Is Snapchat Actually Safe for Teens & Tweens?

In the past two years, the Snapchat app has garnered impressive popularity among teens. The nature of the app and the January 2014 Snapchat security breach have caused parents some concern over the safety of the app.  Not only should parents be concerned with these factors, but they should also be privy to Snapchat’s alarming privacy policy and unsettling origins.

For those who are unfamiliar with the app’s features, Snapchat allows users to send and receive pictures or short videos with a set number of seconds to view the videos and photos. After those seconds are completed, the data is erased. Snapchat is notoriously wary of providing the exact number of users of their app, but as of October 28th, 2013 they had roughly 26 million US users. 32% of teens ages 13-17 currently use Snapchat, and 70% of Snapchat’s users are female.

Read More »

Digital Parenting: Sexting Incidents Up Among Teens and Tweens

It seems juvenile that sexting incidents are making news headlines more and more often these days. Just recently, a teen Instagram "sexting ring" with an account containing more than 1,000 explicit photos of minors was discovered in Virginia; the next day, school officials at a Chicago-area middle school found sixth graders were trading explicit photos. Also this week comes news of an eighth-grade sexting ring in Barrington, Illinois.

According to a 2012 study completed by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 28% of teens have sent a "sext" message. Experts predict that number will only go up as more and more teens own smartphones, which make photo taking, sharing, and accessing the internet easier and faster than ever.

Read More »

Digital Parenting: Fighting Back Against ‘Revenge Porn’

Just another reason to ensure that your teens aren't participating in sexting: exes posting revenge porn. This article was originally published on the Washington Post by Lindsey Bever.

Many of their stories start the same.

She Googles her own name. A Web site pops up, claiming to have nude photos or videos of her posted online for all to see. And, just out of curiosity, she clicks on it.

That’s when she realizes the ex she broke up with forever ago, uploaded the private pictures she once intended for only him. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

Often, her name, address and links to social media profiles are provided as well. And, in some cases, sites created for this reason will charge her a fee to remove it.

It happens to men, too.

This kind of cyber extortion or, at the very least, cyber humiliation, called “revenge porn” has grabbed the attention of lawmakers increasingly seeking to criminalize it.

Read More »

Cyberbullying More Strongly Related to Suicidal Thoughts

Children who are bullied are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who are not bullied, and cyberbullying is more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person harassment according to a new study published in JAMA pediatrics. 

Conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, the study analyzed data from 34 other studies involving almost 300,000 participants. Researchers found that students who were bullied were almost twice as likely to consider killing themselves and two and a half times more likely to actually attempt suicide. The higher risk was found among various age groups and affected both genders.

Read More »

Facebook-Style 'Lookback' Turns Scary In Anti-Sexting Campaign

Do you remember when Facebook celebrated their 10 year birthday and allowed everyone to check out their "look-back" videos?Well one ad agency has created a rather sinister video for Innocence in Danger, a non-profit dedicated to stopping child sex abuse and pornography. Click on the video below, check it out, and see for yourself how effective it is at sexting prevention

Read More »

Are You Really Anonymous on Snapchat?

This article from the CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, is a great look into the security of something that permeates our everyday life: social media. This article speaks about the recent breach in security that Snapchat experienced, along with the danger (and importance) of companies using social media. There are a variety of take aways, but the main one should be if corporations face these kinds of security breaches, so do consumers. Parents and their children are exposed in two ways: 1) as users of Snapchat and 2) as customers of companies that have adopted social media as part of doing business.

This is a not-so-subtle reminder that in the interconnected digital world there are consequences regarding security that could have a direct impact on all social media users. Just as hackers impacted millions of credit card holders through the Target breach successfully stealing their private financial information, we now see millions of SnapChat users impacted by hackers stealing their private personal information. Read the full article below. 

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Teens and Adults Agree: Education Diminishes Sexting Dangers

Check out this article by the University of Massachussettes Lowell about a recent study involving sexting and recommendations to avoid risky digital behavior. 

Research by Assoc. Prof Andrew Harris and Assoc. Prof. Judith Davidson provides concrete data and recommendations related to the use of technology in young adult romantic relationships. Dubbed “sexting” by media outlets, the term involves sharing suggestive photos or messages, mostly by phone. Their paper, “Building a Prevention Framework to Address Teen ‘Sexting’ Behaviors,” details results from their research and provides insights from teens, the group least often consulted about youth behavior and motivations.

“There have been other studies about ‘sexting’ and related behaviors, but they didn’t try to understand what the kids are feeling and how their values influence their actions,” says Harris, who is also the associate dean of Research and Graduate Programs for the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Much of the conversation has been based on limited data and knee-jerk reactions. We found that it is difficult to define ‘sexting’ behaviors and motivations in social context.”

Read More »

You Caught Your Kid Sexting, Now What?

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post by Rachel Busman, PsyD.

I am getting asked more and more in my practice about how to talk to teens about situations that involve racy interchanges on Facebook, sending inappropriate pictures via text, and other Internet situations that spiral out of control. As the social media landscape continues to grow and change, these questions are coming up more and more and parents are looking for answers.

Read More »

Teens Who Sext Are More Likely to Engage in Other Sexual Behaviors

Think your 7th grader isn't sexting? Might be time to think again.

A new study was published online today by the American Academy of Pediatrics about the sexting habits of at-risk seventh graders.

Here are some of the most shocking statistics:

  • 22 percent of at-risk seventh graders participated in sexting.

  • 17 percent sending texts only.

  • 5 percent sending texts and photos.

  • Higher perceptions of approval for sexual behavior from parents, peers and the media, higher intentions to engage in sexual behavior, lower emotional awareness, and lower emotional self-efficacy.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Face It, Your Child is Sexting

Making poor decisions and underestimating their consequences are the hallmarks of being a teenager. Today, teenagers are faced with so many decisions to make every day, it can seem unbelievable that any of them make it into their twenties unscathed.

Getting into trouble while navigating the dating world is nothing new for teenagers, either. However, what is new are all the different ways to communicate: talking on the phone, text messaging, email, facebook, twitter, the list goes on. With all of these avenues of communication available, it was only a matter of time before teens found themselves in trouble because of it.

Sexting is a fairly new term that is used to describe a number of activities. Mainly, it refers to exchanging sexually suggestive or explicit text messages and email, but it also is used to describe exchanging photos or other sexual material, and also forwarding or otherwise sharing the information received with someone else.

What the studies are showing

Researchers at the University of Utah's Department of Psychology conducted an survey of 606 teenagers aged 14 to 18. Twenty percent of the teens admitted to sending a sexual image of themselves using a cell phone. Almost 40 percent said they had received one, and worse, more than 25 percent of those students admitted to sharing the sext with their friends.

Read More »

Download uKnowKids' Newest eBook On This Dangerous New Trend

If you have turned on the news lately than you have no doubt heard about the tragic trend known as bullycide. Bullycide is the unfortunate link between suicide and bullying, and the young teenagers' names associated with it are all too fresh in our minds.

Tragically, one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that the parent's had no idea what was happening to their children online. So these teens were dealing with merciless cyberbullying with seemingly no one to turn to. 

Read More »

Teens Get Online 'Eraser Button' With New California Law

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Kathleen Miles.

California teens get an online "eraser button" under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.  The law makes California the first state to require websites to allow people younger than 18 to remove their own postings on that website, and to clearly inform minors how to do so.

Read More »

How Teens' 'Sexting' Photos End Up On Pedophile Websites

This article was originally published in The Daily Mail by Daniel Martin.

Tens of thousands of explicit self-portraits taken by teenagers are ending up on websites viewed by pedophiles.

The naked or sexual pictures are often taken by girls at the request of boys in their classes and sent by mobile phone, in a practice known as ‘sexting’.

But unbeknown to the girls, these photographs may end up being passed around the school and even shared on social networking sites such as Facebook – then stolen and published on websites used by paedophiles.

Read More »

Sexting Warning: New App Defeats Snapchat's Purpose

A new app has been designed that permanently saves your pics and screws over serial sexters. SnapHack Pro, designed for iOS 7, is an app that saves images without the sender's knowledge, and is sure to annoy the makers of the wildly popular disappearing photo and video sharing tool.

Read More »

What I'm Reading: Sex, Teens And Social Media

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Sasha Belenky.

1. 'Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives'

Nancy Jo Sales, who wrote the Vanity Fair article that became the major motion picture "The Bling Ring," is back in the magazine with a look at teenage relationships in the age of social media. Adults may be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that teens today are obsessed with sex. And Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder and other online tools are seemingly robbing America's youth of meaningful, loving relationships.

“We don’t date; we just hook up,” one girl in L.A. tells Sales. "Oral is, like, the new kissing,” says another girl in New York. Boys pressure girls to send them nude photos. “They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person,” says one girl, Zoe. “Because they’re not saying it to our faces.”

A group of friends at the mall sums up the Catch-22: “Social media is destroying our lives,” one girl tells Sales. “So why don’t you go off it?” Sales asks. "Because then we would have no life,” another girl responds.

Read More »

How to Set Certain Mobile Boundaries with Your Teens

The adoption of smartphone among teenagers has significantly increased over the past few years. According to the 2013 Pew Internet study, nearly 80% of American young adults now own a cellular device. One in every four is a heavy internet user who would rather go online on their mobile device than a traditional computer. For academic pursuits, having a portable internet device is indeed very beneficial, since it aids them in their doing homework and research.  But how can you ensure that they are not spending too much time with their gadgetries? What about their exposure to restricted online content? As parents, an effective solution to avoid your teens turning tech-obsessed is to set certain mobile boundaries.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Teen Sexting Criminalized by States

Here is some great information about current laws in US states in regard to sexting from the blog at Lawyers.com.

States continue to outlaw sexting by teens – to each other or to adults – even as it grows more popular among them.

 The Problem of Permanence

Read More »

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all