Teens Overshare & Chat With Strangers Online More Than You Think

In case you missed it, McAfee released a Teens and Screens study earlier this month exposing shocking revelations about the depths of the extent and how often teens overshare and chat with strangers online. In McAfee's Teens' Online Behavior Can Get Them in Trouble, Robert Siciliano reports of the study that:

About 75% of tweens and teens friend people whom they know in the real world, however, 59% engage with strangers online. And one out of 12 meet the online stranger in real life. This could be because 33% of them say they feel more accepted online than in real life.

Additional facts to understand:

  • Our tweens and teens overshare personal information – 50% posted their email address,

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Top Pros and Cons of Using the Photo Sharing App Instagram

As the popularity of the photo sharing app Instagram continues to grow, so does its user base. Children watch their older siblings and peers using the smartphone application and begin using it in order to fit in and feel trendy. Although there is nothing wrong with young children trying to keep up with the latest technology, it is important to weigh the Instagram pros and cons before letting your young children start using the app.

Pros

One of the greatest features of Instagram is its privacy settings. This ensures that outside users--people who are not following you--have to request your permission to see your photos. This helps ward off strangers and potential offenders who could possibly cause harm through their comments.

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Tyler Cohen Wood's Catching the Catfishers

Tyler Cohen Wood’s Catching the Catfishers explores the digital footprints that we all leave behind, whether we realize it or not. The book sheds light on a comprehensive set of online security components and teaches readers how to best protect their personal information from being put out and circulated on the web. Catching the Catfishers teaches parents and kids alike the value in being aware of the implications that every digital imprint we make can have.

The author is a senior officer and cyber branch chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency within the Department of Defense. Wood clearly demonstrates her authority on all matters of Internet security throughout the book. With a plethora of examples and nuances from recent pop culture and past experiences, Wood shows just how easy it is for people with little to no training to learn everything that they want to discover about someone through the web.

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Two Teen Sexting Incidences Reported in New Jersey This Week

New Jersey is one of the few states that has a somewhat "lenient" sexting law, which punishes most minors caught sexting with mandatory educational programs. The state is having quite a trying week, with the recent news of two sexting incidences reported in separate New Jersey schools. 

According to ABC7 Eyewitness News, nude photos of several students were discovered on multiple students' phones in Somerset County's Basking Ridge Middle School. Superintendent Nick Markarian sent out a letter about the incident to parents, informing them on the events and providing them a chance to "clean things up" before criminal charges are soon filed. Markarian is encouraging parents to have their kids delete and cease distribution of the viral nude photos.

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Survey Discovers High Rates of Teen Cyberbullying & Oversharing Online

Even though state laws and parents are making efforts to combat cyberbullying, the number of teens who have been cyberbullied appears to remain high. Additionally, teens don't often seek out parents to help them when they encounter digital dangers. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Cox Communications have released a survey about teens, technology, and cyberbullying. The survey finds are startling to say the least! Here is an excerpt of major findings of the survey outlined in a NCMEC article:

Key trends among the teens surveyed include:

  • Three in 10 teens claim to have been bullied online (31 percent)

  • One in 10 admits to have bullied someone online

  • Of teens who admit to being bullied online, only 41 percent have told an adult

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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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Everything You Need to Know About Flickr

What is Flickr?

Flickr is an image sharing site and online community. Users upload and manage photos, comment on others' pictures, subscribe to image feeds, and communicate with up to 3,000 contacts on Flickr.

How do you sign up?

Only a Yahoo email address is required for sign up, which is by default hidden from users who aren't designated as “friends and family.” A person's real name and current city, if provided, are public by default.

Who can add photos on Flikr?

Registered users can geotag their uploaded photos, tag and add notes, organize albums, and join groups of similar pictures taken by other people.

What sort of privacy settings are there?

Users set a privacy level for each photo and designate who can download it. They also assign the photo license (“all rights reserved” is the default) and the safety level of the photos.

  • “Safe” means appropriate for everyone

  • “Moderate” is mature (Flickr specifies that “bare breasts and bottoms” fall into this category)

  • “Restricted” means definitely not for minors

It's important to note that users themselves are responsible for designating safety levels, not Flickr. Users can flag inappropriate or incorrectly rated photos they view.

What can a parent do?

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Colorado Anti-Cyberbullying Law Rejected by State Legislature

One of the vexing problems brought about by the Internet and social media is the phenomenon of cyberbullying. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying does not involve actual physical confrontation. Indeed the cyberbully who posts harassing and threatening messages on Facebook and other social media is often not even identified. As a result, some victims of cyberbullying have been driven to suicide, so powerless do they feel to stop it. Many states have attempted or are currently attempting to invoke real change for cyberbullying victims by passing anti-cyberbullying laws.

Earlier today we published a blog post about a new anti-cyberbullying bill sweeping through Florida's legislature. A few months ago, a similar bill in Colorado received massive support and approval from the state's House of Representatives. However, the Colorado cyberbullying law was recently rejected by the Colorado Senate. 

The Colorado legislature was striving to equip the state’s law enforcement agencies with tools to combat cyberbullying. According to Channel 7 News in Denver, HB 14-1131, was a bill that would have specifically made cyberbullying a crime. Initially, the bill was successful, as it passed the Colorado House Education Committee unanimously and passed the state Senate in a 54-10 vote.

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How to Navigate Formspring, the Question-Asking Site

What is Formspring?

Formspring is a social network for asking and answering questions. Questions and responses range from funny to insightful to thought-provoking. It can help friends get to know each other in a new way, but it can also enable cyberbullying through its anonymous question feature.

How do you sign up?

People sign in with their Facebook account or register with an email and birth date. Formspring is open to users 13 and over, but any minor's account will be removed if requested by their parent.

Who can ask/answer questions?

Questions might be asked of only one person, a group of friends, or the entire Formspring community. People who ask questions can choose to include their identity or hide it. Both questions and responses can include photos, videos, and links.

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Everything You Need to Know About YouTube

YouTube Quick Facts:

  • Third most visited site on the internet (behind Google and Facebook)

  • 2,000,000,000 Video views per day, worldwide

  • 829,440 Videos are uploaded each day

  • The average internet users spends 900 seconds on Youtube per day

What is YouTube?

YouTube is a free video sharing site and social network. Anybody can watch and share videos on YouTube (the content ranges from music videos to how-to demos to amateur filmmaking) but to access additional features a person must register for an account.

Registered Users:

Registered users get a customizable homepage where for marking their favorites and queuing videos to watch later. They can comment on others' videos, subscribe to “channels” they like, or create a “channel” and post videos of their own. Their profile information is public by default, but can manually be set to private.

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A Safe Selfie App that Promotes Positivity? Introducing: Shots

With all of the negativity that can generate in so many apps (cyberbullying from Ask.fm, anonymous secret-sharing apps), it's about time that an app that encourages positivity takes the headlines. This article was originally published on Yahoo Tech by Tech Columnist Dan Tynan.

Don’t look now, but your teenage daughter may be taking Shots. I’m not talking about Jack Daniel’s; I mean Shots, a mobile social network built entirely around selfies. The site is best known for the identity of one of its angel investors, a 20-year-old named Bieber.

Regardless of what you think of Mr. Bieber, the selfie-centric social network his name is attached to is a solid project that can encourage network building and sharing among young people, while at the same time discouraging the most typical of hurtful behaviors seen on many other social services. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

Today, the 6-month-old startup announced that it now has 1 million members, three-quarters of them females between the ages of 13 and 24. It celebrated by adding a new feature, the ability to reply to someone’s selfie with one of your own.

Getting Bullish on Bullies

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Facebook and the College Admission Process

Have you and your kids talked about how their social networks will impact the college application process? Nowadays, college admissions officials routinely review applicants’ social network pages.

 

It is important for your teen to consider their Facebook page as one of the components of their college application, just like the SATs, the academic recommendations and the application essay. Your son or daughter’s Facebook page tells a very important part of their story.

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3 Ways to Restore Self-Esteem & Sense of Privacy to Digital Teens

This article was originally published on McAfee Blog Central by Toni Birdsong.

While kids today are the beneficiaries of amazing technology, there are casualties to growing up digital we can’t deny. We know the hit that education, relationships, and even a child’s very health can take when we don’t help kids balance their tech. But what about the more subtle losses our kids are incurring that are harder to spot? What about the slow forfeit of precious things such as self-esteem, privacy, and a sense of personal safety? These are just a few of the many “losses” I’ve been noticing in my own teens as they live digital.

Often I file much of my kids’ peer fallouts online as teen “drama” but I’m realizing more and more, it’s not drama at all—it’s pain, real pain caused by real loss. It’s loss in the form of emotional staples that, ironically, most kids don’t even realize—or can’t pinpoint—that they have lost.

Think about it. The digital self-management required by teens today is absolutely mind-boggling. They aren’t just kids stumbling through adolescence toward adulthood, they’ve become virtual plate spinners. These plate spinners must: edit photos, respond promptly (either out of habit or pressure), out-post and out-funny others, inventory friend feeds, collect likes and followers, and calculate the social risk of various peer interactions. This list goes on and on . . . and on.

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7-Day Digital Cleanse for College-Bound Kids

We already know that poor social media decisions can impact a teen or tween's future. Read on to learn about how a 7-day cleanse can help them refresh their online reputations. This article was originally published on McAfee Blog Central by Toni Birdsong.

Sorry, this post will not push the health benefits of a kale-flax smoothie (although they do rock). But, if your aspiring college student follows this 7-Day Digital Cleanse for a full week, he is bound to become more digitally fit. (Disclaimer: the side effects of the 7-Day Digital Cleanse could be life changing and dream saving).

By now we all know about the fallout that can happen when young people with big dreams fail to post properly on social media sites. We’ve seen Olympic athletes sent home for a tweet, a zillion people get fired, and college scholarships revoked because a tweet or photo made it to the desk of a college decision maker. 

In 2013, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed nearly 400 college admissions officers and found that 30% said they found something online that negatively impacted the applicant’s chances of getting admitted. On the flip side, when canvassing students in a separate study, Kaplan found that 50% of students admitted they would “not be concerned” about an admissions officer researching them online while 27% said they were “not too concerned,” and 14% said they were “very concerned.”

Offenses cited in the admissions study included essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos and “illegal activities.”

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What is Tumblr? Learn the Ins and Outs of the Popular Blogging Site

Tumblr is a free microblogging site where users quickly and easily post short snippets of text, quotes, photos, videos, links, music, or whatever else interests them in a rapid-fire fashion.

How does Tumblr Work?

Whenever users stumble across something they like online, they can click a “share on tumblr” bookmarklet to automatically post it to their blog. They can also publish new posts by emailing or texting them to tumblr. The result is a tumblelog: a microblog consisting of short, quick mixed-media posts.

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Social Media Etiquette Tips for Teenagers

This article was originally published on Psychology Today by Raychelle Cassanda Lohmann.

Computers and modern technology are taking up a lot of teens' time. While there are some perks to technology, there are also some negative things associated with it. A national survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids between the ages of 8 to 18 are spending an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes per day using entertainment media (e.g., phones, computer, television, mp3 players or other electronic devices). That's more than 53 hours a week! And because our teens are so good at watching TV while working on the computer or texting a friend, they have used their time-management skills to fit about 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7 hours and 38 minutes.

With teens spending so much time working on-line via social networking sites, emailing, texting, visiting chat rooms, or just surfing the net, it's important that parents review the following Cyber Etiquette tips with their teen.

Top 10 Cyber Etiquette Tips:

1. Exercise the Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you wouldn't speak to the person that way face to face, then don't do it online.

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Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps That Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets

Information-sharing apps are becoming increasingly popular among teens. Learn about which ones are currently trending! This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by their Senior Content Specialist Kelly Schryver.

You probably never thought you'd see the day when Facebook wasn't the center of teens' universe. But keeping up with Facebook friends through ad-filled newsfeeds and lengthy profiles, especially given the fact that everyone knows your name, is starting to feel tiresome to many teens.

Facebook is still a go-to place for many things, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or stalking a crush. However, newer social apps make it easier, faster and more fun to capture and share fleeting moments -- sometimes anonymously. These temporary and anonymous-messaging apps provide an environment that feels more appropriate to the random, silly, saucy, and experimental sides of the average teenager.

Perhaps most importantly to teens, these apps can feel consequence-free. But of course they're not. Data never really disappears, and anonymity carries big risks. If you don't recognize the apps your kid is currently obsessing over, here's what you need to know:

Temporary Apps

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Kindergarten Girl Becomes Victim of Cyberbullying After Walmart Trip

Unfortunately, cyberbullies don't discriminate when it comes to the ages of their victims. Read below to learn about how a 6-year-old's trip to Walmart ended disastrously. This article was originally published on WMBF News and was written by Nikki Davidson.

SENECA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate family is outraged and looking for answers after they say their kindergartner became the victim of cyberbullying.

The family says it all started at the Seneca Walmart, when the young girl's picture was snapped by another customer. They say the man then posted it online to social media as a joke.

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5 Myths About Teens and Technology Every Parent Should Ignore

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Elizabeth Perle. 

As the editor of HuffPost Teen, I spend a good part of my day talking to Snapchat-sending, Facebook-hating, selfie-taking, iPhone-obsessed teens that many adults love to judge. I also talk to their parents.

This week, I received a fairly typical email from the concerned mom of one of our bloggers asking questions like: Is having an Internet profile safe? How many people will see it? Will strangers try to communicate with my kid? What about online predators?

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