In Defense Of Texting, My Favorite Parenting Tool

This article is from the Huffington Post by Senior Columnist Lisa Belkin. Check out how one parent feels towards texting -- and why she loves it for her children so much. 

Yes, I know the dangers. That it affects the brain like an addictive drug. That it shortens our attention spans, and reduces our sleep, increases our stress and keeps us from interacting meaningfully with our kids. I have read all the studies and agree we should all back away from our screens, put down our phones and look each other in the eye when we talk.

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Digital Parenting: 7 Surprisingly Inspiring Kids' Tech Trends for 2014

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

From the iPotty to The Smurfs 2, 2013 gave us some real stinkers. And attention-grabbing stories about cyberbullying and sexting seemed to dominate the news.

But for a lot of parents, the negative headlines don't track with their families' experience of technology. Many folks are seeing their kids learn, grow and benefit from innovations in the tech world.

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Use Your Parental Intelligence to Parent Smarter, Not Harder

There comes a time in every parent's life, when he or she realizes they start sounding like an old person.  It's a sobering moment.  One when you hear yourself talking about "back in my day" or "when I was your age" and you begin the long and arduous path of beating a dead horse with tidbits of what made your generation better than your children's.

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5 Ways to Monitor Your Child Online Without Invading Their Privacy

Monitoring your kid's private life doesn't come easy. You need to watch out for your child without invading their privacy -- possibly limit their experience while still allowing them freedom to explore life. It's a tricky balance, and it's not the same for everybody. But, there's plenty you can do to try to make sure your child stays safe on the Internet without losing his trust. The following list shows different ways you can keep your child and the computer in a safe zone without altering the experience.

Did you know that just about every social media website out there has an age limit? For example, Facebook doesn't let people under 13 join their network. Unfortunately, they can't truly enforce this, as all they do to verify your age is ask you how old you are. Make sure that whatever social media account your child uses, they have passed the appropriate age limit designated by the site; they designate these ages for good reason.

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You Are Invited to uKnow's New Product Mix and Mingle Event!

uKnow is having a new product launch party, and you are invited! If you are in the Washington, DC area come see for yourself how we are changing the way families connect and protect one another online and via mobile phones. Beer, wine, hors d'oeuvres and great networking opportunities will be served!

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Digital Parenting: The Top 5 Apps Every Digital Parent Should Have

Do you wish you could allow your child to have more freedom, but feel uneasy at the prospect of not knowing his whereabouts? Do you worry that your child is sending or receiving inappropriate text messages? Thanks to recent innovations in digital parenting, you can put your mind at ease while allowing your child to be independent. There are thousands of smartphone apps to help keep track of your child's location and secure his safety, but the following five are must-haves.

 1. uKnow Mobile

Designed by uKnowKids, a leader in digital parenting technology, the uKnowMobile app is arguably the most comprehensive child monitoring app on the market. It automatically compiles all of your child's activity from social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and Instagam and displays it on an easy-to-navigate dashboard. This allows you to check up on your child with just a quick glance. Never again do you have to step out of a meeting just to see what your child is doing. If your child has an Android or iPhone, uKnowMobile also collects his sent and received text messages and application downloads so that you are instantly aware of any bullying situations, covert plans or undesirable application use.

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4 Ways to Handle Cyberbullying reports students who are cyberbullied have up to nine times higher chances of suicide. Cyberbullying comes in many forms: stalking, harassment and identity theft are three common forms. Self-esteem problems, unwillingness to go to school, and engaging in bullying behavior of their own are signs that your child might be a victim of cyberbullying. If your child has plunging grades and doesn't want to hang out with their friends, it's time to take a look into what's going on in his or her life.

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The Benefits of Living Unplugged (Even If Just For a Day)!

When you close your eyes at night, what do you see? Is it a scrolling bar that ends up sounding like the ramblings of a crazy person? "Sarah Smith likes Diet Coke. Anthony Jones likes K-Mart. Pink slingbacks are now trending on Twitter!" In a modern household, spending a great deal of time on the internet is a foregone conclusion. In the working world, it's even worse. You're expected to be connected at all times for an email, a text, or a phone call. The obsession with connectivity has led to busier lives both in and out of the office, and new advances in technology aren't doing anything to lessen the problems. With this in mind, it has become increasingly important to take some time to disconnect everything, even if it is just for a brief 24 hours.

Reducing Connectivity Produces Connections

How often do you see an advertisement where a family sits around a table and has an actual conversation that doesn't include incognito texting or tweeting under the dinner table? The landscape for family dinners has changed so drastically with the introduction of smartphones and tablets that family dinner has become a family plus Facebook dinner, where the virtual guests are invited to ogle your meal via Instagram, and find the recipe through suggested banner advertisements. 

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This Family is Living Like it's 1986

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Amanda Sherker. 

If you want to get in touch with a member of the McMillan family, you can't call them on their cell phones, you can't reach them on Facebook and you certainly can't ping them on Gmail. This Ontario family isn't Amish; they've simply instituted a ban on all technology invented after 1986, according to an interview in the Toronto Sun.

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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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Digital Parenting and More Positive Views of Digital Tech Dangers

Digital parenting seems to be changing into more of a shared family experience, according to a new study cited by CNN from Northwestern University. And in that same study, it's found that parents aren't that concerned about the dangers of the digital world with their kids. Whether that's a sign of parents becoming too busy to deal with reality or not, it's an interesting examination of where America is headed in families dealing with an increasingly digital world.

Digital Media isn't Always a Babysitter

The most positive news in the above study is that many parents use regular toys, books or other play activities to keep their kids occupied above using a smartphone, tablet or other digital media device. It's an encouraging sign that the digital world won't replace traditional items in developing the minds of the new generation. At the same time, when that digital media is used, it's becoming a collective family activity--that is, when the parents are actually around.

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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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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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Digital Parenting: Be The Best You Can Be

You know kids.  They live, breathe, eat, sleep and play in a digital world. There's no denying this fact and there's no going back.

You may long for a time when families sat around the dinner table and talked to each other.  You may wish for more face time, actual conversations, even if it is with a telephone.  However, our plug-and-play digital society is entrenched and intrusive. This is where Digital Parenting comes in.

So, how does Digital Parenting work?  First, establishing boundaries is key.  Your kids, and most likely you, are attached to your cell phone and mobile communications device.  It is the way of today's world. You can practice examples that will help make you an accomplished Digital Parenting professional.

First example: Kids mimic what their parents do and say.  If you are on the cell phone while driving with your child, they determine this to be normal behavior.  If you are texting with a friend, co-worker or family member during a conversation, they also see this as acceptable.

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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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Guest Post: Generation Disconnection

This guest post comes to us from Pierce Higgins, founder of AfterMath, a website that enables a child to earn his time online by answering educational challenges. 

It a great privilege to be asked to write a guest blog for, one of the world’s leading companies in the “Parental Intelligence” space. uKnowKids has a range of category-winning products for parents that cover areas such as social monitoring, mobile monitoring and location monitoring.

Today’s parents have become disconnected from the digital lives of their children and have become increasingly incapable of dealing with cyberbullying, sexting issues ,mortifying video clips on YouTube amongst many.

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Digital Parenting on Wireless Devices for Safe Children

Digital Parenting is controlling the parameters of digital life with children.  It is important for parents to learn how to play and teach their children to play it safely.  It is obvious our world and lives are going to continue to revolve around digital sources.  Wireless is infiltrating most every sector of the lives we lead.  Parents need to become familiar with how to protect their children.

Here are five important tips to keep children safe in the digital age:

Family Intelligence and Education

  • Develop safe practices and rules for the family on mobile device usage.  Everyone in the family should subscribe and adopt the rules.  These can be as easy as: "Never use my phone to harm others", and "Remind all drivers to never text and drive".

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We Must Embrace Digital Parenting, Ready Or Not

Perhaps before asking the question "What types of technology are our children ready for?", we should ask ourselves "Are they ready for technology and social media at all?" With all the pressures that parents feel concerning social media and technology, sometimes they don't stop to consider that maybe technology is not a good idea at all at this time.  With big business fueling advertising of the latest, greatest advances, we're being led to believe that life cannot continue normally without it.  But the truth is, the human race has survived a very long time without tweets, statuses and apps. 

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Top 25 Family Safety Articles of the Week

Home Safety

  1. We all understand the importance of home security, but we also know it can be pricey. Rehna from Ardor NY Real Estate gives us five inexpensive ways to boost your home’s security.

  2. Metzae at Dandy Gadget has an interesting article on how smart-home technology is changing the face of home security.

  3. We’ve discussed how to burglar-proof your doors, and the Homes and House blog echoes these sentiments, recommending super-sturdy composite doors for security.

  4. Tammy, from A Mom and Her Blog, talks about the benefits of wireless home security systems.

  5. Powers Heating & Air has a different take on staying safe at home, doling out sage advice on three all-too-common home safety hazards.

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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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