Tim Woda

Tim Woda
Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.
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Recent Posts

Sexting Is Just the Beginning

With the relatively new ability to send images and videos through technology, people of all ages are taking advantage of this ability to connect to others. Unfortunately, it has also led to the evolution of “sexting.” While this is legal for adults (but still risky), it is not for minors and can have serious consequences on a minor’s emotional state, not to mention their professional and academic future.

Depending on the minor, the situation in which the sexting occurs, and how it is handled, the ramifications can vary greatly. However, it almost always leads to some negative effects for the teen.

What It Can Lead To

While parents may be aware of certain repercussions of sexting, there are a wide variety of consequences that even the most conscientious parents may not be aware of. Regrettably, it can lead to the following negative effects: 
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Cyberbullying on Youth Sports Teams: It Happens More Than You Think

The threat of cyberbullying isn't limited to any one group of kids. Students in the chess club are just as likely to be a victim of cyberbullying as students on the football team. If you don't believe that, then take a look at the story below. 

KTTC News reported a case of cyberbullying at a local high school in Minnesota. In this case, members of the football team were caught engaging in cyberbullying. Here are some points from the case:

  • Football coaches at Southwest High School heard about instances of cyberbullying

  • Several players who engaged in cyberbullying were benched for a must-win game

  • The principal of the high school said cyberbullying can be more damaging than traditional bullying

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Digital Parenting: 11 Facts About Cyberbullying

Earlier today we published an article that demonstrates how parents can use cyberbullying facts and resources to protect kids and teens from cyberbullying dangers. View these facts to further educate yourself on the issue of cyberbullying. These statistics were originally published on DoSomething.org and we encourage you to check out their site.

“Cyberbullying” is defined as a young person tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the Internet or other technologies, like cell phones. The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyberbullying are similar to those of real-life bullying. The difference is, real-life bullying often ends when school ends. For cyberbullying, there is no escape. And, it’s getting worse. Read on to get the facts.

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Understanding Cyberbullying: Why It Happens and How To Prevent It

In recent years, the news media coverage has exploded with tragic stories and consequences of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that occurs over electronic devices, often through texting, email or through social media websites such as Facebook. Bullies can send hurtful messages to other children, post embarrassing pictures of their peers on facebook, or send hateful email messages.

Cyberbullying takes on the same form as face to face bullying. The cyberbully will have a clear intent to harm the victim (either emotionally or by threatening them with physical harm), perceivable aggression in the messages, and a perceived or obvious imbalance of power over the victim by the cyberbully.

The abuse that children endure at the hands of cyberbullies leave many parents, teachers, and guardians wondering what causes the bullying to happen in the first place. Cyberbullies engage in harmful behaviors towards their peers for many reasons:

  • The cyberbully wants to feel powerful

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10 Signs Your Child is a Cyberbullying Victim

Cyberbullying is one of the most common online dangers, and kids and teens are particularly susceptible because they tend to take their tormentor's words to heart and resist confiding in their own parents.

And with these statistics in mind, it's an especially important part of parenting to recognize the signs of cyberbullying. These ten signs could signal that your child has fallen victim to a cyberbully.

 

  1. Appears nervous when receiving a text, instant message, or email

  2. Seems uneasy about going to school or pretends to be ill

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10 Reasons to Monitor Your Child's Internet Activity

Some moms, dads, and grandparents I know get a little squeamish about parental monitoring. Are they invading their teen's privacy?

When it comes down to it, parental monitoring isn't about privacy, it's about safety. Here are 10 reasons for every parent to start monitoring their child's Internet activity.

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How To Approach Punishing Your Teen For a Digital Slip-Up

From catching your teen sexting, to finding out that they violated your phone contract, digital slip-ups are never fun to deal with. It is not surprising that teens and parents often experience power struggles over digital rules and privileges. Teens are often given such high responsibility with technology at such young ages, that it is natural that there are going to be some problems. Digital rule-breaking is still a relatively new avenue of parenting that requires specific attention and action. 

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The Educational Impact of Bullying and Cyberbullying

Parents, educators, and lawmakers everywhere are worried about the impact of bullying and cyberbullying on our kids. The impact on every aspect of a child's life can be far reaching. With the digital age, many kids don't just have to worry about being bullied in the schoolyard. Instead, with the technology available today, bullies can reach our kids at school, after school, and even in their own bedrooms. With smart phones, computers, tablets, and cell phones, bullies are able to reach into a child's life and affect every aspect of it. Bullying and cyberbullying are no longer a simple matter of standing up to the bully and having a face-off. It's no longer a simple matter.

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Teaching Kids and Teens Media Smarts During Breaking News

With constant breaking news streaming in through media outlets and social networks, kids and teens need to know how to digest and decipher news reports. Teach them the basics of how to filter out what is accurate and important in the news world. We found a fabulous article on the subject originally published on Common Sense Media and written by Sierra Filucci. Please check it out.

When big news breaks, it's easy to get caught up in following the news online. But while the Internet -- from major news sites to Twitter -- can be a valuable place to find useful information, it can also be the source of misinformation. Helping kids and teens understand the news and how to separate fact from fiction is an important job for parents and educators.

Here's some advice parents can offer kids and teens who consume the news:

Remember, breaking news is often wrong. In the rush to cover stories, reporters make mistakes, officials don't always have correct information, and tidbits that sound plausible often get passed around before anyone can check for accuracy. One Texas TV station reported through closed captioning that Zooey Deschanel was one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers!

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Digital Parenting is Important for Teens, Whether They Like it Or Not

Digital parenting is one of those topics that can make families uncomfortable. No teenager wants to feel like Mom and Dad are sticking their noses into his or her personal business, and no parent wants to keep their kids from making the most of the advantages the internet can provide.  

It’s important to know what your kids are doing on the internet: it can be a tremendous tool for school and for social interaction. It also opens them up to a whole range of possible dangers including cyberbullying, child predators, and inappropriate content. How do parents keep their kids from undue risk without stifling their independence?

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Internet Security Could Save Your Child From Crime

Protecting their child is the number one objective of any parent. This is the primary role and responsibility. Unfortunately, it is becoming a role that is more difficult with the Internet around. Although the vast majority of people use the Internet for harmless everyday tasks, there are some who use this medium to commit crimes.

Worse yet, many of these crimes are committed against children. Take this headline from the Calgary Herald for example:

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Tips for Cell Phone Safety for Your Tween or Teen

There once was a time—you may be old enough to remember—where kids actually had to go to the TV and turn the knob to change the channel or adjust the volume, play a game out in the backyard or take turns on a landline phone to call their friends. But nowadays, in this technological world, kids are presented with all kinds of gadgets as parents strain to keep up with everything.

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Inconspicuous Apps Teens Are Using to Date and "Sext"

Thanks to evolving technology, teens have a lot more access to the outside world than in previous years. Today, almost every teen has a smartphone or iPhone. Teens use their phones to talk and text but they also use their smartphones and iPhones to download apps to keep in touch with their friends. Sometimes, teens abuse these apps and use them for things the app is not created for.

Video chatting apps, social messenger apps, and messaging apps all offer different styles of chatting with different features. These apps are designed with the purpose of helping users keep in touch with friends, relatives, and even co-workers, but a lot of teens abuse these apps or some of these apps' features. They're often used for things they are not meant for, such as sexting. Simply put: abusing the rules of these apps can put them in serious danger.

Video Chatting Apps

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When is a Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

Cellphones have created a few dilemmas in digital parenting. Particularly with smartphones, parents have to be sure what their children are doing on social media and other apps.

Let's look at the first dilemma that parents will come across: deciding when their child should have a cellphone. In this discussion, your child is sure to bring up the argument that every other kid in their class already has one.

This is a time when you have to make a personal decision for your child and ignore the pressure from other parents.WebMD covered this topic and provided a few statistics on the matter. Here is some of the background information:

  • 85% of teens aged 14 to 17 have cell phones
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Digital Parenting: Keeping Children Safe From Online Dangers

Any sensible parent is going to keep their child safe from dangers that present themselves in the real world. This same sense of concern should extend to dangers that present themselves in the online world. Digital parenting is as important as parenting against dangers in the real world. 

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How to to Stop Teen Texting and Driving

Texting is responsible for more teen deaths behind the wheel than alcohol, making it a serious concern for parents everywhere. Stopping the problem requires a multi-faceted approach, along with clear expectations and firm consequences. These tips can help keep your teen safe when they are on the road.

#1: Take Advantage of the Technology

Teenagers don't always tell the whole truth, which means you may have to use their own technology to keep them safe. A text monitoring app can log all their texts, including the time they were sent, for you to view on your phone or computer.

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Digital Parenting: Understanding the Risk of Snapchat

Snapchat started as a college course project, but has grown exponentially in the last year. Now available, for free, through app stores, the application allows people to send and receive pictures and videos directly to their phone.

The "Snap" is only available for a set period of time (about 10 seconds), then it is deleted from the phone and the server. Snapchat seems like a fun enough venture, but for those trying to parent in the digital age, it can be problematic. 

Potential for Sexting

Because Snapchat only keeps photos for 10 seconds or less, parents have no way of really knowing what content their child is swapping. For many years, Snapchat has been dubbed the "sexting app". Although not every person using Snapchat is sexting away, the app didn't get their nickname for no reason.

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Establishing That the Internet is a Privilege, Not a Right

Something that parents need to establish with their children early is that using the Internet is a privilege, not a right. This is important because if kids get too accustomed to and reliant on the Internet, it will be harder to end their privilege to it if they go against the rules.

In order to practice digital parenting, there has to be set rules that children understand and abide by. These rules vary on a case-by-case basis, but they should require open conversation between children and their parents concerning their activity on the Internet. When the rules are set, parents have to be ready to remove the Internet privilege if their child breaks the rules. It's not just to keep children safe from cyber threats, but also a life-long lesson that they can't take shortcuts and cheat the system.

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You're Invited: The Internet & Mobile Safety Workshop for Parents

Today’s children represent the first generation to grow up entirely in a digital world. They have spent their entire lives using computers, video games, webcams, digital music players, mobile phones, instant messaging apps and everything else the digital world has to offer. In a sense, our kids are all “native speakers” of a digital language.

They are "Digital Natives". So what does that make this generation of parents?

Those of us who were not born into a digital world are, and always will be, "Digital Immigrants" and we are now in the process of learning a new language while also trying to raise our kids and keep them safe.

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Internet Security for Children in the Digital Age

The most important segment of society to keep safe on the Internet is obviously our children. Children are the most vulnerable to being preyed online. They are not as experienced in using the Internet and may not understand the dangers that lurk there. Thus, Internet security is an important topic of conversation to have with your children.

In an article about Internet security and children, Microsoft.com recommends preventing the download of free material online that may contain spyware or viruses: 

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