Study Suggests More Family Dinners to Combat Cyberbullying

The Huffington Post reported on a recent study on cyberbullying that was conducted by the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. One of the conclusions of the study was that regular family dinners, where children can communicate with their parents, is a key to raising awareness of instances of cyberbullying. By being able to be open about how they are being cyberbullied, children can help their parents take action to shield them from the harmful consequences.

The study was based on survey data that was garnered from 18,000 students in 49 schools in Wisconsin. It found that one in five of the respondents had been cyberbullied at least once during the past year.

Family dinners were singled out in the report because they are the most common occasion when children and parents have face to face communication with one another. But the communication can happen in other situations, such as car trips.

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Does Tech Really Impact Obesity Rates in the US?

If you've ever had to persuade your child to put down the game controller and go outside -- or if you have to coax them away from their smartphones to eat a well-balanced meal -- you already understand the impact that technology can have on physical activity and diet. While modern innovations make academic research easier than ever, they also come with a whole host of health risks, and teenagers face a bigger threat than anyone else. 

It's no coincidence that obesity rates have skyrocketed in the United States right alongside innovation. While great thinkers can harness new technology to make the world a better place, there are downsides to modernization too.

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Digital Cleanse Your Home This Summer

With summer coming to an end and a new school year beginning, now is the perfect time for families to embark on a digital cleanse! It's pretty easy for physical devices and software to pile up throughout the school year and summer time. Get you and your family refreshed and ready for the new school year!

Cleaning Out the Digital Closet

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How to Use Location Monitoring Without Being Creepy

As parents, it's only natural for you to worry about where your children are, who they are with, and what they are doing. However, it is just as important to respect their limitations and privacy. So how do you do both?

Nowadays, there are so many ways to use location monitoring that it could be overwhelming. It could be used to share your location on social media, find directions, book travel, and more. It's no wonder than many find location monitoring creepy! On the upside, since most people use location services nowadays, monitoring children can be easier and less-intrusive than it was before. 

Recently, we wrote about why location monitoring your teens and tweens is not creepy. Put the idea into practice with these steps:

1. Have a discussion with your child.

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Your Child's First Cell Phone: When is it Time?

Check out what guest blogger and winner of the Annual Parenting Blog of the Year Contest, Mommy Masters' Ellie Hirsch, has to share about her insight on the topic of kids' first cell phones!

It seems like my seven year old asks me for a cell phone on a daily basis. What does a seven year old need with a cell phone? Who is he planning on calling? Would it come in handy in case of an emergency? Do any of his seven-year-old friends have a phone? Should I consider this crazy idea? I never thought this conversation would come up at such an early age, especially since I did not get a cell phone until I was 22.

My son's response to this fact? "You are old so they didn't have cell phones yet when you were my age". TOUCHÉ.

Whether it's a cell phone baby rattle or simply watching Mama texting on the phone,

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Why It's Not Creepy To Monitor Your Teen's Locations

Location monitoring is a recent innovation, based on modern GPS technology. Parents can now use it to determine where their children are, particularly when they are in their teens. As a parent, you may be hesitant about using this impressive bit of technology on kids and teens. Perhaps you may think of it as an intrusion, or you may be afraid that they will be angry with you.

The fact is, however, that teenagers are still minors and that it is your perrogative to use whatever means you have at your disposal to monitor your teens. Teens are learning and growing during a time when they're given increasing amounts of responsibilities and it is natural for there to be some issues along the way.

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4 Eye-Opening Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Your Teen

Summer is upon us! Teens may view these lazy summer months as a time to do whatever they want and possibly push the limits of their independence. More free time along with having another school year under their belts may prompt them towards some acts of rebellion.

Whether you decide to give them a little more freedom or not, it's important for parents to make smart steps to maintain control. If you are looking for help on how to improve your relationship with your teen by understanding teens, look no further. We've compiled a four-step guide, which will leave you with a grasp on teen parenting like a pro!

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Too Much Tech: Preventing Digital Addiction in your Tween-to-Teen

As an adolescent counselor, most of my time is spent talking and connecting with text-happy, Instagram-snapping, YouTube-watching, Halo-shooting, iPhone-obsessed middle- and high-schoolers and their parents.

Recently, I received a call from a parent who said, “My 13-year-old is absolutely addicted to technology. If she’s not texting, then she’s emailing. If she’s not emailing, she’s on YouTube or Instagram. If she’s not doing that, then she is playing with a new app. I really don’t know what to do. Help!” 

I get it. I really do. I have three tween-to-teens of my own. So, when it came to writing an article on digital addiction and adolescents, I didn’t have to look much further than my own house. Seriously, it was in my own house. 

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Summer Camp Tech Policies: Should Kids Bring Devices?

Most people think of summer camps as a warm weather break from the activities that typically happen at home. This often means a few weeks or more without technological devices. Asking a youngster to scrap his cell phone and video games for an entire month is easier said than done!

Fun Without The Screen

If you were to ask a random assortment of parents and their kids about the meaning of summer camp, chances are that most answers would be similar. Respondents would say that summer camp presents the opportunity for young people to develop new friendships, learn new skills and enjoy the warm weather. Few people would even think of responding with an answer that involves video games, cell phones, movies, television and other electronics.

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What Are Tech-Free Zones and Are They Right For My Family?

If you're finding that living in the age of digital parenting is a tough task, you are certainly not alone.  Not only are you plugged into work and life at every moment of every day, but so, too, are your kids.  Of course, it's great to be able to have answers to your questions and social interaction at the swipe of a security code, but some families are starting to explore the benefits that can be had from implementing tech-free zones within their homes and daily lives.

Of course, this begs the question: What are tech-free zones, anyway?  It may sound counter-intuitive, since digital parenting is largely built around the idea of being able to connect and relate to your kids via today's technology, but Tech-Free Zones, aptly named, are places in families' lives where technology is simply not permitted.

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Kids' TV Time Doesn't Have to be Mindless

Watching TV doesn't have to be mind-numbing! Make the most of TV time with your kids. This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by Sierra Filucci.

I admit I've thrown on a TV show and plopped my kid in front of the screen when I needed to get dinner on the table. And I've eked out one more hour of sleep on a Saturday morning by turning on PBS and putting out a few bowls of dry cereal.

But on the occasions when I've sat down and watched my kids' shows with them, I've been amazed by how informative and rewarding the experience was.

Take Phineas and Ferb, for example. I never realized how clever it was until I took the time to watch a whole episode with my 5-year-old. And I found so many things to talk about with him afterward. How did the boys solve the problem? (By working together.) Why was Candace so mean to her brothers? (Because she was embarrassed.) Do you think you'd do that kind of thing without asking Mom or Dad first? (No way!)

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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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Surprise, Surprise: TV Time Linked With Less Sleep For Kids

Yet another study has been released that indicates the harmful effects of excessively watching television. This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Amanda L. Chan. 

TV time could be putting a damper on your child's sleep time, according to a new study.

Researchers found an association between increased TV time and less sleep in kids.

"Overall, each additional hour per day of average lifetime TV viewing from infancy through mid-childhood was associated with seven fewer minutes per day of sleep over the same period," the researchers wrote in the Pediatrics study. The effects seemed to be especially pronounced in boys, compared with girls.

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Utah Mom's Facebook Check May Have Saved Son From Shooting Plot

Viewing your kids' social media interactions can be life-saving. Learn about how a smart mother was able to avert a possible tragedy by tracking her son's Facebook profile. This article was originally published on The Huffington Post by Ed Mazza.

A Utah woman may have saved her son's life by doing the one thing many kids hate the most: Checking him out on Facebook.

When the mother discovered threats to shoot the teen, she contacted police, according to local media reports.

"She had actually read threats and seen the threat on his Facebook page," Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking told the Deseret News. "There were very specific threats that they were going to go the high school and shoot her son."

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How to Use Media to Raise Resilient Kids

This article was originally published on Common Sense Media by blogger Deborah Gilboa.

You've heard of helicopter parenting. But how about those parents who don't only hover -- they're out there in front of their kids clearing every obstacle? I call them "snow blower" or "lawnmower" parents, and although their efforts to protect their kids come from a good place, they're not allowing them to develop the skills they need to recover from setbacks -- to be resilient, in other words.

I'm part of a growing movement of what I call "Resilience Parents." We're doing our best to raise kids who can clear most of their own obstacles -- and get back up when they run full speed into one they didn't see.

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How Mobile Phones Are Changing the Way Our Teens Learn

These days, it seems like everyone has a high tech, feature-rich mobile phone. No matter where you go, chances are you will see someone with their eyes on their smartphone. Some people claim that the prolific use of mobile phones shortens attention spans and decreases learning ability. Others say that having such a wealth of interactive, up-to-the-minute information at their fingertips allows teens to learn more efficiently. Though the dangers of mobile phone use by teens have been noted, it is clear that they are here to stay. So, what should you know about how mobile phones are changing the way that teens learn, for both better and worse?

Interactivity

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How Is Technology Affecting Your Family?

Read this great article by Jan Cloninger and Rosemary Strembicki from "A place to turn." It was original posted on The Huffington Post.

My son is entering his last year of graduate school. When he was a freshman in college, Facebook was brand new. You could only get an account if you had a college address as a way to connect to others in your classes and campus. 

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Location Monitoring for Your Kids Safety

As parents, we have a lot of concerns with regards to keeping our children safe and healthy. There is still some controversy surrounding the location monitoring of children. The world isn’t the safe place we all wish it was, and it is your job to ensure you do what you can in order to protect your child. Location monitoring isn’t about spying on them and not trusting them; it’s about much more. It’s about making sure small bad choices don’t lead to serious consequences and having the opportunity to curve wrong behavior before it goes too far. Location monitoring is also about giving you your peace of mind, knowing your child is where they are supposed to be. Also, if something should happen, you will have a head start on knowing the last location of your child. There are too many good reasons for following through with the monitoring of your child.

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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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7 Media-Savvy Skills All Parents Need in 2014

In an article originally published on Common Sense Media, Caroline Knorr reports seven skills that parents need to learn this year in order to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Instagram. Snapchat. Facebook. Everyday there's some new thing we parents need to figure out. Getting up to speed -- plus giving our kids guidance and limits -- is a daily challenge.

You don't have to become an expert to help your kids make good decisions. Just get involved in their media lives. By engaging with them, you can help them use these tools responsibly, respectfully, and safely. Here are some ways to be a media-savvy parent this year:

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