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What is Geotagging and Is It Safe for My Teens To Be Doing It?

By Steven Woda on July 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM

You would never post your home address online or tell the world that your kids were home alone at that address, would you? Yet many of us are innocently and unknowingly doing just that, by geotagging.

Geotagging is a relatively new phenomenon in that age of smartphones and many teens and parents are unaware of exactly what it is and why it's dangerous. True privacy and safety are becoming ever more elusive and complex in the information age. Here's what you need to know about geotagging to protect your teen's privacy and safety online. 

What is Geotagging?

Geotagging is a way of embedding location information into photos or posts made through social media sites, providing the exact coordinates of where a photo was snapped or a post was made (within 10 to 15 feet depending on the accuracy of your GPS chip). Ultimately, geotagging is not a safe practice for anyone for a myriad of reasons.

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Dangers of the New Location-Sharing Facebook Feature: Nearby Friends

By Tim Woda on May 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Facebook has recently launched a new location sharing feature called Nearby Friends. Naturally, the introduction of the new feature (and the general popularity of location-sharing within social media) is a bit disconcerting for parents of tweens and teens. Sharing locations can increase the dangers of cyberbullying and stalking by strangers and "friends" alike. 

What is Nearby Friends?

The basic idea of the Nearby Friends feature is to further connect people within the network.  Similar to other apps with location tracking systems like FourSquare, Connect, and SocialRadar, Nearby Friends pulls information about the locations of other Facebook friends who have enabled the feature and displays where users are on a map. If there are a certain number of friends located in a user's surrounding area, they will receive a notification about which friends are in the area and are encouraged to view their locations. 

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5 Reasons to Buy Your Child a Cell Phone Right Now

By Steven Woda on March 18, 2014 at 2:19 PM

In today’s world, having a cell phone is not just a convenience for adults.  Parents of pre-teen and teenage children should consider buying cell phones for their kids. Far from being something to make the kids happy, those cell phones can also be a powerful tool for effective parenting.  Consider these five examples of how a cell phone for your child will provide protection and also help you keep up with what your kid is doing.

Getting a Ride Home

While you don’t like to think about it, kids can find themselves in all sorts of situations, some of them not of their own doing.  Perhaps your child was out with friends when some activities got underway that he or she did not want to be involved with.  The trouble is that your child needs a ride home.  If you have provided the child with a cell phone, all that it will take is a quick call to you or another trusted adult, and someone will be on the way to retrieve your child in no time.

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Check it Out: uKnowKids Featured in Yahoo! Tech

By Steven Woda on February 4, 2014 at 5:35 PM

uKnowKids was featured prominently in Yahoo! Tech and we are thrilled. Check out part one of the article below and share with friends and family!

How to Monitor Your Kids Without Turning into the NSA

Should you spy on your kids? The technology to do it is certainly cheap and plentiful. If you want to, you can install software on their computers that copies you on everything they type and everything they look at. You can turn their phones into digital bloodhounds that map everywhere they go. You can install cameras in your home and watch your kids from any Internet device.

All of that is perfectly legal. Parents are within their rights to monitor their minor children on any device they use, notes Tatiana Melnik, a data privacy and security attorney in Tampa, Fla. Practically speaking, however, it’s not as simple as it sounds, especially as your little darlings morph into surly adolescents. Do it badly, and it can backfire on you in a big way.

Whether you choose to use tech to monitor your kids is something is only you can decide. But if you do, here are a few simple rules.

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Instagram: Scoping Out Whether Predators Are Looking In

By Tim Woda on January 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Deciding whether your child is ready for Instagram has to be determined on how much knowledge you give them in navigating Instagram's security. When someone posts pictures on Instagram, security features are there, but they can be misleading in how many ways a predator can work around them. Take a look at some of the methods predators can use to look in on your child's photos and how you may have to take individual action to make sure this doesn't happen.

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The Scary Connection Between Smart Phone Images and Location

By Steven Woda on June 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Parents, do you love to snap pictures of your children on your smart phone and then upload them for family and friends to see? What if I told you that this practice could make it very easy for predators and bad guys to see where your children were located, even down to the exact spot of their bedroom? Might freak you out, right? 

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You Need To Add Location Monitoring To Your Child's Phone Right Now

By Tim Woda on March 5, 2013 at 5:29 PM

The Numbers

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, over 800,000 people under the age of 18 go missing on an annual basis. Some of these are simple incidents of the child getting lost and reappearing later, surprised that everyone was so concerned. However, approximately 258,000 of these cares are outright abductions in some shape or form.

Put into perspective, ChildStats.gov notes that for the year the study used by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was conducted, there were roughly 71.9 million children in the United States. By these numbers, over a full percent of them would go missing each year. Looking at it another way, the average elementary school (476 students) would probably see one and a half of those students actually abducted sometime during the year, and several more simply not show up for reasons other than skipping.

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For your Kids Safety: Disable Geotagging on Their Smartphones

By Steven Woda on July 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Did you know that people can tell where you were when you took a particular photo? Sound like a kids safety risk to you? We're not just talking about identifying landmarks in the background, we're talking about geotagging.

Geotagging happens when you snap a picture on any device with a GPS chip: it embeds detailed information about where, when, and how the photo was taken, including latitude and longitude coordinates that generally pinpoint the location to within 15 feet.

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