Digital Cleanse Your Home This Summer

With summer coming to an end and a new school year beginning, now is the perfect time for families to embark on a digital cleanse! It's pretty easy for physical devices and software to pile up throughout the school year and summer time. Get you and your family refreshed and ready for the new school year!

Cleaning Out the Digital Closet

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Is My Tween Completely Ready to Use Twitter?

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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The Ins and Outs of LinkedIn for Parents and Teens

LinkedIn is the world's largest free professional network. Students and career men and women are encouraged to join, create a profile, and build their network of professional contacts. LinkedIn can be used to make introductions, ask questions, find or post job openings, and establish a professional web presence.

What is LinkedIn and how do you use it?

Users build the network of professionals they know by importing their address books or entering individual email addresses. They can also join groups of their colleagues and classmates, where they can ask relevant questions, make comments, “like” discussions, and get answers.

LinkedIn contacts are listed by their name and the company or school they belong to. Users can send direct mail to their LinkedIn contacts, or they can send “inmails” to contacts of contacts through the LinkedIn platform without disclosing their email address. People can make introductions between two of their contacts who don't yet know each other.

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3 Things to Know About the Original Social Network MySpace

In 2010 MySpace coined itself a “social entertainment destination,” marking the shift in focus from helping people connect with other people to helping them connect with their favorite music, videos, and celebrities.

1. What is MySpace?

Once they sign up with MySpace, users get a profile with their first and last name, age, and gender. They can also add a photo. MySpace profiles are highly customizable, allowing users to add or create their own background image (called a theme.) The average teen just needs a standard profile, but for musicians and band members there are special artist profiles to promote their music.

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Quick Facts About the Xbox Live Gaming Console

XBox Live Quick Facts:

  • The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft, the first one being just the Xbox.

  • There are over 720 Xbox 360 games now and roughly 7.5 games are sold to every Xbox 360 owner.

  • The top three games played on Xbox Live are: 'Halo 3', 'Call of Duty 4' and 'Call of Duty: World at War' - all of which have a social aspect

  • As well as gaming, the Xbox 360 can also be used for watching movies, listening to music and social networking.

What is Xbox LIVE?

Xbox LIVE is the online service for Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership, people can play games and chat with other players, download games to their console, control avatars in a virtual world, search for entertainment, and watch movies and TV.

At signup, users choose a gamertag by which they'll be known on Xbox live and an avatar, a computer animated figure to be their virtual self.

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How to Use the Interactive Radio Player Last.fm

Last.fm Quick Facts:

  • Last.fm has over 47.2 million users

  • It recognizes 45 million unique tracks (songs)

  • Last.fm boasts over 12 million tracks available via their streaming service

  • Last.fm is available on over 600 devices

What is Last.fm?

Last.fm is a personalized, interactive radio player, but it's also full of social networking features designed to connect users with each other to enhance the listening experience. Last.fm recommends new music based on a user's taste and helps them communicate with friends about music and share songs.

Who Uses Last.fm?

Registered users add new music to their playlist by “scrobbling” songs. Their personal music collection is called their Library. All activity in their Library isn't visible to anyone for the first two weeks, but after that point it is open to everyone to see unless a user designates privacy settings – from “everyone” to “nobody.”

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Surprise, Surprise: TV Time Linked With Less Sleep For Kids

Yet another study has been released that indicates the harmful effects of excessively watching television. This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Amanda L. Chan. 

TV time could be putting a damper on your child's sleep time, according to a new study.

Researchers found an association between increased TV time and less sleep in kids.

"Overall, each additional hour per day of average lifetime TV viewing from infancy through mid-childhood was associated with seven fewer minutes per day of sleep over the same period," the researchers wrote in the Pediatrics study. The effects seemed to be especially pronounced in boys, compared with girls.

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Everything You Need to Know About YouTube

YouTube Quick Facts:

  • Third most visited site on the internet (behind Google and Facebook)

  • 2,000,000,000 Video views per day, worldwide

  • 829,440 Videos are uploaded each day

  • The average internet users spends 900 seconds on Youtube per day

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free video sharing site and social network. Anybody can watch and share videos on YouTube (the content ranges from music videos to how-to demos to amateur filmmaking) but to access additional features a person must register for an account.

Registered Users:

Registered users get a customizable homepage where for marking their favorites and queuing videos to watch later. They can comment on others' videos, subscribe to “channels” they like, or create a “channel” and post videos of their own. Their profile information is public by default, but can manually be set to private.

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Is Your Cell Phone Use at Dinnertime Hurting Your Kids?

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Dr. Gregory Jantz.

There's a fascinating study out from the Boston Medical Center in this month's edition of Pediatrics entitled, "Patterns of Mobile Device Use by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants." Researchers went to 15 fast food restaurants in the Boston area and covertly watched caregivers and kids during meal times. The results were interesting, in a car wreck sort of way. Of the 55 caregiver/child(ren) interactions observed, 40 of the 55 involved a mobile device being accessed at some point during the meal by the caregiver; that's around 73%. When a cell phone was used, 40% of the time it was used almost continuously by the caregiver. Mealtimes used to be about face-to-face interactions; apparently, that's not the case anymore. Instead, meal times are becoming face-to-screen interactions, with a few fries mixed in.

When I was growing up, television was both applauded and derided as an electronic babysitter; for many, it still is, although television has been joined by a plethora of other screens. Plop the kid in front of the screen so the adult could do something else. I'll admit to resorting to such a strategy a time or two when my kids were younger. Reading this study, though, it seems like the electronic babysitter has switched. Instead of parking the kid in front of the screen so the adult can do something else, it's the adult parked in front of the screen, and who cares what the kid's doing?

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10 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Catfishing

Catfishing, or faking the identity of another person online in order to create a relationship, is not that hard for a teenager to fall for. Predators are adept at exploiting a teen or tween’s tendency to take people at their word. Ten rules for using the Internet can help them avoid falling victim to catfishing:

  1. No screen names that suggest your name or age (tyler14), gender (sk8r_gurrl), or are suggestive (longlegs in CA).

  2. Only friend people you know and have met in real life.

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Why Texting Rules: The Silver Lining Parents Are Missing

Texting can be regarded positively or negatively in a household. Learn how to see the silver lining of texting and end up using it as a tool for digital parenting. This article was originally published on The Huffington Post by John Duffy.

My son George, my one and only child, is now an 18-year-old man. In a few short months, we will be dropping him off at college. He's busy focusing on his senior year in high school. That moment hugging his Mom and I goodbye on some quad a few months from now isn't remotely on his radar. For him, it's just some hazy, remote construct of a distant future.

But my wife Julie and I sense that hourglass emptying, that moment approaching in double time. We take turns being upbeat and distraught, our scripts ranging from how exciting this next chapter will be for him and how ready he is, to how quiet and dead this house will feel come September. We are both working overtime to be available to every moment with him, every swim meet, awards ceremony, late night talk, even silent breakfast. We drink him in, knowing soon, this iteration of our lives together ends.

Now, today is Saturday, and after sleeping in, I thought George and I might grab a sandwich, a frequent weekend tradition for us.

But today, he had plans with his buddies. He jumped in the shower, grabbed car keys and bounced. Of course, that's how it should be: a guy should spend Saturday having a good time with his buddies, not hanging around with Dad. That would have been my last choice at 18 too. Still, as he pulled away, I swear I could hear the opening notes of "Cat's in the Cradle" swelling gently in the background. Lump in my throat, I made alternate plans. I began to work, distractedly, in silence.

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What is Tumblr? Learn the Ins and Outs of the Popular Blogging Site

Tumblr is a free microblogging site where users quickly and easily post short snippets of text, quotes, photos, videos, links, music, or whatever else interests them in a rapid-fire fashion.

How does Tumblr Work?

Whenever users stumble across something they like online, they can click a “share on tumblr” bookmarklet to automatically post it to their blog. They can also publish new posts by emailing or texting them to tumblr. The result is a tumblelog: a microblog consisting of short, quick mixed-media posts.

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How to Use Media to Raise Resilient Kids

This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by blogger Deborah Gilboa.

You've heard of helicopter parenting. But how about those parents who don't only hover -- they're out there in front of their kids clearing every obstacle? I call them "snow blower" or "lawnmower" parents, and although their efforts to protect their kids come from a good place, they're not allowing them to develop the skills they need to recover from setbacks -- to be resilient, in other words.

I'm part of a growing movement of what I call "Resilience Parents." We're doing our best to raise kids who can clear most of their own obstacles -- and get back up when they run full speed into one they didn't see.

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No Such Thing as a Bully: Shred the Label

Here's an article coming from our friends Kelly Karius and Sue Scheff! Kelly Karius elaborates on a previous article written by Sue Scheff and shares insight about where bullying labels develop and how to change our way of thinking regarding the issue.

I was drawn to Sue Scheff’s Huffington Post article “Grownup Bullying and Monster Moms”Immediately. She had me from Hello. “I know bullying and cyberbullying is a topic that many people are becoming immune to.”

We are. And I believe I know why. Two reasons:

  1. We are currently labeling everything bullying.

  2. Adults don’t acknowledge their behavior. So why should children?

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Everything You Need to Know About Smart Watches

No one ever said that raising kids was easy.  Raising kids in the digital age presents a unique set of concerns and challenges that your parents never had to worry about. However, what you don't hear often is how technology can actually help keep your kids safe and sound. The advent of smartphones, GPS, and widespread Internet access need not only be a source of fear for concerned parents. These technologies can be used for parental monitoring and peace of mind. There are many examples that can highlight this, but perhaps one of the most exciting examples of this concept is the smart watch.

Smart watches are the latest trend in mobile and wearable technology. New smart watches are in development from some of the biggest names in the industry. This is an exciting and cutting edge trend, but what value does it have for parents? Smart watches with built in GPS and cellular functionality present a great opportunity for parental monitoring.

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Lack of Digital Parenting Could Cost You Money

Cyberbullying and sexting aren't the only things that parents need to worry about when a child begins to use Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites. There can be monetary consequences if appropriate Digital Parenting techniques are not put to use.

Take for instance the case of Patrick Snay, he won an age discrimination suit against an employer, or so he thought. His daughter posted an announcement to Facebook about the victory before the deal was completed. This violated the terms of the settlement and a court agreement. It cost Mr. Snay the settlement of $80,000 and caused emotional distress for his entire family.

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Is My Child Ready for Facebook? 4 Questions To Find Out For Sure

Facebook is a pervasive social media tool and, whether you like it or not, sooner or later, your children will be begging to join. Like most social networks and social media sites, there is a serious need to determine if your child is ready to sign up or not. Often less about reaching a certain age or specific goal, here are some basic digital parenting questions to discuss with your teen or tween before you help them to create an account.

1. Do you trust them? A core question in every major parenting decision. In the past, when you have given your child more freedom or resposiblity, how has it gone? Is lying, or skating the truth been an issue in your household? If your child has always be forthright and honest with you, reciprocate! Open a dialogue about your expectations, but allow them to participate if they have earned your trust.

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Digital Parenting Opinion: Let Kids Run Wild Online

This piece entitled "Let Kids Run Wild Online", written by Danah Boyd, was published in Time recently. While I disagree with a few things mentioned in this piece,  the overall message is something that uKnowKids has been preaching for quite sometime: you have to communicate, trust and interact with your child to keep them safe online. 

The following excerpt is something I have a problem with though, and it is mainly just one word. "As teens have moved online, parents have projected their fears onto the Internet, imagining all the potential dangers that youth might face–from violent strangers to cruel peers to pictures or words that could haunt them on Google for the rest of their lives." The reality is this: cyberbullying, sexting and online predators are not imagined things. They are real, bona fide digital dangers. I know because my son was targeted by one of those child predators.  

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