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:


Parents Texting and Driving Worse Than Teens According to New Poll

ATTTextingNearly half of commuters self-reported texting while driving in a recent poll1, and 43% of those who did called it a “habit.”

Commuters are texting and driving even more than teens – 49%1, compared to 43%2.  And the problem has gotten worse.  Six in 10 commuters say they never texted while driving three years ago.

So while efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving are working – 98% of commuters surveyed said they know sending a text or email while driving isn’t safe – there’s clearly more work to be done to change behaviors.

Survey sponsor AT&T* is calling on employers to help end texting while driving by taking action during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, and beyond. It’s asking businesses to join the more than 165 organizations already engaged in the Texting & Driving-It Can Wait movement, and to use the policies, technologies and communications materials available free at att.com/itcanwait to help move their employees beyond being aware of the danger to making a personal commitment not to text and drive.

“Businesses can help keep their employees and others on the road safe by encouraging responsible behavior behind the wheel, including obeying all laws related to the use of electronic devices,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. “We also encourage all businesses to consider joining the ‘It Can Wait’ movement to end texting while driving.  Together we can help turn the tide on this serious issue.”

Through It Can Wait, AT&T has reached millions with the insight that most text messages are trivial, and no text is worth dying for.  It has made the dangers of texting and driving real and personal by giving thousands of people hands-on experience with driving simulators and sharing the heart-wrenching stories of people – like Jamie Nash in this video – whose lives have been forever changed by texting-while-driving accidents. More than 1.3 million personal commitments never to text and drive have been made at ItCanWait.com, through Facebook, text-to-pledge, tweet-to-pledge or at events.

“Through the It Can Wait movement, AT&T is collaborating with employers, nonprofits, law enforcement, educators, legislators, professional associations and government agencies nationwide,” said AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin. “I’m confident, together we can save lives by encouraging millions more to make the personal commitment never to text and drive.”

For more information, please visit www.ItCanWait.com.

1 Commuter survey conducted by ResearchNow on behalf of AT&T


2 Teen survey conducted by Beck Research on behalf of AT&T http://www.att.com/Common/about_us/txting_driving/att_teen_survey_executive.pdf

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

The “It Can Wait” message is simple:  No text is worth dying for. AT&T would like to see texting and driving become as unacceptable as drinking and driving. They encourage ALL drivers to visit www.itcanwait.com to get informed on the issue, spread the word in their community and take the pledge to never text while driving.

MUST WATCH videos and pass on to ones  you care about:

Texting While Driving Statistics and Commuter Poll Results

AT&T Educates Students on the Dangers of Texting and Driving

You can also follow them on Twitter with hashtag #ITCANWAIT.

AT&T Back-to-School Cell Phone Shopping Tips for Parents

For kids, having a cell phone is about being cool; for parents it’s about peace-of-mind and cost. With wireless devices topping kids “school supply” list this year, here are some tips to help parents keep their sanity when shopping for a wireless device for their kids:

 ·         First, parents should do a “cell assessment” to determine the plan and device that best meets the child’s AND family’s needs.

·         For example, HOW is your child going to be using the device? Will she be making voice calls only? Be using it for texting… surfing the Internet… or staying connected with her social networks? If you’re okay with your child texting – and that IS the No. 1 way kids today prefer to communicate – you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate texting plan. At the rate most kids text today, most families find it more economical to go with an unlimited messaging plan, to avoid overages at the end of the month.

·         Also, consider WHEN AND WHERE your child is going to be using the device.  Will the child being using her device during peak calling times? How many minutes each month do you think she’ll need? Also, make sure you have coverage in the areas where your child plans to use the device most. Check out your provider’s coverage maps and see what their return policy is. You’ll want to make sure your child has ample time to use the device and service in the areas she most frequents.

·         If you don’t want to sign a contract or are on a tight budget, then consider a prepaid option. With the prepaid option, you pay as you go.

·         If you have a child who attends out-of-state college, consider a national plan to avoid unnecessary roaming charges.

·         Don’t forget to take advantage of tools that help you keep track of your children and set limits on their use. Check with your provider to see what type of location-based services they have. For example, FamilyMap lets you track the location of your child’s phone from a PC or mobile device. Also, ask your provider what type of parental controls are available to you. Smart Limits for Wireless parental controls let you determine the times of day your child can use the device for calling, texting and web browsing; you can filter access to Internet content, define the # of texts and IMs allowed; block or allow calls and even set limits for mobile web browsing by assigning a monetary or MB or GB usage limit. So parental controls are another way you can control cost.

·         Also, if everyone in your household is with the same provider, consider a family plan that lets users on the account share minutes.

·         And learn how to keep track of minutes to help you better manager your child’s wireless plan. Check with the provider to see what tools they offer to help you track and manager your child’s wireless use. With AT&T, you can dial *MIN# to see how many minutes have been used or *DATA# to check on data usage. There’s also our online data calculator you can use to calculate your daily or monthly data use.

New Study: Kids Are Listening to Parents!

Parents Can Rule, Kids Can be Cruel – New Mobile Phone Study Reveals

AT&T Commissioned Poll on Families’ Mobile Behavior Sheds Light on Rules-Setting and Bullying; AT&T Offers Modern Tools to Help Manage

The AT&T Mobile Safety study of 1,000 parents and 500 children by GfK shows that there’s an opportunity for parents and kids to have more discussions about the sometimes contentious topic of mobile phones.

Surprisingly, 90 percent of the kids, ages 8-17, agree it’s okay for their parents to set rules for their use of such devices; conversely, far fewer (66 percent) say their parents have actually set such rules.

AT&T* commissioned the study to better understand the most prevalent wireless safety issues for families. Survey results show that 39 percent of children ages 12-14 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone – a figure that jumps to 53 percent among children ages 15-17. Additionally, nearly one in five 8- to 11-year-olds surveyed have received a mean or bullying text message. Yet, kids say that discussing mobile safety is low on the list of talks parents have with their kids.

“The AT&T Mobile Safety study sheds new light on very serious issues that can arise for children who are using mobile devices,” said National PTA® President Betsy Landers. “Today’s parent should be aware of today’s technology and how it can affect their children. Being an engaged parent includes having a conversation about wireless safety with their children as they grow up.”

While the study results bring up a variety of concerns, there are ways parents can manage how a mobile phone is used. AT&T offers tools that can block what content may be accessed, times of day phones can be used and ways to block texts and calls from bullies. Additionally, AT&T FamilyMap can help parents locate their children and it will send alerts at predetermined times with the child’s location, such as when they should have arrived at home or school. Full survey results, information about AT&T’s menu of parental controls and a library of resources on mobile safety topics can be found on The Mobile Safety website.

According to The AT&T Mobile Safety study:

·         The average age a child is given their first phone is 12.1; the average age for a child’s first smartphone is 13.8, among those with a phone.

·         48 percent of children ages 12-14 have ridden in a vehicle with someone who was texting while driving. Among those ages 15-17, the percentage of teens who have ridden with a driver who was texting increases to 64 percent.

·         One in four teens ages 15-17 have received mean or bullying text messages (compared to nearly one in five reported by both 8- to 11- and 12- to 14-year-olds).

·         More than half of teens ages 15-17 know someone who has received a sexual message or picture over their phone (compared to 39 percent among those aged 12-14).

·         58 percent of parents say that their mobile phone provider offers tools or resources for parents to address issues like overages, safety, security and monitoring. One in seven is not sure whether they have access to these services.

“Mobile devices are becoming parents’ and kids’ preferred way to communicate on-the-go,” said Janiece Evans-Page, assistant vice president – community engagement, AT&T. “The Mobile Safety website is our way of helping families – providing them with educational resources and raising awareness about products to help manage safety issues.”

“The fact is, there are a variety of free to low-cost tools that can give parents peace of mind, and we want 100 percent of the parents out there to know their options – not just 58 percent of them.”

Research published in the AT&T Mobile Safety study was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs, and involved a nationally-representative dual-frame random digit dial (RDD) sample consisting of both landline and cell phone telephone interviews with:

·         1,000 adults who have a mobile phone and children between the ages of 8-17 who also have a mobile phone

·         500 children between the ages of 8-17 who have a mobile phone (55 interviews were conducted among children ages 8-11; 186 among ages 12-14; and 259 among ages 15-17)

The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points among the full parents sample and plus or minus 4.6 percentage points among the full children sample. The margin of sampling error will be higher for subgroups.

For more information, visit www.att.com/familysafety.

Emoticons: What Are They Saying About You?

Most everyone, whether you are an adult or teen, have experienced what a headache it can be to have something you’ve written be misread or taken out of context – the back-pedaling, the awkward explanations, and then explaining the explanations.

Yes, communicating online is a tricky thing.

Since the creation of emoticons, thankfully, we’ve had some visual cues at our disposal to help convey feeling or intent more clearly. Emoticons, or icons that indicate emotion by the use of keyboard characters, have become an integral part of our online lexicon.

As a textual shorthand for everything from instant messaging to text messaging, there are 10 essential emoticons you need to know:

  1. 🙂 The Smiley Face – This one is the grand-daddy of them all, the first-born of our “iconic” lingo. It tells the reader that whatever is said in association with it is intended to be read in a friendly/jovial/non-threatening tone.
  2. 😉 The Wink – Another versatile character, this emoticon expresses anything from playfulness, flirtation, to a sort of “just between you and me” confidentiality. It’s also frequently used, as is the smiley face, to say “just kidding”. Careful with these two. Use them too often, and it becomes obvious to the recipient that you’re really not just kidding.
  3. 😦 The Frown – Expresses sadness, disapproval, sympathy, or “I just figured out that you really aren’t just kidding”. I told you to be careful.
  4. 😀  The Laughing Face – Self-explanatory, but context is important here. You’d like to know, after all, whether you’re sharing in the laugh – or being laughed at.
  5. :^* The Kiss – When you’ve moved beyond the simple smile or flirtatious wink, it’s time to pucker up with this little number. This can be used to maximum effect when combined with:
  6. ( ) The Hug – A parenthetic embrace, the hug conveys affection or empathy. Additional parentheses can be used for emphasis, but use this one sparingly, lest it lose its charm. Also, as in the case of all emoticons, the hug is not recommended for business correspondence. You could be labeled a suck-up … or worse.
  7. ❤ The Heart – Another emoticon for saying ‘I love you’. When used in conjunction with the kiss and the hug, now you’re really getting sappy. Easy does it. You can’t take these things back, you know.
  8. :-O The Surprised Face – This one expresses shock or dismay, as in:“I can’t believe you just e-mailed hugs to the GM, you suck-up”. Combine this with the laughing face when someone shares a bawdy joke or story.
  9. :-/ Confused Face – Bewilderment, apprehension. “How am I going to explain those hugs to all my co-workers, and what the heck was I thinking using Reply All, anyway?”
  10. { } No Comment – Empty brackets indicate that you’ve got nothing to say in response. You probably should have learned the difference before replying to that office email from the GM.

Source:  Internet Service Providers

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Sue Scheff: Texting – New App to Cover Your Tracks, but does it Encourage Cyberbullying?

TigerText, and according to the founder Jeffrey Evans, not named for the infamous text messages with Tiger Woods, is the latest gadget (application) to help people cover their tracks when they hit send a bit too fast.

We have heard this time and time again, think before you hit send.  Know that when that email or text goes out into the world of digital warfare, it is gone.  From there it can be forwarded, copied, pasted, manipulated and worse.  It could end in the wrong email box!  Did you mean to send Michael your friend or Michael your boss that not-so-funny joke?

Everyone has had that feeling after they hit send when they are typing so fast, that the automatic window of programmed names comes up and you have more then one person with the same name, with a flick of your finger, it is gone – just as you see the last name is wrong!

TigerText can’t help you there, but if you send a text that you want eliminated after the person has read it, they can help you.  With TigerText you can literally program it to delete your message from 60 seconds to 30 days after it has been read.

The catch: You have to have an iPhone (however it will soon be available on Blackberry and Android) and both parties have to download the app.  Is it worth it?  To some people it is exactly what they have been waiting for.

With school opening soon in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, it is time to think of the consequences of apps like TigerText.  Will it encourage cyberbullying?  Will the bully now believe their evidence will be destroyed?  Will it become more difficult to trace the nasty text messages?

Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of Love Our Children USA, believes that this is exactly what can happen.  Her concerns that this type of product/app can increase and create more problems with bullying and cyberbullying.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Watch video to understand how TigerText works.  Read more.


Sue Scheff: Texting and Driving to be banned in Florida – Oprah prepares for National No Phone Zone Day

If Oprah says it, you can almost guaranty people are listening.  On April 30th, 2010 Oprah is declaring it National No Phone Zone Day” and encouraging every driver to sign the pledge not to text and drive or  talk and  drive! Distracted driving kills same as drunk driving does.

That is only part of it.  In Florida, a bill passed the Senate Committee and is on its’ way to the State Capitol.  This bill will ban texting and drivingSenator Nancy Detert presented this legislation stating, “People that are texting are generally drifting into your lane unbeknownst to them and we’ve seen studies that if you’re reading a text at 70 miles an hour, driving tons of machinery, generally you’re not looking at the road for up to seven seconds and that would be plenty of time to cause an accident.”

If passed, Detert’s bill would make texting while driving a secondary offense, which means drivers could only get a ticket if they were pulled over for another violation.

The first offense would be a non-moving violation with a fine of $30 plus court costs. A second violation within five years would be a moving violation and carry a fine of $60. 

Senator Detert said her main goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving and discourage drivers, especially teenagers, from forming that habit.

All of this comes as Oprah Winfrey encourages everyone to take the pledge.  It is only a matter of time before texting and driving will be illegal, however until then, you could potentially be saving a life.  Texting and driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving.  Don’t take the risk, it just isn’t worth it.

Be an educated parent, you  will have safer and healthier teens.

Watch video and read more.