Digital Parenting: 3 Ways to Protect Your Teen from Her Selfie

We love this article written by Melissa Maypole from the Huffington Post. It is informative and has a great message for parents of teens and tweens! Check it out.

OK, first off, let's bridge the learning gap here. Not to insult anyone's intelligence, but if you're like me, you're probably struggling to keep up with your teen's vocabulary, which is likely growing at an exponential rate and not exactly in a way that might help her ace her SATs. Thus, you may not know exactly what a "selfie" is. Lucky for us (I think), the term was Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year for 2013. 
Here's their definition:

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21 Powerful Tips To Prevent Kids Cyberbullying

This article was originally posted on BlogHer and written by WomenLoveTech.

I get sick in the stomach when I read about teenagers taking their own lives after extensive online bullying. Nearly 80% of kids under 10 use social media. I urge you to take cyberbullying seriously. The Internet is a great place to learn, to be entertained, to share and communicate, but not a place for bullying.

Up to 35 percent of 8 to 11 year olds have their own mobile phone, rising to 94 per cent of 16 to 17 year olds. Children and young people are increasingly gaining access to the internet via their mobiles, yet only a very small percentage have discussed cybersafety with their parents.

I hope these 21 powerful tips to prevent kids cyberbullying will guide you and will help your kids. Please share this list with them.

1. Do not respond to any cyberbullying message, block the person and tell a trusted person.

2. When you are upset, walk away from your computer or your smartphone.

3. Do not write anything against another person, one day you will regret it but it will be too late.

4. Do not share with anyone (except parents) your passwords, your BFF is not an exception.

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Every Parent's 3 Biggest Facebook Fears -- And What To Do About Them

Check out this article written by Dan Tynan, and featured on Yahoo! Tech.

Despite its many flaws, Facebook is a pretty cool way to reconnect and stay in touch with long lost friends and relations. It’s also a relatively safe environment for teens to learn the ropes of digital citizenship – safer, at least, than many of the alternatives.

But parents often have the wrong idea about Facebook and social networks in general. In fact, they have two wrong ideas.

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Instagram: Scoping Out Whether Predators Are Looking In

Deciding whether your child is ready for Instagram has to be determined on how much knowledge you give them in navigating Instagram's security. When someone posts pictures on Instagram, security features are there, but they can be misleading in how many ways a predator can work around them. Take a look at some of the methods predators can use to look in on your child's photos and how you may have to take individual action to make sure this doesn't happen.

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Digital Parenting: Does Facebook Make Your Child Sad?

How Teens Compare Themselves to Others on Facebook

Most teens spend a lot of time glued to their computers and cell phones.  Rather than interacting with people directly, they tend to do it through the medium of Facebook.  Sure, Facebook can help you keep in touch with people you might not ordinarily meet all the time e.g., people who moved away from the neighborhood or went away to college.  It’s nice to be able to know what these people are doing and to keep in touch in some way or the other.

However, teens also tend to use Facebook just to communicate with school friends and see what other people are doing.  Many of them read glowing depictions of the lives of their fellow classmates—how much fun they had at a certain party or what a great shopping haul someone brought home.  And this makes them feel worse about themselves.

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Digital Parenting: Is My Child Ready For Twitter?

Twitter is a fast paced, information loaded social networking site that many find to be too much to handle. At the same time, there are others who have adopted the social network as part of their overall usage of the Internet and now say that they are hooked on it. So, you have to ask yourself as part of digital parenting, "Is my child ready for Twitter?". 

Maturity

The maturity level of your child in particular is a large part of the answer about if they are ready for Twitter. Luckily, with Twitter there are not some of the pitfalls that other sites might have which are inappropriate for children. Rather, with Twitter the concern is more about how much time they will spend on it and what kind of things they will say to the public. 

Watch What You Say!

Perhaps the most important part of the Twitter conversation that you have with your children is the part about making sure that they understand that what they say on Twitter is broadcast to the Twitter using world. This can be both very cool, and quite scary at the same time. There is a point at which some of the information that is going out may not be things that should be said at all. Thus, the child needs to have this part understood. 

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Would Boycotting Certain Sites That Allow Cyberbullying Be Effective?

Cyberbullying continues to become the individual terrorism of the online world without any end in sight. With the U.K.'s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children recently citing some sobering statistics, you can also see how much of a worldwide problem cyberbullying has become. In the NSPCC figures, cyberbullies now target one out of every five children online.

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Teens Creating Fake Facebook Profiles

This article originally ran on Sue Scheff's Blog, Navigating the Internet in Safety.  We appreciate the kind words, Sue!

I was tired of reading the articles about teens exiting Facebook.  I am sure the studies are done efficiently, but I still know that teens will be teens.

Recently I wrote an article for Huffington Post Parents, “Are Teens Really Leaving Facebook?

As I said, I doubt it — it is more likely they are creating alias accounts to escape the prying eyes of adults, specifically their parents.  Maybe they don’t have anything to hide, but they simply want to express themselves without having to explain themselves.

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Cyberbullies Don't Take Holidays Off: Words Wound

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Sue Scheff, one of our favorite parenting bloggers. 

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a time when you could power up your electronics -- whether it's your iPad, tablet, PC or cell phone -- and not have to worry about any type of hostile content?

Internet trolls and cyberbullies never take vacations or summer breaks, and they don't recognize holidays.

This holiday season, as cyberbullying and bullying sadly continues, you can give your teens and kids the gift of cyber-armor!

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Digital Parenting: How Much Internet Activity is Too Much?

Most news concerning adolescents and the Internet highlight the actual dangers of online scams, cyber-bullies, and sexual predators that endanger credulous, gullible teens. The other risk is teens themselves. Perpetual hours spent online updating Facebook pages, writing tweets, emailing, instant messaging, sending photos on Instagram, downloading music, visits to game sites, shopping, and in some instances gambling, all contribute to the disturbances we see today regarding teen online activity.     

Kids today are spending on average slightly more than ten-hours per day, every day, online. This means that out of 168 hours in a week, kids spend 75 of those hours with some type of electrical or technical gadget.  

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Facebook Takes On Cyberbullies As More Teens Leave Site

This article was originally posted on the NPR blog "All Tech Considered."

Facebook has rolled out a tool to address online harassment that some digital safety advocates are calling a beneficial, but belated, first step.

The social networking site with 1.2 billion users worldwide released a "bullying prevention hub" this week. It's essentially an online resource center with suggestions for teens, parents and educators on how to address bullying — both online and off — and take action on Facebook.

The site is also beginning to roll out more options for teens to report when posts are making them uncomfortable.

The idea is to build on Facebook's existing tools, says company spokesman Matt Steinfeld.

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Teens Get Online 'Eraser Button' With New California Law

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Kathleen Miles.

California teens get an online "eraser button" under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.  The law makes California the first state to require websites to allow people younger than 18 to remove their own postings on that website, and to clearly inform minors how to do so.

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The Best Answer to Cyberbullying We've Seen Yet

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Sue Scheff.

It's a truth universally acknowledged: kids tune out their parents. They don't tune out other kids, though; we all remember hanging on an admired peer's every word when we were young.

Since so much of students' lives together take place in various nooks and crannies of the Internet, let's look at how teens can help each other out, making their social lives more satisfying and trouble-free by being cyber-shields for each other.

I've written about how both parents and teachers can play a pivotal role as cyber-shields to ensure a safe online life for their children by putting on their advisory hat and, when needed, shielding their kids from harm. We should also encourage children to act as social media role models for each other: friend-to-friend, sibling-to-sibling.

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What I'm Reading: Sex, Teens And Social Media

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Sasha Belenky.

1. 'Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives'

Nancy Jo Sales, who wrote the Vanity Fair article that became the major motion picture "The Bling Ring," is back in the magazine with a look at teenage relationships in the age of social media. Adults may be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that teens today are obsessed with sex. And Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder and other online tools are seemingly robbing America's youth of meaningful, loving relationships.

“We don’t date; we just hook up,” one girl in L.A. tells Sales. "Oral is, like, the new kissing,” says another girl in New York. Boys pressure girls to send them nude photos. “They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person,” says one girl, Zoe. “Because they’re not saying it to our faces.”

A group of friends at the mall sums up the Catch-22: “Social media is destroying our lives,” one girl tells Sales. “So why don’t you go off it?” Sales asks. "Because then we would have no life,” another girl responds.

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How Teachers Can Help Create Cyber-Shields for Their Students

Did you catch this article about a theatre teacher explaining how she acts as a cyber-shield for students? It was written by Sue Scheff, author and parent advocate, and originally published on The Huffington Post. 

Today's youth are inseparable from their smartphones, computers and social networks. When our kids, especially teens, spread their wings into the world of social media, it's important for them to understand how to be upstanding digital citizens.

Recently, I explained how parents can prepare and educate children on the risks of what lurks online by acting as a cyber-shield. However, parents aren't the only role models in a child's life. Teachers must be active participants in teens' digital lives. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, students were less likely to bully others or send sexts if their teachers held discussions regarding responsible online and cell phone conduct.

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Are People Being Cyberbullied on Twitter?

Check out this article on NoBullying.com about how Twitter provides a unique platform for bullying.

It seems that the bullying, harassment and abuse that occurs on the social networking platform Twitter, one of the most popular social networking platforms in the world that’s meant to bring people together, has sadly become a common occurrence – it’s expected. As bad as the abuse has been over the past several years, it also seems that it’s escalating these days with racism, bomb threats, sexual and violent threats against women, etc.

Twitter has had a system in place to reduce bullying and harassment, but it’s just not effective and doesn’t work. The current system in place allows users to fill out a “report abuse” form, but this clearly doesn’t work. We see the abuse every day on Twitter. You don’t have to look hard to find it, all you have to do is click on something that’s currently trending or receiving negative feedback in the news and you’ll see massive amounts of profanity, bullying and threats.

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Teachers "Friending" or Following Students to Prevent Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a growing problem among children, but the effects can last much longer than the event itself. Once something goes online, it can be almost impossible to take it down...and humiliation can follow a child for the rest of their life. However, some teachers are turning to a new method of watching and controlling things: "Friending" or following their students.

The keystone of this strategy is the fact that social media sites, by design, are intended to share information with a particular group of people. This can be as small as a Tweet group of friends or as long as an essay re-published to thousands of people with one click of a button. However, as easy as it is to follow students, following the bullies with the intention of stopping their behavior is not the best strategy for preventing cyberbullying, even if teachers are the ones doing it.

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Is Your Child Ready for Facebook? Some Factors to Consider

Parents hear a lot of conflicting things about Facebook these days.  First of all, it looks like children have stopped communicating in person and started communicating more over the internet.  There is a certain safety in this kind of communication.  If you say something the other person doesn’t like, at least you don’t have to deal with the consequences right away.  It gives you more courage to express what you feel.  However, people do say hurtful things over the internet as well, and cyberbullying is as real a problem as in-person bullying.  If you're wondering, "Is my child ready for Facebook?" then keep the following factors in mind:

1. Age: Is your child over the age of 13?  If not, you will be in direct violation of Facebook’s policy.  You’ll be lying about your child’s age and setting a bad example for him/her.  So take your time and wait until your child is the official age.  You’ll have less to worry about, and s/he will also be more mature by the time s/he starts social networking.

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How to Keep Your Kids Safe Online

The internet is a truly wonderful thing. Never in history has so much information been so readily available. All it takes is a query and a few pecks on a keyboard for a person to immerse themselves in books, videos, periodicals, tutorials and countless other forms of media. However, as information amasses in databases all across the web, so does material that is unsuitable for younger audiences.

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