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Teens Love Texting and Social Networks But Ignore Email: Is It True?

By Steven Woda on July 12, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Most teenagers use social-media sites and parents are wise to it, "friending" their kids and monitoring which sites they visit at an increased rate, according to a study presented at an educators conference today.

Seventy-six percent of teens are on social-media sites, with most -- 93 percent -- of them on Facebook, according to the Pew Internet study that examined the behavior of teens online.

And the usage increases with age -- a sign that parents are sticking tight to a rule that only teens 13-years-old and up can go on social-media sites, something such sites have been dinged for failing to police in the past.

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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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Parental Monitoring Is Smart During the '100 Deadliest Days' Driving

By Tim Woda on June 25, 2012 at 8:59 AM

A deadly summertime car wreck is a parent's worst nightmare.

It’s the perfect time of year to apply a little overdose of parental monitoring – and keeps those kids safe during those sizzling summer months!

We're smack in the middle of the 100 deadliest driving days for teens aged 15 to 19, which fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to AAA. Car wrecks are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and more teens are killed on the road during summer than any other time of year.

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Sexting and Porn? Is Your Child Accessing Internet on Their Phone?

By Steven Woda on May 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

It's easy to focus on the desktop or laptop computer in our child's life and forget that the Internet is just as accessible from the cell phone hidden in their pocket. Previously we mentioned 4 reasons to monitor your child´s cell phone.  Internet dangers don't become less prevalent or less serious because our kids are on a phone instead of a computer.

This week, take some time to evaluate whether you're allowing things on the smartphone that you wouldn't on the Internet, or vice versa. It's the same Internet, and the same rules should apply no matter how your child is accessing it.

If you've got a teenager with a phone, do you talk about how they're using it to go online? If you are guilty of monitoring computer usage more than phone usage, you're not alone.

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Texting and Walking Can Be Hazardous, Too

By Tim Woda on February 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

We all know that texting while driving is dangerous – statistics agree that it's even riskier than driving drunk. But even if your child isn't even close to receiving his or her license, you're not off the hook just yet. Texting also presents a potentially fatal distraction while simply crossing the street.

In a recent study published by the University of Alabama, 10- and 11-year-olds were observed walking across the street in a simulated environment, several times while using their phones and several times while not using their phones. Researchers found that children using a cell phone took 20% longer to cross the road, were 20% less likely to look both ways, and were twice as likely to be hit by a car. Your kids safety may be affected by using their phones even when they are walking!

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Cheating Via Mobile Phone: Do Schools Need Parental Controls?

By Tim Woda on February 19, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Cell phones have changed everything in our kids' schools, including the way they cheat. The old ways of cheating (tiny crib sheets or notes written on the arm in ink) have been replaced with a new kind of digital cheating. Cell phones are tiny, ubiquitous, and easy to hide – and 1 in 3 kids say they've used their cell phones to cheat at least once in school. Do schools need to adopt some kind of parental controls?

Cheaters have a myriad of options when they've got a cell phone, particularly a smart phone, at their disposal. They can store notes, text friends for answers, search the Internet for answers, or take pictures of the test and forward it to friends who haven't taken it yet.

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iZup App Prevents Texting While Driving to Keep Kids Safe

By Tim Woda on February 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Aside from modeling good behavior by never using your own phone while driving, or having frequent conversations with your kids about the dangers of texting and driving, you can also use a mobile app like iZup to curb the temptation for your teen to text and drive and keep your kids safe.

The name iZup literally means “eyes up,” meaning that it keeps your teens from looking down at their phones when their focus needs to be on the road. iZup is compatible with Blackberry and Android, and it works using the phone's GPS.

 Once the phone reaches 5 MPH (or another speed you select when you set up your account,) the app will automatically hold all incoming texts and calls. No outgoing texts or calls can be made, either, except for 911 or other numbers you authorize when you set up your account. It's a great app to enable parental controls in the car and help keep your kids safer

 Currently, iZup is available for a subscription of $2.95 per month or $19.95 per year. You can put iZup on up to 5 phones with a family monthly subscription of $5.95 per month ($59.95 per year.)

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Are Sexting and Texting Messaging Affecting Our Kids' English?

By Tim Woda on February 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

If you've seen one of your kids' text messages recently, you may have been concerned about what all that text-speak is doing to this generation's spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and general command of the English language. Do you need to?

It's true that text-speak is disconcerting to grammar purists, who shudder at the question “where u at?” or shortening entire phrases like “in my opinion” to “IMO.” Some English teachers also say they see too much informal language and too little structure in their student's writing, which could be attributed to texting and sexting.

However, studies like the one at the University of Toronto suggest that today's generation doesn't really have a problem switching between writing in “textese” to their friends and in more academic language in English class.

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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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Kids Safety Alert: Teen Driver Kills Baby While Texting at the Wheel

By Tim Woda on February 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM

A kids safety nightmare for all parties involved: Nineteen-year-old Kaitlyn Dunaway from California was sentenced this week to five days in jail, 115 days home confinement, and three years probation. Her crime? Running over a mother and her 2-year-old daughter as they crossed a crosswalk while Kaitlyn was texting and driving.

The mother, 42-year-old Ling Murray, was critically injured and spent the next several months in a rehabilitation facility. The 2-year-old daughter, Calli, was killed.

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Alberta, Canada: School Secretary Pleads Guilty to Sexting Students

By Tim Woda on February 1, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Parents in Black Diamond, Alberta got received some unpleasant news this month. Former Oilfields High School secretary Tanya Marie Cosette pled guilty to sexting two students (one with whom she was having a relationship) in 2009.

As school secretary, Cosette was described as “overly friendly” and routinely sexting both male and female students during and after school hours. She texted regularly with a 16-year-old boy and ended up in a two-month physical relationship with him.

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Teen Killed Texting While Driving, Kids Safety Alert

By Tim Woda on December 26, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Teen and kids safety alert: Alexis Summers, age 17, was killed in a fatal car crash as she texted at the wheel while driving early in November. What makes her death particularly poignant is the fact that she died only 8 hours after her home state of Pennsylvania passed a bill to make texting while driving illegal.

On the way home from visiting her boyfriend, Alexis's car left the road, hit a tree, spun around, and collided with the tree a second time. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Anti-Texting Legislation Causes Kids Safety Stir

By Tim Woda on December 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Highlighting kids safety laws surrounding texting and driving:

When a state makes it illegal to text while driving, most of us breathe a sigh of relief that the roads are going to be that much safer from now on. But research actually suggests that this may be the opposite of reality, especially for teen drivers.

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Teen Relationships: Stalking By Text and Sexting

By Tim Woda on June 21, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Texting or for some, sexting is how most kids communicate – it's easy, it's fast, it's convenient, and teens always have their phones with them – but sometimes it can go too far. You've heard of cyberbullying, but have you heard of cyberstalking and text harassment?

Statistics from the U.S. Justice Department reported in 2006 that 23% of stalkers used texting and email to harass their targets. And the kicker is that with texting the victim has to pay for it, sometimes as much as 15 cents a text. Ask your teen if they or their friends have ever been in a relationship where their significant other constantly texted them, almost to the point of harassment. You might be surprised.

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Teen Texting While Driving

By Steven Woda on January 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

textingAround 50% of teens admit to texting while driving, and that’s a really scary thought for parents who have a new driver in the house.

Teens are already the riskiest class of drivers. They are inexperienced, exhibit slower reaction times, and often aren’t paying attention to much other than the car in front of them. Teens also think they are invincible, not imagining that unsafe behavior can hurt them or someone else.

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Teens Posting Videos of Real Fights Online

By Steven Woda on December 15, 2010 at 3:10 PM

videosNow that most kids carry their video-enabled cell phones around everywhere with them, everybody is a cameraman. This can be a good thing – we’ve all heard stories about a thief who was caught because a bystander just happened to catch the robbery on his cell phone. But it can also be a source for trouble when fight videos start getting posted online.

Clips of two teens punching, kicking, and pulling each others' hair are surprisingly easy to find online, most of them posted by other kids who stood by and recorded the fight on their cell phones.

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Girls More Avid Texters Than Boys

By Tim Woda on December 9, 2010 at 3:12 PM

girl textingWe know that tweens and teens are really, really good at texting. Texting while walking, texting discreetly in class, carrying on multiple text conversations at once. But is there a difference among kids in who texts the most?

Turns out that it’s no coincidence that both the winners and half-dozen finalists in the 2009 and 2010 LG Texting Championships have been female. Girls do the bulk of the texting the majority of the time, specifically teenage girls.

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Hypertexting Teens More Likely to Have Sex, Drink, and Do Drugs

By Tim Woda on November 24, 2010 at 3:13 PM

textingDo you know how much texting and social networking your teen is doing? You may want to sit up and play closer attention to how your child communicates online – not just looking for “red flags,” but at the overall amount of time they spend doing it.

Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that excessive texters and social networkers were more likely to drink, do drugs, and be sexually active.

According to the study, teens who sent more than 120 texts per school day were:

    • 3.5 times more likely to have had sex
    • 90% more likely to report four or more sexual partners
    • twice as likely to have tried alcohol
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Text Lingo Every Parent Should Know

By Tim Woda on July 16, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Whether we’re talking about text lingo, friending people online or the pictures our kids post online, the best tool to minimize risky behavior online is our active involvement.  Most children, teens included, say that their parents are the strongest influence over the decisions they make.

But even kids that have active parents make mistakes and sometimes we have to protect our kids from other people.  Therefore it is important that you are at least familiar with some of the text lingo terms that would indicate your child could be headed for trouble.  Here is a small sample:

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