Digital Parenting: Is My Child Ready for Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking site that allows children to share their pictures with friends and family.  As a parent you might be wondering if your child is ready for Instagram. There are positive and negative things about letting your child on such a site. One thing is that they can share fun photos with everyone on their friends list.  Maturity and age are always a factor in your choice to allow your child on Instagram or not. There is an age restriction where you have to be at least 13 years of age but there are plenty of children younger than this on the site.

Make sure your child keeps their page private. This makes it so that only people on their friends list can view their pictures.  You want this because there are people out there who are looking on a site like this to look at young children’s photos.  There can even be a problem with their own classmates being on their page. Some children are known to put crude comments about people’s pictures which can affect your child’s self-esteem. Instagram can unfortunately be a breeding ground for cyberbullying. 

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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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Digital Parenting: What Is Your Teen's Online Reputation?

If you have a high school student who is interested in attending college, you need to check out this article from Psychology Today about digital parenting and your teen's online reputation. 

Soon it'll be that time of year when college bound seniors start gearing up to submit their college applications in anticipation to get that awaited message, "ACCEPTED".Just like many college bound students, Jake couldn't wait to hear back from his number one college pick.  Finally, the day came.  He logged on to his account and saw that he had notbeen admitted to the college of his dreams.  Shock and disappointment set in.  He knew his grades and test scores were border line, but he was very active in athletics and even held leadership roles in a couple of clubs at school.  Could there be another reason he didn't get accepted?

As the admission committee reviewed applications Jake was right on the fence.  What kept him from getting

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Why You Shouldn't Applaud the New NYC Social Media Guidelines

In case you missed it, the New York City Department of Education released some guidelines for social media use. Here is an article from Rebecca Levey, co-founder of KidzVuz.com about why parents shouldn't be so quick to embrace these guidelines. It was originally published on the Huffington Post.

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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: A Guide To Facebook Training Wheels

Your child has been begging for a Facebook page and you have finally decided you are ready to let them have one.  The thought of them having their own account can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start.  Everyone wants their children to be safe on the internet and in order to get them started its important you tread lightly. Below are simple steps you can take as part of digital parenting in order to prepare your child for their first Facebook page.

Keep it only family – It is important that in the beginning children keep their page with only family and close friends on their 'friends' list. This will lower the risk of cyberbullying.

Teach them about cyberbullying – Let them know that cyberbullying is not ok and to let you know if anyone is harassing them on the internet. This will also let them know that it is not ok to do it to others.

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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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Digital Parenting: Are Teens Really Leaving Facebook?

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Sue Scheff.

"Young Users see Facebook Dead and Buried" and "Facebook's So Uncool" are just two recent headlines alleging that kids are leaving the social media site in droves.

Do we really believe teens are abandoning Facebook?

It is true that Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Whatsapp are popular with the kids today, but let's face it, none of them have the functionality of Facebook.

When you compare the other social media platforms, none of them offer the layers of information and capability to create event invitations, groups and lists, among other unique features. While some of the alternate platforms offer a few of these features, Facebook offers diversity and depth the others don't.

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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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Digital Parenting Infographic: What Your Teen is Doing on Social Media

Check out this great infographic from Liahona Academy, a residential treatment center for troubled teenage boys. One of their main goals is to provide parents with valuable information to help them effectively communicate with their teens. They have created this great infographic to assist in digital parenting and help mom and dad understand what their teens are doing on social media. 

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Digital Parenting: Recent Changes to Facebook's Privacy Policy

This is from one of our favorite Internet safety blogs, The Sue Scheff Blog, and is written by Erin Steiner.

Should you be worried? As a digital parent, the short answer is yes.

For those who haven’t heard, Facebook recently updated its privacy policy for teenage users of the system. Now there is no such thing as “too young to learn about online reputation management.”

Until last week, Facebook automatically made the profiles of users aged 13-17 private and only viewable to friends and friends of friends. Now their profiles are automatically public. That’s right. You’re newly-minted 13-year-old can broadcast his thoughts to the whole world with just the push of a button.

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10 Things Every Parent MUST Know About Cyberbullying

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media parenting editor.

With the statistics piling up, it has become increasingly clear that the cruelties inflicted by cyberbullying have become a devastating reality for many tweens and teens.

While bullying is nothing new, when it takes place in the digital world, the public humiliation can shatter young lives. Photos, cruel comments, taunts and threats travel in an instant, and can be seen, revisited, reposted, linked to and shared by a huge audience.

We're all responsible for making the digital world a decent place. Below are some of the top concerns we've heard from parents trying to make sense of kids' online behavior.

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Digital Parenting: How To Get Your Child To Pay More Attention

With all of the distractions that are around these days, children are having more and more trouble focusing. However, there are ways in which you can get your child to stay on task every day, it just takes a little digital parenting tricks. 

It can be a bit difficult at first, but if you follow these plans then you will have a child that is focused and interested. Here are the best ways to build focus: 

Eliminate distractions

Although you can not control the weather (which may be a distraction all in itself), there are many distractions that you can prevent.

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Digital Parenting: Setting Goals with Your Family

In a culture where both kids and parents are tied to their devices, no one can deny that technology has also changed the way our families interact and communicate. It can be tough to embrace technology as a family without encountering one of two extremes: the family that is never offline or the family that enforces restrictive, alienating rules. One way that you can overcome the “rule” barrier is by using parental intelligence technology that enforces the rules for you. Beyond the governance aspect, though, it may be helpful for your digital family to set goals for how you will take a stance on technology. Setting goals for your digital family’s technology use will not only make your family feel  more positively about  what could be viewed as more restrictive ideas, but the concept of family goals also provides a great forum for family discussion and bonding. Here are some ideas to consider including in your family’s list of technology goals:

  • We love technology: If your digital family loves to play with the latest gadgets, embrace that! Make it a family tradition to wait in line together for the latest technological toy or for a great sale on a device you all love

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5 Things Adults Need to Know About Cyberbullying

 This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Signe Whitson.

 According to a recent study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 20% of kids aged 11-18 say they have been victims of online aggression. In a world of catastrophic headlines and sensational sound bites, these numbers don't actually sound so bad, but take the time talk to any school-aged technology user (read: just about any tween or teen that you meet on the street) and you will no doubt gather that the danger posed by cyberbullying is not in the breadth of its perpetrators and victims, but rather in the depth of damage that online aggression can cause. Just what is it that makes cyberbullying so bad?

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Download The Newest Infographic From uKnowKids!

Do you know what your teen is sharing online?

Let's face it, your kids are using social media. Whether it's for educational purposes or just for fun, their personal information may be accessible by just about anyone, anytime. The latest statistics have yielded shocking results about our nation's teens (and even adults) and their online activities.

Download this infographic and find out:

  • the percentage of teens post videos of themselves online.
  • the percentage of teens with Twitter make their profile private.

  • the percentage of teens that post their cell phone number online.

  • the percentage of adults are worried that the government monitors their internet use.

  • the percentage of adults that have had their privacy violated online.

  • the percentage of teens that limit what their parents can see online.

  • and more!

Download now to get the full infographic! Feel free to share this great information with family and friends or repost on social media sites or blogs. 

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11 Sites and Apps Kids Are Heading to After Facebook

This article was originally published on The Huffington Post by Kelly Schryver, Senior Content Specialist at Common Sense Media.

Remember MySpace? Not so long ago, practically every teen in the world was on it -- and then many left for Facebook. Now, as Facebook's popularity among teens is starting to wane, you might be wondering what the new "it" social network is. But the days of a one-stop shop for all social networking needs are over. Instead, teens are dividing their attention between an array of apps and tools that let them write, share, video chat and even shop for the latest trends.

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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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Cyberbullying Laws Implemented at State Level: Will it Matter?

Cyberbullying has now been deemed a cultural problem by some media outlets, and it might have to be blamed on the contentious media culture that people see. Since federal laws on cyberbullying are still non-existent, one has to wonder how existing state laws on cyberbullying are working. As of now, 34 states have cyberbullying laws, even though we still hear so much about kids being harrassed online in every state.

But what new states are joining the fray? And will state laws make any real difference without federal action?

Oklahoma the Latest to Pass a New Law

Recently, the anti-bullying law Bill 1661 was signed into law in Oklahoma by the state's governor, Gov. Mary Fallin. While it addresses the problem of bullying in general, it specifically hones in on cyberbullying so schools can use law enforcement to intervene. The bill allows schools to keep internal records of

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Digital Parenting: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Snapchat

Keeping up to date with the evolution of social media can be a challenge for any parent, but familiarizing yourself with the latest trends is a vital part of digital parenting. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the most popular social media outlets, but there are many less known apps that are gaining a large teen following. One app that is taking over social media is Snapchat. Snapchat, which is used largely by teens and young adults, allows its users to send pictures to their friends that self-destruct after they are viewed. Unfortunately, the promise of a picture disappearing is not entirely true. The person receiving the photo can choose to take a screenshot of it. Even though the sender is notified the screenshot was taken, once the recipient has acquired the photograph how they choose to use the image is out of the original senders hands.

With the allure of a picture vanishing once it is viewed, Snapchat has become an app that is widely used for taking photos of a sexual natures. While parents are aware of sexting by text message, they may not realize their teens have found a new way to send inappropriate images of themselves. Snapchat's advertising as a self-destructing photo app has created a false sense of security in teens and young adults. The reality that the receiver of the image can take a screenshot of the photo and use it any way they want without the senders consent is a consequence a teen may not fully comprehend.

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