM

It’s a nerve-racking experience to have kids on the road. And if your teen has just started driving, you want to do everything that you can to keep them safe. One useful technological advancement that can help? GPS and other navigation applications.

While GPS technology has been around for a while, GPS apps make it even easier for young drivers to get where they’re going – without relying on anything but their smartphone. Below are five of the best navigation apps for new driver. All of these apps are designed to keep drivers safe and precise on the road.

    1. MotionX GPS Drive. MotionX GPS Drive was one of the first GPS entries into the market.

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Topics: iPhone, texting, Android, texting and driving, Mobile Phones/Apps, Cellphone Rules & Safety, texting rules & safety, Positive Apps, Navigation Apps

4 Cardinal Twitter Safety Tips for Teens and Tweens

Posted by Tim Woda

November 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Twitter is now the second largest social networking website on the planet. Still, there remains a lot of room to grow for this social network. Internet security and how it relates to Twitter continues to be a hot topic. 

Follow these steps to optimize your account security when using Twitter:

Change Passwords Regularly

As with almost any other website, frequently changing the password is a good way of staying safe. Sometimes, passwords are stolen by computer hackers. In other cases, someone may simply figure out what your password is if they see you type it in or if it is just too obvious. Thus, changing the password on a regular basis can help minimize the chances of the account being compromised.

Here are some other best practices teens can use for optimal password security:

  • Avoid anything on a list of most common user passwords - sequences of numbers like 123456, names of family members or pets, or the word "password" itself should all be avoided.

  • Don't make a password too short. Generally eight characters is considered the minimum for security.

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Topics: social media, Parental Intelligence, oversharing, For Parents, twitter, monitoring, password protection, dangers & safety, Privacy & Reputation, For Tweens & Teens

Teens and Social Media: Are Social Skills Slipping?

Posted by Steven Woda

November 19, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Listen to any conversations involving parents and you are likely to hear a complaint about their teens and social media. Often heard is “Johnny never puts that phone down; always on Facebook or Snapchat or something!”

One study reported by Common Sense Media states that most teenagers are involved in some form of social media, the vast majority using social media daily. “Two-thirds (68%) of teens text every day, half (51%) visit social networking sites daily, and 11% send or receive tweets at least once every day”. USA Today expects, “As more generations are born into the social age, social media will continue to be the favored communication form among young people.”

And what of the face-to-face social skills that seem to be lacking when the phone is the eternal attraction? Teens are reported to have accidents both on foot and in vehicles, too concerned with what is coming across the screen. People have even died after being distracted when taking selfies.

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Topics: digital parenting, social media, Parental Intelligence, Facebook, Teens, instagram, behavior, impact on health, health & wellbeing

Location Sharing in Facebook's Messenger App: The Basics

Posted by Steven Woda

November 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

The launch of Facebook's Messenger App came with a whole lot of concern. Everyone seemed immediately worried about its safety as it has the ability to send your location along with every new message.

Questions and concerns about Facebook's location sharing feature and the safety of the feature have made waves across the media. The social media powerhouse even required that its mobile users either install the Messenger App, or give up using the Facebook private messaging feature altogether. The result: (even with clear evidence that it did indeed include your location in messenger by default) over 500 MILLION people downloaded it. Million.  

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Topics: social media, apps, privacy, Facebook, location monitoring, monitoring, GPS Monitoring, Mobile Phones/Apps, Child ID, Driving/Speed Monitoring

Contest Designed to Help Teens Resist Texting and Driving

Posted by Steven Woda

November 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Every day, car accidents that involve texting and driving make the news. Texting and driving is arguably just as dangerous as drunk driving, and is certainly the most prevalent form of distracted driving. There is no question that texting while driving contributes to way too many automobile accidents and considerably decreases the safety of all drivers and pedestrians.

All over the country, people are trying to solve the problem of texting and driving, particularly focusing their efforts on convincing teens to avoid texting and driving. Curbing the impulse for teenagers to text and drive is particularly important because they are less experienced drivers to begin with, they are more prevalent texters in their daily lives, and because if their generation understands the implicit dangers involved with texting and driving, perhaps the practice can be thwarted.

The South Carolina Press Association was tired of reporting on texting and driving accidents and decided to be proactive in bringing awareness to the safety risks texting and driving creates. They recently held a statewide contest for high school students to create essays and videos promoting AT&Ts "It Can Wait" campaign.

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Topics: texting, texting and driving, bad behavior, Mobile Phones/Apps

5 Alarming Apps That Your Teenager is Probably Using

Posted by Steven Woda

November 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM

In this technologically advanced world, we understand that almost everyone has a cell phone by now. It isn't uncommon in our era for children that haven't even made it into middle school yet to be seen thumbing it up on their iPhones.  

But, with all of the apps available to kids, with little to no parental consent required, what, exactly, are our children downloading?  We have compiled a list of what we have found to be the top scariest applications available (for free) out in the digital world today. 

SNAPCHAT

Although the app's website states that "Snapchat is intended for use by people who are 18 years of age or older, and persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from creating Snapchat accounts", a whopping 50% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-17. 

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