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LATEST POSTS    

Major Florida Sextortion Case Serves as a Warning For Tweens

Posted by Steven Woda

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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Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, online predators, child predator methods, dangers, flirting & sexting, In the News, Victims, child app

Why Sexting Through Apps Will Never Go Away

Posted by Steven Woda

December 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Smartphones are amazing devices which have opened up so many opportunities for people ages three to 100, unfortunately they have also brought their own challenges. One such challenge is the issue of teens and tweens sexting through apps

We would like to think this is a phase, but the safe bet is that this type of behavior will never disappear. The good news is that there are ways to inform your kids about the dangers of sexting and hopefully they will make the smart decision to abstain from such actions. 

First of all, it is important to understand that sexting will always continue to be a smartphone risk, and waging a war on it will just be a waste of time and resources. When a child receives a smartphone they are given more power than they know what to do with and unfortunately teenagers can be very persuasive (especially when hormones are involved).

While there are surely measures parents can take to keep track of what their kids are texting, sexting can occur through so many devices and apps that it's difficult to monitor. A mixture between raging hormones, at-hand technology, and the perception that this behavior is cool guarantees that sexting will remain as common place in our society as make out spots were in the 1950s.

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Topics: sexting, Internet Safety, video sexting, apps for sexting, flirting & sexting, child app

Snapchat Breach: Sexting Through Apps Is Still a Risky Practice

Posted by Steven Woda

October 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

In some instances, cell phones offer parents a lot of peace of mind. When your teenager has a cell phone, you know you can get ahold of them and that they have a resource to turn to if danger arises. In this regard, cell phones offer security to today's parents that previous generations of parents would have loved.

However, teenagers can also use their phones to get into trouble, embarrass themselves or even put themselves at risk. As a parent, you have probably already talked to your children about the kind of information they should and shouldn't put online, but sexting through apps has become such a trend in youth, as many believe that these apps are guarding their privacy.  

We have all heard about the dangers of the popular teen app Snapchat, which is an app that allows users to send a picture of short video that allegedly automatically disappears within seconds. With Snapchat, recipients of photos or videos can still screen shot and save images from a Snap. The app is widely believed to be used as an app for sexting, even amongst younger users. 

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Topics: Snapchat, sexting, social media, Internet Safety, apps for sexting, other social networks, flirting & sexting, child app

Are You Really Anonymous on Snapchat?

Posted by Tim Woda

February 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

This article from the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, is a great look into the security of something that permeates our everyday life: social media. This article speaks about the recent breach in security that Snapchat experienced, along with the danger (and importance) of companies using social media. There are a variety of take aways, but the main one should be if corporations face these kinds of security breaches, so do consumers. Parents and their children are exposed in two ways: 1) as users of Snapchat and 2) as customers of companies that have adopted social media as part of doing business.

This is a not-so-subtle reminder that in the interconnected digital world there are consequences regarding security that could have a direct impact on all social media users. Just as hackers impacted millions of credit card holders through the Target breach successfully stealing their private financial information, we now see millions of SnapChat users impacted by hackers stealing their private personal information. Read the full article below. 

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Topics: Snapchat, sexting, social media, Internet Safety, snapchat and sexting, other social networks, flirting & sexting

Face It, Your Child is Sexting

Posted by Tim Woda

October 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Making poor decisions and underestimating their consequences are the hallmarks of being a teenager. Today, teenagers are faced with so many decisions to make every day, it can seem unbelievable that any of them make it into their twenties unscathed.

Getting into trouble while navigating the dating world is nothing new for teenagers, either. However, what is new are all the different ways to communicate: talking on the phone, text messaging, email, facebook, twitter, the list goes on. With all of these avenues of communication available, it was only a matter of time before teens found themselves in trouble because of it.

Sexting is a fairly new term that is used to describe a number of activities. Mainly, it refers to exchanging sexually suggestive or explicit text messages and email, but it also is used to describe exchanging photos or other sexual material, and also forwarding or otherwise sharing the information received with someone else.

What the studies are showing

Researchers at the University of Utah's Department of Psychology conducted an survey of 606 teenagers aged 14 to 18. Twenty percent of the teens admitted to sending a sexual image of themselves using a cell phone. Almost 40 percent said they had received one, and worse, more than 25 percent of those students admitted to sharing the sext with their friends.

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Topics: Snapchat, sexting, social media, Internet Safety, prevention, other social networks, flirting & sexting

When Sexting Graduates Into Something More

Posted by Steven Woda

December 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I myself do not yet have kids, but I am certainly always learning from my parents, younger siblings, friends, coworkers and everyone around me about the difficulties and stresses that can come from it. I'm a person that grew up in the "digital age," and I know that for the younger population, it's just as natural as talking or using a phone. The issue seems to be that when you can talk anywhere at any time to anyone, it becomes almost impossible to keep your thumb on what exactly your kids are talking about.

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Topics: sexting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, parental mobile controls, dangers, Spying vs Engaging, flirting & sexting

Boys, Flirting, and Sexting

Posted by Tim Woda

July 12, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Most of the time, when we talk about sexting (the act of sending nude or suggestive photos of yourself via cell phone) we focus on the harm it does to our girls. Of course I’m concerned about the risks of our girls posing for racy photos and distributing them – especially in high school – but what about our boys? Boys sext, too, almost as much as girls do.

Why do boys sext? A lot of reasons: peer pressure, to be funny or gross, or as a form of flirting. In fact, boys seem particularly likely to flirt by sexting.

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Topics: Snapchat, sexting, social media, Internet Safety, peer pressure, other social networks, flirting & sexting

EduHookups.com Is a Parent's Nightmare

Posted by Tim Woda

April 19, 2011 at 2:38 PM

teenagers on computersEduHookups.com is currently only available to college students, but watch out parents. That's how Facebook started.

The site's “about” page says that eduHookups is for “students that believe working hard and having fun are not mutually exclusive” and encourages visitors to “register and put themselves out there.” Indeed. In a nutshell, eduHookups is basically a site for arranging casual, no-strings-attached sex with strangers for students at a select number of colleges and universities across the U.S. (right now, 25 and counting.) The site assures that it's “safer than using Craigslist” because it requires a .edu email address to register and hang out in the site's chatroom or respond privately to the public “listings” of students.

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Topics: sexting, Parental Intelligence, Internet Safety, eduhookups, dangers, Social Trends, flirting & sexting