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Teens Try Virtual Reality Texting and Driving Simulator

By Tim Woda on 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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Contest Designed to Help Teens Resist Texting and Driving

By Steven Woda on 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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3 Big Rules Your Kids May Be Breaking Online

By Tim Woda on March 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Check out the three biggest rules that your child may be breaking online according to Sierra Filucci. This article was originally posted on Common Sense Media.

For those of us who grew up with dial-up modems, it can be hard to understand what the digital age is like for today's kids. Access to information is literally at their fingertips. But easy access reduces the time it takes to think through your actions -- and makes it easier to do not-so-great things. Like copying other people's work and calling it your own. Or downloading copyrighted music or movies illegally. And the list goes on. Part of the problem is that kids may not even realize that what they're doing is illegal. Here are the top three online offenses -- and how to make sure your kid's online activities stay on the safe side.

Plagiarism and high-tech cheating

What it is: Copying someone else's work and calling it your own. In Common Sense Media's 2009 study of high-tech cheating among kids 13-17, 38 percent said they'd copied text from the web to pass off as their work. And more than 35 percent said they'd used their cell phones to cheat.

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Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying

By Tim Woda on January 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

This article is from Psychology today and compares traditional bullying with cyberbullying.

Just how different is traditional bullying from cyberbullying? Studies are beginning to show that the way youth bully online is a lot different from traditional schoolyard bullying. Teens may think what they are posting or texting is just a joke, but if you're on the receiving end it may not be all that funny. In fact, if the "joking" is repetitive, it could cross the line into bullying, more specifically cyberbullying. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics cyberbullying is the "most common online risk for all teens and is a peer to peer risk."

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Teens Who Sext Are More Likely to Engage in Other Sexual Behaviors

By Steven Woda on January 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Think your 7th grader isn't sexting? Might be time to think again.

A new study was published online today by the American Academy of Pediatrics about the sexting habits of at-risk seventh graders.

Here are some of the most shocking statistics:

  • 22 percent of at-risk seventh graders participated in sexting.

  • 17 percent sending texts only.

  • 5 percent sending texts and photos.

  • Higher perceptions of approval for sexual behavior from parents, peers and the media, higher intentions to engage in sexual behavior, lower emotional awareness, and lower emotional self-efficacy.

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Teen Sexting Criminalized by States

By Tim Woda on August 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Here is some great information about current laws in US states in regard to sexting from the blog at Lawyers.com.

States continue to outlaw sexting by teens – to each other or to adults – even as it grows more popular among them.

 The Problem of Permanence

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The Importance of Parental Monitoring of Text Messages

By Tim Woda on December 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM

What you need to know about text message monitoring and digital parenting this holiday season.

Parents often want two things: to be the "cool" parent, and to be the parent that can trust their children no matter what. Unfortunately, in the age of texting and social media, trust is usually a luxury parents cannot afford. In fact, for young children especially, it's a parent's responsibility to monitor their children's online habits to make sure they are using the power of modern day technology safely. 

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Sexting and Porn? Is Your Child Accessing Internet on Their Phone?

By Steven Woda on May 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

It's easy to focus on the desktop or laptop computer in our child's life and forget that the Internet is just as accessible from the cell phone hidden in their pocket. Previously we mentioned 4 reasons to monitor your child´s cell phone.  Internet dangers don't become less prevalent or less serious because our kids are on a phone instead of a computer.

This week, take some time to evaluate whether you're allowing things on the smartphone that you wouldn't on the Internet, or vice versa. It's the same Internet, and the same rules should apply no matter how your child is accessing it.

If you've got a teenager with a phone, do you talk about how they're using it to go online? If you are guilty of monitoring computer usage more than phone usage, you're not alone.

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Teen Relationships: Stalking By Text and Sexting

By Tim Woda on June 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Texting or for some, sexting is how most kids communicate – it's easy, it's fast, it's convenient, and teens always have their phones with them – but sometimes it can go too far. You've heard of cyberbullying, but have you heard of cyberstalking and text harassment?

Statistics from the U.S. Justice Department reported in 2006 that 23% of stalkers used texting and email to harass their targets. And the kicker is that with texting the victim has to pay for it, sometimes as much as 15 cents a text. Ask your teen if they or their friends have ever been in a relationship where their significant other constantly texted them, almost to the point of harassment. You might be surprised.

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Teens Posting Videos of Real Fights Online

By Steven Woda on December 15, 2010 at 3:10 PM

videosNow that most kids carry their video-enabled cell phones around everywhere with them, everybody is a cameraman. This can be a good thing – we’ve all heard stories about a thief who was caught because a bystander just happened to catch the robbery on his cell phone. But it can also be a source for trouble when fight videos start getting posted online.

Clips of two teens punching, kicking, and pulling each others' hair are surprisingly easy to find online, most of them posted by other kids who stood by and recorded the fight on their cell phones.

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Girls More Avid Texters Than Boys

By Tim Woda on December 9, 2010 at 3:12 PM

girl textingWe know that tweens and teens are really, really good at texting. Texting while walking, texting discreetly in class, carrying on multiple text conversations at once. But is there a difference among kids in who texts the most?

Turns out that it’s no coincidence that both the winners and half-dozen finalists in the 2009 and 2010 LG Texting Championships have been female. Girls do the bulk of the texting the majority of the time, specifically teenage girls.

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Hypertexting Teens More Likely to Have Sex, Drink, and Do Drugs

By Tim Woda on November 24, 2010 at 3:13 PM

textingDo you know how much texting and social networking your teen is doing? You may want to sit up and play closer attention to how your child communicates online – not just looking for “red flags,” but at the overall amount of time they spend doing it.

Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that excessive texters and social networkers were more likely to drink, do drugs, and be sexually active.

According to the study, teens who sent more than 120 texts per school day were:

    • 3.5 times more likely to have had sex
    • 90% more likely to report four or more sexual partners
    • twice as likely to have tried alcohol
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