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7-Day Digital Cleanse for College-Bound Kids

By Steven Woda on April 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

We already know that poor social media decisions can impact a teen or tween's future. Read on to learn about how a 7-day cleanse can help them refresh their online reputations. This article was originally published on McAfee Blog Central by Toni Birdsong.

Sorry, this post will not push the health benefits of a kale-flax smoothie (although they do rock). But, if your aspiring college student follows this 7-Day Digital Cleanse for a full week, he is bound to become more digitally fit. (Disclaimer: the side effects of the 7-Day Digital Cleanse could be life changing and dream saving).

By now we all know about the fallout that can happen when young people with big dreams fail to post properly on social media sites. We’ve seen Olympic athletes sent home for a tweet, a zillion people get fired, and college scholarships revoked because a tweet or photo made it to the desk of a college decision maker. 

In 2013, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed nearly 400 college admissions officers and found that 30% said they found something online that negatively impacted the applicant’s chances of getting admitted. On the flip side, when canvassing students in a separate study, Kaplan found that 50% of students admitted they would “not be concerned” about an admissions officer researching them online while 27% said they were “not too concerned,” and 14% said they were “very concerned.”

Offenses cited in the admissions study included essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos and “illegal activities.”

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The Pros and Cons of Xbox: Is Xbox Good for Kids?

By Steven Woda on April 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Many parents today are wondering if Xbox is good for kids, and while there is much debate about this topic, the findings tend to show there may be more cons than pros when it comes to kids playing the popular video game system. With complaints that this kind of gaming leaves kids too isolated from others to concerns over damaged vision from staring at the screen, parents and educators everywhere are very wary of the potential negative effects.

Yet, there are positive effects that can come from playing Xbox and Xbox Live. Xbox Live is a feature of Xbox which enables the player to game online against their friends or other people. Both Xbox and Xbox Live can have plenty of positive and negative impacts on kids.

Pros

Some of the most common positive effects of playing video games include that Xbox:

  • Increases self-confidence

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Long Term Effects Of Bullying On The Victim

By Steven Woda on April 3, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Bullying has often been considered as something that some children experience at some point in their lives. However, with the Internet and smartphones, bullying has been elevated to an extremely sophisticated type of social harassment. New studies are showing that bullying can have negative effects that last long into adulthood.

Loss of Confidence

A single act of bullying can cause diminished self-esteem that can last a lifetime. A child who is bullied feels powerless and their self-identity as a competent person who is able to protect himself in the world becomes wounded.

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5 Myths About Teens and Technology Every Parent Should Ignore

By Steven Woda on March 29, 2014 at 7:36 AM

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Elizabeth Perle. 

As the editor of HuffPost Teen, I spend a good part of my day talking to Snapchat-sending, Facebook-hating, selfie-taking, iPhone-obsessed teens that many adults love to judge. I also talk to their parents.

This week, I received a fairly typical email from the concerned mom of one of our bloggers asking questions like: Is having an Internet profile safe? How many people will see it? Will strangers try to communicate with my kid? What about online predators?

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Could Screens be Affecting Your Child's Sleep?

By Tim Woda on February 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

When it comes to your children every parent wants the best for their health and well being. An important aspect of this is a healthy sleep pattern since proper rest aids their overall development. Sleeping is an absolutely essential part of your child's life, but with technology on the rise it's becoming apparent that too much screen time can lead to detrimental effects that could be avoided.

Cell phones, TV's, computers and other gadgets that are used on a daily basis are often linked to over stimulation especially in the evening hours. Finding a happy medium is crucial in order to ensure that today's modern connected kids can develop a healthy and regular sleeping pattern.

Why Too Much Screen Time Is Unhealthy

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Meet the 13-Year-Old Using Social Media Data to Map Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on February 14, 2014 at 1:44 PM

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center:

“about one out of every four teens has experienced cyberbullying, and about one out of every six teens has done it to others.”

The Center has also found that victims of cyberbullying are nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide than youth who have not experienced cyberbullying.

The overwhelmingly widespread nature of online bullying, its potentially fatal consequences and the lack of control held by adults to stop this behaviour has made this an extremely difficult problem to solve. However, 13 year old Indian American teen Viraj Puri may have found the solution for this complex issue.

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Digital Parenting: Does Facebook Make Your Child Sad?

By Tim Woda on January 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

How Teens Compare Themselves to Others on Facebook

Most teens spend a lot of time glued to their computers and cell phones.  Rather than interacting with people directly, they tend to do it through the medium of Facebook.  Sure, Facebook can help you keep in touch with people you might not ordinarily meet all the time e.g., people who moved away from the neighborhood or went away to college.  It’s nice to be able to know what these people are doing and to keep in touch in some way or the other.

However, teens also tend to use Facebook just to communicate with school friends and see what other people are doing.  Many of them read glowing depictions of the lives of their fellow classmates—how much fun they had at a certain party or what a great shopping haul someone brought home.  And this makes them feel worse about themselves.

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Digital Parenting: Help Your Family Spend Less Time on Their Phone

By Tim Woda on November 29, 2013 at 12:38 PM

The smart phone is a great tool for families. It allows you to remain in constant contact with your kids wherever they are, meaning you never have to worry about where they could be if they are late for dinner – you can simply send them a text, or vice versa. It’s also a great tool for allowing them to keep in better touch with their family, from uncles and aunts to their cousins. Of course, there are drawbacks to smart phones as well.

Kids especially tend to be drawn to the quick fix entertainment that smart phones offer, from access to the Internet to the many games and apps that are available for download. This can lead to your family being glued to their smart phone screens instead of interacting with their family at home.

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Digital Parenting: How Much Internet Activity is Too Much?

By Steven Woda on November 26, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Most news concerning adolescents and the Internet highlight the actual dangers of online scams, cyber-bullies, and sexual predators that endanger credulous, gullible teens. The other risk is teens themselves. Perpetual hours spent online updating Facebook pages, writing tweets, emailing, instant messaging, sending photos on Instagram, downloading music, visits to game sites, shopping, and in some instances gambling, all contribute to the disturbances we see today regarding teen online activity.     

Kids today are spending on average slightly more than ten-hours per day, every day, online. This means that out of 168 hours in a week, kids spend 75 of those hours with some type of electrical or technical gadget.  

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The Benefits of Living Unplugged (Even If Just For a Day)!

By Tim Woda on October 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

When you close your eyes at night, what do you see? Is it a scrolling bar that ends up sounding like the ramblings of a crazy person? "Sarah Smith likes Diet Coke. Anthony Jones likes K-Mart. Pink slingbacks are now trending on Twitter!" In a modern household, spending a great deal of time on the internet is a foregone conclusion. In the working world, it's even worse. You're expected to be connected at all times for an email, a text, or a phone call. The obsession with connectivity has led to busier lives both in and out of the office, and new advances in technology aren't doing anything to lessen the problems. With this in mind, it has become increasingly important to take some time to disconnect everything, even if it is just for a brief 24 hours.

Reducing Connectivity Produces Connections

How often do you see an advertisement where a family sits around a table and has an actual conversation that doesn't include incognito texting or tweeting under the dinner table? The landscape for family dinners has changed so drastically with the introduction of smartphones and tablets that family dinner has become a family plus Facebook dinner, where the virtual guests are invited to ogle your meal via Instagram, and find the recipe through suggested banner advertisements. 

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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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This Family is Living Like it's 1986

By Steven Woda on October 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Amanda Sherker. 

If you want to get in touch with a member of the McMillan family, you can't call them on their cell phones, you can't reach them on Facebook and you certainly can't ping them on Gmail. This Ontario family isn't Amish; they've simply instituted a ban on all technology invented after 1986, according to an interview in the Toronto Sun.

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How to Know and What to Do When Your Child is Being Cyberbullied

By Steven Woda on September 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM

This article originally appeared on FoxBusiness.com, writen by Kate Rogers.

Teasing used to be limited to school recess on the playground, but now it has evolved into a malicious trend among youths on the internet.

As technology advances and more children are using it, they are increasingly exposed to cyberbullies on social networking sites like Facebook (FB) and Twitter, and texting and apps on phones and tablets. And the consequences can be devastating. For some children being targeted, like 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick in Miami, they see no other way out of this cruel cyber world, than to take their own lives.

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The Connection Between Sexting and Suicide

By Steven Woda on August 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Here is a very interesting and shocking article in Psychology Today by Elizabeth Meyer, Ph.D about sexting and suicide.  Even though it is from 2009, most of the article still rings true, and unfortunately not much has been done to help victims of sexting cases that got out of hand and the bullying/cyberbullying that almost always follows.

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The Educational Impact of Bullying and Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on July 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Parents, educators, and lawmakers everywhere are worried about the impact of bullying and cyberbullying on our kids. The impact on every aspect of a child's life can be far reaching. With the digital age, many kids don't just have to worry about being bullied in the schoolyard. Instead, with the technology available today, bullies can reach our kids at school, after school, and even in their own bedrooms. With smart phones, computers, tablets, and cell phones, bullies are able to reach into a child's life and affect every aspect of it. Bullying and cyberbullying are no longer a simple matter of standing up to the bully and having a face-off. It's no longer a simple matter.

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Study Finds Links Between Cyberbullying and Adolescent Depression

By Steven Woda on June 28, 2013 at 2:26 PM

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to develop negative responses such as depression and addictive behaviors.

The study's lead author, Dr. Manuel Gamez-Guadix of the University of Deusto in Spain, said that it is important to understand how cyberbullying impacts adolescent health.  While many adolescents both become cyberbullying victims and also bully others themselves, those that experience cyberbullying attacks for six months or longer are more likely to experience problems such as depression or substance abuse.

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Digital Parenting: McAfee Releases Study on Online Disconnect

By Tim Woda on June 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

In a study published on May 28th, 2013, McAfee explores the online disconnect between parents and pre-teens, teens and young adults.

Here are some of the study's findings that every online parent should know:

Almost all (95%) young people have at least one social media account. (ages 10-23) 
• 87% check their account daily. 
• 79% of parents believe this to be true. 
• 44% check their account constantly. 

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Digital Parenting: 5 Signs Your Child is Addicted to Facebook

By Tim Woda on May 31, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Social networking sites are a popular way for children and teenagers to keep in touch with each other and stay updated with what is going on in their lives. Facebook is currently the most popular site by far, and the process of updating your own status, and looking at other users' information, can take up quite a bit of a child's time. Unfortunately, some kids are on the site far too often and for long durations of time, leading to what can be called "Facebook addiction". This can lead to slipping grades, disciplinary problems, and social anxiety.

Stepping in before Facebook addiction becomes a real problem can be done with sensible digital parenting and Parental Intelligence solutions, but it always helps to know what to look for in order to tell if your child is addicted to Facebook. These 5 signs should be taken very seriously and if they are present, you should be prepared to set rules and limits on Facebook usage.

1. Is your child constantly on Facebook?

A child being constantly on Facebook is a sure sign of Facebook addiction. If their time on the site can be summarized as "multiple hours a day", you should have a talk with your child and let them know that it can be potentially unhealthy to be on Facebook for so long every day. Facebook monitoring programs can help you determine how long they are on and what exactly they are doing on the site.

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Blog Series: How Has Digital Parenting Changed?

By Tim Woda on February 28, 2013 at 3:42 PM


As part of an on-going blog series that began three weeks ago, 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.  

Today we are featuring responses from our friend Tosin Williams, the founder of The Learning Period, an in-home tutoring service based in Los Angeles, CA.

uKnowKids: How has parenting changed with the introduction of so many digital devices?

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Sexting Is Just the Beginning

By Tim Woda on February 27, 2013 at 5:03 PM

With the relatively new ability to send images and videos through technology, people of all ages are taking advantage of this ability to connect to others. Unfortunately, it has also led to the evolution of “sexting.” While this is legal for adults (but still risky), it is not for minors and can have serious consequences on a minor’s emotional state, not to mention their professional and academic future.

Depending on the minor, the situation in which the sexting occurs, and how it is handled, the ramifications can vary greatly. However, it almost always leads to some negative effects for the teen.

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