Subtweeting: Inside the Harmful New Social Media Trend

One of the more insidious digital trends for tweens and teens has been the development of subtweeting. While this may sound like an innocent social media fad, this impression could not be further from the truth. Among digital trends for tweens, this is one of the worst because it is a form of cyberbullying that can be difficult to pin down and combat.

What is Subtweeting?

Subtweeting consists of using social media (Twitter being one example that inspired the name) to talk negatively about or gossip about a person without naming that individual specifically. All that people involved have to do is use descriptions, characterization or some sort of code to discuss the person with impunity. In some cases, this happens without the participants even realizing what they are doing.

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Teen Prescription Drug Abuse: It Happens More Than You Think

It's no wonder that parents spend so much time contemplating illegal drugs, given the large number of horror stories on the news every night. But as you weigh how to talk to your child about heroin, pot, and meth, an equally dangerous drug lurks in your medicine cabinet. Prescription drugs pose serious dangers to your child, and it's just important to protect your child from these drugs as it is to protect her from illegal street drugs.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that prescription drug abuse is now the single largest drug threat to teenagers. While illicit drug and tobacco usage rates have remained relatively stable, prescription drug abuse rates among teenagers have increased 33 percent over the last five years. A study commissioned by MetLife in 2008 found that one in four teens had abused a prescription drug at least once.

But teenagers are often blind to the risks of prescription drug abuse. Fifty percent of teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs, and between 60 and 70 percent of teen drug abusers rely on prescription drugs as their primary means of getting high.

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5 Methods to Limit Screen Time in Your Home

Let's face it: most of us spend too much time in front of screens. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids and teens ages 8-18 spend about 7.5 hours using entertainment media daily. Kids and teens aren't the only age groups that spend too much time in front of screens! In 2013, Advertising Age magazine concluded that adults in the U.S. spend approximately two and a half hours a day online, nearly the same amount of time on mobile devices and smartphones, and another four and a half hours watching TV. 

While, at best, screens can be educational, entertaining, and convenient, there's a fine line that exists between screens adding value to our lives and where they begin to negatively impact our health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no one should spend more than 1 or 2 hours in front of a screen daily. Excessive screen time has been

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Digital Parenting Disconnection: Is Technology Winning the War?

There is no doubt about it: parenting has changed quite drastically in recent decades. With social networks being the new "must-have", parents must work harder connect with and locate their children online so they can keep them safe and healthy. 

However, parenting with technology has gone even further. Parents use it to keep up with schoolwork, location monitoring, and checking their online activity. Somehow, technology is making being a parent easier, but the workload is harder.  Parents are losing the battle to technology as their children continue to meld into the digital world, and they have no choice but to join it and try to use technology more effectively.

Digital Parenting Challenges

As a result of technology booming, more decisions are made on things that never existed only a few years ago.  Social websites, applications, games, online surfing, cable channels and DVR are coming to light, and parents are faced with the tasks of monitoring many aspects of these activities

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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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Wearable Technology for Kids Coming From LeapFrog

This article was originally published by CNN and is written by Doug Gross.

The wearable technology movement is in full effect, and exercise-based activity trackers lead the way. Now, it's becoming child's play.

Leapfrog, the maker of education-oriented tablets and apps for children, has unveiled LeapBand, a wearable activity tracker designed with kids in mind.

Selling for $40 and designed for children ages 4-7, the LeapBand "encourages active play and healthy habits" with 50 different games and other challenges. It will be available in August, the company said in a written release.

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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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Quick Facts About the Xbox Live Gaming Console

XBox Live Quick Facts:

  • The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft, the first one being just the Xbox.

  • There are over 720 Xbox 360 games now and roughly 7.5 games are sold to every Xbox 360 owner.

  • The top three games played on Xbox Live are: 'Halo 3', 'Call of Duty 4' and 'Call of Duty: World at War' - all of which have a social aspect

  • As well as gaming, the Xbox 360 can also be used for watching movies, listening to music and social networking.

What is Xbox LIVE?

Xbox LIVE is the online service for Xbox 360. With a paid gold membership, people can play games and chat with other players, download games to their console, control avatars in a virtual world, search for entertainment, and watch movies and TV.

At signup, users choose a gamertag by which they'll be known on Xbox live and an avatar, a computer animated figure to be their virtual self.

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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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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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Digital Parenting: Are Your Children Gaming Safely?

Have a gaming teen, tween or child in your household?

Parental monitoring and involvement is critical when it comes to helping children game safely. You should take an active interest in the games that your child plays and wants to buy.

We also suggest that research game ratings and content on www.esrb.org. This website is maintained by the Entertainment Software Rating Board which rates thousands of games each year.

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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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When an Adult Engages in Cyberbullying Against a Child

Although it is alarming to learn about adults cyberbullying other adults, it is even more disturbing to hear about cases in which adults cyberbully kids. Earlier this month we posted an article about how a kindergarten girl was cyberbullied following a trip to Walmart. More details on the incident have since been released.

Cyberbullying most often manifests when children, especially teens, use smart phones, the Internet, and social media to torment another child. However, cyberbullying is not exclusively conducted by kids, targeting kids.

One of the first cases of an adult cyberbullying a child took place recently in Seneca, South Carolina. The incident began when an unnamed six year old girl, who appears to be on the heavy side and has some health issues related to her weight, had her picture taken and posted online as a joke. The man who took the picture posted it on his Facebook page with the caption “Honey Boo Boo at Walmart.” The cyberbully in question: Walhalla High School Assistant Principal Charlie Fowler. 

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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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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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Famous Movies About Teenage Bullying

Teenage bullying has become a hot button topic. It comes in physical and psychological forms, with an individual or group of individuals deciding to assault another. The reason usually has something to do with the victim being different in their eyes. This is an unfortunate attitude. With the advent of the Internet, cyberbullying has brought bullying to the forefront and has made bullying both easier and more invasive.

As always, movies will shed a light on the darker aspects of our society from a number of angles. It can be enlightening if we pay attention to the message as much as the storyline. Here are five movies about teenage bullying.

Heathers (1988)

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'Eraser Challenge' Game Has Students Harming Themselves

See what measures that middle school administrators are taking to exterminate a dangerous new trend that is circulating among students. This article was originally published on the Huffington Post and is written by Rebecca Klein.

Students at one Connecticut middle school aren't using pencils solely for taking notes. Some are rubbing their arms with pencil erasers until their skin is mutilated.

School administrators at Bethel Middle School recently sent a letter home to parents and guardians asking they talk to their children about a dangerous game called the "Eraser Challenge."

The game, the letter explains, involves kids “'erasing’ their skin while saying the alphabet and coming up with a word for each letter. Once they get to the letter Z, they stop and then compare the injury to their [friends'],” according to the Bethel Patch.

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My Face Was Used For A Viral Meme

Earlier we posted about a 6-year-old whose picture was unknowingly taken at Walmart and posted online as a joke. Read a response from a woman who is in the midst of a similar situation. Blogger Helene Sula had no idea that a picture she had originally posted on her blog would end up being used in a politically-based meme and circulated among thousands of people. These unfortunate situations demonstrate how easily an incident can be taken out of context and turn viral by a cyberbully. This article was originally published on Thought Catalog by Helene Sula.

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Everything You Need to Know About Smart Watches

No one ever said that raising kids was easy.  Raising kids in the digital age presents a unique set of concerns and challenges that your parents never had to worry about. However, what you don't hear often is how technology can actually help keep your kids safe and sound. The advent of smartphones, GPS, and widespread Internet access need not only be a source of fear for concerned parents. These technologies can be used for parental monitoring and peace of mind. There are many examples that can highlight this, but perhaps one of the most exciting examples of this concept is the smart watch.

Smart watches are the latest trend in mobile and wearable technology. New smart watches are in development from some of the biggest names in the industry. This is an exciting and cutting edge trend, but what value does it have for parents? Smart watches with built in GPS and cellular functionality present a great opportunity for parental monitoring.

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5 Tips to Protect Your Children from Dangerous Games on Social Media

This article was written by Tyler Cohen Wood for Manilla.com and orginally posted on the Huffington Post.

As many of us know, social media changes so quickly that it is often hard to keep up. New videos and games pop up constantly and immediately go viral. The latest craze to hit social media is a game called Neknominate.

How the game works is alarming: Typically, a young person drinks a large amount of alcohol (such as half a bottle of vodka) in a bizarre fashion, like half-naked at a mall or mixed with a dead rat, and he posts it to his social network, usually Facebook or YouTube. After he plays the game, he nominates a friend

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