July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM
My husband Matt and I traveled to Orange County, California during this year’s terrible East coast “Snowmageddon” season. It was sunny, warm and wonderful. When we returned to the threat of another potential snow storm (in April!), we had a text message conversation, discussing how great it would be to move to Orange County. Later that day, Matt logged into his professional social media app on his phone and noticed he had gotten job postings for Orange County. Strangely enough, when I logged into my own personal social media app, I was surprised to discover that I had received ads for real estate in Orange County.
Social media and mobile apps are moving toward predictive advertising and behavior to make our lives more convenient by alerting you about traffic congestion or items that you might want to purchase. The amount of personal data required to power these types of applications is staggering. Companies go to great lengths and expense to create and employ the technology that powers the analytics necessary to perform this complex predictive modeling based on your data.
July 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM
It’s Sunday morning and time for church. Your pastor comes up to preach the Word. He pulls out his tablet and begins reading the scripture. You look around your church and many of the congregants have their mobile devices as well reading along using their Bible app.
Ten (or even just five) years ago this would have appeared odd, but we have now arrived at a new normal. More and more pastors across the country have decided to forego the leather bound Bible that has passed through generations of their family. They have instead chosen to pick up the modern technology of a Bible app on their mobile device. Yes, tech now goes to church.
A Wealth of Information
July 18, 2014 at 3:26 PM
Location monitoring is a recent innovation, based on modern GPS technology. Parents can now use it to determine where their children are, particularly when they are in their teens. As a parent, you may be hesitant about using this impressive bit of technology on kids and teens. Perhaps you may think of it as an intrusion, or you may be afraid that they will be angry with you.
The fact is, however, that teenagers are still minors and that it is your perrogative to use whatever means you have at your disposal to monitor them. Teens are learning and growing during a time when they're given increasing amounts of responsibilities and it is natural for there to be some issues along the way.
July 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM
You would never post your home address online or tell the world that your kids were home alone at that address, would you? Yet many of us are innocently and unknowingly doing just that, by geotagging.
Geotagging is a relatively new phenomenon in that age of smartphones and many teens and parents are unaware of exactly what it is and why it's dangerous. True privacy and safety are becoming ever more elusive and complex in the information age. Here's what you need to know about geotagging to protect your teen's privacy and safety online.
What is Geotagging?
Geotagging is a way of embedding location information into photos or posts made through social media sites, providing the exact coordinates of where a photo was snapped or a post was made (within 10 to 15 feet depending on the accuracy of your GPS chip). Ultimately, geotagging is not a safe practice for anyone for a myriad of reasons.
July 10, 2014 at 3:57 PM
The number of children addicted to video games is increasing at an alarming rate. More and more kids are choosing the television and PC screens over interpersonal interactions with friends and family. Games have become so advanced that they have the power to captivate players like never before. Let's take a look at some signs of video game addiction along with some parenting strategies that can wean kids off of video games.
Signs Of Addiction
Your child may be addicted to video games if he spends most of his free time in front of the screen and has developed an anti-social personality. If the first thing he does when he gets home from school is head over to his console for some Xbox Live or his PC for an online game like World Of Warcraft,
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.
July 4, 2014 at 3:27 PM
Although underage sex is an uncomfortable topic to broach, the truth is that plenty of teenagers are “hooking up”. This term refers to having "no strings attached sexual activity" with a partner. Many sociologists argue that the hooking up trend is part of a larger societal movement toward obtaining immediate gratification.
While most parents will argue that it is unacceptable for teens to be having sex, some have accepted it as inevitable. Yet this doesn't mean that the teens should be engaging in sexual activities with people that they hardly know. Herein lies the underlying problem with hooking up.
Today's teens often speak of “friends with benefits”. This is a term that refers to two people engage in sexual intercourse or sexual activity without passing through typical courting rituals or even becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. Research conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions shows that almost one in four sixth-graders and one in three seventh-graders have engaged in sexual behavior. More than three in four twelfth-graders report the same. Simply put, teens are jumping to dessert without eating their appetizer and main course.
July 4, 2014 at 3:14 PM
In this day and age, just about everyone (adults, teens and tweens alike) has smartphones! With the prevalence of smartphone use comes prevalence of app use. Check out and get to know which Android apps your tweens and teens are most likely using.
Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Facebook continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms out there and many young teens are on it. Facebook is one of the fastest ways to stay updated with friends and family. It allows users to chat, upload photos and videos, share common interests, and so much more. The Facebook Messenger app allows users to get personal messages instantly, a lot like texting, but without the standard text fees. Facebook Messenger users can create group chats and send videos and photos. Also, a fun and popular part of this app are the stickers and Emoji (icons that express emotions).
June 27, 2014 at 3:16 PM
Summer is upon us! Teens may view these lazy summer months as a time to do whatever they want and possibly push the limits of their independence. More free time along with having another school year under their belts may prompt them towards some acts of rebellion.
Whether you decide to give them a little more freedom or not, it's important for parents to make smart steps to maintain control. If you are looking for help on how to improve your relationship with your teen by understanding teens, look no further. We've compiled a four-step guide, which will leave you with a grasp on teen parenting like a pro!
June 25, 2014 at 5:27 PM
As an adolescent counselor, most of my time is spent talking and connecting with text-happy, Instagram-snapping, YouTube-watching, Halo-shooting, iPhone-obsessed middle- and high-schoolers and their parents.
Recently, I received a call from a parent who said, “My 13-year-old is absolutely addicted to technology. If she’s not texting, then she’s emailing. If she’s not emailing, she’s on YouTube or Instagram. If she’s not doing that, then she is playing with a new app. I really don’t know what to do. Help!”
I get it. I really do. I have three tween-to-teens of my own. So, when it came to writing an article on digital addiction and adolescents, I didn’t have to look much further than my own house. Seriously, it was in my own house.
June 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM
Most people think of summer camps as a warm weather break from the activities that typically happen at home. This often means a few weeks or more without technological devices. Asking a youngster to scrap his cell phone and video games for an entire month is easier said than done!
Fun Without The Screen
If you were to ask a random assortment of parents and their kids about the meaning of summer camp, chances are that most answers would be similar. Respondents would say that summer camp presents the opportunity for young people to develop new friendships, learn new skills and enjoy the warm weather. Few people would even think of responding with an answer that involves video games, cell phones, movies, television and other electronics.
June 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM
In case you missed it, McAfee released a Teens and Screens study earlier this month exposing shocking revelations about the depths of the extent and how often teens overshare and chat with strangers online. In McAfee's Teens' Online Behavior Can Get Them in Touble, Robert Siciliano reports of the study that:
About 75% of tweens and teens friend people whom they know in the real world, however, 59% engage with strangers online. And one out of 12 meet the online stranger in real life. This could be because 33% of them say they feel more accepted online than in real life.
Additional facts to understand:
Our tweens and teens overshare personal information – 50% posted their email address,
June 19, 2014 at 4:55 PM
We already know that there are a plethora of online resources available to inform parents about the residence of sex offenders. With the integration of these registeries and apps, parents can stay up-to-date on the sex offender registeries.
Here are some easy-to-use and effective sex offender monitoring apps:
Sex Offender Search App- This App is great for families looking for a new home. You can use the App to put in the address of a house you're interested in and a map will pop up, showing you if there are any sex offenders in the area. The same goes for your child's school; virtually anywhere in the US
June 17, 2014 at 1:56 PM
Peer pressure can be extremely hard to deal with for kids and teens. It becomes increasingly difficult without the support of their parents. When it comes to managing peer pressure among kids/teens, there are things that you should do, and things that you must do. Here are six such "musts" for dealing with peer pressure:
Talk to your child about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and sex: Talking to your child opens up a dialogue that can be very important. If your child feels safe discussing these difficult topics with you, there is a greater chance that they will come to you if they are curious about trying them.
June 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM
When thinking about social media in the hands of their teens and tweens, many parents automatically jump to the negative. While there are some negative aspects of social media, there are plenty of very positive aspects. Recent research suggests that social media, when used appropriately and responsibly by tweens and teens, can actually be incredibly positive.
Social Media Can Increase Confidence
Many teens and tweens suffer from self-esteem issues. In many ways, this is a normal part of growing up. Most people, at some point, question whether or not they are attractive and/or feel awkward or uncomfortable in their constantly changing bodies. According to a recent study, about one in five teens believes that social media has increased their self confidence. Only 4% of teens report that they feel social media activities have a negative affect on their self confidence.
June 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM
The beginning of summer brings with it more than warm weather; it also brings the summer break from school. This means that not only will the kids be sleeping in late, but once they wake up they will have a lot of free time on their hands and it's best to make it both fun and productive. Some kids will be destined for a couple of weeks of summer camp, some will enjoy a few educational day camps, and some will just be off!
Regardless of the situation your family finds itself in, many hours will have to be filled with some sort of activity. Altogether too often the kid's first choice will be electronic amusement like video games and particularly the Internet. While a little of this is alright, too much means a deficit in physical activity and not enough interaction with the family.
June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM
As the popularity of the photo sharing app Instagram continues to grow, so does its user base. Children watch their older siblings and peers using the smartphone application and begin using it in order to fit in and feel trendy. Although there is nothing wrong with young children trying to keep up with the latest technology, it is important to weigh the Instagram pros and cons before letting your young children start using the app.
One of the greatest features of Instagram is its privacy settings. This ensures that outside users--people who are not following you--have to request your permission to see your photos. This helps ward off strangers and potential offenders who could possibly cause harm through their comments.
June 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM
One of the more insidious digital trends for tweens and teens has been the development of subtweeting. While this may sound like an innocent social media fad, this impression could not be further from the truth. Among digital trends for tweens, this is one of the worst because it is a form of cyberbullying that can be difficult to pin down and combat.
What is Subtweeting?
Subtweeting consists of using social media (Twitter being one example that inspired the name) to talk negatively about or gossip about a person without naming that individual specifically. All that people involved have to do is use descriptions, characterization or some sort of code to discuss the person with impunity. In some cases, this happens without the participants even realizing what they are doing.
June 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM
Tyler Cohen Wood’s Catching the Catfishers explores the digital footprints that we all leave behind, whether we realize it or not. The book sheds light on a comprehensive set of online security components and teaches readers how to best protect their personal information from being put out and circulated on the web. Catching the Catfishers teaches parents and kids alike the value in being aware of the implications that every digital imprint we make can have.
The author is a senior officer and cyber branch chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency within the Department of Defense. Wood clearly demonstrates her authority on all matters of Internet security throughout the book. With a plethora of examples and nuances from recent pop culture and past experiences, Wood shows just how easy it is for people with little to no training to learn everything that they want to discover about someone through the web.
June 9, 2014 at 2:29 PM
The Internet has opened up the world to our children. In many ways, this can be beneficial. Knowledge that may have taken hours to find is available within minutes and children aren't stuck having to learn things at a pace that may be too slow for them.
In other ways, however, the vastness of the Internet, and especially its ability to mask one's true identity, can be harmful and even deadly to our children. One trend that can be harmful has recently gained attention in both media and the courts. This is catfishing.
What is catfishing?
Catfishing is the term given to creating a false profile online in order to deceive others. The majority of cases are embarked upon in order to pursue a romantic situation with someone else. A person will make up an entire identity, sometimes even creating a whole history and network of family and friends that do not exist, in order to get someone to share personal information and romance with them.
Who participates in catfishing?