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The "TMI" Epidemic: Are My Teens Oversharing Online?

By Steven Woda on August 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Oversharing online - the act of posting sensitive personal information - is one of the leading dangers affecting teenagers. In fact, independent studies have suggested that most teenagers are oversharing online. How bad is it for your teenager?

The Facts

As noted in the McAfee Teens and Screens study, 52% of teens have gotten into a fight because of things they either shared themselves or saw someone else share. And if you don't think your teens are seeing things, think again - 87% of teens have at least witnessed some form of cyberbullying. Here are some other facts to consider:

  • 39% of teens have never changed their privacy settings on social media - whose baseline usually

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6 Requirements for Managing Peer Pressure Among Kids/Teens

By Steven Woda on June 17, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Peer pressure can be extremely hard to deal with for kids and teens.  It becomes increasingly difficult without the support of their parents.  When it comes to managing peer pressure among kids/teens, there are things that you should do, and things that you must do. Here are six such "musts" for dealing with peer pressure:

    1. Talk to your child about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and sex: Talking to your child opens up a dialogue that can be very important.  If your child feels safe discussing these difficult topics with you, there is a greater chance that they will come to you if they are curious about trying them.

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The Phenomenon of Cyberbullying: Are We Paying Enough Attention?

By Steven Woda on May 27, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Cyberbullying, despite being a serious crime today, is a popular phenomenon among kids of all ages. Despite its severity, cyberbullying has largely gone under-punished because parents, teachers, and authorities were late in deciphering the needs of children when it came to information technologies. Even when caught, it’s often difficult to prosecute. Today’s newest technologies have morphed into anonymous dangers.

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Digital Parenting Disconnection: Is Technology Winning the War?

By Steven Woda on May 16, 2014 at 3:02 PM

There is no doubt about it: parenting has changed quite drastically in recent decades. With social networks being the new "must-have", parents must work harder connect with and locate their children online so they can keep them safe and healthy. 

However, parenting with technology has gone even further. Parents use it to keep up with schoolwork, location monitoring, and checking their online activity. Somehow, technology is making being a parent easier, but the workload is harder.  Parents are losing the battle to technology as their children continue to meld into the digital world, and they have no choice but to join it and try to use technology more effectively.

Digital Parenting Challenges

As a result of technology booming, more decisions are made on things that never existed only a few years ago.  Social websites, applications, games, online surfing, cable channels and DVR are coming to light, and parents are faced with the tasks of monitoring many aspects of these activities

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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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Digital Parenting: Is This Bold Parenting Move a Yes or No?

By Steven Woda on January 16, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Here is the story of one mother that took to the internet to publicly shame her daughther to teach her a lesson about....publicly shaming. One mother found out her daughter had been cyberbullying peers on the Internet and the following was her response. 

This morning, a young girl is getting a taste of the abuse she was apparently serving up to her classmates, thanks to her innovative mother.

Yesterday, reddit user AngryCOMMguy posted a photo (pictured) of a downtrodden young girl holding up a yellow sign. The young girl - who identifies herself as Hailey - is a cyberbully. At least, according to her mother. Apparently, Hailey's mother discovered that her daughter was abusing fellow students (at least we assume it was fellow students and not just some random people), via the Internet. As a result, Hailey's mom decided the best course of action was to have her daughter sell her beloved iPod and give the proceeds to Beat Bullying, a charity that works to combat bullying in all its forms.

Taking a break from this story, I think it's safe to say that this is a time-tested parental move: if your kid acts like a jerk, you take something away from them. Make them feel the sting of their malfeasance.

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Digital Parenting: How To Get Your Child To Pay More Attention

By Tim Woda on October 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

With all of the distractions that are around these days, children are having more and more trouble focusing. However, there are ways in which you can get your child to stay on task every day, it just takes a little digital parenting tricks. 

It can be a bit difficult at first, but if you follow these plans then you will have a child that is focused and interested. Here are the best ways to build focus: 

Eliminate distractions

Although you can not control the weather (which may be a distraction all in itself), there are many distractions that you can prevent.

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Digital Parenting: There Is No Delete Key On The Internet

By Tim Woda on October 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

As your children grow into their tween and teen years, they begin expanding their social circles beyond your immediate neighborhood and their classrooms. They grow curious about the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Ask, Reddit and other social networking sites popular with teens and young adults. it’s inevitable – your daughter comes up to you and asks for your permission to set up a social networking profile. Whether she’s legally allowed by networking sites or not, you’re not sure you want her venturing into that world yet.

“I Met This Boy...”

After getting your permission and that of your partner, your daughter created a Facebook account with your supervision. As her mother, you have been conscientious about monitoring her time online, not allowing her to spend time in her room while she’s interacting with her friends. You and your partner had her hand over her Facebook password and you log into her account regularly to supervise what she has been doing. She accepted your friend requests, however reluctantly. Up until now, everything has been going smoothly and she has been following your rules, even though she’s rolled her eyes on occasion.

You and your partner learn that she has met a boy at school. You refuse her request to send a friend request to him – neither you nor your partner feel this is a good idea, since you don’t know him. Your daughter tries arguing with you and you remind her about your ground rules. You remind her that, if she tries to get you to change your mind, or if she tries defying you, you will temporarily revoke her Facebook privileges. You learn, as you browse her account, that she did send a Facebook request to this boy. He accepted it. In response, you take her Facebook

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Digital Parenting: Setting Goals with Your Family

By Tim Woda on October 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

In a culture where both kids and parents are tied to their devices, no one can deny that technology has also changed the way our families interact and communicate. It can be tough to embrace technology as a family without encountering one of two extremes: the family that is never offline or the family that enforces restrictive, alienating rules. One way that you can overcome the “rule” barrier is by using parental intelligence technology that enforces the rules for you. Beyond the governance aspect, though, it may be helpful for your digital family to set goals for how you will take a stance on technology. Setting goals for your digital family’s technology use will not only make your family feel  more positively about  what could be viewed as more restrictive ideas, but the concept of family goals also provides a great forum for family discussion and bonding. Here are some ideas to consider including in your family’s list of technology goals:

  • We love technology: If your digital family loves to play with the latest gadgets, embrace that! Make it a family tradition to wait in line together for the latest technological toy or for a great sale on a device you all love

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Peer Pressure to Curb Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on June 25, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Cyberbullying is an issue most parents are new to.  How do you deal with and battle this digital-age problem?

Unfortunately, there is no policy or procedure manual for this issue.  Parents often times look to the schools for assistance in battling cyberbullying.  One method some schools and parents have found to be effective is utilizing the idea of peer pressure.  Peer pressure can be a great and moving tool when it is used for the greater good.  Teachers use peer pressure in their classrooms in order to manage the classroom.  A way they use it is giving the students in the classroom the forum to pressure their peers into turning their work in on time, quieting, and following the procedures of the classroom effectively and appropriately.

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Parental Controls Also Include Education: Kids Are More Tech Savvy

By Tim Woda on June 23, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Parental monitoring tools enabling parents to see what kids are doing online are going to be needed more than ever. An extensive study is out that says children look up things they shouldn't when the parents aren't around. This study through McAfee is a real eye-opener and goes into the deep layers of what makes parental control so difficult: Lack of time and knowledge.

Parents Not Keeping Up with What Kids Know

In the above study, it's found that many teens take advantage of parents not knowing how easy it is to guess passwords those parents set for parental controls. As well, the general lack of tech savvy by busy parents means kids are taking advantage of the situation. The most concerning is that the parents in the study thought it was impossible for their kids to learn the parental control passwords.

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Digital Training Wheels: Start Early, Start Young

By Steven Woda on June 20, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Many parents make the mistake of believing they won't have to do much to ensure mobile and Internet child safety until their kids are into their teen years, or at the very least eleven or twelve years old. Unfortunately, kids are getting online at earlier ages, which means their safety is at risk at an ealier age than most parents realize.

In a recent article in The Jackson Sun, experts discuss the need for "tech talks". Parents already understand the need to talk to their kids about sex, drugs and alcohol. Discussions about technology have to be added to that list. The progression of technology demands it, and so do those who are building tech devices for kids at younger and younger ages every year. That means parents need to use"digital training wheels" even earlier than they did a few years ago.

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Digital Parenting: Be The Best You Can Be

By Tim Woda on June 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM

You know kids.  They live, breathe, eat, sleep and play in a digital world. There's no denying this fact and there's no going back.

You may long for a time when families sat around the dinner table and talked to each other.  You may wish for more face time, actual conversations, even if it is with a telephone.  However, our plug-and-play digital society is entrenched and intrusive. This is where Digital Parenting comes in.

So, how does Digital Parenting work?  First, establishing boundaries is key.  Your kids, and most likely you, are attached to your cell phone and mobile communications device.  It is the way of today's world. You can practice examples that will help make you an accomplished Digital Parenting professional.

First example: Kids mimic what their parents do and say.  If you are on the cell phone while driving with your child, they determine this to be normal behavior.  If you are texting with a friend, co-worker or family member during a conversation, they also see this as acceptable.

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Do You Know What Your Tween Is Up To Online? This Study Says No

By Steven Woda on June 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Remember when we told you about the new study done by McAfee concerning children, parents and the online disconnect?

As part of Internet Safety month, we are proud to say that we got Robert Siciliano, an online security expert at McAfee to comment on the study's findings. Read his guest post for uKnowKids below.

Parents: Do You Know What Your Tween Is Up Too?  

In McAfee’s 2013 study “Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids” that examines the online habits and interests of preteens, teens, and young adults and finds there is a significant disconnect between what they do online and what their parents believe they do.

While youth understand the Internet is dangerous, they still engage in risky behavior, hiding this activity from their parents in a variety of ways, and acknowledging that they (46%) would change their behavior if they knew their parents were paying attention.

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Guest Post: Generation Disconnection

By Tim Woda on May 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

This guest post comes to us from Pierce Higgins, founder of AfterMath, a website that enables a child to earn his time online by answering educational challenges. 

It a great privilege to be asked to write a guest blog for, one of the world’s leading companies in the “Parental Intelligence” space. uKnowKids has a range of category-winning products for parents that cover areas such as social monitoring, mobile monitoring and location monitoring.

Today’s parents have become disconnected from the digital lives of their children and have become increasingly incapable of dealing with cyberbullying, sexting issues ,mortifying video clips on YouTube amongst many.

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How to Talk to Your Teen About Sexting

By Tim Woda on March 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy surveyed teens and young adults for a report on sex and technology. The results may shock most parents. Overall, 39 percent of teens, starting at age 13, send or post sexually suggestive text messages — known as sexting — as well as emails. Forty-eight percent of teens report receiving these NSFS (not safe for school) messages. Also, kids who start this practice young tend to increase their risky ‘net behaviors as they become young adults. The problem of sexting is so overwhelming and the consequences so severe, it’s not unfair to ask what a concerned parent can do?

Fortunately, there are some key actions parents can take to prevent impressionable teens from sending racy texts. The trick, say many experts, is to never stop talking to your teen, even if you think he or she has gotten the message. Girls, especially, are prone to feeling like they have to “please” a boyfriend or potential boyfriend. But the reasons for sexting, for both boys and girls, are mostly the same. They send racy messages to boys or girls they like, they send racy gossip about kids they dislike and they act out sexually for attention and to show off.

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Increase Peace of Mind and Child Safety with Digital Training Wheels

By Tim Woda on February 28, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Parenting in the digital age involves a whole new set of tools. Parents are facing technology with which they are not familiar, and the additional perils and parenting blind spots that technology can bring. By providing your child with Digital Training Wheels, you can increase your peace of mind and ensure that your child is using technology safely and responsibly.

Social Media Safety

Social networking sites and applications such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Instagram open a window to the world which is largely unprotected. Not only do these sites give your child exposure to the world, but they give the world access to your child as well. By using tools that monitor your child's activity on these sites you can provide an extra level of protection in your child's life. You can see:

  • with whom your child is communicating

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Blog Series: What Does Digital Parenting Mean to You?

By Tim Woda on February 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

As part of an on-going blog series that began last week, we have interviewed some internet safety experts, parenting experts and industry leaders and are pleased to present our findings. Our questions centered around 'digital parenting' and what people thought were the biggest issues regarding this subject.  

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At What Age is Facebook For Kids Appropriate?

By Tim Woda on November 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Facebook has taken off in popularity so fast that many parents are left trying to keep up with this craze. Many parents have reported that their kids understand more about the Internet then they do, and this has meant that many parents are having difficultly controlling their kid's online behavior. 

The behavior of kids online can also be difficult to rule over because of the fact that the Internet is becomming more and more accessible. Even if the parent chooses to put up certain parental blocks on their computers at home, there is no guarantee that this will keep the child from doing whatever they please on a friend's computer or on a public computer, perhaps even one at their school. 

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The Internet Safety Conversation: 3 Ways to Get Your Kid to Open Up

By Steven Woda on July 9, 2012 at 6:34 PM

As Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state of New York join the ranks of the few states that have passed cyberbullying laws, it’s important to understand that simply passing a law is not going to ensure your kids’ online safety. It takes an individual effort on the part of parents and kids to end online harassment, and it starts with honest, open communication.

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