Digital Parenting and Your Teen’s Social Media Profiles

SocialMedia25It’s eight o’clock on a school night; do you know where your kids are? In our constantly wired world, you not only need to know whose house your kids are visiting, but also where they’re hanging out on the internet. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube are great ways for kids to keep in touch and connect with the world around them, but they can also be ideal settings for inappropriate content, bullies, and even sexual predators.

Many parents are friends and followers on their children’s social media sites, but should you go a step further and have direct access to their accounts? 

Pros:

Having the login information for your kids’ social media profiles grants you access to their friends, their conversations, and their pictures. It allows you to see who your children are communicating with and what they’re saying, which can help hold them accountable. Even more importantly, you can control the privacy settings on your kids’ profile and block certain users from contacting them. This enables you to censor questionable subject matter and have meaningful conversations with your children about Internet safety. In the long run, paying more attention to your kids’ friends and interests could help you form a stronger bond with them. 

Cons:

On the other hand, being able to log in to your children’s Internet accounts can undermine any sense of trust that you’ve worked to establish with them. If your kids know that you can sign on to their social media sites, it might lead them to create alternate profiles (and engage in risky online behavior). Additionally, when you have unlimited access to your children’s information, it’s tempting to overstep your boundaries by posting embarrassing content or telling other parents what their kids are doing online. This can strain your parent-child relationship and alienate your children from their friends. Also, when you take total control of your kids’ accounts, it doesn’t help them learn how to responsibly manage social media.

Whether or not you choose to have access to your kids’ profiles, you should still be aware of their Internet activity. If possible, keep the family computer in a central location (not kids’ rooms), and check in on your children frequently when they’re on the Internet. Visit the websites that they’re talking about with their friends, and be on the lookout for increased Internet use or changes in mood, which could indicate that they’re getting into trouble online.

Before you allow your children to set up social media profiles, make sure you sit down to have a conversation about appropriate use, and set up rules for sharing information on the Internet. Remind them that it’s hard to control (and remove) content once it’s posted online and that there can be real world repercussions for their online behavior. Keep the line of communication open so that your children feel comfortable coming to you when they need advice or if they encounter a problem on social media websites.

Special Contributor: Stephanie Marbukh

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Cyber-Gossip: How it Can Turn Into Cyber Bullying

Have You Heard - 3d Words IsolatedGossip can be mean. Bullies can build on gossip and create stories and ugliness about a student that can go viral in seconds.

In today’s internet age, gossip can be spread at lightning speed to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. The new “party line” is cyberspace where millions of people can all access the same information instantaneously. Just get on your computer, iphone, ipad or blackberry and let the rumors fly.

Here are 10 ways people (including kids) can us new technology to rapidly spread gossip (in no particular order).

  1. Email – One way to spread a rumor quickly is to send an email to all the contacts in your account, except the one the rumor is about, of course. Then they can forward it to all their contacts and on it goes from there. You better hope they delete your name when they forward it, or you might get blamed for starting it.
  2. Facebook – Post your gossip on facebook and all your friends will know about it instantly. If they “like” it, comment on it or repost it, all their friends will see it too. Pretty soon you’ve got the rumor spreading quickly.
  3. Myspace – Another social networking sight great for gossiping is Myspace. Post that rumor on a bulletin or your group’s message board and watch it spread like wildfire.
  4. Twitter – You can tweet a rumor and all your Twitter followers will know your juicy gossip in 140 characters or less. They can re-tweet it to all their followers and in no time the gossip is flying through cyberspace.
  5. Blogs – Some people love to spread gossip through their blogs. Even unintentional rumors are sometimes started by bloggers.
  6. Website – You won’t believe some of the stuff you find posted on websites, and you shouldn’t either. There are whole websites put on the web just for the purpose of spreading misinformation. Always remember to check their sources.
  7. YouTube – If you have a registered YouTube account you can upload an unlimited number of videos. If you have a video of someone doing something dubious, this is the best way to spread that rumor to millions of viewers.
  8. Comments – A great way to anonymously spread gossip is to post a comment on a website, blog or YouTube video. You can log in under an assumed username and say all kinds of outrageous things without revealing your identity.
  9. Chat rooms – Another anonymous way to spread rumors are internet chat rooms. You can start with an offhand comment and embellish it as you go.
  10. Texting – If you see or hear something juicy to gossip about, you can send a text message to all your friends. That will get the thumbs flying as the rumor gets spread.

The new social media available has taken gossiping to a whole new level. Unfortunately this can lead to cyber bullying and be very traumatizing to vulnerable people. Celebrities and politicians are easy targets for internet gossip and careers are ruined by unintended tweets. Everyone should use the new technology responsibly, but many abuse their newfound privileges. Be careful what you put out into cyberspace or it may come back to haunt you and always check the sources of what you see or read. Chances are it’s just more cyber-gossip.

Source: Internet Providers

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

NO BULL Challenge Campaign: Get Your School Involved

Bullying and cyberbullying has become a cancer that potentially has a death sentence.

Florida is not a stranger to tragedies related to bullying incidents and suicides among tweens and teens.

The NO BULL Challenge is the largest, youth-led national campaign in America’s history to combat cyberbullying.

Murray Middle School in St. Augustine is home to Girls CircleGirls Circle is a support group for middle school girls. It is designed to foster self-esteem, help girls maintain authentic connections with peers and adult women, counter trends toward self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity.

Girls Circle are diligently preparing to be part of the NO BULL Challenge.  This campaign is open to all middle and high school students. (Watch the video ).

Fifteen finalists will be invited to attend the star-studded NO BULL Teen Video Awards in San Francisco.  Our community is behind our students and just making the effort to show your support to put an end to bullying and cyberbullying is a step in a positive direction.

Do you want to know how you can enter?  Click here for FAQ.

Important dates to know for this challenge:
January 15, 2012: NO BULL Challenge Begins (12:01 am PST)

March 15, 2012: Video Upload Deadline (12:00 am PST)

March 15, 2012: Voting begins

April 15, 2012: Voting ends to select top 100 most popular videos

May 17, 2012: 15 finalists chosen from top 100 favorites

July 21, 2012: 8 Winners announced at NO BULL Red Carpet Awards Event in San Francisco

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Teaching Your Teen Respect Both Online and Off: Being a Good Cyber-Citizen

How do you treat others – online?

How do your teens treat their friends – online?

Teaching our kids and teens respect starts from a young age, however when it comes to technology, parents need to understand it is just as important to continue the lesson of respect digitally.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month! In honor of this year’s theme, “Our Shared Responsibility,” JustAskGemalto.com compiled a list of 10 ways to be a better cyber citizen and help keep you and your family secure online.

1.       Understand the technology available to protect you and your family’s digital identity: Digital security devices give you the freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank and work using your digital identity in a way that is convenient, enjoyable and secure.  What digital security tools are you already using every day?

Consider using a personal security device when going online: Having a personal security devicein addition to a password better secures you and your sensitive information.  Learn more about how this concept is a lot like your ATM card.

3.       Use antivirus and antispyware software: To prevent spyware or malware, use one or two anti-spyware programs in addition to your anti-virus software, and keep them up to date.

4.       Teach family & friends about the importance of strong passwords: Passwords should never be family names or numbers that are easily found out like a birthday, address or phone numbers. Do you follow the criteria for strong passwords?

5.       Get involved in your child’s online life: Start young and introduce them to kid-friendly sites you and they can find valuable.  Be sure to take the time to discuss the risks associated with social media with your children.

6.       Report cybercrime:If you are being phished, spammed, or a criminal is attempting to commit a crime through email correspondence with you,it’s important to know the steps you need to take if you think you may be a victim of cybercrime.

7.       Protect your home or small business Wi-Fi network: To make your home or small business Wi-Fi network safe, the single most important thing to do is implement the authentication security capabilities built into your Access Point and Wi-Fi adapters.  Learn how you can easily implement these security capabilities.

8.       If you’re a parent, consider parental control systems for Internet access on 3G mobile phones: All service providers offer parental control software. The systems are free, easy to install, and give you a choice between several levels of control.

9.       If your bank does not provide a smart bankcard, know the other safe ways to shop online: PayPal is a good way to pay online because you do not have to give private credit card account information to an Internet retailer that is unknown to you.  Learn more about other safe payment options.

10.   Don’t share information with web sites you don’t trust: If you’re not sure if you can trust a website, look to see if it is certified by an Internet Trust Organization.

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Teen Text Talk: Do You Know What Your Teen is Saying?

What did they mean?

Whether it is texting, instant messaging, or social networking – do you really know what your teenager is saying?  They seem to have their own language and codes for things parents may not approve of.

One of my favorite new sites is Enough is Enough! And how many times as parents do we say this?

Do you feel overwhelmed about protecting children from the dangers of the virtual world?

Who doesn’t?

When it comes to teens it can be more difficult and even more important to be a parent in the know.

Let’s start with 50 Acronyms Parents Should Know:

(Courtesy of Enough is Enough and NetLingo)

  1. 8 – Oral sex
  2. 1337 – Elite -or- leet -or- L337
  3. 143 – I love you
  4. 182 – I hate you
  5. 1174 – Nude club
  6. 420 – Marijuana
  7. 459 – I love you
  8. ADR – Address
  9. AEAP – As Early As Possible
  10. ALAP – As Late As Possible
  11. ASL – Age/Sex/Location
  12. CD9 – Code 9 – it means parents are around
  13. C-P – Sleepy
  14. F2F – Face-to-Face
  15. GNOC – Get Naked On Cam
  16. GYPO – Get Your Pants Off
  17. HAK – Hugs And Kisses
  18. ILU – I Love You
  19. IWSN – I Want Sex Now
  20. J/O – Jerking Off
  21. KOTL – Kiss On The Lips
  22. KFY -or- K4Y – Kiss For You
  23. KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless
  24. LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
  25. MOOS – Member Of The Opposite Sex
  26. MOSS – Member(s) Of The Same Sex
  27. MorF – Male or Female
  28. MOS – Mom Over Shoulder
  29. MPFB – My Personal F*** Buddy
  30. NALOPKT – Not A Lot Of People Know That
  31. NIFOC – Nude In Front Of The computer
  32. NMU – Not Much, You?
  33. P911 – Parent Alert
  34. PAL – Parents Are Listening
  35. PAW – Parents Are Watching
  36. PIR – Parent In Room
  37. POS – Parent Over Shoulder -or- Piece Of Sh**
  38. pron – porn
  39. Q2C – Quick To Cum
  40. RU/18 – Are You Over 18?
  41. RUMORF – Are You Male OR Female?
  42. RUH – Are You Horny?
  43. S2R – Send To Receive
  44. SorG – Straight or Gay
  45. TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
  46. WTF – What The F***
  47. WUF – Where You From
  48. WYCM – Will You Call Me?
  49. WYRN – What’s Your Real Name?
  50. zerg – To gang up on someone

Be an educated parent – you will have safer teens!

Follow Enough is Enough on Twitter and Facebook.

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Back to School: Gossip can lead to Bullying

We are heading into a new school year and more and more we are hearing of the digitial bullying, cyberbullying and sexting.

Gossip can be mean.  Bullies can build on gossip and create stories and ugliness about a student that can go viral in seconds.

In today’s internet age, gossip can be spread at lightning speed to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. The new “party line” is cyberspace where millions of people can all access the same information instantaneously. Just get on your computer, iphone, ipad or blackberry and let the rumors fly.

Here are 10 ways people (including kids) can us new technology to rapidly spread gossip in 2011 (in no particular order).

  1. Email – One way to spread a rumor quickly is to send an email to all the contacts in your account, except the one the rumor is about, of course. Then they can forward it to all their contacts and on it goes from there. You better hope they delete your name when they forward it, or you might get blamed for starting it.
  2. Facebook – Post your gossip on facebook and all your friends will know about it instantly. If they “like” it, comment on it or repost it, all their friends will see it too. Pretty soon you’ve got the rumor spreading quickly.
  3. Myspace – Another social networking sight great for gossiping is Myspace. Post that rumor on a bulletin or your group’s message board and watch it spread like wildfire.
  4. Twitter – You can tweet a rumor and all your Twitter followers will know your juicy gossip in 140 characters or less. They can re-tweet it to all their followers and in no time the gossip is flying through cyberspace.
  5. Blogs – Some people love to spread gossip through their blogs. Even unintentional rumors are sometimes started by bloggers.
  6. Website – You won’t believe some of the stuff you find posted on websites, and you shouldn’t either. There are whole websites put on the web just for the purpose of spreading misinformation. Always remember to check their sources.
  7. YouTube – If you have a registered YouTube account you can upload an unlimited number of videos. If you have a video of someone doing something dubious, this is the best way to spread that rumor to millions of viewers.
  8. Comments – A great way to anonymously spread gossip is to post a comment on a website, blog or YouTube video. You can log in under an assumed username and say all kinds of outrageous things without revealing your identity.
  9. Chat rooms – Another anonymous way to spread rumors are internet chat rooms. You can start with an offhand comment and embellish it as you go.
  10. Texting – If you see or hear something juicy to gossip about, you can send a text message to all your friends. That will get the thumbs flying as the rumor gets spread.

The new social media available has taken gossiping to a whole new level. Unfortunately this can lead to cyber bullying and be very traumatizing to vulnerable people. Celebrities and politicians are easy targets for internet gossip and careers are ruined by unintended tweets. Everyone should use the new technology responsibly, but many abuse their newfound privileges. Be careful what you put out into cyberspace or it may come back to haunt you and always check the sources of what you see or read. Chances are it’s just more cyber-gossip.

Source:  Internet Providers

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.