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How to Handle Technology in Your Child’s Classroom

By Steven Woda on March 13, 2015 at 10:17 AM

For some parents, it’s a scary thought: My child will be using the Internet today.

Will her teacher be watching closely?

Will he become too absorbed with technology?

Will she stumble upon something she shouldn’t see?

Luckily, most teachers will quickly remind you: technology in the classroom does not lead to complete anarchy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in how the technology is being used or have apprehensions about what effect that has on your child.

Mitigate your concerns with these five tips, which will help you become more comfortable and familiar with your child’s use of technology in the classroom.

1. Talk About Safety

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Does Bullying Impact Your Child's Developing Brain?

By Tim Woda on January 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM

To many, bullying is still considered a “soft” form of abuse because there are no visible injuries. After all, only our feelings are hurt. 

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3 Major Reasons to Act on Your Teen's Technology Addiction

By Tim Woda on January 5, 2015 at 2:54 PM

As a parent of a teen, you already have to deal with teens testing limits, staying out past curfew or maybe even experimenting with sex and drugs. Some parents turn a blind eye when their teens are always on their phone- texting or on social media. After all, there are many worse things to worry about, right?

Wrong. Technology addiction in teens can create the same consequences as drug experimentation or getting in with the wrong crowd. It could prevent a teen from developing into a mature, well-rounded adult. It could mean that you’ll have your teen around for much longer than expected because he can’t concentrate enough to stay in college or have enough patience or will to keep a job.

Turns out, teenage tech addiction has become so damaging that some parents are having to send their kids to technology addiction rehabilitation centers for a good helping of support groups and cognitive behavioral therapy.

What could be so bad about my teen playing video games and texting for hours if he’s already done his homework for the night, you may ask? Here are three major reasons to act on your teen's technology addiction. 

1. Attention deficits. Teens, these days, have three forms of technology in front of them sometimes while doing homework- a smart phone, a laptop or computer and a TV buzzing in the background. Many teens, tweens and millennials take pride in constant multitasking. Over time, their brains have been rewired to create easily distracted people who have a hard time focusing. 

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Redirecting Teens and Technology for a Better Body Image

By Tim Woda on December 29, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Technology is great, isn’t it? We can scroll through Facebook and see what our family and friends are doing. We can start a conversation on our desktop and continue on our phone in the woods while we mushroom hunt. Then we can send a picture when we find the biggest one. Technology can help us learn and help keep us entertained.

But can too much technology be a bad thing?

Parents are trying to maintain a respectful distance and still keep an eye on their kids’ interactions and relationships, contending with Snapchat, Face-time, Facebook, Skype, texting and endless selfies. A teen or tween can base their entire reputation on their online social life, wanting to look as good as or better than the images they see.

Even games and movies are filled with unrealistic images of sleek men and women, with size 2 avatars and beautiful, slim princesses dancing with barrel-chested princes. A steady diet can skew a child’s reality of how “normal” people look.

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Digital Parenting: How To Proactively Enforce Your Rules

By Steven Woda on December 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

There is absolutely no reason why digital parenting has to be something that your children despise. When used correctly, digital parenting techniques enable you to set rules and boundaries for your children that they will respect. It takes time, but learning the right principles to use greatly improves outcomes. 

It Is Not About Outsmarting Your Children 

First things first: good luck trying to stay one step ahead of your children, particularly when technology is involved! Thecybersafetylady.com.au has a better definition of what parents should be doing to better

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Is My Child Watching Pornography Online?

By Steven Woda on 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.

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6 Positive Social Media Activities for Tweens & Teens

By Steven Woda on July 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Teens and tweens are on social media in their millions. In fact, that’s no longer the question; the question is which social media platforms are they on and what exactly are they doing there. The first part of that question is also easy to answer. You probably know that Facebook is the social networker’s favorite platform and that other websites such as Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter will also weigh in heavily. Other social websites frequented by this group of users include Vine, WhatsApp, Wanelo, Snapchat, 4Chan, and Kik Messager.

So, what do they do on social media?

Well, the truth is that some aspects of these social websites can be destructive for our teens and tweens. Vine for example is rated 17+ for a reason.

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Is My Tween Completely Ready to Use Twitter?

By Steven Woda on May 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

In the scope of teens and social media, Twitter is one of the most popular social network sites. Just as you may have wondered if your tween was ready to get their first cell phone or Facebook account, you may be asking yourself if they are ready for the mature world of Twitter. Read on to discover if your child is fully ready to use Twitter.

Public Information

When something is posted on Twitter, it becomes public information. Tweens and teens often don't quite accept the idea that everything on the Internet can be permanent. Many believe that simply deleting tweets, posts, or social network accounts rids the existence of content. However, anything posted online, whether it is sent privately or publically, has potential to be exploited. Even if your teen fixes their profile to the

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'Eraser Challenge' Game Has Students Harming Themselves

By Tim Woda on April 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

See what measures that middle school administrators are taking to exterminate a dangerous new trend that is circulating among students. This article was originally published on the Huffington Post and is written by Rebecca Klein.

Students at one Connecticut middle school aren't using pencils solely for taking notes. Some are rubbing their arms with pencil erasers until their skin is mutilated.

School administrators at Bethel Middle School recently sent a letter home to parents and guardians asking they talk to their children about a dangerous game called the "Eraser Challenge."

The game, the letter explains, involves kids “'erasing’ their skin while saying the alphabet and coming up with a word for each letter. Once they get to the letter Z, they stop and then compare the injury to their [friends'],” according to the Bethel Patch.

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Digital Parenting: A Guide To Facebook Training Wheels

By Tim Woda on January 9, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Your child has been begging for a Facebook page and you have finally decided you are ready to let them have one.  The thought of them having their own account can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start.  Everyone wants their children to be safe on the internet and in order to get them started its important you tread lightly. Below are simple steps you can take as part of digital parenting in order to prepare your child for their first Facebook page.

Keep it only family – It is important that in the beginning children keep their page with only family and close friends on their 'friends' list. This will lower the risk of cyberbullying.

Teach them about cyberbullying – Let them know that cyberbullying is not ok and to let you know if anyone is harassing them on the internet. This will also let them know that it is not ok to do it to others.

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Cyberbullying: Teens Speak Out

By Steven Woda on December 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM

The following article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Dr. G. 

Is bullying getting worse? Studies show that more kids and parents are reporting bullying, but even more concerning is higher rates of kids surveyed anonymously say they don't report bullying. The most concerning trend is that kids involved in bullying are more likely than ever to commit suicide. Kids are, as a group, probably no meaner now than in generations past. So what is the problem?

Access.

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Digital Parenting Infographic: What Your Teen is Doing on Social Media

By Steven Woda on November 24, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Check out this great infographic from Liahona Academy, a residential treatment center for troubled teenage boys. One of their main goals is to provide parents with valuable information to help them effectively communicate with their teens. They have created this great infographic to assist in digital parenting and help mom and dad understand what their teens are doing on social media. 

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Monitoring Tweens Online is Exhausting But Necessary

By Tim Woda on November 12, 2013 at 12:55 PM

This article was orginally published in Chicago Parent by Shannan Younger. Read on to learn about how monitoring tweens online is crucial in the digital age.

When my child was an infant, the countless sleepless nights exhausted me. Keeping up with the endless motion of a toddler wore me out. And the birthday party circuit of elementary school sucked a lot of time and energy.

Now that my child is a tween, I'm finding that new challenges exhaust me. Chief among them is keeping up with all the website and social media options available to tweens and teens today.

The number of ways that they can communicate with others, who they may or may not know and who may or may not be kind, good, law-abiding citizens, is mind-boggling. A lot of these platforms can be scary. What scares me most of all, though, are the parents who don't even try to learn about them, or who try but give up too easily.

When our kids are little, parents do not turn on the television and plop them in front of it with the thought, "I have no idea what station this is on or what this show is about and it may be wildly inappropriate but, eh, whatever, they can handle it."

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6 Internet Safety Rules for Parents of Teens and Tweens

By Tim Woda on November 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

It is no doubt that the internet has changed the world in ways most of us couldn’t have even seen coming. Young people today find themselves in a world where they are constantly online. Cell phones, Wi-Fi hotspots, and tablets have made being online 24/7 ‘the norm,” making responsible digital parenting more important than ever. According to research, thirty seven percent of Americans aged twelve to seventeen access the Internet on a smartphone and over half are accidentally exposed to inappropriate content. Because of these stats and the prevalence of the internet, it is more important than ever to lay ground rules for your connected kids. 

 During the course of digital parenting, it’s hard for children to understand you’re only concerned for their wellbeing. Most advice you offer seems like it’s completely ignored or seen as a challenge. There are ways to set rules with your children so they understand your concern and don’t see it as an attack. Remember that your own teenage years likely saw you become stubborn as you tried to learn how to make your own choices. Technology may connected kids, but it doesn’t change what being a kid is. While the experience of growing up may be the same, the connected world your kids find themselves in creates new challenges that require hard rules. Here are 6 Internet safety rules for parents of teens and tweens to enforce:

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Digital Parenting and More Positive Views of Digital Tech Dangers

By Steven Woda on June 22, 2013 at 7:06 AM

Digital parenting seems to be changing into more of a shared family experience, according to a new study cited by CNN from Northwestern University. And in that same study, it's found that parents aren't that concerned about the dangers of the digital world with their kids. Whether that's a sign of parents becoming too busy to deal with reality or not, it's an interesting examination of where America is headed in families dealing with an increasingly digital world.

Digital Media isn't Always a Babysitter

The most positive news in the above study is that many parents use regular toys, books or other play activities to keep their kids occupied above using a smartphone, tablet or other digital media device. It's an encouraging sign that the digital world won't replace traditional items in developing the minds of the new generation. At the same time, when that digital media is used, it's becoming a collective family activity--that is, when the parents are actually around.

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Guest Post: Creating a Tween-Friendly Environment On Social Media

By Tim Woda on June 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Our first guest post comes from Patrick Coombe. He  works for,  Elite Strategies , an internet marketing agency in Florida, and is a proud Father.  Here is his take on creating a tween-friendly environment on social media. 

Whether we like it or not, we all know that tweeners are more active on social media now than ever.

Take a look down any hallway in a middle-school, and you will see kids everywhere hiding their smart phones in their lockers and bags to make a quick text or social media update.

We don't need to review the consequences and dangers of children being online unattended.  We see stories about it each night on prime time TV. Horrific stories of children being abducted and held in the custody of demented strangers. 

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Young People and Social Media: Doctors Look at Generation M2

By Tim Woda on November 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM

This original article was posted by Pat Etheridge , Special to CNN.com:

Many teens learn the hard way that once they hit "send," there is no such thing as an "erase" button. 

Editor's note: Former CNN correspondent Pat Etheridge is a journalist specializing in children's health and family issues. She previously hosted CNN's "Parenting Today." 

(CNN) -- They're called "Generation M2": highly tech-savvy children ages 8 to 18, whose lives are immersed in electronic media.

Now, the nation's top pediatric organization is mobilizing efforts around their well-being.

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Cyberbullying Statistics: It Gets Better

By Steven Woda on February 20, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Cyberbulling is a particularly destructive, intense form of bullying that can devastate a teen or tween who becomes a victim. Adults can be cyberbullied, too, but if we can gather anything from the deluge of suicides in the last few years due to recurring cyberbullying, it's that cyberbullied teens and tweens are the ones particularly crippled by the effects of online bullying.

Statistics back up this particularly grim picture of cyberbullying and how it's impacted by age. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found in a July study of 799 families that 20% of teens say that their peers are “mostly unkind” online. Another 11% said that “it depends.” On the other hand, adults ages 18 and older says that only 5% of their peers are “mostly unkind” online.

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Dangers of Online Pornography for Kids, Tweens, and Teens

By Steven Woda on February 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM

kids on computerLike most families today, our family sees the Internet is an indispensable part of life as we know it. Letters written laboriously with a pen or pencil? Looking up phone numbers in a 3-inch thick Yellow Pages? Opening up a bound encyclopedia for information? Honestly, I couldn’t imagine going a day without the Internet.

Even with all its charm and convenience, I have to say that seeing my oldest child reach the age where she’s starting to get online makes me more than a little apprehensive.

As a parent, I try to shield her from things that could be dangerous for her, and right now I have complete control over what comes into my home. But when she starts using the Internet, I know that there are lots of sexually explicit or violent images that she could potentially be exposed to.

The boundary between kids and online pornography is dangerously transparent. And it doesn’t just affect kids who are actively seeking out graphic material online. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, 25% of children have had unwanted exposure to sexual pictures in the last year.

Kids with their own email accounts, particularly free ones like Hotmail and Yahoo, inevitably get lots of spam ads for penis enlargement and “lonely girls who want to chat with you” delivered right to their inboxes.

Or they could be doing their homework and be exposed to graphic images online by accident. Try it yourself – type a female celebrity’s name into Google and click the “images” link on the upper righthand corner. The odds are pretty good that at least one suggestive or inappropriate image will come up – or more, depending on the celebrity. And Google images does not censor its pictures. Full-frontal nudity and graphic acts show up in image searches, regardless of the age of the child at the computer screen.

To compound the problem, Internet pornography is often much worse than the magazines kids a few decades ago might have passed around at school. Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, explains that online porn “is not your father’s pornography. It is graphic, it is explicit, it is deviant. It is aberrant. Kids are seeing content that no 12 or 13 year old is mentally, psychologically, or emotionally prepared to deal with.”

If you’re like me, at this point you’re wondering if just shutting off the Internet altogether isn’t such a crazy idea, after all. But it’s not feasible in the long run, and it’s failing to address the real problem. Even if kids aren’t exposed to online pornography in your own home, they could accidentally see it in a friend’s house or even at the computers in the school library. Teach them how to react when it happens: close the browser window and tell you that they’ve seen an explicit image online.

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