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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Parenting In Social Media Age- Keep Kids Safe Online (Guest Expert)

Friday, December 6th, 2019

technologysonParenting has changed drastically in the past decade. Instead of dinner bells ringing children home, they now have cell phones. Social media has become an obsession and a favorite past time. With the changes in technology, changes in parenting become necessary.

You can keep your child safe in the social media age with a few tips to help you stay up to speed with today’s technology and your child’s plugged-in world.

Learn the Technology

First and foremost, for parents to be able to help, it is important that they understand how technology works and accept that technology is a big part of young people’s lives, says Silje Vallestad, CEO and founder of Bipper, a mobile safety app company. As cyber bullying situations continue to increase, parents must know how to operate and monitor apps, social media networks and various technology to ensure that their children are acting appropriately and that they are treated respectfully in what is a 24/7 public environment.

“For kids today, being stripped of their access to the social communities and technology in general is considered so bad that they won’t ask for help or tell parents about negative experiences,” says Vallestad. “Parents need to understand that there is a difference between the digital childhood of kids today and their own upbringing, and that access to technology is as important as access to paper and pens.”

Although social media is extremely important to your child, it doesn’t mean they should have full reign of the technology. “Parents should never grant kids access to technology without guiding them in the world of technology and to be able to guide their kids, they need to understand technology and online services,” says Vallestad. “I believe in parents spending time educating themselves, combined with frequent conversations between parent and child about the use of technology in general and use of specific services in particular.”

Use Technology to Bond with Your Child

Monitoring your child’s social media use does not have to be a negative experience, wherein you are acting the part of a spy. Use technology as an opportunity to learn something new from your children and brush up on your own skills. Vallestad, the mother of three kids all using technology, says she uses mobile app alerts that provide information on which social media applications her children are downloading.

“When I see that they have installed apps I either don’t know much about or that I’m worried about (such as SnapChat or Instagram), I make a point of having a good conversation about these services,” she says. “They teach me a lot about technology and the services while we talk about how things can be used for good or bad.”

These conversations can help to create trust between a parent and a child and allow opportunities to talk about how technology can be used to harm others and how to react in those situations. “With our frequent talks on tech, where I show that I’m both interested and involved in their digital lives and also allow them to use technology, I believe we have fostered an atmosphere where they will feel safe to tell me if something bad is happening,” says Vallestad.

Have a Plan of Action

As you are learning the technology, it’s important to remember the top three actions to take when your child is engaged in social media, according to Vallestad.

  • Technology is Important to Your Child: Understand that your kids need to use technology and be part of the online communities where their peers are. It’s part of their lives and if you remove it, you will probably create a growing gap between you and your child instead of fostering an atmosphere of dialogue.
  • Open Conversations are Necessary: Engage in open and trusting conversations with your kids about technology. Let them tell you, show you and teach you. Reacting with anger or shock to things you might see could result in your kids closing down conversations. Try to stay calm and ask questions. Together, you can agree on rules. Sometimes you both may come to the conclusion that a particular service is not ok. Other times, it is ok but you may require that you will be a friend or follower.
  • Research is Key: Do your own research on services and use that research to ask your kids the right questions. However, don’t automatically assume that your kids are using a questionable service in a wrong way simply because there is a lot of information online about that service being used negatively. Do keep an open eye and make sure you are neither naïve nor ignorant about social media.

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Friday, October 18th, 2019 and Lesser Known Social Media Portals – Cyber Bullying Havens

Image Courtesy of

Parents of young adults, take heed. Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only places where your kids might be bullied. There exist thousands of other online avenues where people hide under the guise of ‘freedom of speech’ to say inappropriate and terrible things to your children. Take for example


“Wait a minute. Why are you still alive?”

This is just one of the questions posted on the page of 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick, who killed herself last month by jumping from an abandoned cement building in Lakeland, Florida. Other questions included similarly horrible queries within the lines of “Why aren’t you dead?” and even non-questions “Drink bleach and die.” is a social media site where users receive questions from anonymous people. According to LA Times report, millions of teenagers in the United States use this website to talk about late night parties, school work, and others subjects without parental supervision. Sedwick was tormented by about 15 girls her age on, among other lesser known social media portals.

The easily accessible technology of social media apps and virtually limitless internet connectivity gave way to an environment that thrives on anonymity. “These apps are free, and as a result … you can either go up anonymously or create a fictitious identification, and you can torment other children, and it is frightening to see that occur,” noted Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.


“Yes ik  I bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don’t give a f***]”

This was the exact status message of Guadalupe Shaw, 14 years old, after reports of Rebecca Sedwick committing suicide spread. “She needs more than God, she is disgusting,” said the first comment in Shaw’s status.

Police saw this message as a red flag. Along with 12-year old Katelyn Roman, county police arrested Shaw despite planning to delay any detainments due to the nature of the case and the age of the involved individuals. Sheriff Judd said that Roman and Shaw were the primary harassers.

When asked about the legality of the arrest and the case to be filed against the youngsters, Judd mentioned that although bullying in itself is not a crime, it can be grounds for stalking and aggravated stalking.

“We take bullying and cyber bullying exceptionally serious in this county and always have,” said Judd.


“Choose your words carefully.”

This was the advice that most experts in behavioral psychology want parents to instill to their children when dealing with cyber bullying. Because children grew up with technology that was not available back when their parents were growing up, research and coaching are imperative for parents to address the issue. These concepts were said by Dr. Elizabeth Englander from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center on an instructional video found on VerizonWireless’s feature on a familial approach to address cyber bullying.

Part of this research involves being familiar with social networking sites that are overlooked such as the aforementioned, Kik (a smartphone messaging app), and SnapChat.

SnapChat is particularly controversial. Commonly used by adults to hook up by sending ‘pic trading’ or exchanging photos; this app has been the center of the social phenomenon called ‘sexting’. “The biggest part of these sites is parents don’t know about them,” said author of “Wit’s End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out of Control Teen” Sue Scheff.

The lack of initiative from parents to get involved with their children’s internet and social media actions create a difficult situation where harassment is only detected when it’s already too late, Scheff said. “It’s as simple as that. No one really knew a lot about until Rebecca died,” she noted.

Resources are always available online for parents to get the basic concepts of social media. How will you deal with it, if your child experiences cyber bullying?


Dennis Redley is an advocate of responsible internet usage. He supports various cyber safety initiatives including Verizon’s online safety campaign and Higher EdTech Asia. He is also an aspiring educator and takes part in counseling students.


How To Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying Using Mobile Monitoring Applications?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

How To Protect Your Child From Cyber Bullying Using Mobile Monitoring Applications?

Mobile usage is increasing day by day and it has become an indispensable device. The additional uses of a mobile phone as a camera, a music player, a laptop to access mails and internet has resulted in its widespread usage. Children too have not been spared from being bitten by the mobile phone bug. The benefits are far surpassed by the crimes associated with children using mobile phones.

Cyber bullying is rampant in the cyber world.

Children unknowingly fall victims to such abuse through visiting prohibited sites and social networking sites. There have been many instances where children were lured through answering missed calls from unknown numbers and subjected to sexual harassment.

Hence, it is important for parents to protect their children from becoming victims of cyber abuse. This can be achieved by installing mobile monitoring applications like Mobile Spy on your child’s phone.

Software easy to install to protect your child

It is very easy to install such software on your child’s phone. Once installed, the data from the mobile phone is uploaded to your user account, which is created at the time of purchasing the monitoring application. All activities of the phone can then be viewed remotely through the user account. Some of the monitoring application features that help to protect your child from cyber abuse are:

Text bullying is a concern for many kids and their parents. Learn to monitor electronic devices your kids use and facts about internet safety.

  • Monitoring the call history: The monitoring application records details of all incoming and outgoing calls. The time and duration along with the numbers are also recorded. By reviewing the call log, the parent can know the child’s contacts, whether they are good or bad.
  • Call recording: most of the monitoring applications have the call recording facility whereby you can actually listen to the conversation. Even if the child is scared to report the abuse, it is easy to track the caller and nail him with proof of the conversation.
  • Internet History: A record of all the websites visited by the child can be known. The entire web history is recorded even if the child erases the history on the mobile. It is thus possible to know if the child has viewed any inappropriate material.
  • Record of chats and IM messages: With the help of the monitoring spyware, you can view the full contents of the chat windows and SMS messages. By keeping a tab on chats, it is easy to monitor contacts with strangers who may turn out to be pedophiles.
  • E mail log: A detail of every email that has been sent or received through the target mobile phone is recorded, despite the child deleting the messages. You can monitor the child and his contact by reviewing the mail contents.
  • GPS tracking: With this device, it is easy to locate your child. In the unfortunate event of kidnapping or the child getting lost, the GPS device will come to the rescue.
  • Video and Picture log: A parent can view all the photos and videos on the child’s phone. There may be instances when the child may be blackmailed through pornographic content like nude photos or bathroom videos. The abuser would demand undue favors from the child by threatening to expose them on the web. Any child would be scared to report such abuse and give in to the demands. Installation of the software protects the child by exposing such criminals.

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Sharon Stouffer.  She shares my concerns about finding help for children who are being cyber-bullied.   Her contact information is below.  Please be sure to claim your free report on resources for parents and teachers.  You will find it at

Sharon Stouffer is passionate about Mobile Technology and Applications. Please visit her website about Cell Phone Spy software to follow her updates.

Two Faces of Social Media Users

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Two Faces of Social Media Users

It is not uncommon for teens to have more that one FaceBook, Twitter, My Space or other social media account. Often they have one strictly for family and extended family and one that shows a completely different side of their personality.

Recently in Dear Abby, an advice column that is syndicated in newspapers across America I came across the following letter:

“Dear Abby: I have just learned that a friend’s 16 year-old daughter has two different FaceBook profiles. One is a ‘nice’ profile to which she has invited me, her family and friends from her days at a Christian academy. The other, which is pretty raw, she uses with her new ‘wild’ friends from public high school.

The first profile portrays her as the perfect student and daughter. The other includes explicit details about her sexual exploits and

Social media sites may allow a teenager to have two for family and one for friends.

drinking parties. Should I keep my nose out of it or let her parents know about the dual identities?”

Signed Vigilant in Everett, Washington

What Would You Do?

Given the information above, how would you proceed? It has been said it takes a village to raise a child and as a parent, I have always welcomed concern and caring regarding my family from others. However what I would not like is someone talking behind my back or being judgmental about my child and their choices in life.

Here is what Abby had to say:

“Dear Vigilant:

Ask yourself whether you would want to be warned about your minor child’s drinking and sexual exploits or kept in the dark and you will have your answer.”

The letter got me thinking, so in reading the letter to Dear Abby, I viewed it from a number of angles: one as the parents, Vigilant who wrote to Dear Abby and the daughter in question.

Cyber-Space Has an Infinite Memory

Many young people lack the life experiences to understand how much exposing their youthful escapades can come back to hurt them in the future. Colleges and employers are now routinely screening applicants through social media sites as well as Goggling applicants.

What seemed to be funny, exciting and rebellious to a 16 year old, can easily become a detriment to the child’s future as well as an embarrassment to the family.

As caring adults, we need to impress on our young people to pause, and consider how what they are about to put out there in cyber space may be viewed, and by whom it may be viewed before pushing send. Think through the decision to post something now. That hasty post could do irreparable harm to your reputation and life for years to come. And as adult we also need to think about the decision to post items. Often posts sent in the heat of anger can be hurtful to others, and cannot be retracted.

Good Advice

While Dear Abby in this case offers good sound advice, so did my mother. She used to tell us “If you are going to regret something tomorrow, you probably shouldn’t be doing it tonight.” Her suggestion didn’t always stop her children and grandchildren from making mistakes, but it did help us to stop and think before proceeding. Isn’t that what we want young people to do?

Some Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Child?

Is this post reflective of who I really am? Is this what I want people to believe about me? Will what I post be hurtful to other people? Is this something I would want a prospective employer to read? Is this something I would want my future children to see? Can I walk away from the computer, phone or electronic device for a few minutes and come back to it, will I still feel the same way, and will I still consider sending it?

Think Before Posting to Social Media Sites!

You can do it, I have confidence in you.

Judy Helm Wright

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CyberBullies – Bully Online

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Dealing With Online Bullies

With the advancement in modern technology the evolution of the bully has moved from playgrounds, workplaces and gyms to the internet. It is not that kids being mean to one another is anything new. But the methods and techniques are certainly more sophisticated and allow more cruelty because of constant access and the power to be anonymous.

Cell Phones and Social Media Make Being Mean Easy

Unlike adults, kids don’t regard technology as separate from the rest of their lives. Many have a cell phone in their hands and moving to text or talk constantly.

Cell phones and social media have made it easy for mean kids to bully online and become cyber bullies.

Bullies are now using chat rooms and social media sites to attack their victims. Bullies use the cyberspace to leave harsh, cruel or even threatening comments for their victims.

Sometimes bullies post fake or hurtful videos, or even create fake online profiles to harm the reputation of the person they wish to victimize.

FaceBook Works To Stop Offenders

Social networking sites like FaceBook work hard to control serious incidents through online reporting. Through filing a report users can have wrongful photos or comments removed from the site.

FaceBook also enforces consequences for the aggressor up to, and including closing their account for serious offenders. But, unfortunately, kids are smart and pretty internet savvy. They can start another account with a false name and new email address.

No Easy Answers or Solutions to Combat CyberBullies

So, how do we combat online bullies? There are a number of software programs and online services that can help parents monitor what kids are doing online.

There are also services to help parents monitor text messaging on cell phones, which is another rapidly growing problem.

We need to encourage our children to inform parents, teachers or other responsible adults when they are being bullied whether it is face-to-face or online.

Recently authorities have begun taking credible threats of injury or damage to property very seriously. In serious cases authorities should be contacted to deal with bullying concerns in an efficient manner.

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  • Would I be able to tell if my child is being bullied online?
  • Is my child mature enough to conduct him or herself responsibly on social networking sites?
  • How will I monitor my child’s activities online?
  • How will I deal with incidents of bullying against my child or, if I find my child is bullying someone else?

Cyberbullying is a serious threat to individuals globally.  Teaching internet safety and social skills online is a part of what a caring parent does.  You should be informed and aware of what your child is sending and receiving online.

You can do it. I have confidence in you.

Judy Helm Wright, family relationship author and keynote speaker

Bystander Bully Assistance – Help Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

How Bystander Bully Assistance Can Help You Through A Traumatic CyberBullying Situation

If you are the victim of cyber bullying you are not alone. As the prevalence of internet use increases among all age groups there is a greater need for better restrictions and assistance on how both youth and adults communicate online.

Being the target of malicious attacks is a difficult and embarrassing event for anyone. Enlisting the right bystander bully assistance can help educate you and your young one on how to respond when personal attacks are made online.

Targeted Threats

Numerous reports of individuals being overwhelmed by “mean speak”; threats and suicide encouragement have been presented by the news media.  Phoebe Prince from MA is an example of a teen who felt she had no one to turn to for help.

There has been for a long time no real protocol in dealing with these attacks. Schools, churches and organizations are caught in the bind of not knowing who is responsible. The public onslaughts of vicious speak have left many feeling as though there is no way out.

Internet Safety

Teach teens that cybrbullying is a crime. Help them resist the urge to pass along hurtful messages. Learn internet safety.

Having to deal with nasty e-mails, death threat and pranks can be overwhelming, especially if the victim is young, which the case is most often. Many young people are not aware of the consequences that a posted message can have.

Often the response to an unpopular statement or opinion can become terrifying when meted out by the wrong group. It is not like bullying in the old days when your enemy was right in front of you and you could fight it out or tell the principal.

Nowadays, cyberbullying is very anonymous and the venom is passed from cell phone to computer to FaceBook to MySpace and can be global almost instantly.

Teach Teens To Not Pass On Gossip Online

While adults have a better understanding of the resources that may be available to help them deal with a tumultuous situation online, teenagers often do not.

They generally tend to weather the storm alone hoping that it will subside by itself. Unfortunately due to ease of access, these situations generally continue to spiral out of control if unchecked until an awful climax is reached.

Words Have Power for Good and Bad

Teaching your children smart internet skills is one way to avoid the hassle. Make certain that they understand the effects that different forms of online communication have on their privacy.  Help them to pause and think before sending on a message that might hurt or embarrass another.

As a family discussion continue to share with them the less than stellar responses received by teenagers that share too much information. It is also imperative to keep the lines of communication open in order to ensure that your child is not quietly suffering as a victim.

Help them to brainstorm ideas of being brave enough to stand up for someone being cyberbullied or to refuse to pass on hurtful messages. Just one person being kind can make a huge difference in the lives of others.

When they are aware of the consequences of bullying, it is far less likely that they will have to endure or become a part of it in any way.

Questions to ponder

  1. Have you ever had someone say something mean about you and played like it didn’t matter?
  2. Do you know it is against the law in many areas to harass or threaten someone online?
  3. If a friend were being cyberbullied, could you help them?  How?
  4. Do you know where to find information on internet safety?

Amazing Video, Did you Background Check your Babysitter?

Friday, April 30th, 2010