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Is Your Child Being Cyberbullied? Here’s How to Tell
August 29th, 2011

As your kids head back to school it is important to remember that according to a recently released Consumer Reports survey, in the past year alone, “a million children were victims of cyberbullying on Facebook. About 20 percent of students age 11 to 18 surveyed in 2010 by the Cyberbullying Research Center said they’d been cyberbullied at some point in their lives.”
Typically, cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it (Wikipedia.org).
Here are some of the Warning signs to look for
Because many teenagers won’t tell their parents they’re being cyberbullied, parents need to watch for potential warning signs. According to Marie Newman, co-author of “When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions” (Vivisphere Publishing, 2011), signs of cyberbullying to look for include:

— Your child is suddenly spends much more — or much less — time texting, gaming or using social-networking websites. Any rapid change could be an alarm bell

— After texting or being online, he or she seems withdrawn, upset or outraged

— Your child asks to have a social-media or online account shut down

— He or she suddenly avoids formerly enjoyable social situations

— He or she blocks a number or an email address from his or her account

— Many new phone numbers, texts or email addresses show up on your child’s phone, laptop or tablet

— He or she acts frustrated and impatient, or simply acts out more

— Your child notices that he or she is being gossiped about online, or that others are using “code words” in place of his or her name

— Strangers have opened Facebook or other social-media accounts in your child’s name

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Back to school: 10 Tips to Protect Your Child from Cyberbullies
August 26th, 2011

Back to school already! This means all new friendships, new events, and new places, which 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.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years. Here are 10 tips from Brad Miller, CEO of Awareness Technologies, for parents to help protect their children from cyberbullies and other online dangers:
1. Start by talking with your children about their online activities and the dangers of cyberbullying – set their expectations by discussing your views on monitoring their Internet and smartphone use.
2. Set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your children’s names on the web.
3. Friend your children on Facebook and monitor their privacy settings so you are able to view their profile and activity.
4. In addition to Facebook, cyberbullies use other social networking sites like Twitter to post hateful messages. Familiarize yourself with these sites and set up an account to enable you to routinely search what others are saying about your kids.
5. Inform teachers if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied. Teachers are among the first to notice important changes in children’s behavior, and it’s possible the bully may be a classmate.
6. Consider implementing parental monitoring software on your home computers and children’s smartphones.
7. Many school districts also now use computer monitoring software on all classroom computers. Check with your school principal, PTA or school board to ensure these tools are in use at your child’s school.
8. Prohibit your children from having multiple e-mail addresses, screen names and social networking accounts.
9. Prohibit your children from using geolocation tools and apps on Facebook and smartphones.
10. Always be observant as your children use electronic communications tools. Changes in habits, such as frequency and timing of use, mood swings and other indicators, could be a sign that your child is being bullied or a target of other online mischief.
Each tip above is very useful and important in and of itself; however, a better practice for parents would be to guarantee safe internet habits with parental monitoring software like WebWatcher. This computer monitoring software ensures that cyberbullying on your child’s PC is a non-issue.

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Cyberbullying: Helpful Tips and Must Knows
August 22nd, 2011

Our Cyberbullying page provides helpful an important statistics on what cyberbullying means and how it is impacting the youth of today. Learn more about this important topic and learn useful ways to combat cyberbullying.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HRSA (Health Resource and Services Administration) recently made a presentation available called “Cyberbullying: Tools and Tips for Prevention and Intervention.” Parents, teachers and administrators are encouraged to view this presentation to gain real-world stories, tips and prevention techniques. Help is also available at stopbullying.gov.
Some Facebook tips:
Facebook has a tool called “report,” a function that is visible on every post and picture. To use this, click the “x” next to the posting and choose the option “report post or spam.” If you find a picture to be too obnoxious or obscene, there is an option to “report this photo.” This is located underneath the photo in the bottom left hand corner. Facebook also suggests “unfriending” or “blocking” bullies. Click here to see Facebook’s help section on bullying.
Cyberbullying is an important issue for parents to be aware of especially since children today have unlimited access to information via the web. It’s critical for parents to know what is going on with their child’s social life both offline as well as online. Communication is critical always! 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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Top Health Concerns for Parents: Sexting Now Ranked top 10
August 19th, 2011

WebMD Health News “Sexting and Internet safety issues now rank among the top 10 health concerns U.S. adults have about children, joining childhood obesity, drug abuse, and teen pregnancy, according to a new poll by the University of Michigan.
The top 10 children’s health concerns list is topped by childhood obesity, drug abuse, and smoking and tobacco use, but the 2011 results suggest that parents are getting wise to new safety risks associated with the Internet and other technologies.”
Sexting involves sending sexually suggestive messages or photos, mostly from one mobile phone to another. Check out our blog on “Why Sexting Can Carry Lifelong Consequences” 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.
Overall, here is the top 10 health concerns of all adults polled:
1.Childhood obesity, 33%
2.Drug abuse, 33%
3.Smoking and tobacco use, 23%
4.Teen pregnancy, 24%
5.Bullying, 24%
6.Internet safety, 23%
7.Stress, 22%
8.Alcohol abuse, 20%
9.Driving accidents, 20%
10.Sexting, 20%

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Cyberbullying: What Are the Warning Signs?
August 15th, 2011

(HealthDay News) — Cyberbullying involves harassing, threatening or embarrassing young people through the use of technology, such as computers (especially Facebook) or cell phones. Check out our Cyberbullying page, and see why cyberbullying has gained national attention this year. Learn more about this important topic and learn useful ways to combat cyberbullying.

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.
 

The Nemours Foundation says possible warning signs of cyberbullying include:
•Acting distressed after being on the Internet.
•Withdrawing from social activities or friendships.
•Avoiding social gatherings or not wanting to go to school.
•Seeing grades fall.
•Having behavior problems at home or school.
•Showing changes in mood, appetite or sleep patterns.

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Is Facebook Mentally Altering Our Youth?
August 12th, 2011

A recent article form PC Magazine: posed the question “Is Facebook turning your teenager into a narcissist? A new study from the American Psychological Association finds “that daily overuse of Facebook can contribute to psychological and health problems in young users.”

According to Dr. Larry D. Rosen a professor of psychology at California State University, “Obsessively using anything is probably not good for your health, whether it’s video games, exercise, or Facebook. But in a recent study, Dr. Larry D. Rosen, found that ‘teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania, and aggressive tendencies.’ Facebook overuse can also negatively impact learning and grades, Rosen said.

Facebook has had a powerful influence on social behaviors. However, it has also been a common platform used in cyberbullying abuse and has also had a significant negative impact on some young teens lives. The PC Magazine article stated that “It’s a lot easier for a kid to hurl an insult from behind a computer monitor or smartphone screen, but unlike a note passed in class or a comment made in the locker room, the Internet posting lives forever and has a much wider audience.”

Awareness Technologies, Chief Strategy Officer, Ron Penna, comments “I’ve had many discussions with customers who came to find out after installing our software that the account that their child had been bullied online in some capacity and that without WebWatcher they would have never known.”

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Drug Use Continues to Rise, How Can You Protect Your Kids?
August 8th, 2011

A recent article from Patch.com put together some helpful tips from experts on how parents can help their children avoid drug use. Experts say that with a rise in prescription drugs, and the big names out there like, coke Molly, heroin etc. the youth of today “need stronger tools to avoid drug use in the first place.” Below are some suggestions on how parents can provide support for keeping their children away from drugs.

Experts Suggest:
1. Be the fall guy (Read More)
2. Lock up prescriptions drugs (Read More)
3. Get rid of unneeded medications (Read More)
4. Talk, talk and role model(Read More)
5. Be vigilant and streetwise- “Education is the key,” (Read More)
 

 

The Addiction Resource Council website lists these warning signs:
• Changes in sleeping, eating, or grooming habits;
• Hypersensitivity or temper tantrums;
• Unexplained weight loss or gain;
• Red or watery eyes;
• Shaking of the hands, feet, or legs;
• Frequent nausea or vomiting;
• Excessive sweating;
• A drop in grades at school or skipping school;
• Loss of interest in family activities previously enjoyed;
• An “I don’t care” attitude;
• Excessive need for privacy or secrecy; or
• An unexplained need for money or even stealing money

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5 Important Internet Safety Tips
August 5th, 2011

Most teens haven’t quite developed the necessary acumen or ability to fully grasp the dangers of some of their online activity. What’s more, they don’t quite understand that what they post or tweet is indelible and that the content they place here is permanent; and available to anyone and everyone. More and more reports are circulated in the news due to carelessness and naivety. Parents it’s important to inform your child of proper Internet behavior here are some tips from a parenting site we recommend. Read More.

Internet Safety Tips

  • Bantering online with friends about sex, dating, and crushes is fine; communicating with strangers about these topics is not.
  • Do not respond to any sexual communication made over the Internet by someone whose identity you aren’t sure of.
  • Don’t use the Internet to flaunt your sexuality.
  • Don’t give out your phone number or address to anyone you don’t know, and don’t post this information on a public Web page.
  •  If you receive repeated unwanted sexual communications from the same person, tell an adult about it.
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Bill Would Force Sex Offenders to Register Online Names
August 1st, 2011

According to the Boston Herald, Lawmakers are working to push a bill through that would “force the state’s most dangerous predators to register their e-mail addresses, Twitter handles and other online aliases with the Sex Offender Registry Board. Under the bill, Level 3 sex offenders would have to report all their electronic monikers — including Facebook names, blogs and message-board screen names — just as they do their home addresses. The legislation has 12 co-sponsors and could get a hearing after lawmakers return from their August break. Read More

The article quoted Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, saying that “Failing to register the screen names would be a criminal offense, which could result in both jail time and fines.”

Other states have gone even further in trying to rein in Web-surfing sex offenders. Laws in North Carolina, Illinois and Louisiana make it illegal for convicted sex offenders to have social-networking accounts, including Facebook and MySpace [website]. California is considering a similar bill.

Facebook itself banished more than 5,000 sex offenders from its site two years ago.

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 safely communicating on these electronic devices.

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