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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

Wait! You said you were doing homework?!

So you get online and you see that your friend, who said she was doing homework, is posting all about the awesome time she had hanging out with friends. You start feeling sad, then angry. Why didn’t she just say that she had plans? Why did she lie to you? Did she not want to hang out with you?  This can be a difficult situation to deal with. Dr. Devorah Heitner spoke with several teens, who came up with some great ideas to help deal with the emotions that come when you feel left out.

  1. “Watch some Netflix
  2. Eat some ice cream
  3. Call some other friends to invite them over
  4. Don’t watch—put away your phone!
  5. Exercise
  6. Hang out with your family”

Everyone will experience this in some form or another throughout life. It is good to have strategies to cope when you feel left out. Check out the rest of Dr. Devorah Heitner’s Article for some more great information.

Exclusion in the Instagram Age: How Can They be Having Such a Great Time Without Me?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It Went Viral

Teens often don’t think about how far or fast a picture or video can spread online.  Just recently a friend of mine had a video spread extremely quickly. He attended the caucuses on primary election night. After he left, he took a video showing how the police ticketed all of the people who were illegally parked due to lack of parking options. He posted it on his Facebook account to share with his friends. It was shared over 1000 times, and within the first week it was seen by over 130,000 viewers. Today he has over 224,000 views. Once something is posted online, it can spread very quickly. It is important to remind teens, and adults that once something has been posted it can never be taken back. What we post online can have positive and negative effects on our life. Think before you post.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What to do when your child runs into inappropriate content online.

We have all seen it and wished we hadn’t, porn.  It may have happened when you were looking for pictures for a project, or trying to find a funny video you saw with a friend. You clicked on a link, or it popped up, and suddenly you are watching something that you had no desire to see. The sad thing is that this will happen at sometime to your child.  I spoke to a child who once ran into porn, while trying to find a minecraft video. He was so upset, and felt so guilty.  We need to start preparing our children to know what to do when this happens. The best way to help your child deal with this unfortunate reality is to keep a good relationship with them. Discuss strategies with them, like covering the screen, turning off the monitor, or pressing the lock screen, and then bringing the device to you. When your child comes to you after they run into this content, you have the power to help them process and work through the mix of feelings they feel inside. Talk about appropriate relationships, you may have to have the sex talk a little earlier than you expect. This is an unfortunate reality that we face today.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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