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Internet Security for Children in the Digital Age

By Tim Woda on March 25, 2015 at 3:42 PM

The most important segment of society to keep safe on the Internet is obviously our children. Children are the most vulnerable to being preyed online. They are not as experienced in using the Internet and may not understand the dangers that lurk there. Thus, Internet security is an important topic of conversation to have with your children.

In an article about Internet security and children, Microsoft.com recommends preventing the download of free material online that may contain spyware or viruses: 

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Tyler Cohen Wood's Catching the Catfishers

By Steven Woda on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Tyler Cohen Wood’s Catching the Catfishers explores the digital footprints that we all leave behind, whether we realize it or not. The book sheds light on a comprehensive set of online security components and teaches readers how to best protect their personal information from being put out and circulated on the web. Catching the Catfishers teaches parents and kids alike the value in being aware of the implications that every digital imprint we make can have.

The author is a senior officer and cyber branch chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency within the Department of Defense. Wood clearly demonstrates her authority on all matters of Internet security throughout the book. With a plethora of examples and nuances from recent pop culture and past experiences, Wood shows just how easy it is for people with little to no training to learn everything that they want to discover about someone through the web.

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Catfishing: Happening To Teens and Among Teens

By Tim Woda on June 9, 2014 at 2:29 PM

The Internet has opened up the world to our children. In many ways, this can be beneficial. Knowledge that may have taken hours to find is available within minutes and children aren't stuck having to learn things at a pace that may be too slow for them.  

In other ways, however, the vastness of the Internet, and especially its ability to mask one's true identity, can be harmful and even deadly to our children. One trend that can be harmful has recently gained attention in both media and the courts. This is catfishing.

What is catfishing?

Catfishing is the term given to creating a false profile online in order to deceive others. The majority of cases are embarked upon in order to pursue a romantic situation with someone else.  A person will make up an entire identity, sometimes even creating a whole history and network of family and friends that do not exist, in order to get someone to share personal information and romance with them. 

Who participates in catfishing?

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Digital Parents Are Asking: Is the Video-Chat Site Skype Safe?

By Steven Woda on May 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

What is Skype?

Skype is one of the most popular video chatting and multiple communications platforms in the world. Microsoft owns the program, and it is a company that has brought many innovative technologies to the world over the years. Skype allows people to talk to each other from other ends of the world through video chat.

Users can download the Skype program to their desktop computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones to enjoy the benefits. The program is free to download, and users have access to some great features upon registration. Additional features such as voice calls and texting are available for a small fee.

How is Skype Beneficial?

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10 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Catfishing

By Steven Woda on April 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Catfishing, or faking the identity of another person online in order to create a relationship, is not that hard for a teenager to fall for. Predators are adept at exploiting a teen or tween’s tendency to take people at their word. Ten rules for using the Internet can help them avoid falling victim to catfishing:

  1. No screen names that suggest your name or age (tyler14), gender (sk8r_gurrl), or are suggestive (longlegs in CA).

  2. Only friend people you know and have met in real life.

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Is Your Child Ready for Facebook? Some Factors to Consider

By Tim Woda on August 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Parents hear a lot of conflicting things about Facebook these days.  First of all, it looks like children have stopped communicating in person and started communicating more over the internet.  There is a certain safety in this kind of communication.  If you say something the other person doesn’t like, at least you don’t have to deal with the consequences right away.  It gives you more courage to express what you feel.  However, people do say hurtful things over the internet as well, and cyberbullying is as real a problem as in-person bullying.  If you're wondering, "Is my child ready for Facebook?" then keep the following factors in mind:

1. Age: Is your child over the age of 13?  If not, you will be in direct violation of Facebook’s policy.  You’ll be lying about your child’s age and setting a bad example for him/her.  So take your time and wait until your child is the official age.  You’ll have less to worry about, and s/he will also be more mature by the time s/he starts social networking.

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10 Common Internet Scams Your Child Might Fall For

By Tim Woda on July 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

 The world wide web can be a big, scary place for your kids.The most efficient way to monitor your child's online activity is through a parental intelligence system that will monitor and analyze their actions. Scams come a dime a dozen, but it's worse when they specifically target your children. You need to know what to watch out for.  Here are the 10 most common Internet scams your child might fall for:
  
1. Knockoffs

Kids love clothes, especially teenagers. They want to be trendy and have all the latest designer styles when they know they can't afford it. So scammers create ads for all these "discount" online stores

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"Catfishing" -- The Latest Danger in Digital Parenting

By Tim Woda on January 23, 2013 at 10:47 AM

We’ve all come across people who exaggerate their physical attributes online.  Usually, this is harmless e.g., when someone uses a profile photo from five years ago when they were much slimmer or pretends to be a couple inches taller than they really are.  However, the scenario changes when someone makes up a completely fake identity and interacts with people online using that identity, a deception which is called “catfishing.”

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Don't Talk To Strangers: Facebook Monitoring

By Steven Woda on May 3, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Facebook familyIn March, Ashleigh Hall’s name was splashed across newspapers everywhere after her body was found in a ditch. The 17-year-old had done something that a worrisome number of teens do: made a new friend on Facebook and gone to meet him.

A 2006 survey commissioned by Cox Communications with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported that:

    • 71% of teens reported receiving messages online from someone they don’t know
    • 45% have been asked for personal information by someone they don’t know
    • 30% have considered meeting someone that they’ve only talked to online
    • 14% have actually met a person face-to-face that they’ve only talked to on the Internet (the figure for teens ages 16 and 17 jumps to 22%)

In Ashleigh’s case, her new friend was a predator who had lied about his identity, posing as a 17-year-old boy. Many were quick to point fingers at Facebook: can’t they do more to prevent people from lying about who they are online?

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