Texting has become one of the more rampant forms of communication over the past few years, especially among teens. The average teenager sends more than 3,000 texts per month, which works out to more than six texts per waking hour! That’s a lot of texts. With the increase in cell phone usage the increase in text messages are also on the rise.
A Nielson study showed that “In 2008, the main reason anybody got a phone was for safety, even among teenagers.” That’s not true anymore as “43% of teenagers now say texting is the number one reason they get a cell phone. Safety is number two, with 35%, while 34% of teenagers say they get cell phones to keep in touch with friends.”
Nielsen also recently analyzed the “mobile data habits of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers and surveyed more than 3,000 teens during April, May and June of this year. This study revealed that:
The number of texts being sent is on the rise, especially among teenagers age 13 to 17
The average teenager now sends 3,339 texts per month
Teen females send 4,050 texts per month, while teen males send an average of 2,539 texts
Teens are sending 8% more texts than they were this time last year.
This trend will continue to rapidly grow over time, making it all the more imperative to talk to your children about who they’re communicating with, and also be able to advise them on what kind of messages are appropriate and inappropriate to send through this means of communication. However, parents should also find comfort that although the use of technology for communicating keeps changing, there are ways for them to still be able to supervise their children. Mobile monitoring software like WebWatcher Mobile on BlackBerry and Android devices provides the transparency parents need to be sure their children are safe on their cell phones.
In this recent article from Today MSNBC, experts say that monitoring your children is the best way to keep track of kids’ activities especially those activities are mostly conducted online typically on their own laptops and very own cell phone. Experts also say that “the best way to keep track of kids’ activities is to essentially fight fire with fire — which means using technology to keep track of the way the kids use technology.”
Surely, you’ve heard that public service announcement flash on your TV: “It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” The updated version perhaps now may be: “Do you know who — and what — your child is texting or chatting with on their PC.”
This is especially important today, as kids are playing and socializing less outside in the yard, and more inside on the Internet and their cell phones. And, also how they’re communicating is rapidly changing. Most teens are now texting and emailing than actually using their cell phones to talk. According to a recent Nielsen study, “The number of texts being sent is on the rise, especially among teenagers age 13 to 17. The average teenager now sends 3,339 texts per month.”
Parental controls and monitoring software for computers have been around for more than a decade, but now WebWatcher and WebWatcher Mobile make it possible for parents to track your child’s activity both on their PCs and on their Smartphones.
Last week we defined “sexting,” for you, and this week we will tell you how sexting can lead to “sextortian.” But, what is “sextortian?” According to childrefuge.org “sextortion has become a new form of online sexual exploitation.” It can be understood as a form of blackmail used to elicit favors from someone with the promise of not releasing their inappropriate images online or to friends or even family members. For example, say a couple is dating, and the girl took pictures of herself to then sent these to her boyfriend via email or via text. When they break up he’ll still have the pictures, and could threaten to put them online if she doesn’t do what he says.
According to an article from Metro NY and Sgt. John Dockswell, who works with Nassau County Police Department community outreach, “Sextortian is on the rise.”
Sextortian, as well as sexting, have grown in many schools across the nation and the world especially where technology and the use of cell phones continue to grow.
This is most certainly something very important to consider before pressing the send button. Remember that once an image is out there, it’s out there forever and for whomever to see! As a precaution and to prevent these kinds of situations from ever happening, parents can monitor their teens SMS messages and emails with WebWatcher Mobile on BlackBerry devices and SMS messages on Android devices.
“Sexting” is a hot topic these days, but what exactly is it? According to About.com Sexting is defined as “the slang term for the use of a cell phone or other similar electronic device to distribute pictures or video of sexually explicit images. It can also refer to text messages of a sexually-charged nature. (A combination of the words “sex” and “texting”).”
Surely you’ve heard some of the recent headlines of scandals due to irresponsible text messaging of both adults and teenagers. “Local police say the seemingly flirtatious pictures are illegal and could have major, long-term consequences.” What some people especially teenagers may consider fun and harmless may actually be criminal; and, some of their messages could lead to indelible ramifications in a severe and harsh reality.
The reality being that some of these “sext” messages can lead to felony charges like possession of child pornography, or other such felonies associated with sexually explicit images-even for just possessing these. According to an article on newsfirst5.com, “The minute you’ve taken that picture you’ve created child pornography, says Sgt. Bill DeHart, the head of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task-force. Now you’re in possession of a sexually explicit image, that’s a felony when you’ve sent that to someone else you’ve committed another felony, the person who’s received is committing a felony by just possessing it. He says if convicted the teen could land on the Sex Offender Registry for the rest of their lives.”
This is most certainly something to consider before pressing the send button. As a precaution and to prevent these kinds of situations from even happening, parents can monitor their teens SMS messages and emails with WebWatcher Mobile on BlackBerry devices and SMS messages on Android devices.
Like all parents, you want to keep your kids safe online. What parent wouldn’t? But the question more so lately tends to creep up: Where would you draw the line when it comes to keeping your kids safe online? Should you spy on them? Mahwah, N.J. Police Chief James Batelli says yes, and even encourages parents to hack their child’s password. “He suggested that parents do whatever is necessary to monitor their kids’ online activity – even if that means installing ‘spy’ software to hack their passwords for Facebook and other online accounts. Chief Batelli sees a lot of scary things in his line of work, and is clearly on the side of protecting kids.”
Amy McCready, Positive Parenting Solutions founder and TODAYMoms contributor says “Do watch your kids online, but don’t be sneaky about it. Yes, the Internet is loaded with predators that prey on children. I also agree that parents not only have the right to know what’s going on in their child’s online life, they should absolutely monitor e-mails, websites visited, Facebook and all other forms of social media and online communication.”
We advise that as parents you should strive to be open and honest with your children. WebWatcher, a leading computer monitoring software, allows the freedom to satisfy either parental prerogative: stealthily keep track of your child’s online activity, or be open and up front with them by letting them know full well that they’re activity is being monitored for their safety. WebWatcher allows parents to:
The Obama Administration held a conference in Washington D.C. Thursday afternoon to address the issue of bullying. A host of experienced leaders from across the nation came together to take action and to find solutions to prevent bullying form happening in our communities.
Facebook also announced two new safety features yesterday in conjunction with this White House summit on bullying. In teaming up with White House efforts to combat bullying, Facebook’s new anti-bullying tools also aim to create a “Culture of Respect.”
Facebook’s New Safety Tools:
• An improved Safety Center, due out in the next few weeks, will provide educational videos, articles and other content created by bullying experts to help adults address the problem.
• A new reporting tool will let Facebook users, including teens and younger users, to privately report troubling content not just to the site itself but to parents, teachers and others in their support system.
Cell phones are a great and convenient way to communicate; however, they can also be a major distraction or distribution especially in class or while driving. Perhaps where or when your teen is texting may be the issue. Even though laws have been passed in many states that forbid the use of cell phones while driving, people still text, email and talk on the phone while driving.
Teenagers are particularly in danger here because of their limited driving experience. Monitoring their cell phone is a good way to make sure that your teen is focusing on the road and not on the cell phone. Cell phone monitoring software provides a simple, accurate, and unobtrusive way to ensure children are eliminating the distraction while on the road.
• Nearly 80% of crashes come from some form of driver distraction, according to the National Highway traffic safety administration
• Another issue with texting is that 43% of students text during class. This sort of distraction can lead to low grades and a bad academic track record.
• New York’s “new rule brings the talking law in line with the texting-while-driving law, which since 2009 has imposed a two-point penalty and a fine of $150.”
• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims cell phone users are four times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers and a Virginia tech study found texting while driving puts people at an even greater risk of injury, over 20 times greater.
According to a recent USATODAY article, by Byron Acohido, “Sexual predators, pornographers and prostitution rings are capitalizing on the rising popularity of mobile devices and social media to victimize children, say police and child safety experts. CyberTipline, the nation’s hotline for reporting sexual exploitation of children, received 223,374 reports in 2010, nearly double the 2009 number.” This can clearly be attributed to the increase in children’s use of technological devices like smartphones, iPads, and in many cases to a child’s very own laptop, which is typically and dangerously used in the privacy of their own rooms as opposed to in a communal and visible area in the home.
Children are also increasingly and rampantly joining numerous social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, formspring, foursquare etc. “The soaring use of social networks, online games, smartphones and webcams has translated into “more opportunities for potential offenders to engage with children,” says Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.”
Today, kids are revealing too much personal information about themselves, and posting pictures of themselves on these websites and even more unnerving is the fact that when they use their smartphone to post pictures online their location is revealed as public information to anyone searching. Check out our last blog entry “What Posting Pictures Online Reveals about Your Child’s Location” for more details on this scary fact.
To help prevent this kind of information from being leaked to online predators, parents are able to monitor websites, and all activity on their child’s computer. This is a big help for all parents who are looking to make sure that their children are posting appropriately, and that they have their privacy settings accurately applied for their protection on gaming sites, social networking sites, etc. There are solutions, such as keyloggers and computer monitoring software, that help provide a sense of relief for concerned parents. This software can also alert parents (by keywords of their choice) when their children are acting irresponsibly on their laptops and smartphones.
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