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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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.

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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.

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Digital Parenting: How to Operate Your Google+ Profile

What is Google +?

Google+ is a free social network where users “circle” people of interest, chat, comment, and share photos with others.

Is it public?

Google+ profiles can be public, private, or anywhere in between. By default, profiles publicly display all people in a user's circles and the people whose circles they belong to, but they can manually change these settings.

Pictures?

There is free unlimited photo storage on Google+. People in a user's circles can tag them in photos, but users can remove tags or “lock” their albums so no one but them can add tags or comments. On the other extreme, users can utilize Google's “find my face” facial recognition feature to help others tag them in photos.

Find my Face is turned off by default. Google+ users can always see photos in which they are tagged, regardless of privacy setting.

The Instant Upload feature allows users to post pictures directly from their phones, but it requires that the location feature of the phone be turned on. Posts made from a location-enabled phone automatically include GPS coordinates, but the user can change this setting.

What are the privacy settings?

Google+ users can ignore someone they don't really care to speak with, or they can take it a step further and block them altogether. Blocking people on Google+ can be a little confusing, and a person can be blocked from one area (chat, for example) but not across the board (still appearing in their circles and viewing their photos.)

What else can you do on Google+?

People can also play games, chat, and hang out. Chats are one-on-one and can be either recorded or “off the record.” Hangouts are video chats between up to 9 participants. Screenshare lets them see the same photos and videos on their computer without downloading anything, and minors in a hangout have to approve 18+ users who want to join.

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The Ins and Outs of LinkedIn for Parents and Teens

LinkedIn is the world's largest free professional network. Students and career men and women are encouraged to join, create a profile, and build their network of professional contacts. LinkedIn can be used to make introductions, ask questions, find or post job openings, and establish a professional web presence.

What is LinkedIn and how do you use it?

Users build the network of professionals they know by importing their address books or entering individual email addresses. They can also join groups of their colleagues and classmates, where they can ask relevant questions, make comments, “like” discussions, and get answers.

LinkedIn contacts are listed by their name and the company or school they belong to. Users can send direct mail to their LinkedIn contacts, or they can send “inmails” to contacts of contacts through the LinkedIn platform without disclosing their email address. People can make introductions between two of their contacts who don't yet know each other.

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3 Things to Know About the Original Social Network MySpace

In 2010 MySpace coined itself a “social entertainment destination,” marking the shift in focus from helping people connect with other people to helping them connect with their favorite music, videos, and celebrities.

1. What is MySpace?

Once they sign up with MySpace, users get a profile with their first and last name, age, and gender. They can also add a photo. MySpace profiles are highly customizable, allowing users to add or create their own background image (called a theme.) The average teen just needs a standard profile, but for musicians and band members there are special artist profiles to promote their music.

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How to Navigate the Internet Radio Service Pandora

What is Pandora?

Pandora is a free, personalized Internet radio service. Through the Music Genome Project, Pandora identifies what users like and streams similar content so they can create up to 100 personalized “stations” to share and comment with friends.

Is Pandora "social" Radio?

Comments and discussion are encouraged on song pages, artist pages, albums pages, and Pandora's genre station pages. 

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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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How to Use the Interactive Radio Player Last.fm

Last.fm Quick Facts:

  • Last.fm has over 47.2 million users

  • It recognizes 45 million unique tracks (songs)

  • Last.fm boasts over 12 million tracks available via their streaming service

  • Last.fm is available on over 600 devices

What is Last.fm?

Last.fm is a personalized, interactive radio player, but it's also full of social networking features designed to connect users with each other to enhance the listening experience. Last.fm recommends new music based on a user's taste and helps them communicate with friends about music and share songs.

Who Uses Last.fm?

Registered users add new music to their playlist by “scrobbling” songs. Their personal music collection is called their Library. All activity in their Library isn't visible to anyone for the first two weeks, but after that point it is open to everyone to see unless a user designates privacy settings – from “everyone” to “nobody.”

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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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Introducing Tagged: the "Social Discovery Site"

Tagged is a free way for users to meet and socialize, play games, and share photos. While other social networks are primarily for keeping in touch with current friends, Tagged is a “social discovery site,” organized mostly around meeting new people and expanding online social circles.

What is it used for?

Because of its emphasis on meeting new people, Tagged for a lot of users essentially amounts to a free online dating service or “hookup site.”

Through the MeetMe feature, Tagged users are encouraged to randomly browse other user profiles and send messages to the people they find. People who play MeetMe select their sexual orientation and a personal tagline, then use filters to specify what kind of person they're looking for (gender, age, location, etc).

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An Inside Look at Picture-Sharing Site Photobucket

Photobucket is a popular, free photo hosting site for people 14 and up. Users can upload and manage photos and videos, share images on blogs and social networks, and interact with the community of Photobucket users.

How does Photobucket work?

Users can upload and edit their photos and videos through Photobook, and share them by email or linking to their social networking accounts. They can also enter photos in contests, put them in categories of like images with other users, follow other users, or see how many people have looked at their pictures. They can search for images by keyword and leave comments on other users' pictures.

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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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4 Effective Ways to Safely Navigate Tumblr

Tumblr is one of the fastest-growing online social networks that are ideal for teens and young adults. The company itself was recently acquired by Yahoo! for 1.1 billion dollars. Staying safe on the blogging site is essential to protect your identity, whereabouts and other personal information that can be used by strangers, online bullies and predators. Knowing a few Tumblr safety tips will help you keep your account from being hacked, compromised, and from sharing personal information with potential threats.

Change Your Privacy Settings on Tumblr

Once you create an account on Tumblr, you can immediately access your account and privacy settings from the homepage after logging in. Editing your privacy settings is a way for you to create a password-protected blog or a private blog where users you invite are the only individuals who can see the content you post and share.

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8 Online Etiquette Rules Every Tween Should Know

With college administrators and employers often checking candidates’ social network profiles and tweens and teens online more than ever before, it’s extremely important to ensure that your tweens and teens are representing themselves online appropriately. Social Media “Netiquette” consists of a variety of factors including language used, tones emitted through word choice and sentence structure, and the manners in which people conduct themselves when posting behind screens (especially when done anonymously).

Luckily, teenagers admit that social media etiquette is an important factor in their lives. A recent Teen Trend Report from a Stage of Life survey found that 91% of teens indicate that civility, manners and etiquette are either “important” or “very important” to them. 69.3% (the majority) of teens say that they learn “bad manners” from the media, whereas 97% of teens expressed that they learn their “good manners” at home.

With uKnow’s Social Media Etiquette Twitter Party around the corner, we asked social media bloggers, consultants, and authors about their top concerns and rules for teens' and tweens’ social media ‘netiquette’. More than anything, the contributors emphasize how easy it is to be offensive online, whether someone is intending to offend or not. See what they believe are the most important facets of social media etiquette.

1. Post for Your Future

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Adult Bullying: Harassment By People You Respect

Social media etiquette starts at home. Read on to learn about how cyberbullying is not conducted just by kids and teens. This article was originally published on The Huffington Post by writer, author, and blogger Sue Scheff. Check out her blog here.

Adult bullying is more prevalent than many want to admit. If you're old enough to pay a mortgage or raise a family, shouldn't you be able to handle anything that comes your way? But bullying doesn't come to a standstill after graduating from the playground, and giving grown-ups a pass on aggressive behavior only sets a bad example for our children still on the playground.

A while back, I discussed the case of a parent who felt the need to air her laundry (dirty and clean) all over her Facebook timeline. Her thoughts were broadcasted publicly, even for her children to see. Additionally, a group of mothers recently took to Facebook to bash pictures of toddlers. These behaviors make kids think: if my own mother can bully, then why can't I?

In case we needed another reminder that no one -- not even 300-pound offensive linemen -- is immune to being victimized look no further than the Jonathan Martin case earlier this month. Bullying is entrenched in the NFL, as is the idea that what goes on in the locker room, should stay in the locker room -- including hazing. The incessant tormenting from Martin's teammate, Richie Incognito, forced him to take leave from the team and admit himself to a hospital for emotional distress.

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To LOL, or Not To LOL? That is The Question

In the world of Social Media Etiquette, the acronym LOL is quickly evolving into a term with different meaning than "laughing out loud". Think about the last time you used LOL or saw it used: did it really indicate that you/they were literally laughing out loud? This article was originally published on USA Today by AP National Writer Martha Irvine.

If I thought something in a casual online conversation was funny, I typed it. If I wanted to let someone know I was kidding in an e-mail or an instant message, same.

I might've even felt a little cool, using inside lingo that, at one time, was exclusive to the online world. (You know I'm not the only one who thought so.)

Today, though, I'm sensing a shift, even in my own thoughts about LOL. Certainly, it's as ubiquitous as ever. Just search for it on Twitter or Facebook to see how often people use it. Not exactly deep and meaningful stuff, mind you, but there sure is a lot of it.

Perhaps that's why, at least in some circles, LOL has lost its cachet. And at its worst, it's making people a little cranky.

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Superintendent Viciously Cyberbullied By Students

Clearly, the negative effects of cyberbullying are not limited to just teens and kids. Find out what happened when students cyberbullied their Superintendent following his decision about having a snow day. This article was originally published on the Washington Post and is written by Donna St. George and Jennifer Jenkins.

Forecasts for snow in Montgomery County often means a bit of “cyberpleading” — e-mails or tweets that vigorously urge officials to close schools for the day.

That happened during last week’s winter-like weather, but a number of messages to Superintendent Joshua P. Starr did more to offend than persuade. Some used racial epithets. Some used curse words. One threatened to slash Starr’s tires. A few messages mentioned Starr’s family in inappropriate ways, he said.

In all, Starr said, perhaps 10 tweets left him thinking: “Whoa, this is going too far.”

Hoping to spark a conversation across Maryland’s largest school system, Starr e-mailed a letter Friday to the parents of Montgomery’s 151,300 students.

“We need to talk about ‘cybercivility’: how we can help our children grow into responsible and caring adults who interact with one another in a civil, respectful way,” Starr wrote in his letter, which schools officials tweeted, e-mailed to newsletter subscribers and posted online.

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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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