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Internet Security Could Save Your Child From Crime

By Tim Woda on May 12, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Protecting their child is the number one objective of any parent. This is the primary role and responsibility. Unfortunately, it is becoming a role that is more difficult with the Internet around. Although the vast majority of people use the Internet for harmless everyday tasks, there are some who use this medium to commit crimes.

Worse yet, many of these crimes are committed against children. Take this headline from the Calgary Herald for example:

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Internet Security Question: Is Someone Spying on Your Kids?

By Steven Woda on May 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM

You're a 21st-century parent who embraces the wonders of the Internet. This is why you allow your kid to roam the web in search of homework answers, to play online games, and to video chat with grandma.

But you're also aware of the online dangers. That's why you allow use of the desktop or laptop only in the living room where everyone can see. And the built-in camera is only available when you're watching.

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Mobile and Internet Child Safety: Comparing The Old With The New

By Steven Woda on April 14, 2015 at 3:53 PM

When considering mobile and internet child safety as parents, it may cause you to reminisce. "Well, back in my day this was never a concern."

Don't feel old, we're all working through it. Technology has changed and will continue to. Due to this, considering a child's safety hasn't changed - instead, there's now more to be cautious of. 

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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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Internet Security: Protecting Children Online

By Tim Woda on February 18, 2015 at 8:51 PM

Undoubtedly, children need to be kept safe when they are online. We also know that they need to use the Internet at this point in time. There is too much going on within the Internet for children to be shielded from it. What needs to happen is safe usage of the Internet by children. 

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Major Florida Sextortion Case Serves as a Warning For Tweens

By Steven Woda on 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.

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Protect Your Teens From These 3 Digital Dangers

By Tim Woda on 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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Girl Scout Cookie Sales Go Digital, Move Poses Internet Safety Risks

By Steven Woda on 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. 

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Internet Security For Children In Chat Rooms

By Tim Woda on 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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Teens Overshare & Chat With Strangers Online More Than You Think

By Tim Woda on June 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM

In case you missed it, McAfee released a Teens and Screens study earlier this month exposing shocking revelations about the depths of the extent and how often teens overshare and chat with strangers online. In McAfee's Teens' Online Behavior Can Get Them in Trouble, Robert Siciliano reports of the study that:

About 75% of tweens and teens friend people whom they know in the real world, however, 59% engage with strangers online. And one out of 12 meet the online stranger in real life. This could be because 33% of them say they feel more accepted online than in real life.

Additional facts to understand:

  • Our tweens and teens overshare personal information – 50% posted their email address,

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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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Tinder: the Newest App Wonder or the Latest Social Danger?

By Steven Woda on June 4, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Technology promises convenience and improved quality of life, but for parents of teenagers technology can also bring a relatively new set of dangers with a mere click of a button. One of the most recent dangers to appear is a social app designed for iPhones and Androids, Tinder.

Launched in the fall of 2012 on a California college campus, Tinder uses Facebook profiles to match potential daters based upon geographic location, common interests, and mutual friends. Users can anonymously choose to like or to pass a match.

If 2 potentially matched users like each other, Tinder opens a chat for them. While this social discovery application was initially used almost exclusively by college-aged individuals for dating, the demographics of Tinder users have undergone some disturbing changes recently.

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4 Social Media Posting Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe

By Steven Woda on May 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Social media is the easiest way to connect and keep in touch with friends and relatives. It has changed the way we do business and interact in our personal lives. Most people have at least one social media account that they use to regularly “check into” places, like entertainment venues and restaurants, and post photos and status updates. Children use social media as a primary form of communication to keep in touch with their friends in real time.

But can posting to social media and “checking in” to location-aware sites inadvertently be giving away information to people who might have bad intentions, making you or your children easy targets for fraud, crime or predators?

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The Dangers of Online Predators and How to Protect Your Family

By Tim Woda on January 31, 2014 at 3:42 PM

With so many ways to access the Internet, including mobile phones, game consoles, music players and tablet devices, people have unprecedented access to information and computing capabilities. Unfortunately, email, social networking, chat rooms and instant messaging expose kids to online relationships that may be harmful and can turn dangerous when online predators are involved. Families need to be vigilant and understand the dangers and how to protect against them.

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How Teens' 'Sexting' Photos End Up On Pedophile Websites

By Steven Woda on October 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM

This article was originally published in The Daily Mail by Daniel Martin.

Tens of thousands of explicit self-portraits taken by teenagers are ending up on websites viewed by pedophiles.

The naked or sexual pictures are often taken by girls at the request of boys in their classes and sent by mobile phone, in a practice known as ‘sexting’.

But unbeknown to the girls, these photographs may end up being passed around the school and even shared on social networking sites such as Facebook – then stolen and published on websites used by paedophiles.

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Digital Parenting: How to Handle Your Child's Social Media Disaster

By Steven Woda on September 22, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Let's hope nothing like what is described below ever happens to your child, but if it does, here is some advice and tips from author, Jason P. Stadtlander. This article was orginally published on The Huffington Post.

In my last article, "Your Child: A Sheep Among the Wolves," I discussed the dangers today's parents are facing with the Internet and child predators. Today, I would like to focus on some of the more daunting questions dealing with what a parent can do when preventive measures are too late.

The case with Hannah Anderson and the Irish 17-year-old that was cyber-bullied after an Eminem concert are prime examples of children and social media run amuck. Anderson should never have had access to electronic devices until she and her family had time to grieve together and the Irish teen... well, I don't even know where to start there.

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New Research: Online Predators Not Distinctly Dangerous Sex Offenders

By Steven Woda on September 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Check out this very interesting study done by the University of New Hampshire on the dangerousness of online predators. What are your thoughts?

Original article taken from Fosters.com.

A new University of New Hampshire study challenges the view that online predators are a distinctly dangerous variety of sex offender, requiring special programs to protect youth.

The study from the UNH Crimes against Children Research Center finds that sex offenders who target teens increasingly use Internet and cell phone communications to lure teens into sexual relationships. In crimes that involve such communications, offenders who meet and recruit youth online operate in much the same way as offenders who meet and know youth in ordinary offline environments.

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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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Teens Flock to Tinder - The Social Hookup App

By Tim Woda on August 13, 2013 at 4:54 PM

There are so many ways for teens to communicate today - email, texting, facebook and now Tinder. Tinder is a new dating app that creates a collection of Facebook photos that it shows to other interested parties in the area. One of the best parts of Tinder is the local feature which means all the people who are interested in you are in your area.

Teens love Tinder for a number of reasons. First, is the instant gratification that it gives. How the apps works: a picture of someone pops up and the user has the option of clicking on a green button and if they don't like what they see they hit an X. The average teen is thrilled to find out who thinks they are hot. Tinder only gives the good news. If people see the pictures and hit the X the teen never knows about it. 

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Sex Trafficking via Facebook: The Latest Digital Parenting Concern

By Tim Woda on March 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Most people frequently hear cases of cyberbullying or sexting gone wrong in the news, but recently, we were reminded that even more intense dangers exist out there on the world wide web.  CNN Money did a great piece on this latest digital parenting concern entitled "Pimps hit social networks to recruit underage sex workers."  We thought all of our readers needed to know about this latest digital dangers, so we are sharing the article today. 

An interesting excerpt:

"It started with a Facebook Friend request....

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