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Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying

By Tim Woda on January 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM

This article is from Psychology today and compares traditional bullying with cyberbullying.

Just how different is traditional bullying from cyberbullying? Studies are beginning to show that the way youth bully online is a lot different from traditional schoolyard bullying. Teens may think what they are posting or texting is just a joke, but if you're on the receiving end it may not be all that funny. In fact, if the "joking" is repetitive, it could cross the line into bullying, more specifically cyberbullying. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics cyberbullying is the "most common online risk for all teens and is a peer to peer risk."

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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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Parental Intelligence: Understanding Text Bombing

By Tim Woda on January 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

In 2011, a fifteen-year-old girl was released from the hospital following a failed suicide attempt. However, when she got out of the hospital, the girls who had been bullying her by using a text bombing website to send her multiple text messages, picked up right where they left off.

Her second suicide attempt was successful.

An important part of parental intelligence is understanding what text bombing is, and how kids are using it to cyberbully and harass each other. With new apps being developed every day, it doesn't matter that the Google App store has banned two of the apps responsible for allowing kids to demonstrate this type of behavior - SMSBomber and SMSBarrage. 

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Tips for Teens: Why You Shouldn’t Text and Drive

By Steven Woda on November 30, 2013 at 1:52 PM

If you are a teenager who likes to use your cell phone all day long, there are a few things that you should understand. First of all, you need to realize that sometimes you will be in a situation where you have to put down the phone for a while for your own safety and for the safety of those around you. For instance, when you get into a car and attempt to drive, you shouldn’t text. Doing so may endanger your own life and the lives of other people.

Distracted driving of any sort comes with numerous repercussions that you don’t want to experience. In this guide, we will provide you with a few tips to consider before you choose to text and drive.

Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics

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The Latest Mobile Cyberbullying Tactic of Teens: Text Bombing

By Steven Woda on November 23, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Earlier this month, a 15-year old from St. Petersburg, FL was arrested for sending “hundreds of threatening text messages” over the course of eight days to former friends. Some were even death threats. The suspect used a smartphone app called Kik Messenger, which happens to be the cyberbullying app du jour, also used in the Rebecca Ann Sedwick cyberbullying case that contributed to her suicide. Kik allows users to send text messages from an Internet Desk Top to cell phones.

The tactic is called “text bombing”

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Why Every Parent Needs To Know About Text Bombs

By Steven Woda on November 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Ann Brenoff.

At the end of last year, a mom pulled my son over and asked him to stop sending gibberish text messages to her kid. The two boys were fooling around, copying and pasting nonsensical messages and texting them back and forth. It was a dual of annoyance, something 12-year-old boys specialize in.

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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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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 Lawyers.com.

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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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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Blog Series: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Steven Woda on April 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Our next guest blog post on digital parenting and distracted driving comes from Dr. Barbara Bergin in Austin, Texas. Read on to learn her approach on how to get teens to stop texting while driving.

I’m pretty sure my kids have texted while driving. I know they make phone calls while driving. I’m sure they don’t drink and drive. These are my worst fears for them while they’re driving. When I was a kid my parents told me not to pick up hitch hikers! That was the worst thing I could do when driving in the early 70s. I was a newly hatched driver before seat belts were required and before all the negative publicity came out about drinking and driving. People did that all the time! And then, without thinking twice, they threw their bottles out the window along with their fast food bags!

 I had a couple of philosophies regarding child rearing, and I went back to them over and over again when I raised my kids. The first was to recognize that all I could do with my kids was to ask them to do the right thing. I couldn’t force them to do it. Sure I could punish them for not doing the right thing, but I couldn’t really force them to do anything…and remain a good parent. So I resorted to my own forms of asking.

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Blog Series: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Steven Woda on April 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM

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Blog Series: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Steven Woda on April 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM

As part of our digital parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month blog series, we are featuring a post by Next Step Academy, the online school for life skills.  They are offering a free distracted driving course that everyone should take! Read on to learn more and learn some shocking statistics. Free Distracted Driving Course

You may remember that feeling when you first sat behind the wheel of a car – nerves take over, senses heighten, and we wonder how we will ever figure it all out. Driving demands a lot from the person behind the wheel, and it can be overwhelming to any first-timer.

A new driver must immediately figure out how to maintain focus and control, and in the beginning, it can seem impossible that we might ever be able to do anything other than grip the wheel; but at some point, we get comfortable. We forget the fear that once gripped us when we first gripped that wheel, and foolishly, we add tasks to our drive in addition to keeping our eyes on the road and our hands perfectly positioned at “10 and 2.”

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Infographic: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness

By Steven Woda on April 16, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Did you know that April was Distracted Driving Awareness month?  In an effort to bring you information about the latest digital dangers and trends, we have created an infographic that outlines the problem of distracted driving throughout the United States and then provides solutions that we gathered from industry leaders, experts and doctors.

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Blog Series: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Steven Woda on April 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Our latest guest blog post on digital parenting comes from the team at UPS Road Code, which is pairing with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and doing wonderful things to help combat texting and driving among new drivers. In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, read on to learn more about these programs and solutions. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and UPS Foundation Drive Change

With National UPS Road Code Program

 While great strides have been made in recent years to prevent distracted driving deaths among teenagers, the United States still has a long way to go to completely eradicate the problem.  In a world constantly connected through texting, social media updates and gaming applications, teens are constantly engaged with their phones, even while driving. According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, deaths of drivers ages 16 and 17 increased by 19 percent in the first six months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011. The association attributed this increase to texting and talking while driving, as well as the use of mobile applications which can slow driving reaction times by 38 percent.

In an ongoing effort to combat the ever-growing issue of distracted driving, The UPS Foundation, which governs corporate citizenship and UPS’s philanthropic programs, offers UPS Road Code, a national program to teach safe driving techniques to teens. The Foundation teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and established the program on a small scale in 2009 in local Clubs across 10 cities. Continuing to drive change across the country, the highly successful UPS Road Code program is currently available in 52 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout 36 U.S. cities and reaches 5,200 teenagers nationwide.

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Blog Series: Digital Parenting and Distracted Driving Awareness Month

By Tim Woda on April 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Did you know that the month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness month? Distracted driving can range from anything to eating and drinking, talking to passengers and grooming, but most frequently happens in the form of using a cell phone or GPS while behind the wheel. As part of our ongoing mission to inform you of the latest digital dangers, we asked doctors, leaders, CEO's and experts in distracted driving awareness if they would contribute to our blog with a guest post on this extremely important issue that is facing connected kids who get behind the wheel. Our first blog post comes from Matthew Smith, a second-generation director of Longacre Leadership, the incredible summer program for teens that teaches leadership, decision-making and responsibility with a MiniCamp for tweens. 

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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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SMS Spy: How to Monitor Your Child's Texts On Their New Phone

By Steven Woda on December 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Did your child, tween or teen get a new phone (or perhaps their first mobile phone) as a gift this year? If so, you would probably like to make sure they are using it appropriately. Since cell phones are part our every day life, of course children will want their own phone to send and receive message to their friends. There is no problem with this if you feel your child is responsible. However, if you’re worried, you can still have the authority to monitor their text messages. Text message monitoring does not make you the bad guy, its actually a helpful cause especially if you think your child is being bullied over texts or sending inappropriate things. Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking to monitor their messages.

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The Importance of Parental Monitoring of Text Messages

By Tim Woda on December 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM

What you need to know about text message monitoring and digital parenting this holiday season.

Parents often want two things: to be the "cool" parent, and to be the parent that can trust their children no matter what. Unfortunately, in the age of texting and social media, trust is usually a luxury parents cannot afford. In fact, for young children especially, it's a parent's responsibility to monitor their children's online habits to make sure they are using the power of modern day technology safely. 

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How to Monitor Your Child's Text Messages

By Tim Woda on November 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Since cell phones are pretty much in our every day life, of course children will want their own phone to send and receive message to their friends. There is no problem with this if you feel your child is responsible but you’re worried, you can still have the authority to monitor their text messages. Text message monitoring does not make you the bad guy, its actually a helpful cause especially if you think your child is being bullied over texts or sending inappropriate things. Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking to monitor their messages.

Talk With Your Child

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Sexting: Will You Know When Your Child Crosses The Line?

By Tim Woda on October 30, 2012 at 1:03 PM

We live in an age that is entirely different from the era most of us grew up in.  If your child is old enough for a cell phone, chances are you remember things like playing your Atari before dinner and going outside to play only to be called in hours later once the sun was going down.  As technology is advancing, so are the ways for your child to get into trouble.  And while everyone else might be doing it, sexting is something you definitely don't want your child participating in.  

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