4 Services for Monitoring Your Kid's Online Activities

This article was originally published in the Daily Times by Digital First Media's Steve Fox. The full article can be accessed here.

One of the bigger struggles a parent faces is how much privacy to give to their children ... and when? With a 15-, a 13-, and a 10-year-old, I have three very distinct age groups to contend with when it comes to monitoring activities online.

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How to Tell If Your Child Is Involved In Cyberbullying

Gone are the days when you knew your child was safe because they were home with you. With social media, smartphones, tablets, laptops and wireless Internet everywhere, there is almost nowhere your child can hide if someone wants to bully them. The wonders of our modern age have opened up a whole new world for bullies and victims and the terrain is frightening and dangerous.

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Think Sexting Can't Land Your Child in Jail? Think Again

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The trial of a Victoria-area teen who is facing child pornography charges for allegedly texting a nude picture of another girl without her consent will go ahead before a constitutional challenge, a judge has ruled.

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Top 5 Back-To-School Tech Essentials

Students will head back to school over the next month, which means parents are finishing up all the last minute back-to-school shopping. You've already loaded up on #2 pencils, highlighters in every color of the rainbow, and those classic pink erasers. Now it's time to start thinking about electronics. Students today go to school with much more than a new backpack and smartphone. This year, load them up with a powerful set of digital tools to enhance their educational experience and some digital parenting tools for yourself as well. 

Headphones

Last year, headphones went seriously high-tech with the introduction of the Beats by Dre headphones. These stylish, state of the art headphones were on the wish list of every teenager last Christmas. The headphones continue to prove popular but some other headphone options might work well for students as well. 

Many classrooms use online teaching tools now that require students to wear headsets with USB plugins and microphones for recording. These common headsets get worn by everyone in the school. To protect your students from germs or lice, provide them with their own headset with USB plugin and microphone.

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Teens Flock to Tinder - The Social Hookup App

There are so many ways for teens to communicate today - email, texting, facebook and now Tinder. Tinder is a new dating app that creates a collection of Facebook photos that it shows to other interested parties in the area. One of the best parts of Tinder is the local feature which means all the people who are interested in you are in your area.

Teens love Tinder for a number of reasons. First, is the instant gratification that it gives. How the apps works: a picture of someone pops up and the user has the option of clicking on a green button and if they don't like what they see they hit an X. The average teen is thrilled to find out who thinks they are hot. Tinder only gives the good news. If people see the pictures and hit the X the teen never knows about it. 

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10 Ways to Keep the Kids Safe While Online - From NannyWebsites

online safety

When used in a responsible and safe manner, the Internet can be one of the most powerful research and educational tools at a child's disposal. It can expose him to a wealth of knowledge that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, help him experience other cultures and ways of life and encourage him to learn about the world around him. When used irresponsibly by children that have not been adequately taught about the potential dangers, however, the Internet can also be one of the most powerful tools at a predator's disposal. These ten tips can help you keep your kids safe without depriving them of the vaulable knowledga available.

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Mobile Monitoring Can Change Your Family's Life for the Better!

In the current digital age, many families have tween and teenage children who spend significant periods of time on social media websites and mobile devices. While these outlets can be asset to children's social lives, they can also do more harm than good. Many parents are weary of enforcing heavy social media and cell phone monitoring because of the endless arguments that will result. However, doing nothing and letting tweens and teens have complete freedom is not the answer either. How do you find a balance? Consider creating an open environment for communication and compromise in which you and your children can discuss healthy limits and rules. The following tips will help you with this process.

  • When can a child join Facebook? The minimum age for creating a Facebook account is 13. However, there is no way for Facebook to enforce this policy as people can lie about their birthdays when they create accounts. As a parent, it can be tough to stand up against the growing pressure that "everyone" at school has a Facebook account, even in 4th or 5th grade. If your child is adamant about joining Facebook before age 13, have a discussion with him or her about why Facebook creates this minimum age and why you believe that it is important. Your child may still be upset about not getting an account, but in time he or she will appreciate your honesty.

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Study Finds Links Between Cyberbullying and Adolescent Depression

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to develop negative responses such as depression and addictive behaviors.

The study's lead author, Dr. Manuel Gamez-Guadix of the University of Deusto in Spain, said that it is important to understand how cyberbullying impacts adolescent health.  While many adolescents both become cyberbullying victims and also bully others themselves, those that experience cyberbullying attacks for six months or longer are more likely to experience problems such as depression or substance abuse.

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Is it Safe For My Teen? Monitoring Twitter Will Make it Safer

Twitter, which was founded in 2006, began as a text messaging service for people to connect within a small group.  A tweet, a message consisting of up to 140 characters, is what Twitter is made up of. Photos and videos can be included within your message.

The use of hashtags on Twitter is a way people link to a certain topic. Twitter publishes trending topics on the site throughout the day. 

The information you put out there is done so in real-time. The information is shared instantly.

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Parental Controls Also Include Education: Kids Are More Tech Savvy

Parental monitoring tools enabling parents to see what kids are doing online are going to be needed more than ever. An extensive study is out that says children look up things they shouldn't when the parents aren't around. This study through McAfee is a real eye-opener and goes into the deep layers of what makes parental control so difficult: Lack of time and knowledge.

Parents Not Keeping Up with What Kids Know

In the above study, it's found that many teens take advantage of parents not knowing how easy it is to guess passwords those parents set for parental controls. As well, the general lack of tech savvy by busy parents means kids are taking advantage of the situation. The most concerning is that the parents in the study thought it was impossible for their kids to learn the parental control passwords.

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Cyberbullying on Facebook: How Parental Monitoring Can Prevent It

It's a common question when kids start hitting their tween years. They begin to grow larger friend groups, become more entwined with their social circles, and form new connections. They're beginning to develop some independence from mom and dad, and with that, the question always comes up: "Mom, Dad, can I make a facebook?"

Of course, this begs the question from moms and dads everywhere: How do I prevent cyberbullying? After all, today's news is rife of stories of children using the internet to harass one another, sometimes to the point where young lives are lost. It's a reasonable fear, and a difficult question to answer. The answer, of course, is to monitor your children's facebook page to ensure that communications are appropriate. Of course, there is always a balance between monitoring your children and giving them some level of independence.

The act of monitoring your child's social media accounts is not an unusual one, either. According to the LA times, almost two thirds of American parents monitor their children on facebook, and with good reason. In an era where the internet gives anonymity to almost anyone, kids are liable to make poor decisions. The worry isn't just that your child will be bullied, either. There is just as big a concern that your child will become the bully.

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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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Do You Know What Your Tween Is Up To Online? This Study Says No

Remember when we told you about the new study done by McAfee concerning children, parents and the online disconnect?

As part of Internet Safety month, we are proud to say that we got Robert Siciliano, an online security expert at McAfee to comment on the study's findings. Read his guest post for uKnowKids below.

Parents: Do You Know What Your Tween Is Up Too?  

In McAfee’s 2013 study “Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids” that examines the online habits and interests of preteens, teens, and young adults and finds there is a significant disconnect between what they do online and what their parents believe they do.

While youth understand the Internet is dangerous, they still engage in risky behavior, hiding this activity from their parents in a variety of ways, and acknowledging that they (46%) would change their behavior if they knew their parents were paying attention.

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Parental Intelligence and uKnowKids Discussed in Tech Cocktail!

Our friends at Tech Cocktail did a phenomenal job of covering a difficult topic: parental monitoring and intelligence.  Here is what they had to say about our service.

Protect your tweens and teens from unwanted digital behavior with uKnowKids

Too much of something can be a bad thing. Like ice cream (especially for the lactose intolerant), or child digital monitoring services for parents. Used the right way, it can keep kids safe and give parents useful insight. Used the wrong way, and it is just a really sophisticated spy shop grown-up toy.

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Sexting: Your Photo Fate

Cell phones are becoming more ubiquitous with teens and tweens texting their friends every chance they can get. While this isn’t generally an issue, and can even provide smiles and a fun way to communicate with peers, there is a concern with a type of texting called sexting.

Sexting is the sharing of nude or near nude pictures by cell phone texts. Sexting is different from sending suggestive text messages, which although also a subject of concern, is not the same as sending an actual photo of one’s self in the nude with possibly a suggestive text message accompanying it.

So how can you protect your child from, and teach your child about, the implications and consequences of sexting?

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Social Media Monitoring: You Can't Turn a Blind Eye to Facebook

With the advent of social media and the fact that kids are spending more time on the internet now more than ever, parents need to be extra sure to pay special attention to what their kids are getting into online. In the past, one of the biggest concerns you might have had as a parent dealt with the kind of kids that your child spends a lot of time with. Now, social media sites such as Facebook give kids an outlet that can reach quite literally the majority of the people that your child may know. This can be just fine if your children are trustworthy and responsible with what they share, but some children cross the line, whether it has something to do with sexting, online bullying, or making inappropriate comments.

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Online Parenting: Mom and Dad, Watch Out For Gaming Sites

What Is Online Gaming?

The world of online gaming is a diverse one, with thousands of games available. Simple applications, such as Pathwords and Typing Maniac, are built into Facebook and mobile phones. More complex games include massive online multi-player role-playing games such as Second Life and Internet-based gambling websites. Many online games require a membership or credit card, but others are available for free.

 What Are the Dangers of Online Gaming?

Because the online gaming world is so diverse, the dangers vary from game to game. One of the most serious concerns is that online gaming can be addictive. Additionally, online games give users an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people.

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Why You Should Be Monitoring Your Child on Instagram Right Now

Instagram is one of the newest forms of social media that is being utilized by millions all over the world. Using pictures to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas, this appeals to the younger masses especially and many tweens and teens are flocking to this form of communication to express themselves. Uploading their pictures directly from the applications on their phones or tablets using frames and decorations makes it easy and fun to use to connect with friends and followers.

But Instagram isn't rated PG and there is no actual filter or censorship of what can be shared. There is a ton of content on there that many parents would deem pornographic or simply inappropriate, which is why Instagram monitoring is key. If you're concerned with what your kids are watching, what they're exposed to on the internet and the company that they keep, you should be just as concerned with what they are involved in on their social media applications, including Instagram.

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Instagram: It's More Than Just Pictures

Instagram is an application that can be downloaded to several different smartphones and cellular devices. This application is a photo sharing one in which users can take pictures, add special effects, and then share them on several different social media sites with just the click of a button. The photo is then placed out there into the network of friends the users have, both those that have the application themselves and those who do not, resulting in a sharing of moments and memories quickly. The program, however, does not come without dangers. As with any social media sharing entity, the quick expression and release of information is both exciting and dangerous. It is for that reason that parents need to understand the risks and be instagram monitoring vigilantes, especially when it comes to their children that use the application.

Prying Eyes

One of the reasons that Instagram monitoring needs to be taken seriously is because, as with any social media site,

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Social and Cell Phone Monitoring Can Make Your Family's Life Better

In the current digital age, many families have tween and teenage children who spend significant periods of time on social media websites and mobile devices. While these outlets can be asset to children's social lives, they can also do more harm than good. Many parents are weary of enforcing heavy social media and cell phone monitoring because of the endless arguments that will result. However, doing nothing and letting tweens and teens have complete freedom is not the answer either. How do you find a balance? Consider creating an open environment for communication and compromise in which you and your children can discuss healthy limits and rules. The following tips will help you with this process.

Read More »

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