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Monitoring Tweens Online is Exhausting But Necessary

By Tim Woda on November 12, 2013 at 12:55 PM

This article was orginally published in Chicago Parent by Shannan Younger. Read on to learn about how monitoring tweens online is crucial in the digital age.

When my child was an infant, the countless sleepless nights exhausted me. Keeping up with the endless motion of a toddler wore me out. And the birthday party circuit of elementary school sucked a lot of time and energy.

Now that my child is a tween, I'm finding that new challenges exhaust me. Chief among them is keeping up with all the website and social media options available to tweens and teens today.

The number of ways that they can communicate with others, who they may or may not know and who may or may not be kind, good, law-abiding citizens, is mind-boggling. A lot of these platforms can be scary. What scares me most of all, though, are the parents who don't even try to learn about them, or who try but give up too easily.

When our kids are little, parents do not turn on the television and plop them in front of it with the thought, "I have no idea what station this is on or what this show is about and it may be wildly inappropriate but, eh, whatever, they can handle it."

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8 Scary Social Networking Sites Every Parent Should Know

By Tim Woda on November 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

This article was orginally posted on the Huffington Post by Michael Gregg, COO of Superior Solutions.

If you think you're hip to your children's online social habits because you know all about Facebook and Twitter, you've got it all wrong. Tweens and teens are increasingly leaving these sites in favor of new apps that offer richer features and a safe haven from watchful parents.

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Everything You Need to Know About Ask.fm

By Steven Woda on August 28, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Social media is a phenomenon that has swept over the youth of the world. With different ways to connect to each other, the appeal is large for these types of sites. The newest that has been on the upward trend is Ask.fm, and it has been for both positive and very negative reasons. Here are some things you need to know about the site overall and some tips on how to prevent bullying and cyberbullying through Ask.fm. 

The Site 

Ask.fm was founded in 2010 in the country of Latvia. It was created as a rival to Formspring and has a similar layout. Users create a profile in which they open themselves up for questions. Some of these questions can be fun and casual, such as “What is your favorite sports team?”

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Ask.fm Responds to Cyberbullying Controversy

By Steven Woda on August 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Ask.fm has been a hot topic among many outlets the past few weeks because of its terrible tendency to enable cyberbullies. Apparently, the company has listened to protesters and victims calling for action. The online social networking site has responded to the cyberbullying controversy by implementing new safety measures. 

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Ask.fm a Breeding Ground for Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on August 18, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Cyberbullying is not a new concept. Parents around the world understand the importance of monitoring their child's use of the internet, but the constant evolution of social media sites creates an abundance of obstacles for even the most diligent parent. Teenagers have the tendency to stay one step ahead of adults when it comes to finding new avenues of peer interaction on the internet. One dangerous social networking site that many parents may not be aware of is Ask.fm. 

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Ask.fm: Little-Known Social Site is Host to Kidnap Victim

By Steven Woda on August 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

The following piece from NBC's Helen A.S.Popkin is a great article on Ask.fm and the recent media storm around it. 

Popular with kids, and — until recently — obscure to many adults, Ask.fm is a Latvia-based social networking site where members interact by inviting others to ask anonymous questions.

Though the site has more than 65 million members who interact in more than 30 languages, it wasn’t until Monday that Ask.fm made headlines in the United States. That’s when kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson, barely 48 hours after her rescue, logged on using the name “Hannahbanana722." Her identity later confirmed by her grandparents, Anderson openly answered personal questions about her ordeal, posted by anonymous strangers. She also posted several smiling selfies — cellphone self-portraits — as well.   

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Cyberbullying Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Ask.fm

By Tim Woda on April 22, 2013 at 3:04 PM

The Age of Digital Parenting

Parenting kids in this modern age comes with challenges that our own parents never had to face. The advent of the internet presents modern parents and their children with unlimited opportunities, both good and bad. One of the main challenges that you face as a modern parent is keeping your child safe online. That makes knowledgeable digital parenting one of the most important components of being a responsible parent these days. The tween and teen years have always been fraught with angst, raw emotion, and social upheaval; it's just a natural part of making the transition from child to adult, but the internet has created a new level of trouble for this already fragile time. 

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Cyberbullying And The Laws That Govern It

By Tim Woda on February 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Many people have been asking me if there are any laws or legislation in place to govern cyberbullying.  I have pulled together a list of the states laws on bullying and what they mean in a short blog post below. 

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