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%
6.Internet safety, 23%
8.Alcohol abuse, 20%
9.Driving accidents, 20%
A recent Consumer Reports article stated that “The number of teens who own smart phones has nearly tripled over the last two years, says a new study: About 4.8 million teenagers owned smart phones in April of this year, according to research firm ComScore; in April 2009, only 1.7 million teens owned smart phones.”
This explosive cell phone growth and other technology device usage increase alone make it all the more critical for parents to be cognizant of who and what their child is communicating and with whom. 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.
Quick Facts on Teen Cell Phone Growth:
Boston Globe, states that “currently, 28.7 percent of teenage mobile-phone users carry smart phones, and analysts expect the number to rise above 50 percent by next year, “
Nielsen released a study that found 55 percent of new mobile phone purchases by consumers were smart phones. That was up from 34 percent in 2010.
Teen study: Google’s Android operating system led the way with 36 percent of the teen smart-phone market owning Android-based phones, according to ComScore.
Apple iPhones followed with 29 percent
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry phones were third, with 23.8 percent.
It is imperative to have open lines of communication with your children. If communication with your teen is a struggle especially during those turbulent teenage years, there are alternative ways for parents to at the very least have some reassurance in knowing that their teen is experimenting or are involved in sex at too young of an age. 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.
A public opinion survey from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy provides some important stats on trends here, which highlight the importance of having these open, preventative talks early on with your teens. With One Voice 2010, a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,008 young people (aged 12-19) and 1,000 adults (age 20 and older), found these:
46 percent of teens say parents influence their decision about sex while only 20 percent said their friends do.
78 percent of teens say they have all the info they need to avoid an unplanned pregnancy but 34 percent said “it doesn’t matter whether you use birth control or not, when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen” and 49 percent said they know “little or nothing” about condoms and how to use them.
80 percent of teens said it’s easier for them to delay sexual activities if they could have more honest conversations with their parents.
63 percent of teens said that they don’t use contraception because they are scared their parents will know.
18 percent of teens want more info about birth control and 9 percent want more info about abstinence.
46 percent of teens and 73 percent of adults wish young people were getting more information about both abstinence and contraception rather than either/or.
87 percent of adults and 93 percent of teens agree teens shouldn’t have sex until they are at least out of high school.
Sexting can most certainly be a draw for teenagers especially during their experimental stages; however, this kind of behavior can carry serious consequences into their future. This is why it is critical for parents to be cognizant of who and what their child is communicating. 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.
From an article Sexting Carries Lifelong Consequences for Teens: “A nude photo from one phone to another may then be mass-distributed to the recipient’s contacts. From there, the photo could continue its travels, even eventually winding up on the Internet for anyone across the globe to see. What’s more serious is, in addition to suffering humiliation from having such photos exposed to Joe Public, a teen who sends out nude photos may also be charged by state and federal courts for creating and distributing child pornography. If the teen is found guilty of such a charge, she or he not only faces prison time, but would also have to register as a sex offender.”
These kinds of consequences can be major detriments to your child’s bright future. Parents should most certainly at the very least stress the dangers of what sending these messages can actually mean.
An estimated 6,000 people are killed and 500,000 people are injured annually because someone was texting, e-mailing or talking on a mobile phone while driving. Parents it is vital to stress to your children not to text while driving. Moreover, it is important for you to set the proper example. Do not text and drive below are some quick facts and quick stats on the dangers of texting while driving and why it is more dangerous for teens to text while driving.
Dr. Joel Haber, a clinical psychologist and LG Text Ed council member, explains that for teens, texting and driving is an even bigger problem than it is for adults.
Kids text more. Texting is their preferred mode of communication. According to a recent LG Text Ed survey conducted by LG Mobile phones, while half of all teens admit to texting while driving, only 4 percent of parents are aware of this.
Teens are inherently novices when it comes to driving. They especially need to focus on the road to compensate for any lack of driving skill or experience.
Teens can literally be driven to distraction. If a teen is caught up in a dramatic or tense texting conversation, it could be too enticing to focus on the phone instead of the road.
The U.S. government’s official website on distracted driving, www.distraction.gov, cites multiple statistics on the dangers of this careless behavior:
Using a mobile phone while driving, whether it’s handheld or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
Driving while using a mobile phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
Drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves as those who don’t.
An estimated 11 percent of drivers are talking on cell phones while driving at any point during the day.
With Prom and graduation just around the corner it is important for parents to keep in mind that their child’s texting habits will be escalated during this exciting time. It’s important for parents to express the importance of smart driving behavior like staying focused while operating a vehicle. “Distracted driving is a national epidemic with an intensified effect on teen drivers. Teen drivers are more prone to cell phone use and particularly texting, which too often proves deadly when combined with driving.
The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, reported that distracted driving resulted in 2,600 deaths, 333,000 injuries and 1.5 million property damage claims each year. A study by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in 2006 pointed to cell phones as the most common driver distraction.” 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 to make sure they’re behaving appropriately on and off the road.
WebWatcher’s hope is that this never becomes an issue for parents. It is important today more than ever for parents to talk to their children about what is appropriate content to share with their friends online or via text messages, and what isn’t appropriate communication between their fellow peers. Parents should convey the dangers in a non-pedantic way to their children, so that it’s clear that this kind of behavior can have serious ramifications.
Check out this quick video debate on whether Parents should be punished if their kids are caught sexting, and if this should be made a law or not.
Parents should watch this video if they have teenagers or young children. This quick video will divulge some of the top dangers to be aware for teenage girls online. “There are a number of new sites that look like they’re harmless, but are actually teaching our girls very, very vicious lifestyle changes,” said Michele Borba, Ed D, the author of “The Big Book of Parenting.”
Sam Black is an Internet safety professional. “He knows first-hand what dangers lurk online for teen girls, including his daughter. ‘Body image, sexualization of women and girls, cyber bullying – all these things can play out on the Internet.’”
Experts say to say:
The first step is to invest in parental control software like WebWatcher
Monitor your teen’s online history
Do Google searches on their full names to see if anything comes up and limit their time online
Take the time to get Internet savvy yourself
See what they are: Click to watch the short video:
When you’re in love you want to do whatever it takes to make the other person happy. Yet, sometimes those aspirations may lead to a very detrimental outcome. The latest trend in communication is to send flirty, and in some cases dirty photos of each other via text message, commonly known as sexting.
This kind of communication is rampant and popular among teens. Unfortunately, they may not realize that whatever they send out via text, via email or posts online these images can come back and bite. Some people can use these images as leverage to get what they want out of the other person. The may threaten posting them, online which could tarnish their reputations, lead to dangerously embarrassing moments for them or even worse lawsuits.
According to a recent article called ‘Sextortion’ becomes new form of blackmail ““sextortion” — which takes its name from extortion. It’s the latest cyber-crime — anyone can be a target, but teens are the most vulnerable.
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.
Lightspeed Research found that “68% of teens have accepted a friend request from a stranger.” A rather daunting statistic and that is just their Facebook account. In addition to duplicate Facebook accounts, another parental concern is the multiple email accounts that parents typically have no idea existed. In some cases, to hide some of their seedy online behavior, kids can have 3 to 4 email accounts or screen names all from different domains. Even more unnerving is that many teenagers lie or overstate their age when signing up for a Facebook account. The Facebook policy states that you need to be at least 13 or older to actually create an account; however, there is no way to actually prove your age when creating an account.
Teens overstating their age on Facebook put themselves at risk, potentially allowing them to meet older individuals who may have intentions of causing them harm. Additionally, teens may post up lewd pictures that they often don’t realize could lead to very harmful results, i.e. damaging both their online and offline reputation. “A survey of 2,000 parents and teenagers by TRUSTe and Lightspeed Research found that 80% of the teenagers surveyed reported that they use privacy settings to hide content from certain people, including their parents.” Today, there are parental control software options that may offer parents some peace of mind. With such software on the market today, parents have the luxury of keeping an eye on their children and taking a quick glimpse into their children’s social networking sites, emails, chats, and other online activities, to make sure that this kind of behavior doesn’t occur.
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 “friended” them with was a dummy account and not the one that was actually being used, and that without our software, WebWatcher, they would have never known.”
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