Digital Parenting: Kid-Centric Home Security

With the advancements in technology these days, it almost seems as if parents can be everywhere at once. Indeed, digital parenting is completely possible with monitoring systems directed toward your child's cell phone and computer usage and their online, gaming and social networking history.

As a recent uKnowKids post pointed out, you can even add location monitoring to your child's smartphone that not only lets you know where they are throughout the day, but it also could mean the difference between survival and tragedy in the event of an abduction.

Certainly, the willingness to take proactive measures to protect your children doesn't make you a panicked and frightened person – it makes you a good parent. And although you don't want to dwell on the possibility of someone kidnapping your child, one of the toughest parts of the gig is addressing unthinkable events before they happen so that you are prepared if they ever do occur. That's why you teach your children about the dangers of strangers – not to instill a fear of those they don't know, but to equip them to function in the real world.

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Foster Kids Might Need Extra Protection From Identity Theft

Foster children are especially vulnerable to various ID theft types, because their Social Security Number and other personal data is accessed by many so many people at various stages of the foster care process, the Huffington Post reports. This results in credit problems that often go unnoticed until the child reaches adulthood and tries to establish credit for him- or herself.

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Is Your Child Online Constantly? Time to Think About Parental Controls

Our next guest blog post for Internet safety month comes from Ann Biddlecom, Senior Product Manager at Kaspersky Lab, one of the world's leading Internet security companies. Read on for her take on keeping your children safe on the computer.

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17 Cyber Safety Experts Share Tips for Keeping Children Safe Online

This is a post from our friend's over at SafeSoundFamily. They interviewed 17 Internet and mobile safety experts about how to keep children safe online, and Tim was one of them! Read the full post for some great information from the leading experts in digital safety.

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Teacher Gives "Cyber Ninjas" Social Network Training Wheels

Beth Gentrup at Norfolk Junior High in Nebraska is providing seventh-graders Social Network training wheels in the form of an elective course called "Becoming a Cyber Ninja." The course teaches about a wide variety of topics meant to protect online users and promote proper online behavior.  This means addressing topics like cyberbullying, stalking, identity theft, and uses of personal information.

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Online Parenting: 10 Common Internet Scams Your Child Might Fall For


The world wide web can be a big, scary place for your kids. The most efficient way to monitor your child's online activity is through a parental intelligence system that will monitor and analyze their actions. Scams come a dime a dozen, but it's worse when they specifically target your children. You need to know what to watch out for.  Here are the 10 most common Internet scams your child might fall for:

1. Knockoffs

Kids love clothes, especially teenagers. They want to be trendy and have all the latest designer styles when they know they can't afford it. So scammers create ads for all these "discount" online stores that supposedly sell designer goods. However, designers do not license these companies to sell their goods, and all the products are fake. Let your children know not to be tempted by these online stores, because they are likely not what they advertise.

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Online Parenting TMI: Sharing Information Puts Your Family at Risk

Social media overshares generally land somewhere on the "enjoyable spectrum" between a hoard of blood-thirsty mosquitoes and a Gilbert Godfrey recording on repeat. In addition to often being crass and irritating, social media overshares can lead to serious crimes and bullying. It’s time to wise up and teach your family proper social media etiquette, it could save more than just a reputation.

Don’t Leave Trails

While it may be tempting to countdown to your school vacation or brag about your weekend trip to the slopes, disclosing any dates or times you may be out of town is basically like slapping a “SITTING DUCK” sign outside your home. Even posting the cliché complaint about long school hours or grueling work schedules can be a tip-off to anyone looking for a mark to loot. Even if you trust everyone on your friend’s list, can you guarantee all of their friends are hundred percent trustworthy? Or, every single person on your list is at a zero percent risk of leaving their account open somewhere?

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Protecting the Puzzle Pieces of Your Child’s Identity

This guest post is brought to you by Tami Nealy, Senior Director of Corporate Communication with LifeLock. Today, she writes about child identity theft protection, one of the latest digital dangers parents should be educated on. 

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Making Digital Parenting Fun: Websites that Teach Online Safety

Keeping your kids safe on the internet can feel overwhelming and exhausting.  Between time spent researching safety tips, monitoring your kids' digital whereabouts, and arguing with them about online restrictions, a significant amount of your family time can be spent dealing with digital parenting issues. Several online websites can put a little fun back in to the process by teaching your kids digital safety while they play games and learn valuable lessons about staying safe online.  As a bonus for parents, it allows you to say to yes to an online experience, instead of always saying no; take those brownie points where you can get them!

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Blog Series: What Does Digital Parenting Mean to You?

As part of an on-going blog series that begins today, we have interviewed some internet safety experts, parenting experts and industry leaders and are pleased to present our findings. Our questions centered around 'digital parenting' and what people thought were the biggest issues regarding this subject.  

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Monitor the Child, Not the Device

Parental monitoring is no easy task, but parents realize that it's one of their most important responsibilities. My kids put themselves on a global stage every time they use the Internet, and it's up to me to ensure that they're doing it in a way that protects their safety and their reputation. But parental monitoring isn't what it used to be. The way our kids use the Internet keeps changing, so the way we keep tabs on their online activity must also evolve.

A decade or so ago, it was usually enough to place the family computer in a well-trafficked area of the house and install some parental controls on it. But today's kids don't even use the family computer as their main method of getting online. Kids use their phones, their tablets, their gaming systems, their music players, and other handheld devices. They may go all week without even touching the family computer.

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Internet Habits and Patterns: Red Flags For Teen Depression

All parents know that the Internet is a place that requires parental involvement and parental monitoring. There are cyberbullies, online predators, and identity thieves out there to worry about.

But the obvious dangers notwithstanding, did you know that some Internet uses and behaviors may also be linked to a teen's physical and mental health, too? Many studies suggest a correlation between certain types of online behavior and physical or mental health problems, from anxiety to obesity.

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Cyberbullying Infographic Correction

uKnowKids recently released a few cyberbullying statistics which were displayed through an infographic titled "The Truth About Cyberbullying". Our intention was to provide parents with some information and statistics from last year related to the growing issue of cyberbullying.

Thanks to Nancy Willard and a SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) taskforce we have noticed that one of the statistics was miscatorgized and thus misrepresented a very important statistic. The original inforgraphic claimed that 97% of middle school aged teenagers have been cyberbullied. The intended statistic should have shown that 97% of teens have access to the internet and according to the NCPC "Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts" 43% of teens have experienced some sort of cyberbullying behavior online. 

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Top 10 Ways Teens Get Around Parental Monitoring

Do you think you have a pretty good idea of what your child is doing online? You may even have parental controls or parental monitoring software. Despite all the effort you go through to monitor your teen's Internet activity, your kids may still be pulling the wool over your eyes in more ways than one, a new study reveals.

The 2012 Teen Internet Behavior Study from McAfee took a closer look at the ways kids 13-17 hide their Internet activity from their parents. Teens reported that their top 10 methods included:

  1. Clearing the browser history (53%)

  2. Closing/minimizing browser windows when parent walked in (46%)

  3. Hiding or deleting IMs or videos (34%)

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Account as Facebook Spy Tool Used On High Schoolers: Kids Safety

Apparently, parents aren’t the only ones addicted to spying on their kids. Worried about cyberbullying and facebook bullying Clayton High School principal Louise Losos came up with what she thought was a clever idea for keeping an eye on the students at her Missouri school. She allegedly created a Facebook account for a “Suzy Harriston” with a generic profile photo of a group of penguins. “Suzy” friended about 300 people before someone outed her:

"No one seemed to question who Harriston was. That is, until the night of April 5, when a 2011 grad and former Clayton quarterback posted a public accusation. “Whoever is friends with Suzy Harriston on Facebook needs to drop them. It is the Clayton Principal,” wrote Chase Haslett. And then, Suzy Harriston disappeared, say those who saw the profile." via Clayton High’s principal resigns amid Facebook mystery.

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Understanding ESRB Ratings

online gamesThe ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) is a non-profit organization that assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.  The ESRB was started so consumers, especially parents, could make informed purchasing decisions.

The ESRB Rating is made up of two equally important parts:  Rating Symbol and Content Descriptors.  This two-part approach provides parents with a more granular understanding of the games they might buy and the ones their kids are playing – online and off.

Ratings Symbols

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Never Too Early to Teach Internet Safety for Kids

Yesterday my kindergartener came home and told me how much fun she had using the iPad at school. Their teacher taught them how to use an app that helped them draw letters in the proper sequence with their fingers. 

Lots of school districts are using iPads, Twitter, or Skype in the classroom. It's a bit of a debate, but I generally agree with integrating new technologies into education. Facebook and iPads are great mediums for educators to use to connect with their students, because these tools are inevitably going to be – and sometimes already are – an integral part of these kids' lives. Googling is a skill I think needs to be learned along with looking things up in a dictionary or encyclopedia.

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5 Easy Tips for Internet Safety Basics

Internet safety is a big deal if you have kids in your house, and even if you dont it should be taken seriously. Kids safety online is reliant on the measures you take to protect them before they ever log on. Here are 5 easy tips to keeping yourself and you kids safe online:

  1. Install firewall, anti-spyware, and antivirus software, and update them often.

  2. Don’t open e-mails from someone you don’t know, download software from source you don’t trust, or enter “free” contests from companies you don’t recognize.

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Replacing Facts with Skills in the Classroom: Internet Safety

A student asked me recently: “Why do I need to know when Frankenstein was published? I have a smart phone—I can always find the answer if I need it.” 

He was right. And while I can expound easily and at length about how important it is to understand the time period in which an author was writing in order to fully analyze the novel, for most students in American high schools today, my lecture would fall under the “not relevant—tune out” category, and instead of listening to me, they’d spend the next twenty minutes ignoring my painstakingly planned lesson in favor of tweeting and texting their friends from under their desks.

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Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Kids: HTTP vs HTTPS

Those of you who have shopped online, use online banking, or have used Facebook may have see a padlock icon appear in your address bar, and may have noticed the address bar has turned green. This happens when your browser is using a secure or safe connection (HTTPS) to communicate with whatever site you are on. Whats the difference? It all has to do with your internet safety settings.

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and its used for a majority of websites. Its safe and secure for your day to day browsing like surfing the web, reading blogs, checking your on your favorite sports team or watching videos. The extra "S" in HTTPS stands for "secure" and websites that use HTTPS want to ensure that the information you enter on their site remains private.

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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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