Monitoring Tweens Online is Exhausting But Necessary

This article was orginally published in Chicago Parent by Shannan Younger. Read on to learn about how monitoring tweens online is crucial in the digital age.

When my child was an infant, the countless sleepless nights exhausted me. Keeping up with the endless motion of a toddler wore me out. And the birthday party circuit of elementary school sucked a lot of time and energy.

Now that my child is a tween, I'm finding that new challenges exhaust me. Chief among them is keeping up with all the website and social media options available to tweens and teens today.

The number of ways that they can communicate with others, who they may or may not know and who may or may not be kind, good, law-abiding citizens, is mind-boggling. A lot of these platforms can be scary. What scares me most of all, though, are the parents who don't even try to learn about them, or who try but give up too easily.

When our kids are little, parents do not turn on the television and plop them in front of it with the thought, "I have no idea what station this is on or what this show is about and it may be wildly inappropriate but, eh, whatever, they can handle it."

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8 Scary Social Networking Sites Every Parent Should Know

This article was orginally posted on the Huffington Post by Michael Gregg, COO of Superior Solutions.

If you think you're hip to your children's online social habits because you know all about Facebook and Twitter, you've got it all wrong. Tweens and teens are increasingly leaving these sites in favor of new apps that offer richer features and a safe haven from watchful parents.

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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.

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6 Seconds of Life-Altering Video: What You Need to Know About Vine

Though innovative media platforms bring new ways for kids to express themselves and share their lives with their friends, they also bring exposure, attract bad influences, and introduce brand new ways to have unwise youthful decisions preserved on the Internet. Parents should keep a particular eye out for their tween or teen's participation on Vine, a video service purchased by Twitter in 2012.

For the uninitiated, Vine is an app allows users to create and share six-second, silent looping video clips on Vine or to Twitter or Facebook. According to Wired magazine, it's one of the top apps in the iOS download ratings, even after the introduction of video for Instagram. It's popular because of its informal, unfiltered, uncensored culture, and is uniquely positioned in the marketplace because of its popularity among young people. As tech journalist Mat Honan writes:

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Digital Parenting: Get Tangled Up in Vine

Digital parenting is an increasingly important part of raising kids today, and rightfully so. Most parents want their kids to be able to stay in touch with their friends and family and share what inspires them through different mediums. 

Doesn't it seem like just about everyone has at least one social media account today? They are so pervasive, and slip themselves into every corner of life, that just this morning I found myself going to Twitter to find out the news on the latest updates in the Boston Marathon bombing. And I was amazed at all the information I had from multiple sources in one location.

Speaking of Twitter, you might not have heard about its latest social network project that has been increasingly gaining popularity among teens, tweens, videographers, people who want to be in the know about the latest social network, and Vine is the newest sharing tool. Being able to share favorite videos and photos is always fun, but parents need to know exactly what it involves.

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We are pleased to announce that Bark will be taking over where we leave off. The uKnowKids mission to protect digital kids will live on with Bark. Our team will be working closely with Bark’s team in the future, so that we can continue making the digital world a safer, better place for kids and their families. While we are disappointed we could not complete this mission independently, we are also pleased to hand the uKnowKids baton to Bark.
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