Using Technology To Monitor Your Teens

ISpyOctober is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month (NCSAM).

Does your teen know more about technology than you do?

It is time to catch up and be proactive in keeping your kids safe both online and off.

When safety trumps privacy – be a parent in the know!

Teens have access to unprecedented amounts of technology, and the problem is, they usually know how to use it better than their parents. With sexting, cyberstalking, cyberbullying and internet predators in abundance, parents need to closely monitor what their teens are doing on the internet and beyond. The best way to do this is to use the newest technology available to spy on their teens. Kids may not appreciate it, but it’s important for parents to know what their teens are up to at this impressionable age when they don’t always make good decisions.

Here are 10 ways to use technology to spy on your teen.

  1. Nanny cam – Originally used to monitor in-home caregivers, nanny cams can be used to spy on your teens as well. These hidden cameras can be installed in common household objects and placed strategically throughout your home. Parents of teens may consider putting one in their teen’s bedroom to make sure their child is not engaging in inappropriate behavior when they’re not home.
  2. Facebook – Friend your teens on facebook to monitor what they’re posting on their facebook page. If you suspect they are blocking you from some of their postings, you could get sneaky and pose as someone else, such as another teen, to find out what they’re really up to.
  3. Twitter – It’s also a good idea to follow your kids on Twitter to see what they’re tweeting about. Your teen will be more likely to be careful about what they tweet if they know you’re watching. This can help prevent inappropriate pictures being sent into cyberspace where they will live on forever.
  4. Internet search history – Periodically check your teen’s internet search history on their computer to see what they looking at when they surf the web. Are they doing research for homework or just watching You Tube? Make sure you block any porn sights and check to see if the blocks are still in place. Teens will find ways to get around your parental controls, so hold them accountable if they do.
  5. Email – While you’re at it, check on their email history too. Teens won’t like the fact that you’re doing this and will accuse you of invading their privacy. This is a legitimate concern, but so is your concern for their safety. Unless you know that they’re using the computer responsibly, they shouldn’t be allowed to use it unsupervised.
  6. Computer monitor – If you want to know what your teen is doing on their computer and are concerned they will delete any information they don’t want you to see, you can install a monitor to keep track of their computer activity. These monitors can record every keystroke, websites visited, take screen snapshots and give you detailed reports. This is the best way to monitor chat rooms, email and any social networking your teen is engaging in.
  7. Remote monitoring – The technology is also available to have these monitoring reports sent to your email so you can stay informed of your teen’s activities while you’re away from home. This is a great feature if you travel a lot for business. It’s also a good way for your child to let you know instantly if they’re in trouble.
  8. Cell phone monitor – You can get a similar monitoring system to track your child’s cell phone activity. These devices will send you reports on their calls, texting, location, web history and any pictures taken. Teens with mobile phone technology are more likely to use it than their home computers. This is also a great way to deter teen abductions and know instantly if anything goes wrong.
  9. Car monitor – Teens don’t always use good judgment when they get behind the wheel, so a car monitor is another way to use technology to spy on them. These GPS devices not only track where your kids are going, but what speed they’re driving and if they’re out past their curfew. They can even be set to give your teen an audible warning if they’re driving recklessly and emit an ear piercing sound if they’re driving too fast or staying out too late.
  10. Home security – Many people have security systems installed in their homes that can be used to spy on their teens. Security cameras can be reviewed plus checking the alarm history can let you know the exact time your child enters and leaves the house.

Of course your teen is not going to like all this spying, especially if you are doing it on the sly, so be sure to let them know what you’re doing and why. Be careful not to overreact over every little piece of information you get or your teen will find ways to get around your monitoring. There’s a delicate balance between ensuring your child’s safety and just plain being snoopy. Give them as much privacy as you can, but be ready to broach their boundaries if you think they’re in real danger.

Source: My ISP Finder

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Internet Safety: Community Empowerment Series Session III

april poster

Saturday, April 27th.

Nease High School is the location.

Starting at 9:00am the Community Empowerment Series will have their final event with one of the hottest topics that reaches everyone with a keypad or a cell phone.

Especially those teenagers that are are heading to prom that evening. Before you snap those picture and post those questionable comments, you will benefit from this event featuring Theresa Payton. She is one of our countries leading cyber safety experts and will be discussing cyber bullying, identity theft, and cell phone safety including sexting.

Did you know?

· Over 95% of teens use social networking

· Last year over 500,000 kids had their online identity stolen

*85% of teens have been cyber bullied at least once

· Sexting: 71% of teen girls and 67% of teen boys have participated in posting/sending sexually suggestive content.

Dr. Joseph Joyner is recommending that every teacher, parent and student attends this event and takes advantage of this learning experience.

St. Johns County Sheriff Shoar will be introducing Theresa Payton and will have his team available with literature for our community regarding Internet safety and our kids.

This is a FREE event and open to the public. It is presented by the St. Johns County Education Foundation and Communities in Schools of St. Johns County and sponsored by The St. Augustine Record, First Coast News and other generous donors.

Online registration is recommended.

Learn more at www.communityempowermentseries.com.

Common Internet Scams and How to Avoid Them

InternetScamThe Internet is a powerful resource that connects you to the rest of the world and helps you access knowledge in the blink of any eye. It can also, however, put you in the precarious position of sussing out legitimate offers versus complete cons.

These 15 Internet scams are quite popular, but you can avoid falling victim to them by learning to recognize their common red flags.

  1. The Nigerian Scam – Also known as a 419 scam, Nigerian scams offer targets a portion of the email sender’s inheritance in exchange for help claiming the money from a foreign government. Early versions of this email usually cited Nigeria as the country where the money was supposedly held, but updated versions may claim a variety of African nations.
  2. Lottery Scams – The first red flag that a lottery win notification is fraudulent is the fact that you haven’t been playing the lottery, but email notifications can be convincing and the promise of a big reward enticing. If you haven’t played any lotteries or entered any contests, you should regard any email claims that you’ve won one as dubious.
  3. Convincing Fakes of Official Entities – An email that appears to be from a reputable payment processing service or your bank explaining that your account has been compromised is a popular phishing scam, largely because it tends to work. Don’t click on any redirecting links within an email and never give out your account number or password. When in doubt, contact your bank directly.
  4. Item for Sale Scams – Selling an item on an auction site or online classified site can open the floodgates for messages and emails, some of which have fraudulent aims. Anyone asking if they can overpay you for an item in exchange for a wire transfer or cashier’s check seems fishy because it is; in most cases, the check or payment method will prove to be fraudulent, leaving you bereft of your goods and holding the bag on a bad debt.
  5. Employment Scams – In a particularly despicable turn, employment scams are becoming more and more popular as an increasing number of Americans find themselves without a job. Employment ads and websites created by these hucksters may seem legitimate, but they’re actually sophisticated ways of collecting your personal information for floods of spam email or even identity theft.
  6. Disaster Relief Scams – Preying upon the inherent desire to help your fellow man, messages soliciting donations for a natural disaster in some tiny, obscure, developing nation is a lucrative business for scammers.
  7. Travel Scams – Sometimes you’re forced to sit through a presentation about timeshares, but sometimes your information is collected for marketing mail and identity theft. Be wary of any email claiming that you’ve won a free vacation.
  8. Get-Rich-Quick Scams – The idea of building an empire by stuffing envelopes or selling a nutritional supplement isn’t a new one, but the scope and reach of the Internet has created a flood of get-rich-quick scams preying on people’s hopes of hitting it rich.
  9. Sweetheart Scams – A person who pretends to be someone they’re not in an online relationship is called a “catfish.” Catfish may simply be seeking attention and validation, but most are playing a part in order to get as much money as possible out of an unsuspecting mark before mysteriously dying or staging a dramatic breakup scene.
  10. Prime Bank Note Scams – Con artists offering “bank guarantees” that they can purchase at a bargain and sell for top dollar take a fortune from their unsuspecting victims. To make their claims seem even more attractive, these scammers claim that their “guarantees” are issued by “prime banks,” hence the name.
  11. Letter of Credit Scams – The only legitimate letters of credit are issued by banks directly to a recipient for international trade agreement and payment guarantees. Anyone offering a “letter of credit” investment opportunity will probably try to sell you the Golden Gate Bridge if you show an interest.
  12. Goods Not as Listed Scams – Relatively mild in the scheme of things, goods-not-as-purchased schemes generally happen on unregulated classified ads sites or auction sites that openly condone trade in pirated goods. After remitting payment, you will almost always receive some sort of package. In most cases, the goods are completely different than they were described and you have no recourse for regaining your money.
  13. Rogue Anti-Virus Software Scams – The idea that your computer has been infected by a virus is a scary one; after all, what if you lose all of your precious pictures, videos and important documents? Scammers know that most people will fall victim to these cons out of fear of losing their files, so they create convincing anti-virus alerts that require you to pay an activation fee to remove a virus that doesn’t even exist.
  14. Survey Scams – The best case scenario for those who fall victim to a survey scam is that they waste their time and get a few spam emails. More elaborate scams will take your personal information for marketing and identity theft purposes, even though you think you’re just participating in legitimate market research.
  15. Something for Nothing Scams – You’ve probably heard the old adage about things that are too good to be true, and it definitely holds water on the Internet. Anyone offering you fame, fortune and riches simply for being you is almost certainly trying to scam you somehow.

Source:  Longhorn Leads

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Safe Holiday Shopping: S-A-N-T-A for Safety

SantaThe National Retail Federation estimates online purchases for the 2012 holiday season will reach $96 billion, up 12 percent from 2011. Scammers, hackers, and “phishermen” have already taken their positions, waiting for the next unwitting shopper to carelessly give out personal information.

Luckily, Santa is providing shoppers a guide to ensure online and other shopping experiences are safe and efficient. There’s already enough stress with cooking, decorating and preparing for family to arrive. Shopping can be the easiest part of the process if Santa’s advice is followed.

“S” is for Security

Everyone has received emails that look like they come from legitimate retailers, only to discover the hyperlink provided leads to a phishing website. Shoppers should always type the URL of the retailer directly into the address bar, as opposed to clicking just any links in your email. A credit card should always be used for online purchases since they provide some level of protection from fraud that debit cards don’t. A service like Lifelock would add an extra layer of protection against identity thieves and scammers for online shopping.

“A” is for Availability

Patients is a virtue, but not when the hottest toys and electronics are on the wish lists of your friends and family. From Cabbage Patch Kids in the 1980s to the release of the Playstation 2 in 2000, popular items must be purchased the first time one is available to you. Granted, the price of such items may drop following the holidays, the wait could extend into the springtime and beyond.

“N” is for Name List

Those who brag about getting holiday shopping done long before Christmas Eve likely had a gift list and checked it twice. The names of all the children should be clustered together, as many of their gifts can be purchased at the same store. The primary culprit to last-second, frantic shopping is forgetting Aunt Edna and Uncle Mike are both expected in town for dinner. A name list not only keeps you organized, but gives you a way to track your overall progress.

“T” is for Technology

Smartphones are your best friend when it comes to finding the best deals and comparing prices between different retailers. ShopSavvy is an Android app that allows shoppers to scan the barcode of any item and produce a list of retailers and online stores that carry it. This is a great app for price comparison and can give you leverage in negotiating deals. SnapTell, which is free and available for Android and iPhone, allows users to simply snap a photo of the item and it looks up prices based on an image search. Google Wallet, available for Android, allows shoppers to pay for purchases with their credit and debit cards without actually having them. A near field communicator transmits your card information to any point-of-sales terminal by simply tapping your phone somewhere near it.

“A” is for Avoid Debt

Though credit cards are the best way to shop online because of their fraud protections, debit cards and cash should be used at local retailers. The holidays are a time to enjoy family, friends, and an extended vacation. Avoidable debt will only add to the stress and anxiety already present with all the shopping and preparation.

Contributor:  Don Campbell – Donnie has been working on trucks and volunteering at the neighborhood soup kitchen for 15 years. He keeps a blog about his favorite cars and supporting his favorite charities.

Privacy, Security and College: Big Brother on Campus

Who is watching your kids on campus?

Colleges that had 10-20 security cameras a few years ago, now have as many as 150-200 cameras following activities around campus.

Big Brother On Campus

Source: Online Colleges

Teens, Scholarships and What they Post Online

We are becoming a broken record as we try to explain to our kids what they post online can potentially affect their future.

The Internet is a wonderful educational tool but can also work against us if not properly used.

The dangers of technology, especially for kids and teens, has been in the media for the past several years.  Whether it is cyberbullying or Internet predators, South Florida especially is not a stranger to these horrific events.

For teens looking forward to higher education and especially applying for scholarships to help them with financing college, they need to think before they post on their social networking sites such as Facebook.

According to a 2011 Kaplan study, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and a students’ social media presence to screen their applicants which means your college application isn’t the only papers being reviewed about your child.  Exactly how does their digital footprint look?

Now let’s talk money.  Especially in today’s economy many families and students are applying for as many scholarships are they can.  Recent reports, like college admissions, are also using students’ social media presence to determine whether they are deserve the scholarship.

Facebook is obviously the largest social networking site that many use.  Isn’t it time to encourage your teen to sit down and clean it up?  Especially with the latest Timeline, it is simply a click away to see pictures or comments that maybe just don’t need to be there.

You may think because your child’s Facebook is set on private you are safe.  Don’t be fooled.  If it’s online, it’s usually public information – remember your child is friends with friends that may not not have their privacy settings set as high.

Don’t risk losing a scholarship or a college of your choice for a dumb remark online or a compromising photo!

3 Tips to maintain your teen’s digital resume:

  • Set up your Google, MSN, Bing, Twilert alerts (always know when there is something online about you so you can address it immediately). It only takes a few minutes, it is free and can save you a lot of reputation repair later on.
  • Buy your own URL in your teen’s name.  This can be less than $10.00 through GoDaddy and you can own your own online real estate.  Building a site can be easy and if you can do it with your personal interests, it sets the tone  for your future.
  • Create a Blog about you and your interests.  This is free.  Use your name as the URL.  You can use Blogger.com or WordPress.com.  Both are user friendly and again, create it about you and your interests.  Keep your grammar and spelling in check.

If you need to know what happens when you don’t maintain and take pre-cautions with our online profile, read Google Bomb!  This is a cautionary tale of how a flourishing and successful career of over a decade can literally be brought to its’ knees due to a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse.

WATCH VIDEO.

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