30 Blogs to Help Parents Keep Kids Safe Online

Be an educated parent, you will have safer kids.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer kids.

Should you allow your child to watch the news or go on Facebook?  At what point is it okay and healthy for your child to learn about current events?  Could the media your kids watch be the cause of mass violence?  When it comes to kids’ exposure to the media, these questions are all ones that need to be considered.

In the following 30 blog entries, the bloggers go into some depth about studies and recommendations regarding the relationship between your kids and media exposure, and explore the possible pros and cons of your kids’ involvement with media.

Studies

Scientists play an active role in helping parents learn about how media affects kid’s health.  If you are looking for answers of your own, review these five blog posts to see what their studies revealed.

Use

How are kids using media these days?  You might be surprised when you read a bit more about it.  These five blog entries will shed some light on media use in kids.

Recommendations

What can parents do about how much time their kids spend using media?  How much time is appropriate?  These answers and more can be found on the following five blog posts.

Pros

Here are five blog articles that have noted some benefits of kids using social media and blogging.  If you have concerns, you might want to read through the benefits that have been laid out by these bloggers.

Cons

These five blog posts provide some details about why social media may be bad for kids, and outline some of the reasons that their usage is considered risky behavior. Once you’ve read these you can weigh the good with the bad and make your own decisions about media use.

Violence

Social media, news stories and violent video games have all been tied to violent acts by kids.  See what is being said about these events in these five blog entries.  The more information you have the better choices about media use you can make.

Sources: National Nannies

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Sexual Predators: 10 Ways Predators Seek Kids Online

Teens are just as vulnerable as young children.

Teens are just as vulnerable as young children.

With many parents online shopping it also means more adults with not the same motives will be online also.  Do your kids practice online safety measures?

Children today are growing up with the Internet as a regular part of life, yet the World-Wide-Web was fairly new when their parents were young. Along with all the fun and informative things available to children online, a serious danger also lurks. Internet predators like to use the anonymity of the Internet, and are constantly on the lookout for innocent victims.

It’s important for parents to be aware of the ways sexual predators troll for kids online.

Here are 10 things to watch out for to keep your kids safe on the Internet.

  1. Online games – One place Internet predators connect with kids is online games. They will choose games that are popular with the age group they prefer and pose as other kids to foster a friendship with children. Predators will watch for gamer names that indicate the gender, location or other information that is useful to them.
  2. Chat rooms – Sexual predators will pose as kids in chat rooms that are popular with children. This is an easy way for them to garner information and target unsuspecting youngsters. Once they gain a child’s trust, they may try setting up a meeting in person.
  3. Facebook – Parents need to be very careful about whether or not they allow their children to have their own personal Facebook accounts. This is prime hunting grounds for Internet stalkers who target kids. It’s very easy for them to set up fake Facebook pages and “friend” teens and preteens.
  4. Twitter – Social media is a great way for pedophiles to connect with their victims, and Twitter is no exception. Many young people use tweeting as their primary form of communication, and predators know this and go where the kids are.
  5. Websites for kids – Parents may think websites like Disney and PBS Kids are safe for their children to frequent, but predators like to frequent them too. What better place is there to find lonely kids who want to chat?
  6. Instant messaging – Since emails will linger in an account until they’re deleted, Internet predators prefer to use instant messaging that disappears once the window is closed. This makes it harder for parents to monitor who’s talking to their kids and what they’re saying.
  7. MySpace – Some consider MySpace one of the worst sites for online predators who want to connect with children. The online surveys are fun to fill out, but they also provide lots of information that can be used to gain trust with unsuspecting youngsters.
  8. Pictures – Parents need to educate their children on how pictures posted online can be used by sexual predators. It helps them to identify kids who fit their personal preferences, and any picture posted online can be used and manipulated by anyone. Child pornographers are constantly monitoring the Internet for potentially suggestive photos of children.
  9. Target the vulnerable – Internet predators are constantly on the lookout for vulnerable children that they can exploit. Kids that are lonely, unhappy, who are having difficulty with school, or who have poor relationships with their parents are easy targets. They also like kids who are willing to keep secrets from their parents or other authorities.
  10. Use coded language – The shortcut language that kids use for texting makes it harder for parents to readily understand what they’re saying. Just glancing over their child’s shoulder, a text message can look like gobbledygook, so parents need to learn this coded language to help keep their kids safe. You better believe the Internet predators know exactly what texting shortcuts mean and how to use it to gain a child’s trust.

Being aware of the inherit risks that the Internet poses to innocent children is the first step parents who want to keep their children safe need to take. Parents need to educate themselves and their children about the dangers of Internet predators as they teach them how to use the Web.

Establish rules and guidelines for computer and cell phone use, and keep the computer in a common area easily observable by parents and siblings. Use online tools for privacy settings and set up parental alerts. Parental involvement is the key to protecting your children from online sexual predators.

Source: Nanny News Network

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Texting: 15 Scholarly Facts That You Probably Didn’t Knoow

You probably already have a few pretty good ideas about text messaging.

For instance, you know walking while texting can be tricky, and you know texting in your college courses has a negative impact on your grades. You didn’t need a study to tell you so, but researchers went ahead and did them anyway. But not all the research done on the subject can be filed under “Obvious.”

Here are 15 scholarly facts about texting that you may not have suspected.

  1. Getting a text makes you happier: It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that receiving a text message from a close friend makes you happier, but now we have the research to confirm it. Berkeley psychologists found even sending a text message makes people feel more connected and causes an upswing in mood.
  2. Hypertexters are less healthy: Texting may make you happier, but those who do it too much seem prone to unhealthy habits. Case Western Reserve School of Medicine concluded a study in 2010 that found “hypertexting” — sending more than 120 messages a day — can “have dangerous health effects on teenagers.” Hypertexters were found to be more likely to engage in harmful behaviors like binge drinking (43% more likely) and drug use (41% more likely).
  3. Texting behind the wheel is even riskier than we thought: Few things are as distracting to a motorist as trying to read or send a text message. Researchers at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute now say, based on their study, that texting while driving double’s a driver’s reaction time. In the test, drivers using their phones were 11 times more likely to miss a flashing traffic light than focused drivers.
  4. Texting while driving killed 16,000 in a six-year period: Exactly measuring the number of traffic deaths caused by texting is impossible, but researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center have put the number at 16,000 between 2001 and 2007. Their findings were compiled based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and were published in the American Journal of Public Health. They estimated that in 2008 alone, 5,870 people died as a result of drivers distracted by texting.
  5. Texters use fewer abbreviations than we thought: Three universities are currently partnering to determine whether it’s true that cell phone communication is really ruining the way we write. The study began in December 2011, and head researcher Christian Guilbault of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia says the research has already revealed some interesting info. It turns out people don’t resort to shorthand as often as we might think. “See you” is used four times as often as “C U,” and of 12 variations of the word “OK,” “okay” is the most common.
  6. Black people send the most text messages: The Nielsen Company looked at monthly cell phone bills of 60,000 users in the U.S. and determined that African-Americans send more texts than Hispanics, whites, and Asian-Americans. The 790 text messages they send per month, on average, is more than twice the amount sent by Asian-Americans, who send an average of 384 per month.
  7. Texting helps HIV sufferers take their meds: A study that recently appeared in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that sending HIV patients weekly text messages to remind them to take medicine and to ask them how they are doing can help them stick to their antiretroviral therapy treatment plans. Researchers at UC-San Francisco’s Global Health Sciences recommend hospitals text patients on the treatment, which has tough side effects, but is also critical to survival.
  8. Texters don’t believe that’s a word: Blame it on autocorrect. A University of Calgary student did a study of texters and word usage, expecting to find that texting encouraged “unrestrained language.” Instead, the results showed people who text more are more likely to reject new words rather than accepting them as possible words. The people who were more open to a range of new words were readers of traditional media like magazines and books.
  9. Texting makes it easier to lie: The Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia recently published the results of their study that paired students playing roles of stockbroker and buyer, with the stockbroker needing to unload a stock that will soon lose 50% of its value. Deals done via texting were 31% more likely to involve lies than those by face-to-face talks. And buyers who were lied to via text proved to be much angrier than buyers lied to in person.
  10. Many people are addicted to texting: Researchers at the University of Maryland studied 200 students after 24 hours of no texting or other media. They found many of them were basically experiencing withdrawal, anxiety, and difficulty functioning. Dr. David Greenfield of the Center for Internet Behavior has compared constant texting and checking email to gambling addiction.
  11. Most people still prefer a phone call: Nearly three-fourths of American adults text. However, while 31% say they prefer to be contacted by text message, fully half of adults still prefer a good old phone call. The findings were the result of a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, the first such time the group has polled Americans’ on their contact method of choice.
  12. Banning texting while driving is not the answer: At least one group of researchers is making a case against laws banning texting while driving. Researchers at the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute found that driver education is more effective than a ban, partly because people would disobey a law and partly because hands-free devices meant to replace texting as a safer alternative do not actually lower crash figures.
  13. Female teens text the most: Perhaps the only surprising thing here is that it’s older teenage girls, not pre-teen girls, who send the most texts of any group. Girls 14-17 send a median of 100 texts a day. Pew’s Internet and American Life Project also discovered that 87% of all teens in this age group have a cell phone, while only 57% of 12- and 13-year-olds have one.
  14. Texting has spawned its own injury: Texting is convenient, but it could also be a pain in the neck. Dr. Dean Fishman has trademarked the phrase “text neck” to describe an ailment he is seeing conflicting more and more patients. He even started the Text Neck Institute in Florida to treat pain in the neck, back, arms, and shoulders of frequent texters. “Forward head posture” pain, his original diagnosis, did not catch on.
  15. Predictive texting changes children’s brains: Using the built-in dictionary when texting on a cell phone makes children prone to making more mistakes. An epidemiologist from Monash University in Melbourne studied children ages 11-14 who sent 20 texts a week and found that the autocorrect technology makes children more impulsive and less accurate in their learning.

Source: Online College Courses

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Teens and Cyber Dating: What to Do if You Discover Your Teen is Dating Online

In most cases, cyber dating is unsafe for teens. This is because, as you probably already know, there are a lot of predators online who try to prey on teens. That cute 16-year-old lacrosse player who lives a few hours away that your daughter is talking to online could really be a 40-year-old dude who lives with his parents a few blocks away from you. It’s easy to stretch the truth online, and people do it all the time. Although most reputable dating sites don’t allow teens to sign up for their services, there are a few online dating sites and dating chat rooms geared toward teens. If you discover that your teen has starting dating someone online, you should definitely be concerned. Here are a few tips to help you deal with this type of situation:

1. Have a serious discussion about the risks

Your teen probably already knows that meeting people online isn’t the safest choice. However, he or she decided to do it anyway. As a parent, it’s your job to communicate the risks of online dating to your son or daughter without seeming too much like an overprotective, overbearing parent. So, sit down together and have an adult conversation about online predators. Try not to get angry with your teen, and calmly ask your teen to stop visiting online dating sites. This discussion may not be enough to convince your teen to stop meeting people online. It will, however, get your teen to start thinking more about how dangerous online dating can be.

2. Monitor your teen’s online behavior

Install some software on your computer that will let you monitor your teen’s online habits. You can choose whether or not you let your teen know you’re doing this. After the software is installed, check to see what sites your teen is visiting regularly, but avoid invading your child’s privacy too much. There’s no need to go through all of his or her Facebook messages, unless there’s good reason to suspect something is up. If you notice your teen is regularly visiting sites that appear to be online dating sites, you may want to get some software to block those sites from your family computer.

3. Do a background check on online suitors

If your teen still finds a way to cyber date, despite your efforts to curtail this activity, find out who he or she is talking to. Find out the name of the person, where he or she lives, and where he or she supposedly goes to school. Then conduct a background check on the online suitor to see if he or she is telling the truth to your teen.

Call the school the suitor allegedly attends and see if he or she is actually enrolled there. Try to find the phone number of the parents of the suitor, call them, and let them know their child is dating your child. If it turns out that the person your teen is communicating with is actually another, normal teen, you’ll have to decide whether or not you’ll allow your child to continue communicating with him or her. If you discover that the online dater isn’t actually a teen, it’s best to report him or her to the authorities.

Cyber dating is a real risk in your teen’s life. So, make sure you have an open, honest conversation about meeting people online with your son or daughter. And keep tabs on your child’s online behavior. It’s critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your teen from online predators.

Familiar with personal information screenings and online background checks, Jane Smith regularly writes about these topics in her blogs. Feel free to send her comments at janesmith161@gmail.com.

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The Negative Side of Facebook and Your Teen

Special guest post by Roxanne Porter:

I know that a lot of people love Facebook. They love that it can help them to stay connected to their friends. They love that it makes it easy to share their thoughts, feelings, and pictures. But Facebook has a dark side. It can be very damaging to people. Facebook can cause privacy issues, make you lose your job and your friends, and can be used as a tool for bad guys.

Some of the problems that come with Facebook arise because of privacy issues. Even though you can choose to have your profile set to private that does not always mean that your information is really safe. A lot of times friends of friends can see your posts. That can mean people you have never met and do not know. Also, people can share your posts with others, taking away your privacy. On top of that, businesses can pay to have access to all of Facebook, supposedly for marketing purposes, but they can use the information any way they wish.

Facebook is also bad because it can make you lose your friends or your job. Just because you think your Facebook is set to private does not mean that somehow something might escape to the public or people not on your friend list. Your employer could find out that you are posting during business hours or that you called in sick but went to the beach. Those things could get you in a lot of trouble or even fired. The same idea goes with your friends. If you tell someone you are going to bed or home and then you post pictures at a party, they are going t be upset with you for lying to them.

Facebook can also be used as a tool for bad guys who want to steal your information. There are lots of people out there who steal identities. They might use Facebook to get your name, numbers, friends’ names and even your address. Worse than identity theft, though, is real theft or physical harm. If someone has access to your Facebook and wanted to find you, it would be pretty easy. They could track you down based on where you work or even where you eat regularly. If you tag your posts with your location, you make it even easier for a stalker to find you. There was even a case of a burglar breaking into a house because someone posted a picture of a pile of money on their Facebook page. That is pretty dumb, but you can see how easy that would be to do.

Facebook is supposed to be something great, but it can also be very bad. There are a lot of people out there that want to use your information to do the wrong thing. Facebook makes it much easier for them. It might be better not to post anything important or really identifying on your Facebook page. Or you could just not have one at all!

Author Bio:

Roxanne Porter is a freelancer & a regular contributor for  nannyjobs.org.  She helps in providing knowledge about nanny services & love writing on nanny related articles. She helps in giving a fair knowledge about nanny Jobs to the community. You can be in touch with her at “r.poter08ATgmail.com” .

Online Predators: Knowing Where Your Teens are Surfing Online

“Your teen comes home from school and goes up to her bedroom, closes the door and goes online.” – ScreenRetriever

As a parent of a teenager in today’s digital society it can be difficult to keep up with the ever changing Internet.  It can be more challenging to keep your lines of communication open with your teen to insure their safety both online and off, however it is a priority for parents.

Stats parents should know:

What Parents Can Do:

  1. Self education- Learn what kids may be exposed to online – Learn what the risks are.
  2. Communitcating, educating, e-mentoring your kids about:
    • Online risks
    • Chatrooms, game site risks
    • Predators and to be aware of manipulative behavior, gifts, requests for nude pictures, grooming.
    • Predators don’t look scary, they look like you or I, or the person down the street.
    • Teaching your child that if they get in a situation that feels uncomfortable, that they should and can always come to you and that they won’t get in trouble if they do.
    • Only friend people they know on Social Networking Sites
    • Never meet someone they’ve met online without talking to an adult first.
    • Turn off webcam when not in use

3. E-mentor kids online especially when they have a computer in their bedroom. ScreenRetriever enables parents to monitor children’s computer activity live where ever the child’s computer is located in the home including who your child is communicating with using their webcam.

4. Set limits and ground rules about what your child is allowed to do online, sites they visit, information they post, who their friends are on social networking sites, who they are chatting with. Go over the ScreenRetriever tips before they are allowed on the computer.

5. Learn the language your kids use on the computer and cellphone, like A/S/L or GNOC.

6. When your child comes to you with a problem, be there for them, and don’t over react. Many kids don’t tell their parents when they have a problem online because they are afraid they will lose computer privileges.

7. Start e-mentoring early when kids go on the computer so that your family values and rules are ingrained early.

One child caught in the manipulative trap of a predator is one too many.   This can be prevented when parents “parent online” and “e-mentor”.

An added tool for assistant and protection for your teens and children, parents may want to consider ScreenRetriever.  (Watch the video).

ScreenRetriever gives you peace of mind.  Screen Retriever is the only supervising software that follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Sign up today for your free 2-week trial period.  No credit card is required for this trial period.

Need help installing it?  Yoursphere for Parents is a click away with user friendly instructions!

You can join ScreenRetriever on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

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Facebook and Kids: Parents You do have Options for Social Networking Sites for Kids

Is Facebook really for kids?

What kids do online have real world consequences – do they realize that?

The answer is probably not surprising to many parents.  Most kids and teenagers do not think of the consequences when they post what  they believe are silly comments or funny photos today.

Everyday a parent somewhere is faced with a question from their child – “Can I join Facebook?”

Facebook was originally created for college students in 2004. Ever since then the once small private website has grown to over 800 million uses. Not only is it for college students, but for parents, companies and children. According to Pcworld.com, 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13, and two-thirds of those kids are under 10.  It’s becoming a huge debate among children and parent; to join Facebook or not to join is the question. [See options for younger kids at the end of the article].

The current legal Facebook user age is 13 years old. Any child younger is discouraged to log on, but of course there are plenty ways around that. It is really simple for a child under the age of 13 to get on to Facebook. All you need is a name, email address and a fake birth date.

Before you let your kid log on there are a few things to consider before allowing your child on Facebook:

Facebook is relatively safe. You have many options on the level of privacy and protection you want to set on your page. But keep in mind that your child is always susceptible to online predators if they are online. Whether it is Facebook or online gaming, predators are lurking everywhere. The ‘checking in’ feature can be dangerous in the sense anyone can know where your child is once he or she check in, whether that is at school or at a movie theatre.

Not only is it dangerous it can be a huge distraction. According to heathland.time.com, “Research has found that students in middle school, high school and college who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period got lower grades.” Facebook is just one more distraction for your child.

There are over millions of Facebook users and just like surfing the web there are things you may not want your child to see. You may be in some control of what people can see your child do, but you can’t control what your child may see or read from another user.

Probably the most news making problem with kids on Facebook is the amount of cyberbullying that is occurring. There are dozens of news stories, books, news articles and movies based on this growing epidemic. Cyberbullies are other kids that harass and bully children using technology like Facebook, Twitter, texting and blogs. Cyberbullies are able to hide behind their computer without thinking about the consequences their rumors, teasing and mean words are doing. Cyberbullying is serious; studies show that 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. (For more statistics information visit http://www.isafe.org/.)

When Facebook is used appropriately it can be a great way for your child to keep in contact with friends and family members. If you choose to allow them to log on, it’s suggested to closely monitor your child’s Facebook by logging on for them, keeping the password safe until you feel they are able to handle it.  Monitoring their page and having access to their page will help with possible dangers. Remember to set your child’s page to private and be sure that comments and photos are on the settings you want.

Source:  Internet Service Providers

Meet Yoursphere for YOUR kids today!

Now when you are faced with that question, “Can I join Facebook?” from your child – you can offer a safe, fun and exciting option!

Yourpshere.com is one of the fasting growing social networking sites for kids.  The benefits are endless, their priorities are the safety of your child and their information.  The founder, Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five children, created Yoursphere.com as well as Yoursphere for Parents which is full of educational materials and information to keep you up-to-date on today’s gadgets and how to keep up with the ever changing privacy settings of the Internet.

Watch this video on the  as an introduction to Yoursphere!

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