3 Hot Teen Trends in Social Media

Years ago MySpace gave way to Facebook.  Now we have many social networks out there such as Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and more.

It is important that teens understand how to use their privacy settings in all their social media sites as well as never to give out their passwords.

Common Sense Media reminds parents of the current apps that teens are using today:

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Microsoft Making A Difference In Social Media Online Safety

With over 112K followers on Twitter and 1.3M on Facebook, there is cause for celebration!

Parents, teachers, community leaders and people are learning from Safer Online by Microsoft.

I was thrilled and honored to be included as one of their key influencers!

Listed among people I highly respect, I love Microsoft and Safer Online for continuing to reach out and educate people through different mediums.  They offer a variety of resources such as articles, contests, books, quiz’s, video’s and fantastic educational and information websites.

Safer Internet Day 2014

safer-internet-calendar-logo1Safer Internet Day (SID) is organized by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

Safer Internet Day 2014 will be celebrated on 11 February 2014. The tagline for the campaign is “Let’s create a better internet together”.

What can you do to increase family online safety?

Make it a habit to continually learn something new about your gadgets, about a new app, social media site, your privacy settings, even as simple as remembering to change your passwords frequently.

Most importantly keeping those line of communication open with your kids about technology.  As you know the kids are usually a hundred miles ahead of their parents — it is time to be on equal ground.  Share your knowledge with each other – remember to have those face to face conversations.

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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Using Technology for Good: National Cyber Safety Awareness Month

It’s National Cyber Safety Awareness Month!

Stories about young people doing good things online rarely make headlines.

So, to showcase some of that good, A Platform for Good created an infographic highlighting the amazing ways Millennials are using technology to make a difference.

Are Millennials Using Technology for Good?

By Christian Brink

Christian is the Project Assistant at the Family Online Safety Institute. As a believer in technology as a tool for positive change, he hopes to empower parents, teachers, and teens with the resources they need to responsibly navigate the digital world and make a difference.

Infographic by A Platform for Good

Be CyberWise: No Grownup Left Behind

One of my favorite new websites is Cyberwise!  I love their saying, Be Cyberwise!Cyberwise

CyberWise is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art resources for BUSY grownups who want to understand how to use digital media confidently and safely.

Digital technologies have transformed how we learn, play, and communicate with one another. While kids seem right at home in this new digital world, many grownups feel left behind. CyberWise can help! We provide all the resources you need to embrace new media fearlessly.

What are Kids Really Doing Online?  Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Junes is National Internet Safety Month

ATTSMart

It’s hard to believe June is already here, and many students are already out of school for the summer!

The free time during summer gives kids ample opportunities to test boundaries as they explore the Internet, on both the home computer and their mobile device, talk and text with friends on their smartphones, and scan countless viewing choices on TV.

With kids integrating technology into their daily lives, parents need to keep abreast of their kids’ activities.

There are easy-to-use, effective tools available today that allow parents to stay in the driver’s seat of their children’s TV, Internet and wireless activities.  Here’s a quick primer:

Get tech savvy. Ironically, the first step in this process is decidedly low-tech: Talk to your kids. You have to be proactive in discussing what technologies they’re using and how they’re using them. You should even experiment with the technologies, for instance, by sending an instant message to a relative. This will give you a better feel in evaluating risks and potential abuses.

Armed with this knowledge, you can easily find out what parental controls are available. AT&T Smart Controls is one example that brings together information on the privacy and protection features available to subscribers of the company’s high speed Internet, TV and wireless services. The site is a show-and-tell of how parents can safeguard their children against misuse of technology.

Surf smart. From social networking sites and chat rooms to online gaming and other sites, today’s kids know their way around the Net. But most Internet service providers (ISP) offer parents tools to block access to specific Web pages as well as to services such as e-mail, instant messaging, chat groups and message boards.

Since it’s virtually impossible to stay informed about all the sites kids want to visit, also check to see if your ISP offers permission slips, which allow children to request access to unauthorized Web sites. You get to be the judge. Tamper controls are another helpful feature, alerting parents if children attempt to change the settings.

Be wireless smart. As technology expands, so do the possibilities for misusing cell phones. This may take the form of your child making inappropriate calls or downloading expensive or inappropriate material.

Many carriers offer features allowing parents to block select incoming or outgoing calls to the phone and to install “sleep” functions so that calls after a certain time of night do not ring but messages go directly through to voice mail.

With most people accessing the Internet from their smartphones today, carriers such as AT&T offer parental controls to restrict mobile phone access to web sites containing content inappropriate for children, as well as to restrict purchase of premium subscriptions and downloads such as games, ringtones and graphics. For example, AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless lets you limit your child’s data usage, texting, purchases, and times of day the device is used. The parental patrols provide your child with the freedom and security of a mobile phone while allowing you to set sensible boundaries for your child.
There also are location-based services, like AT&T FamilyMap, that let users locate a family member’s cell phone on a map via Web browser on a PC or a mobile device. These types of tools give parents peace of mind while they’re away from their children.

Watch smart. The bad news is that, with hundreds of channels on the air, there are more inappropriate viewing options for kids than ever before. The good news is parents have more control than ever over what their kids are watching.

Virtually all TV service providers offer tools to filter movies based on MPAA ratings. Many even offer additional programming protection based on expanded ratings such as violence, language, nudity and sexual content.

Looking to go one step further? Some providers also enable you to prevent your children from viewing selected channels unless they enter the correct password.

In the end, a parent’s responsibilities in overseeing their child’s technology use are not much different than in other areas of daily life. Set clear boundaries on appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology. Then monitor their activity and be consistent with enforcing rules.

Above all, don’t be intimidated. Even if you’re less savvy about the technology than your children, you have the tools to make your job simpler in an ever more complicated world.

Parents can find more information on technology safety and parental controls at www.att.com/smartcontrols.com or http://www.pta.org/parent_resources.html.