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Tyler Cohen Wood's Catching the Catfishers

By Steven Woda on June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Tyler Cohen Wood’s Catching the Catfishers explores the digital footprints that we all leave behind, whether we realize it or not. The book sheds light on a comprehensive set of online security components and teaches readers how to best protect their personal information from being put out and circulated on the web. Catching the Catfishers teaches parents and kids alike the value in being aware of the implications that every digital imprint we make can have.

The author is a senior officer and cyber branch chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency within the Department of Defense. Wood clearly demonstrates her authority on all matters of Internet security throughout the book. With a plethora of examples and nuances from recent pop culture and past experiences, Wood shows just how easy it is for people with little to no training to learn everything that they want to discover about someone through the web.

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How to Navigate the Internet Radio Service Pandora

By Tim Woda on April 30, 2014 at 4:26 PM

What is Pandora?

Pandora is a free, personalized Internet radio service. Through the Music Genome Project, Pandora identifies what users like and streams similar content so they can create up to 100 personalized “stations” to share and comment with friends.

Is Pandora "social" Radio?

Comments and discussion are encouraged on song pages, artist pages, albums pages, and Pandora's genre station pages. 

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10 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Catfishing

By Steven Woda on April 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Catfishing, or faking the identity of another person online in order to create a relationship, is not that hard for a teenager to fall for. Predators are adept at exploiting a teen or tween’s tendency to take people at their word. Ten rules for using the Internet can help them avoid falling victim to catfishing:

  1. No screen names that suggest your name or age (tyler14), gender (sk8r_gurrl), or are suggestive (longlegs in CA).

  2. Only friend people you know and have met in real life.

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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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6 Video Chatting Safety Rules for Teens and Tweens

By Steven Woda on April 5, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The advent of video chatting tools like Skype, ooVoo, Omegle, and Chatroulette have caused parents some concern about their teens' safety. Many video chatting sites encourage anonymous chatting among strangers, which can further elevate these concerns. Here are some ways to ensure that your teen is safely video chatting.

1.) Most experts will recommend that your teenager does not have free access to the Internet at all times. You may want to collect their laptops and phones at night, permitting video chatting only during specific times. 

2.) It is important to instruct your children never to say anything on video chat that they would not want made public. Any conversation can be saved and published elsewhere. Tweens and teens need to know early on that any interaction made on the Internet can impact their futures.

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How Is Technology Affecting Your Family?

By Tim Woda on March 18, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Read this great article by Jan Cloninger and Rosemary Strembicki from "A place to turn." It was original posted on The Huffington Post.

My son is entering his last year of graduate school. When he was a freshman in college, Facebook was brand new. You could only get an account if you had a college address as a way to connect to others in your classes and campus. 

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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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Guest Post: Simple Ways To Make Sure Your Child Is Safe Online

By Steven Woda on January 29, 2014 at 10:53 AM

The endless advancement of Internet technology has put complacent parents on notice. These days, it's not only possible, but actually quite easy, to invite strangers into our homes thanks to the power of social media. Knowing when, how, and with whom our children are interacting during the time they spend online is going to be even more important in the coming years.

It might seem harmless enough to allow children onto their favorite social media sites, but there are a number of important safety measures to take before you allow them access. Here are some cyber security fundamentals to keep in mind.

Social Media Is Only as Private As You Make It

There's good news for parents: social media sites like Facebook have a number of built-in settings to help your child maintain a low profile while they're online. Sit with your child and guide them through the process of setting their profiles to private, including their online photo collection. This is arguably the first and most important step toward ensuring that their personal information stays personal.

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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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10 New Year's Resolutions for Digital Families

By Tim Woda on January 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

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uKnow in Bisnow: Protecting Kids Just Got Easier

By Steven Woda on November 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

uknowkids-group

The thought of teens and technology makes most parents cringe. But one DC-area tech startup is making it so teens and parents can live in cyber harmony. (We're still not going to "friend" you on Facebook, grandma.) 

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Digital Parenting- Best Pinterest Boards to Follow

By Tim Woda on November 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM

As a parent, how often do you wish that your child had come with an instruction book? Parenting isn’t an easy job. It can involve challenges at any age and leave parents looking for advice and answers for many questions about raising their children.  In the past, many parents relied on their parents, friends and family to help them. However, in the age of digital parenting, parents face many issues that their parents never had to cope with. One of the best resources available to parents today is Pinterest. With an ever growing compilation of boards with information for parents on such topics as bullying, education, digital safety, and more, Pinterest can be a priceless source for digital parenting.  To get you started, here are ten awesome boards for parents on Pinterest. 

  1. Parenting Advice - PTPA – with over 75 pins on topics ranging from self-esteem to bullying, this board has advice for parents with kids from birth to teens. They have collected pins from around the web to help parents deal with topics such as divorce, temper-tantrums, and discipline. They also have some interesting pins for dads as well as moms from experts in many fields. 

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Best Blogs for Digital Parents

By Tim Woda on November 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM

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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: 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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Smart Surfing: A Student's Guide to Online Etiquette

By Tim Woda on September 4, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Check out this helpful article of online etiquette for teens and tips for parents from the Sooke News Mirror.

Fact: The Internet is here to stay.

Fact: So is cyberbullying.

Ironically (and most helpfully), the Internet is a great source on how to deal with cyberbullying.

 StopABully.ca offers up the following statistics on cyberbullying:

  • Ninety per cent of parents are familiar with cyberbullying.

  • Seventy-three per cent of parents are concerned about it.

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10 Ways to Keep the Kids Safe While Online - From NannyWebsites

By Tim Woda on July 29, 2013 at 11:55 AM

online safety

When used in a responsible and safe manner, the Internet can be one of the most powerful research and educational tools at a child's disposal. It can expose him to a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, help him experience other cultures and ways of life and encourage him to learn about the world around him. When used irresponsibly by children that have not been adequately taught about the potential dangers, however, the Internet can also be one of the most powerful tools at a predator's disposal. These ten tips can help you keep your kids safe without depriving them of the vaulable knowledga available.

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10 Common Internet Scams Your Child Might Fall For

By Tim Woda on July 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

 The world wide web can be a big, scary place for your kids.The most efficient way to monitor your child's online activity is through a parental intelligence system that will monitor and analyze their actions. Scams come a dime a dozen, but it's worse when they specifically target your children. You need to know what to watch out for.  Here are the 10 most common Internet scams your child might fall for:
  
1. Knockoffs

Kids love clothes, especially teenagers. They want to be trendy and have all the latest designer styles when they know they can't afford it. So scammers create ads for all these "discount" online stores

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Fun and Interesting Ways To Teach Your Child About Internet Safety

By Steven Woda on July 9, 2013 at 6:05 PM

The internet has afforded children, some as young as preschool-aged, new and exciting ways to learn and to discover. It has also shown itself to be a platform through which online predators can slink undetected. The internet can be as dangerous as it is useful. For this reason, many parents enforce strict guidelines in terms of search time, websites and appropriate chat rooms.

This may not be the best approach. Restriction ultimately leads to rebellion. The objective here is to make internet safety training as interactive as possible, so that your child understands the risks associated with irresponsible behavior, has fun while learning, and makes the decision to reinforce those caveats in themselves while surfing with limited supervision.

Here are some fun ways to teach your children internet safety.

Games

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YouTube Plays On Your Child’s Curiosity (and Not In a Good Way)

By Steven Woda on July 6, 2013 at 10:18 AM

On YouTube, videos of fluffy kittens or a singing mouse can quickly take a child down a “rabbit hole” and a journey to explicit videos.  According to one study, children on YouTube can typically get to inappropriate material such as nudity and violence in only three clicks. 

Take Rastamouse, a popular children’s cartoon on YouTube, for example. While watching this child-friendly material, the viewer can scroll through “Suggested” videos on the right side of the webpage. These “Suggestions” range from more cutesy cartoons to music videos with vulgar language to other inappropriate things.

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