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Methods for Mobile and Internet Child Safety

By Steven Woda on March 16, 2015 at 3:19 PM

The Internet, possibly, the most used form of communication (if not now, it soon will be!) has become a fun and exciting place to play and talk with friends and family. However, it has also become a place where bad things can and do happen.

With all of the digital dangers like identity theft, online predators and cyberbullying around the corner for Internet users, even adults have to leery about what we are doing. Nevertheless, when it comes to our children, we have to practice foresight, patience, and the knowledge of how and what technology your children use and have.

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5 Essential Navigation Apps for Your New Driver

By Tim Woda on November 22, 2014 at 5:36 PM

It’s a nerve-racking experience to have kids on the road. And if your teen has just started driving, you want to do everything that you can to keep them safe. One useful technological advancement that can help? GPS and other navigation applications.

While GPS technology has been around for a while, GPS apps make it even easier for young drivers to get where they’re going – without relying on anything but their smartphone. Below are five of the best navigation apps for new driver. All of these apps are designed to keep drivers safe and precise on the road.

    1. MotionX GPS Drive. MotionX GPS Drive was one of the first GPS entries into the market.

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Texting: A Miraculous Tool for All Digital Parents

By Steven Woda on November 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Texting has quickly become one of the primary forms of communication in the world today. There is a lot of focus on the negative forms of texting like texting while driving, texting at the dinner table or texting while a parent is trying to have a conversation with their child. Even though there are a lot of negatives associated with texting there are several positive things that texting can be used for. 

Interacting With the Community

Schools have started embracing text messages to notify parents of certain events happening at the school. Parents are also able to quickly exchange texts with other parents, sports coaches, and other community leaders easily and efficiently.

Speedy Communication During Emergencies 

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"It Can Wait" Calls for New Etiquette to Avoid Texting & Driving

By Steven Woda on October 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

None of us mean to get into situations where we are texting and driving. We want to set a good example for our kids and keep the roads safe for drivers and pedestrians by making driving the top priority. When splitting the focus between driving and carrying out a conversation through text messaging, safety for everyone on the road decreases drastically.

Distracted driving, the umbrella category for texting and driving, is a behavior that is particularly prevalent among the teen demographic. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distracted-related crashes. 11% of those killed were under the age of 20. Additionally, one out of five young drivers thinks that texting makes no difference to their driving.

That's why AT&T, one of the leading cellular carriers, has started a campaign to try to curb the urge to text and drive. Their campaign is called, "It Can Wait" and it tries to teach the general public that no text conversation is more important than keeping yourself and others safe while you are driving.

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Roundup: This Week’s Top Digital Parenting News

By Tim Woda on October 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Get the latest and greatest on the top digital parenting news and stories of the week!

This week: cyberbullying escalates during the transition from elementary to middle school (shocker!), parents are encouraging kids to pursue careers in digital fields, and a texting-while-driving tracking device is in production. Check out the news roundup and join the conversation in the comment section below.

Students Experience Increase in Cyberbullying During Elementary to Middle School Transition

A study that was recently published in School Psychology Quarterly found that students increasingly become targets of cyberbullying during the transition from elementary school to middle school. The study took place in the Midwest and examined three semesters of data following 1,180 students.

The study categorized students who were bullied into 4 groups:

  • 29% were occasional victims of traditional bullying (verbal or physical bullying)

  • 10% were occasional victims of traditional bullying and cyberbullying

  • Half of bullied students were infrequent victims

  • 11% of bullied students were frequent victims

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"Jake’s Law" Addresses Penalties For Distracted Driving

By Steven Woda on March 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

We already know that distracted driving is dangerous and, as demonstrated in this case, can be deadly. See what lawmakers are attempting to pass in Congress this month in efforts to crack down on distracted driving. This article was originally posted on the Washington Post by Jenna Johnson. 

Five-year-old Jake Owen played a video game in the back seat of the car as his family sat in Baltimore traffic. He excitedly announced, “Mom, I have 42 lives!” Then an SUV slammed into the sedan.

Devin X. McKeiver, 23, was using a cellphone when he rear-ended the car. He didn’t hit the brakes. The impact killed Jake.

Had McKeiver been drunk, he could have faced jail time. Instead, with his lawyer arguing at trial that McKeiver was doing something that everyone does, he was fined $1,000.

Now Jake’s family and others are asking Maryland lawmakers to increase penalties for drivers who cause crashes while talking or texting on a handheld phone. The bill, known in Annapolis as “Jake’s Law,” also would require “distracted drivers” involved in serious crashes to give police basic information about their cellphones, so detectives can more quickly check what they were doing at the moment of impact.

Privacy advocates say that sort of forced hand-over of phone information is unnecessary, and makes it easier for police to access and follow the digital trail that most Americans now have. But proponents say the phone-data portion of the bill is merely the 21st-century equivalent of requiring a blood test for drivers suspected of being intoxicated.

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In Defense Of Texting, My Favorite Parenting Tool

By Tim Woda on February 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

This article is from the Huffington Post by Senior Columnist Lisa Belkin. Check out how one parent feels towards texting -- and why she loves it for her children so much. 

Yes, I know the dangers. That it affects the brain like an addictive drug. That it shortens our attention spans, and reduces our sleep, increases our stress and keeps us from interacting meaningfully with our kids. I have read all the studies and agree we should all back away from our screens, put down our phones and look each other in the eye when we talk.

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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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Increase Peace of Mind and Child Safety with Digital Training Wheels

By Tim Woda on February 28, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Parenting in the digital age involves a whole new set of tools. Parents are facing technology with which they are not familiar, and the additional perils and parenting blind spots that technology can bring. By providing your child with Digital Training Wheels, you can increase your peace of mind and ensure that your child is using technology safely and responsibly.

Social Media Safety

Social networking sites and applications such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Instagram open a window to the world which is largely unprotected. Not only do these sites give your child exposure to the world, but they give the world access to your child as well. By using tools that monitor your child's activity on these sites you can provide an extra level of protection in your child's life. You can see:

  • with whom your child is communicating

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What Kids Think About Sexting

By Tim Woda on June 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM

I'm at a little bit of a loss for words when it comes to the teen sexting phenomenon, and the statistics I see don't seem to give me a clear understanding of the issue.

Is sexting a socially accepted activity among kids, or is there a social stigma to it? Do 1 in 5 kids really do it? And is this more of a middle school or a high school issue?

After stumbling across the transcript of a 2009 teen focus group on sexting, I was even more convinced that even among kids there's not really a consensus.

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What is the Average Age That a Teen Starts Sexting?

By Steven Woda on June 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM

It's really hard to be a parent and try to relate to what childhood is like for my kids. I know what it was like to be a tween and teen back in the 20th century, not what it's like today. 

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Too Much Texting or Sexting? Is it Affecting Your Teenager?

By Steven Woda on February 8, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Do you ever wonder about the impact that excessive technology might have on us as a society? Probably no one is more concerned than parents of teenagers, because teens are much more likely to text, be sexting, play games online, and use social networking all the time.

Though scientists are still forming conclusions about the effects of a digital lifestyle, one new study suggests that frequent texting may lead to shallow patterns of thought and behavior in young people.

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Cyberbullying: Do You Know What To Look For?

By Tim Woda on September 28, 2009 at 3:30 PM

cyberbullyingCyberbullying is when a child is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated or embarrassed using technology like text messaging, email, instant messaging, blogs, websites and online games.  This isn’t the bullying we experienced as a child.  Unlike traditional bullying, there is no refuge for the victims because cyberbullying goes on 24-hours a day.  It invades a child’s home and is often unrelenting.  One third of American teens and one sixth of tweens have been cyberbullied – that’s 13 million kids! Examples of cyberbullying include:

    • Threatening, malicious or harassing language aimed at another person

    • Sending or forwarding (or posting online) pictures of another person via text message, email, instant messenger with the intent of humiliating or embarrassing them

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