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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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