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Take a seat, we will share with you what we have been up to and some of the new things we have learned about Internet safety!

Internet safety blog

Cyberbully

Taylor Hillredge is a teenage girl who is being raised by her single mother. On her seventeenth birthday she receives her own laptop computer. Taylor is excited about the independence of being online to socialize with peers from school and her two best friends. It isn’t much later that Taylor finds herself being the victim of cyberbullying.

Kids these days live in a digital world. They are constantly being bombarded by messages and images, competing for the eye and ‘like’ of a user. This practice has crept into the way teens and people even socialize online. We want to see how many “followers” we can get, or how many “shares” or “likes” we can get on a pictures or comment. This competition has extended so far that people say things to add shock value and appeal, but all hidden behind anonymous names and profiles.

The film Cyberbully does a great job of working in all the hot button issues teens are facing currently including the anonymity that exists online, legal issues that enable cyberbullying, the social pressures of teens engaging in online and digital friendships and relationships, and the emotional problems that inflict the victims and their families.

Cyberbully is a great resource when talking to teens about the dangers that exist online. When talking to your teenagers about cyberbullying, establish the expectations in your home. Children’s moral qualities are shaped day by day by what we register, or failed to acknowledge, in the world around us, and what we ask them to register—whether we let them treat a store clerk as invisible or commented when a child on the playground had been treated unfairly, or pointed out to them neighbor’s good deed. We are constantly affecting their moral abilities by how we define responsibilities for others and by whether we insist that those responsibilities be met. Establish the expectation that when they see it happening, they have the power to stop it and make a change in their environment.

I believe that small acts are powerful. I believe that teenagers being raised today can change the world. The way they will change the world, is by changing one person’s life at a time and it starts with choosing to be kind, it starts with having the courage to stop cyberbullying and to open their mouths. So open your mouth and create a discussion. Create an environment where you can talk to your kids, grandkids, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews about the dangers online and the need to stop cyberbullying.

Hidden Apps: What Your Kids Don’t Want You to Know

Have you ever looked at your child’s phone and wondered, “what is that app?” Well parents you are not alone. With so many different apps out there it is hard to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest new thing. One type of app that is essential that parents stay informed on is hidden apps. You probably look through your child’s texts, Facebook posts, and other known social media apps, but did you know that there are apps that kids use to hide apps or pictures that they don’t want you to see? Here is a list of several different apps that people use to hide pictures that they don’t want you to see.

  • Private Photo Vault
  • Gallery Lock Lite
  • Best Secret Folder
  • KeepSafe
  • KYMS
  • Vaulty
  • PhotoVault
  • Secret Calculator Pro
  • Secret Photo and Video Calculator

This is only a short list of apps that can hide pictures, apps, or information that your teen wants to keep from you. Many of the apps disguise themselves to look like regular default apps like a calculator or utilities folder. Look for redundancy, like two calculators, or two utility tabs. There are settings that parents can enable to stop their child from downloading apps without a parent’s permission. Regularly check the app store to keep up-to-date on the latest hidden apps.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Teach Your Teen in 2016!

Iphones, PlayStation, and headphones, did any of these electronics make it under your Christmas tree this year?

If you are a parent of a child ages 8 and above, its very likely electronic devices were apart of your gift giving, furthermore it’s very likely you haven’t seen your child since Christmas. Okay hopefully that’s not the case. I realized this when I ate at a restaurant the day after Christmas. I saw several kids exploring their new devices. I even saw one young man become annoyed when what appeared to be his grandmother, was asking him questions. Didn’t grandma see that he had his headphone in, that’s codes for I’m busy!

When meeting with parents one common question is where can the line be drawn? The truth is every person is different. The famous Steve Wozniak said he was a very shy person, and being online helped him be himself. No person knows your child better than you. Whatever you believe is most important for parenting children with electronics, its critical to clearly communicate the boundaries.

Help your child understand the difference between Privilege and Right. As we approach the New Year there is no better time to create a safe plan with your children. Please consider how both you and your child can compromise in the middle. My friend Josie previously posted a blog entitled “iRules” which demonstrates a great example of how to forecast Internet privileges. Teach your teen in 2016!

How to Know More About Apps

New apps come out every day, which makes it difficult to stay up to date on the latest and greatest new app. As a parent this is a frustrating reality, but you don’t have to stay in the dark. A website called SaferKid seeks to help parents to be able to quickly look up information about apps.  The founders have reviewed more than 1,000,000 apps. All you need to do is enter the app you want to find out more information about into the search bar in the app directory, and you have access to age recommendations, risks, and in depth information about that app. This can help when you see a new app on your child’s phone and you don’t know what it does, or your child wants to download a new app.

The website also provides a service for $59.99 per year, where they scan your child’s phone apps to detect unapproved and non age appropriate apps.

Check out this great resource for parents.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Sexting Epidemic

For many teenagers and adults across the country sexting is becoming a normal part of relationships. The sad thing is that these pictures are causing irreparable damage to many of those who send and share these pictures. Pictures are being saved, posted, shared, and used for blackmail. Once you send the picture you no longer have control of where it ends up.  Once the post is out there on the internet you can’t truly delete it.  There is always a trace of what you have posted.

Sexts can stop you from getting a good job, getting into a good college, and other stellar opportunities. For many teens it may seem hard to say no. They think of the person asking as a friend, or boyfriend, and it is more difficult to deal with. They may have said no already and the person persists and pushes to get a nude. There is an awesome app called “Send This Instead” that has precreated responses to say no to a sext request.

Not only are there social consequences, but for those under the age of 18 there are legal consequences. Every state deals with the issue differently, but in many states students can be charged for creation, distribution, and possession of child pornography. There are teens who have been sentenced to jail time, and put on the sex offender registry. A school in Canon City, Colorado is facing a school-wide scandal involving more than 100 students. Check out this story by clicking on the link here.

Talk to you children about the social and legal consequences of sexting. It could change their life.

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net