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 Disconnection: Is Technology Winning the War?

There is no doubt about it: parenting has changed quite drastically in recent decades. With social networks being the new "must-have", parents must work harder connect with and locate their children online so they can keep them safe and healthy. 

However, parenting with technology has gone even further. Parents use it to keep up with schoolwork, location monitoring, and checking their online activity. Somehow, technology is making being a parent easier, but the workload is harder.  Parents are losing the battle to technology as their children continue to meld into the digital world, and they have no choice but to join it and try to use technology more effectively.

Digital Parenting Challenges

As a result of technology booming, more decisions are made on things that never existed only a few years ago.  Social websites, applications, games, online surfing, cable channels and DVR are coming to light, and parents are faced with the tasks of monitoring many aspects of these activities

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Are Your Kids Exposed to the Celeb Sexy Selfie Craze?

The other week we posted about a new Justin Bieber-funded selfie app that may make "selfies" a more positive online practice. However, Mr.Bieber is also part of a group of celebrities who often post a barrage of "sexy" selfies online. Find out what him and other young celebrities are posting and learn about what you can do to make sure that your tweens aren't mimicking them. This article was originally published on McAfee by Toni Birdsong.

Almost weekly I read that yet another young celebrity I once considered a safe role model for my teen is posting risqué selfies online. And, it seems the bizarre surge in stars sharing photos of themselves showering, making out, sunbathing, or just hanging around naked is on the rise. No doubt some of the child stars our kids grew up loving on television are now digitally off limits.

To be fair most of these celebrities are now in their 20s and simply echoing the impulsive behavior of their Hollywood peers. But that doesn’t change the fact that their young fan base still includes our kids.

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This Is What 'The Today Show' Thinks Teen Sexting Looks Like

The Today Show did a segment on sexting last week, and they couldn't have been more wrong. 

Read the full story below from our friends at Business Insider. 

Last Thursday, "The Today Show" featured a segment on the new and shocking discovery that teens use their phones to sext each other, even though they use their phones to do literally everything else. We first saw the segment on Slate.

"Today Show" host Matt Lauer tries to figure it all out: "So a teenage boy will be sitting in a classroom, there will be a teenage girl he's never even talked to, and he will pick up the phone and text her 'I wanna hook up or I wanna do this to you, are you willing?'" he asks in the segment.

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Even an NFL Cheerleader Can Be The Victim of Cyberbullying

We were shocked and horrified to see that beautiful Kaitlyn Collins, a former Green Bay Packers cheerleader, was the victim of cruel and malicious bullying on Facebook when a picture of her was posted to an opposing teams fan page. If this can happen to an NFL cheerleader, someone seemingly immune to this behavior, think of how many regular children and teens this is happening to day in and day out. Tim Woda has created some tips that every parent should follow that will help prevent cyberbullying from devastating a child in their family.

  • Understand the technology that your child is using.  Be familiar with all the functions of the sites your child is using including social networks, gaming systems, mobile phones, chat sites, etc. Some of these could have messaging or photo-sharing options that you might not even be aware of.

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Digital Parenting--The Perils of "Sexting"

We know we have been blogging a lot about sexting lately, but it is a serious issue that we want all parents to be informed about. Here we discuss the perils associated with the sharing of nude or semi-nude photos, and tips to stop your child from making a big mistake from what they think is a seemingly innocuous action. 

When it comes to digital parenting, then, is that this new and exciting technology is often difficult to keep up with.  For example, what can we do about sexually explicit text messages, or "sexting?"  How do we keep our kids safe?

First off, know the technology.  It seems like kids will always know more about technology than their parents, but in this case the parents really need to do their homework.  Know what safeguards are available for the child's phone, including the ability to turn off or block texting and sending pictures.

Next, it is vital to keep the lines of communication open.  Talking to our kids is always good, but in this case, it's necessary.

  • Set up rules about what sort of information and pictures are appropriate. 

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YouTube Has Taken Over As The New MTV - Is That Bad?

When we were teenagers, MTV was the way we found out about new music and watched the latest hit videos. It was cool, and even better, it irritated our parents. MTV is still around today, but our kids are living in a world that is constantly evolving, and that includes music. Could YouTube, commonly known as a popular video-sharing site, be on its way to becoming the next MTV?

It's no secret that the face of music is changing. The way kids seek it out is changing, too. Do you remember collecting tons and tons of CDs? Only 50% of today's teens say they even listen to music on CDs. Radio is still primarily how they learn about new music, but music listening sites like Pandora and Last.fm abound. They allow kids to make personalized radio stations, create channels of their favorite songs and artists, and discuss music with other users.

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Goodbye CNN, NBC, and FOX: YouTube is the New News Site for Teens

We all know that the Internet has changed the way we do virtually everything, especially the way we get our news. The print newspaper is going the way of the dodo, and many papers are closing up shop already.

Our teens know that celebrity gossip, political upheavals, and world events are old news by the time they appear in tomorrow's paper, the nightly newscast, or the next issue of OK! Magazine. Why wait when they can find out about it on Twitter within seconds?

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MTV True Life: I'm In a Sexting Scandal

MTV's True Life, a reality/documentary series that profiles real teens in episodes like “I'm a Textaholic”toI'm a Sugar Baby (you can look that one up to see what it means), is now accepting auditions for the newest episode, “I'm in a Sexting Scandal.”

Sexting makes its way into the headlines on a regular basis today, so it's not surprising that it has also become the subject of a True Life episode. Almost every week, I read stories about schools cracking down on sexting, kids charged as sex offenders for receiving or distributing sexts, teachers dismissed for sexting students, and states drafting new sexting legislation.

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MTV's A Thin Line Campaign to Stop Cyberbullying

AThinLine.org is MTV's attempt to raise awareness and educate teens on the facts about sexting, cyberbullying, and digital dating abuse. More specifically, it aims to give kids the knowledge of what to do when those issues arise in their real lives. The information given is concise, easy to understand, and not preachy.

Some of the topics covered at A Thin Line:

Sexting. Teens are told to look at the potential consequences of sexting, keep private pictures on their own phones, and not to let themselves be pressured into sexting. And if they receive a sext from somebody else, to hit 'delete' rather than 'forward.'

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Parents Get Help from The Big Help to Stop Cyberbullying

All kids need lessons in good digital citizenship, but sometimes a parent is the last person kids want to be teaching them. Media like the Big Help is there to support parents in their roles as educators when it comes to Internet safety and helping to stop cyberbullying.

Common Sense Media, a site dedicated to empowering parents with media reviews and advice for their kids, has paired up with children's television station Nickelodeon to bring parents and kids the Big Help.

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We are pleased to announce that Bark will be taking over where we leave off. The uKnowKids mission to protect digital kids will live on with Bark. Our team will be working closely with Bark’s team in the future, so that we can continue making the digital world a safer, better place for kids and their families. While we are disappointed we could not complete this mission independently, we are also pleased to hand the uKnowKids baton to Bark.
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