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One in Four Teens is a “Cell-Only” Internet User
May 24th, 2013

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, as smartphone use among teens has grown so has their use of mobile Internet. In a recent survey of over 800 youth ages 12-17 Pew found that nearly half of teens have smartphones which is double what it was in 2011 and just about a quarter of kids have tablet computers. While most teens (95%) have access to the Internet at home, 74% of teens say they access the internet on mobile devices and one in four teens only use their cell phones and tablets for Internet access. According to Pew, girls are especially likely to be ‘cell-mostly’ internet users. Among girl smartphone users, 55% say they use the Internet mostly from their phone.

“The nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically — from stationary connections tied to shared desktops in the home to always-on connections that move with them throughout the day,” said Mary Madden, Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and co-author of the report.

To help parents get a handle on their children’s Internet use, Awareness Technologies, makers of WebWatcher for PCs and WebWatcher for Mobile, recently announced the addition of mobile website filtering for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. WebWatcher Mobile Filtering monitors all websites visited within the WebWatcher browser and offers predefined, as well as user defined, category and URL blocking. WebWatcher Mobile for Android and BlackBerry records every phone call that is made, received or even missed along with all photos that are taken and SMS texts including Facebook messages. The easy to install app also provides Geolocation to track where the mobile device is – and where it has been.

The popular WebWatcher Mobile application incorporates much of the power and functionality contained in the award-winning WebWatcher for PCs. Both monitoring solutions work in conjunction to enable parents and small business owners to monitor and protect users on desktops as well as mobile devices.

For more information, please visit www.WebWatcher.com

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New Website to be Extremely Wary of
December 16th, 2011

The site, Isanyoneup.com, which launched in late 2010, appears to be a hybrid of social media and amateur pornography. This blog site, has also been said to be a site for “Revenge Porn.” The site features a myriad of raunchy posts that in some cases contain extremely explicit photos, submitted by the site’s users.

While self-submit pornography sites aren’t all that uncommon, the real difference with Isanyoneup.com – and the true reason for the firestorm it has caused – is that the majority of the pictures on the site are not submitted by the people in those pictures. Instead, the site serves its purpose as a forum where jilted exes and revenge-seekers may share the most intimate photos of those towards whom they wish to retaliate i.e. another forum for cyberbullying to fester.

The blog also includes screenshots of the Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds of the people featured on the site. Despite the site being horrifically repulsive on several levels, Isanyone.com has managed to build a substantial and loyal fan base, so parents BEWARE block this site immediately! WebWatcher has a powerful web-filtering feature that would help to avoid sites like these from being viewed by your child.

As creator of the site, Hunter Moore himself has argued, “the best way to defend yourself from ending up on Isanyoneup.com is not to take such explicit photos in the first place.”

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Cyberbullying Can Happen to Anyone
November 17th, 2011

Cyberbullying can happen to any child no matter what their social status may be. We came across an article interesting on the Washington Times: NORTHFIELD, Minn., November 15, 2011 — Peter Jacobs was a popular soccer player until he missed a goal and lost the championship game. Cyberbullying started, and he lost his popularity, his girlfriend, and his confidence.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, (NCPC), 2011, “Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens.” Online bullying, or Cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.

Peter is a fictitious character portrayed in a short video clip about Cyberbullying created by two ninth graders. Peter’s story can be viewed in homes, classrooms, youth groups, and other forums to spark conversation about Cyberbullying and solutions. Youth recently created Video Public Service Announcements (PSA) on Cyberbullying for contests sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and local groups.  The winning videos made locally, as well as the runner-ups, pack an emotional punch.

The Video PSA’s show stories that include common forms of Cyber Bullying including: (i-SAFE, America, Inc., 2011)

         A threatening e-mail

         Nasty instant messaging session

         Repeated notes sent to the cell phone

         A website set up to mock others

         “Borrowing” someone’s screen name and pretending to be them while posting a                   message.

Cyber bullying Statistics:

Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.

More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.

Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.

Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

There are steps you and your friends can take to stop Cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe by employing the many different interventions have been done to reduce Cyberbullying. Even some teens themselves have figured out ways to prevent Cyberbullying.

Bullying causes isolation and sadness.

The NCPC suggests following in the footsteps of other quick-thinking teens and

         Refuse to pass along Cyberbullying messages

         Tell friends to stop Cyberbullying

         Block communication with Cyberbullies

         Report Cyberbullying to a trusted adult

Don’t forget that even though you can’t see a Cyberbully or the bully’s victim, Cyberbullying causes real problems. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. Delete Cyberbullying. Don’t write it. Don’t forward it.(NCPC), 2011).

Prevention tips to avoid bullies online (i-Safe, 2011)

         Don’t give out private information such as passwords, pins, name, address, phone number, school name, or family and friends’ names. This information can be used by bullies and other harmful people on the Internet. Don’t even reveal your password to your friends. They might reveal it or use it against you in a fight.

         Don’t exchange pictures or give out e-mail addresses to people you meet on the internet. Ask permission from parents when it is necessary to give such information.

         Don’t send a message when you are angry. It’s hard to undo things that are said in anger.

         Delete messages from people you don’t know or those from people who seem angry or mean.

         Realize that online conversations are not private. Others can copy, print, and share what you say or any pictures you send. Be careful!

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11 tips for parents who are Facebook friends with their kids
October 25th, 2011

Below are some tips from an article we came across that speaks to some important tips for parents who have recently become Facebook friends with their child; and for parents who may be new to Facebook. These are helpful tips that can help avoid some of the faux pas’ of sharing and the dos’ and don’ts’ of this new social trend.

Today, most of children share their social life via posts on Facebook! Being friends with them on Facebook is critical especially if you want to know what is going on in their life. Being familiar with the site and acknowledging this fact will help parents understand their child’s social life both online and offline. Communication is key and is always important, but remember that some children have “fake” Facebook accounts so it is important to be aware of this; and to look into parental monitoring software like WebWatcher, and WebWatcher Mobile because software like this can help ensure that appropriate sharing on Facebook and online behavior overall is a non-issue.

1. Don’t over-share.
Do all 1,200 of your son’s friends need to know that he still sucks his thumb at night or that he bombed his driving test? No and no! If you think a wall comment will embarrass your child, it will. If you don’t have anything nice to say… hold back. Respect your children’s privacy online and off. It shows them you care. It also teaches them to respect their own privacy.

2. Realize that everyone sees your comments. Tread lightly and always remember that all of your children’s Facebook friends can view every single comment you oh-so-lovingly post on their walls. That includes their BFFs, classmates, and (potentially) employers and teachers. Communicating on Facebook is anything but a private affair.

3. Don’t pry. It’s okay to casually ask your kid how he’s doing on his wall — but only once in a long while. Not every day or even every week, and certainly not every hour. I’m a 36-year-old mom of three, and it would even embarrass me if my parents bugged me too often on Facebook. Thankfully they don’t, but that doesn’t mean they don’t stalk my wall anyway. (Ahem, mentioning my status updates during phone conversations is a dead giveaway.)

4. Don’t get too personal. Some topics are never okay to bring up on your teen’s wall, like why the heck did they dump their significant other or if that fancy acne cream you bought them is clearing things up. Ask sensitive parent-child questions in person, in email, or via text or private Facebook message instead. Model the restraint you want them to have.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky, and the answers to your questions will already be on your child’s wall anyway, thanks to status updates and Place check-ins flowing in every two minutes.

5. Don’t tag your child in photos.
Not even the adorable brace-face ones — at least not without asking if it’s okay first. Save those gems for Awkward Family Photos! Er, we mean, skip tagging altogether, and give tweens and teens a chance to forge their own identity online. Each pic you tag with her name — even those drooly baby pics — automagically appears in their profiles. Besides, you don’t want anyone to snag those precious baby photos and then pretend your kid is theirs. This actually recently just happened to a friend of mine! Some woman was pretending that my friend’s daughter was her daughter. My friend came across this woman’s profile and immediately reported it to Facebook, but Facebook was unable to help because the woman ended up blocking my friend, so she couldn’t know for sure if the pictures were removed…scary stuff!

6. Never assume your kid can chat just because he or she is logged in. If your daughter doesn’t reply to your Facebook chat request right away, she either forgot to log out, stepped away from the laptop, or — brace yourself — might not even feel like chatting with you.

Try not to take it personally. All three of my teenaged babysitters prefer not to chat with their parents on Facebook (or anywhere online) at all, “like ever.” Texts and Facetime do the trick, they say.  

 

7. Never, ever reply to comments for your kids. They cringe when you speak on their behalf in person. Why would you do it on Facebook? Even if you’re dying to tell your daughter’s friends that yes, she did get into Harvard, it’s best to let your teen toot her own horn. 

 

8. Don’t nag kids to do their chores. It’s not cool to remind them to scrub the toilet, fold the laundry, or take care of just about any other task right there on their walls for everyone to see (and laugh at). You’ll only tick kids off. And, more importantly, you’ll waste precious time you could spend nagging them in person.

9. Don’t stalk their significant others. This starts with not friending said person in the first place. But if for some reason you are Facebook friends, don’t comment on his or her wall. It mortifies your teen and makes you look meddlesome. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t peek around their Info page, though, hint, hint.

10. Don’t chide or punish them. “You’re grounded, mister!” is probably the last comment any kid wants littering their wall. Sure, disciplining kids via Facebook makes them feel worse about whatever it is they did, but admonishing your kids in such a public way erodes their trust in you. You’ll also miss out on a valuable opportunity to talk to them in person about their behavior and what they should do to make it right.

11. Don’t Like too much. Don’t Like every picture, status update, comment, or link your teen posts. In fact, don’t Like much at all. Sure, everyone likes a virtual pat here and there, but don’t go overboard — not when your future adults are forging their own identities online, and, like it or not, asserting their independence from you.

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The Fight Against Cyberbullying Starts With Awareness At Home
October 10th, 2011

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. According to a recent study from MTV and the Associated Press, more than half (56%) of our nation’s kids have experienced a form of digital abuse. Clearly this data is appalling news, and should signal a problem still exists to parents and educators worldwide. Is Your Child Involved in Cyberbullying?

Experts say, the best way for parents to help end cyberbullying is to maintain open lines of communications with their child. If this is a challenge, as it can be with many hormonal teens, monitoring your child’s internet activity and online interactions not only will help to protect them, but will also help to make sure they are not the bully themselves or the victims of an online bully.

Cyberbullying allows for anonymity on the Internet, but it succeeds through the ability to bully secretly at home behind closed doors. Cyberbullying is not going to go away until parents and educators start talking more openly about these issues.

This makes it all the more important for parents to be aware of what is going on with their child’s social life both online and offline. Communication with your child is always important! Parental monitoring software like WebWatcher, and WebWatcher Mobile can help ensure that cyberbullying on your child’s PC is a non-issue.

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Teen Sexting Driven By Peer Pressure
October 7th, 2011

Technology today has truly forced teens to grow up faster than generations before. Now cell phones allow teens to access all kinds of information and send it via text message to a myriad of people. Sexting and Sextortian are on the rise and may have become issues linked to peer pressure. (CBS) – reported that According to the University of Melbourne, researchers interviewed 33 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 years old and found:

- A highly sexualized media culture bombarded young people with sexualized images and created pressure to engage in sexting.

- There’s pressure that boys place on each other to have girls’ photos on their phones and computers. The young people surveyed said if boys refrained from engaging in the activity they were labeled ‘gay’ or could be ostracized from the peer group?

- Both genders talked about the pressure girls experienced from boyfriends or strangers to reciprocate on exchanging sexual images?

- Some young women talked about the expectation (or more subtle pressure) to be involved in sexting, simply as a result of having viewed images of girls they know?

Although only 15 boys and 18 girls were interviewed for this study, the findings are still disturbing nonetheless.

The study reaffirms that ‘sexting’ is not only a growing trend, but one likely to stay for a while, and influence young adults’ exposure to inappropriate images. These startling statistics should encourage parents to maintain open lines of communications with their children. It is also imperative for parents to stress and “to address the negative consequences of sexting for young people,” said Shelley Walker from the Primary Care Research Unit in the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne who worked on the study.

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October is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month
October 3rd, 2011

The month of October is a very important month to remember all of the people we’ve lost to cyberbullying and teen suicide. Yet we should also be cognizant of how far we’ve come in regard to making changes to some of our state laws to help improve the conditions for our children and prevent bullying from happening in our schools systems as well as outside of school. However, we all still have a long way to go.

In an article from CNN New York looks to ‘modernize’ cyberbullying laws by first, the laws would incorporate cyberbullying into the category of third-degree stalking, a class A misdemeanor. “This behavior is identified as a course of conduct using electronic communications that is likely to cause a fear of harm, or emotional distress to a person under the age of 21,” said a report issued by the Independent Democratic Conference this month.
Second, “bullycide” would be categorized as second-degree manslaughter, a class C felony. “This is defined as when a person engages in cyberbullying and intentionally causes the victim of such offense to commit suicide,” the report said.

Legislators still have a ways to go. Don’t forget to tweet #MakeALawForJamey to help encourage lawmakers to make laws to help prevent teen suicides from happening.

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Is Your Child Involved in Cyberbullying?
September 20th, 2011

We came across a nicely done blog by Brickhouse Security and some suggestions on how  to prevent your child from being bullied or bullying other children, “She Knows Parenting”‘s Michelle Maffei outlines four simple tips to follow:

1. Monitor your child’s digital activities: Seeing as cyber bullying takes place in the digital realm, it is important to be aware of how your child interacts with others on the web and via cell phone or text messaging. However, with such technology, it is easy for a child to keep their online activities private from their parents.

“Parents know they have a huge blind spot when it comes to what teens are doing on their phones and PCs,” says BrickHouse CEO, Todd Morris.

Some tips to make it harder for kids to hide their online activities from parents are to keep the computer in a public space such as the living room, so that if the child is engaged in cyber bullying or is being bullied, it will be much easier for parents to notice. With portable digital devices like laptops, tablets, or smartphones, this monitoring might not be possible. In this case there are such devices that can be installed on a cellphone or computer that will allow parents to keep tabs on their child’s digital activities wherever they might be.

2. Check up on their social networking profiles: With the majority of today’s children being active on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, getting an inside look at your child’s digital life might be as simple as visiting their personal pages a couple of times a week. Using this approach, parents can quickly tell how their child interacts with others, and whether they are being bullied or are bullying other children.

3. Monitor their e-mail accounts: Another approach recommended by Maffei is to periodically check up on your child’s e-mail account to make sure everything is going well and that they are not getting involved with any dangerous or inappropriate online activities. The options that you have with your child is to be upfront and require your child to share their passwords with you, or to look into programs that secretly record your child’s computer activities.

4. Take other parent’s bullying concerns seriously: Lastly, whenever another child’s parent contacts you about bullying, whether your child is the victim or the aggressor,  take the time to do some investigating. Even if you think your child isn’t the type to be involved in such activities, it is a good idea to look into the matter and talk to your child to see if there are any problems that they might have.

If you do find that your child is involved with cyber bullying, it is important to sit them down and have a good talk. Find out why the situation is happening, how to address it, and what your child can do to either resolve the problem or find an alternative way to express themselves.

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Social Networking Sites Increase the Risk of Teens Using Drugs
September 16th, 2011

According to a national survey of American attitudes on substance abuse, “time spent social networking increases the risk of teens smoking, drinking and using drugs.” On a typical day, 70% of teens ages 12 to 17 – 17 million teenagers spend from a minute to hours on Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (Casa) at Columbia University.

“For this same age bracket, social network savvy teens are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana than teens who do not spend any of their day on social networking sites.” Check out a past blog of ours Drug Use Continues to Rise, How Can You Protect Your Kids? and see what some of the signs are.

Parental controls and computer monitoring software like WebWatcher and WebWatcher Mobile make it possible for parents to track their child’s activity both on their PCs and on their Smartphones to prevent some of these kinds of conversations from going beyond the PC.

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16 Tips on How to Stay Safe on Facebook
September 12th, 2011

Below are some tips from GovInfoSecurity blog  that points out some very important safety steps to adhere to across all age groups. Social media sites a great place to connect with friends, but it is also important to remember that adhering to an internet safety policy must play a significant role in the way we connect here.

A Guide to Facebook Security can be very useful for parents who want to make sure that their child is friending safely. Check out this very helpful Parental Controls Guide to help better secure your child’s Facebook profile. Monitoring software like WebWatcher on your child’s PC or WebWatcher Mobile on their BlackBerry or Android devices will help to ensure that they’re fully abiding by the Internet safety measures you’ve put in place.

Here are 16 tips the authors present to stay safe on Facebook:

  1. Only friend people you know.
  2. Create a good password and use it only for Facebook.
  3. Don’t share your password.
  4. Change your password on a regular basis.
  5. Share your personal information only with people and companies that need it.
  6. Log into Facebook only once each session. If it looks like Facebook is asking you to log in a second time, skip the links and directly type www.facebook.com into your browser address bar.
  7. Use a one-time password when using someone else’s computer.
  8. Log out of Facebook after using someone else’s computer.
  9. Use secure browsing whenever possible.
  10. Only download apps from sites you trust.
  11. Keep your anti-virus software updated.
  12. Keep your browser and other applications up to date.
  13. Don’t paste script (computer code) in your browser address bar.
  14. Use browser add-ons like Web of Trust and Firefox’s NoScript to keep your account from being hijacked.
  15. Beware of “goofy” posts from anyone, even friends. If it looks like something your friend wouldn’t post, don’t click on it.
  16. Scammers might hack your friends’ accounts and send links from their accounts. Beware of enticing links coming from your friend
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