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Cyberbullying More Strongly Related to Suicidal Thoughts

By Tim Woda on 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.

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Why Snapchat Should Terrify You

By Steven Woda on 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? 

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Facebook-Style 'Lookback' Turns Scary In Anti-Sexting Campaign

By Steven Woda on 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

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Are You Really Anonymous on Snapchat?

By Tim Woda on 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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Use Your Parental Intelligence to Parent Smarter, Not Harder

By Steven Woda on 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.

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Teens and Adults Agree: Education Diminishes Sexting Dangers

By Steven Woda on 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.”

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You Caught Your Kid Sexting, Now What?

By Steven Woda on January 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Rachel Busman, PsyD.

I am getting asked more and more in my practice about how to talk to teens about situations that involve racy interchanges on Facebook, sending inappropriate pictures via text, and other Internet situations that spiral out of control. As the social media landscape continues to grow and change, these questions are coming up more and more and parents are looking for answers.

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Teens Who Sext Are More Likely to Engage in Other Sexual Behaviors

By Steven Woda on January 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Think your 7th grader isn't sexting? Might be time to think again.

A new study was published online today by the American Academy of Pediatrics about the sexting habits of at-risk seventh graders.

Here are some of the most shocking statistics:

  • 22 percent of at-risk seventh graders participated in sexting.

  • 17 percent sending texts only.

  • 5 percent sending texts and photos.

  • Higher perceptions of approval for sexual behavior from parents, peers and the media, higher intentions to engage in sexual behavior, lower emotional awareness, and lower emotional self-efficacy.

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4 Services for Monitoring Your Kid's Online Activities

By Steven Woda on November 6, 2013 at 2:45 PM

This article was originally published in the Daily Times by Digital First Media's Steve Fox. The full article can be accessed here.

One of the bigger struggles a parent faces is how much privacy to give to their children ... and when? With a 15-, a 13-, and a 10-year-old, I have three very distinct age groups to contend with when it comes to monitoring activities online.

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Face It, Your Child is Sexting

By Tim Woda on 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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Download uKnowKids' Newest eBook On This Dangerous New Trend

By Tim Woda on October 30, 2013 at 2:16 PM

If you have turned on the news lately than you have no doubt heard about the tragic trend known as bullycide. Bullycide is the unfortunate link between suicide and bullying, and the young teenagers' names associated with it are all too fresh in our minds.

Tragically, one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the parent's had no idea what was happening to their children online. So these teens were dealing with merciless cyberbullying with seemingly no one to turn to. 

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Teens Get Online 'Eraser Button' With New California Law

By Tim Woda on October 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Kathleen Miles.

California teens get an online "eraser button" under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.  The law makes California the first state to require websites to allow people younger than 18 to remove their own postings on that website, and to clearly inform minors how to do so.

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How Teens' 'Sexting' Photos End Up On Pedophile Websites

By Steven Woda on October 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM

This article was originally published in The Daily Mail by Daniel Martin.

Tens of thousands of explicit self-portraits taken by teenagers are ending up on websites viewed by pedophiles.

The naked or sexual pictures are often taken by girls at the request of boys in their classes and sent by mobile phone, in a practice known as ‘sexting’.

But unbeknown to the girls, these photographs may end up being passed around the school and even shared on social networking sites such as Facebook – then stolen and published on websites used by paedophiles.

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Sexting Warning: New App Defeats Snapchat's Purpose

By Tim Woda on October 16, 2013 at 4:54 PM

A new app has been designed that permanently saves your pics and screws over serial sexters. SnapHack Pro, designed for iOS 7, is an app that saves images without the sender's knowledge, and is sure to annoy the makers of the wildly popular disappearing photo and video sharing tool.

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What I'm Reading: Sex, Teens And Social Media

By Steven Woda on October 4, 2013 at 3:13 PM

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Sasha Belenky.

1. 'Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives'

Nancy Jo Sales, who wrote the Vanity Fair article that became the major motion picture "The Bling Ring," is back in the magazine with a look at teenage relationships in the age of social media. Adults may be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that teens today are obsessed with sex. And Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder and other online tools are seemingly robbing America's youth of meaningful, loving relationships.

“We don’t date; we just hook up,” one girl in L.A. tells Sales. "Oral is, like, the new kissing,” says another girl in New York. Boys pressure girls to send them nude photos. “They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person,” says one girl, Zoe. “Because they’re not saying it to our faces.”

A group of friends at the mall sums up the Catch-22: “Social media is destroying our lives,” one girl tells Sales. “So why don’t you go off it?” Sales asks. "Because then we would have no life,” another girl responds.

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How to Set Certain Mobile Boundaries with Your Teens

By Steven Woda on October 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

The adoption of smartphone among teenagers has significantly increased over the past few years. According to the 2013 Pew Internet study, nearly 80% of American young adults now own a cellular device. One in every four is a heavy internet user who would rather go online on their mobile device than a traditional computer. For academic pursuits, having a portable internet device is indeed very beneficial, since it aids them in their doing homework and research.  But how can you ensure that they are not spending too much time with their gadgetries? What about their exposure to restricted online content? As parents, an effective solution to avoid your teens turning tech-obsessed is to set certain mobile boundaries.

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Think Sexting Can't Land Your Child in Jail? Think Again

By Steven Woda on September 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The trial of a Victoria-area teen who is facing child pornography charges for allegedly texting a nude picture of another girl without her consent will go ahead before a constitutional challenge, a judge has ruled.

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Teen Sexting Criminalized by States

By Tim Woda on August 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Here is some great information about current laws in US states in regard to sexting from the blog at

States continue to outlaw sexting by teens – to each other or to adults – even as it grows more popular among them.

 The Problem of Permanence

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Personalized Pornography: The Explosive Growth of Sexting Among Teens

By Tim Woda on August 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

This article was originally written by Jonathon Von Maren and published on LifeSiteNews.

The embarrassing political troubles of the unfortunately but aptly named former Congressman Anthony Weiner has catapulted the term “sexting” into cultural consciousness once again, prompting a sudden discussion on what, exactly, “sexting” is—and whether we should be worried about it. Dr. Keith Ablow, FOX News’ psychiatry expert, weighed in with a column entitled “What Weiner’s sexting scandal tells us about young women today,” concluding that it tells us that too many women are not having Private Part Pinups texted to them against their will. Rather, Ablow writes, “I can tell you that the average young woman no longer balks at sexting, watching pornography, or being the aggressor sexually in a relationship.” noted that while the rates of boys and girls sexting—specifically, sending nude pictures of themselves—are pretty much the same, boys are far more likely to send these pictures on to their peers, resulting in often savage bullying that has culminated in tragedies like the recent suicides of several young girls. While Monsieur Weiner’s recurring predicaments have prompted a lot of snickering from the media, the “sexting” problem in general has become decidedly unfunny.

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3 Ways Your Teenager's Smartphone Puts Them at Risk

By Tim Woda on August 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM

A whopping 82 percent of teens aged 16 or 17 have a cell phone. While these devices are great for facilitating communication between parents and teenagers, they also pose many risks. Talk to your teens about these common smart phone dangers and make a plan to avoid them.

A Distraction While Driving

Texting and driving is so dangerous that it's illegal in most states. You're 23 times more likely to crash when you're texting. Teens who text and drive spend an alarming 10 percent of their driving time outside their lane. Dialing, talking on the phone, and reaching for the device increase your chances of getting into an accident as well. Twenty-three percent of automobile collisions in 2011 involved a cell phone. The same year, accidents where there was a distracted

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