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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

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

What Access are You Giving Your Apps

How often do you actually take the time to read through the terms of service or privacy policy when you are downloading an app. Most likely not. App developers use complicated legal terms, and you probably start to get a headache after trying to read the first two pages.  The problem is that we are giving away too much of our information without even realizing it. Business Insider did an experiment where they had people read aloud the permissions that they have given to some apps. It is truly scarey to see what permissions people are granting to apps. Click here to check out the video from Business Insider.

GameStation wanted to see if people actually read the Terms of Service, so they put a hidden clause in which stated that:

“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and forever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorized minions.”

Only 12% of gamers noticed the trick. Reading through those privacy policies may be tedious, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

iRules

Ever wonder how to set up rules on internet and computer use? Many parents are dealing with this very issue. Janell Burley Hofmann created a contract for her children when they first got a phone, and she shared it online. She shared it to help give parents a starting point for their own iRules. Click here link to view her contract.  Parenting online can be scarey, but there are many resources to aid parents with this task.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Tell if Your Child is a Cyberbully

Cyberbullying is a serious issue.  Parents need to be able to recognize if their child is getting cyberbullied, but it is just as important to recognize if their child is the one doing the cyberbullying. Just as parents can be a big help to their child if they are getting bullied, they can also help their child understand that cyberbullying is very hurtful.

Your child may be the cyberbully if they exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Quickly switch screens or close programs when you walk by.
  • Use the computer at all hours of the night.
  • Get unusually upset if they cannot use the computer.
  • Laugh excessively while online.
  • Avoid discussions about what they are doing.
  • Use multiple online accounts or use an account that is not their own.

Stay involved with your child’s online life by having conversations about appropriate behavior online. Share stories of those who have been bullied.  Help your child understand that bullying in any form is painful.

Together we can stop cyberbullying!

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net