November 12, 2014 at 6:09 PM
The moment that a child logs on to the Internet is the moment that they are exposed to a number of risks. While the Internet is designed to help us all accomplish tasks, learn new information, and even do business, there are potential threats that lurk as well, particularly for children. Mobile and Internet child safety is an important topic to learn about.
November 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM
Sexting is the transmission of sexually explicit images through smartphones or other Internet connected or cellular devices like tablets and laptops. Until recently, it was considered a behavior that was limited to "at-risk" teens and a sign of potentially problematic behavior. New research, however, suggests that it may actually be a part of normal sexual development in teens.
Like virtually any controversial subject, however, there are two sides to this argument. Here is the first one:
In the journal Pediatrics, research found that thus far there is a total failure for anyone to prove a link between sexting and any sort of risky sexual behavior. There is also no link yet between sexting and diminished mental health. This was all part of a study that polled over one thousand high school students, and was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas.
Now that you have the "sexting is normal" side of the argument. Here is the counter-debate:
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.
September 19, 2014 at 6:11 PM
From all of the news we hear about the span and scope of digital dangers available to youth, it's clear that parents have every right to be worried about the types of activities teens are engaging in online and through phones. It's natural for any parent to be concerned about what their child could be getting into. Although teens may be disgruntled by it, parents have a responsibility to be aware of what is going on and prevent mistakes from being made in kids' digital lives.
The Rise Of Sexting
If you haven't heard of sexting already, you probably will in the near future. Sexting is sending or receiving a sexually graphic or descriptive text message. Studies show that teen sexting is on the rise and many parents are wholly unaware of it.
Quick facts about sexting:
11% of teens admit they’ve sent pictures to strangers (Cox Communications)
80% of teens who have sexted are under the age of 18 (Cox Communications)
Over half (57%) of teens from a 2012 survey reported that they had been asked to send a sext (JAMA)
12% of teen girls feel pressured to sext (The National Campaign)
38% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have had sexually suggestive text messages or emails—originally meant for someone else—shared with them (The National Campaign)
Plus, according to research, those teens who are sexting or propositioned to send a sext are more likely than their peers to have sexual intercourse.
September 11, 2014 at 6:21 PM
When we think of people who are consumers of online porn, we automatically picture grown adults. However, with access to pornographic sites becoming increasingly widespread, a large number of tweens and teens are believed to have viewed some kind of online porn.
How Many Children Are Watching Porn?
Today, it's reported that at least 90 percent of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have watched pornography online at least once. Not only have most tweens and teens seen porn, but boys ages 12 to 17 are actually the largest consumers of online pornography. With this statistic, pornography has even been compared to being the drug of choice for youth.
July 4, 2014 at 3:27 PM
Although underage sex is an uncomfortable topic to broach, the truth is that plenty of teenagers are “hooking up”. This term refers to having "no strings attached sexual activity" with a partner. Many sociologists argue that the hooking up trend is part of a larger societal movement toward obtaining immediate gratification.
While most parents will argue that it is unacceptable for teens to be having sex, some have accepted it as inevitable. Yet this doesn't mean that the teens should be engaging in sexual activities with people that they hardly know. Herein lies the underlying problem with hooking up.
Today's teens often speak of “friends with benefits”. This is a term that refers to two people engage in sexual intercourse or sexual activity without passing through typical courting rituals or even becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. Research conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions shows that almost one in four sixth-graders and one in three seventh-graders have engaged in sexual behavior. More than three in four twelfth-graders report the same. Simply put, teens are jumping to dessert without eating their appetizer and main course.
May 19, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Legislation has been introduced in the California state legislature that would make it a felony to share sexually explicit images of young people or images of their body parts on social media or smart phones for the purpose of bullying them. It is part of a package of legal changes that would close a legal loophole that makes it a less serious crime to rape someone who is physically or mentally incapacitated than to rape someone who is of clear mind.
The cyberbullying part of the bill is called ”Audrie’s Law” after a young woman named Audrie Pott who died as result of a sexually inspired act of cyberbullying.
May 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM
New Jersey is one of the few states that has a somewhat "lenient" sexting law, which punishes most minors caught sexting with mandatory educational programs. The state is having quite a trying week, with the recent news of two sexting incidences reported in separate New Jersey schools.
According to ABC7 Eyewitness News, nude photos of several students were discovered on multiple students' phones in Somerset County's Basking Ridge Middle School. Superintendent Nick Markarian sent out a letter about the incident to parents, informing them on the events and providing them a chance to "clean things up" before criminal charges are soon filed. Markarian is encouraging parents to have their kids delete and cease distribution of the viral nude photos.
May 14, 2014 at 11:05 AM
From catching your teen sexting, to finding out that they violated your phone contract, digital slip-ups are never fun to deal with. It is not surprising that teens and parents often experience power struggles over digital rules and privileges. Teens are often given such high responsibility with technology at such young ages, that it is natural that there are going to be some problems. Digital rule-breaking is still a relatively new avenue of parenting that requires specific attention and action.
May 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM
One of the more pernicious aspects of cyberbullying is that, due to the nature of the Internet, it can cross international lines. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old living in British Columbia who committed suicide in 2012 after being extorted online by a stranger. Before Amanda committed suicide, she left behind a heart-wrenching YouTube video describing the horrors she suffered as a result of her cyberbully.
For many months, it was unsure if the cyberbully behind her suicide would be charged, or even identified. At one point Anonymous, an anarchist hacker group, got involved and fingered a Vancouver man as the culprit. The man turned out to be innocent and ended up accusing another man living in New York.
Now, 35-year-old Aydin Coban, who was living in Holland, has been arrested and charged with child pornography, extortion, criminal harassment and Internet luring.
May 7, 2014 at 11:39 AM
The anonymous app fad continues with the release of a new app called Truth. The ThirdParent Blog recently released an article discussing the new app and how it may be used mostly for cyberbullying and sexting. All parents need to know about the potential dark side of this new app in order to shield tweens and teens from digital dangers. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Well, parents, a new app called Truth launched this month and it has a shot at being the worst cyberbullying platform out there. Yik Yak and Ask.fm may pale in comparison to how few socially redeeming qualities Truth ends up having if it takes off with teens.
The concept behind Truth is an interesting one. After downloading Truth, users can anonymously message anyone who is already in their phone’s contact list. If the recipient has also downloaded the app, the recipient can view the message but has no indication whatsoever who the sender is. If the recipient is not yet a Truth user, he receives a text message showing part of the message and prompting him to download the app to see the full message. Again, the recipient will have no indication of who sent the message.
May 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM
For those who are unfamiliar with the app’s features, Snapchat allows users to send and receive pictures or short videos with a set number of seconds to view the videos and photos. After those seconds are completed, the data is erased. Snapchat is notoriously wary of providing the exact number of users of their app, but as of October 28th, 2013 they had roughly 26 million US users. 32% of teens ages 13-17 currently use Snapchat, and 70% of Snapchat’s users are female.
May 1, 2014 at 6:01 PM
It seems juvenile that sexting incidents are making news headlines more and more often these days. Just recently, a teen Instagram "sexting ring" with an account containing more than 1,000 explicit photos of minors was discovered in Virginia; the next day, school officials at a Chicago-area middle school found sixth graders were trading explicit photos. Also this week comes news of an eighth-grade sexting ring in Barrington, Illinois.
According to a 2012 study completed by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 28% of teens have sent a "sext" message. Experts predict that number will only go up as more and more teens own smartphones, which make photo taking, sharing, and accessing the internet easier and faster than ever.
May 1, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Just another reason to ensure that your teens aren't participating in sexting: exes posting revenge porn. This article was originally published on the Washington Post by Lindsey Bever.
Many of their stories start the same.
She Googles her own name. A Web site pops up, claiming to have nude photos or videos of her posted online for all to see. And, just out of curiosity, she clicks on it.
That’s when she realizes the ex she broke up with forever ago, uploaded the private pictures she once intended for only him. And there’s nothing she can do about it.
Often, her name, address and links to social media profiles are provided as well. And, in some cases, sites created for this reason will charge her a fee to remove it.
It happens to men, too.
This kind of cyber extortion or, at the very least, cyber humiliation, called “revenge porn” has grabbed the attention of lawmakers increasingly seeking to criminalize it.
April 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Children who are bullied are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who are not bullied, and cyberbullying is more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person harassment according to a new study published in JAMA pediatrics.
Conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, the study analyzed data from 34 other studies involving almost 300,000 participants. Researchers found that students who were bullied were almost twice as likely to consider killing themselves and two and a half times more likely to actually attempt suicide. The higher risk was found among various age groups and affected both genders.
March 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM
Children have more ways than ever before to communicate with their friends and family. While living in the digital age has its advantages, parenting in the digital age can be a difficult and confusing process. Each day many apps are added to digital stores. Whether your child is using an iPhone, a tablet, and iPod or an Android device, he or she has access to thousands upon thousands of applications. While many of them are harmless, there are a few apps that pose a significant risk to your child. Snapchat, is one app that, on the surface, may seem innocent enough, but can be extremely harmful.
What is Snapchat?
March 7, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Do you remember when Facebook celebrated their 10 year birthday and allowed everyone to check out their "look-back" videos?Well one ad agency has created a rather sinister video for Innocence in Danger, a non-profit dedicated to stopping child sex abuse and pornography. Click on the video below, check it out, and see for yourself how effective it is at sexting prevention.
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.
February 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM
There comes a time in every parent's life, when he or she realizes they start sounding like an old person. It's a sobering moment. One when you hear yourself talking about "back in my day" or "when I was your age" and you begin the long and arduous path of beating a dead horse with tidbits of what made your generation better than your children's.
January 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM
Check out this article by the University of Massachussettes Lowell about a recent study involving sexting and recommendations to avoid risky digital behavior.
Research by Assoc. Prof Andrew Harris and Assoc. Prof. Judith Davidson provides concrete data and recommendations related to the use of technology in young adult romantic relationships. Dubbed “sexting” by media outlets, the term involves sharing suggestive photos or messages, mostly by phone. Their paper, “Building a Prevention Framework to Address Teen ‘Sexting’ Behaviors,” details results from their research and provides insights from teens, the group least often consulted about youth behavior and motivations.
“There have been other studies about ‘sexting’ and related behaviors, but they didn’t try to understand what the kids are feeling and how their values influence their actions,” says Harris, who is also the associate dean of Research and Graduate Programs for the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Much of the conversation has been based on limited data and knee-jerk reactions. We found that it is difficult to define ‘sexting’ behaviors and motivations in social context.”