posted by on Cyber Safety, Cyberbullying, Online image, Online Privacy, Online reputation, Social media

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More and more today you are hearing about social media policies that are in place not only to protect businesses and government agencies, but to protect schools and colleges.
Workers whose employers have at-work social media policy are less likely to use social media for personal reasons while on the job

In the news, the headline of the Florida Assistant State Attorney being suspended following the tragedy in Orlando after he posted a controversial Facebook post that was deplorable. Not only was this inappropriate (when will adults grow-up), it violated social media policy in their office.

In a recent study by ScienceDirect it was revealed that most college students (almost 70%)  are unaware if their school has social media policy in place and their keystrokes could get them in trouble–even suspended or expelled.

  • Almost 70% of students don’t know if their university has a social media policy.
  • 78% of student are opposed to universities monitoring student social media.
  • Students are more tolerant of student athletes’ social media being monitored.

In June 2016 PEW Research released Social Media in the Workplace.

With the many studies showing that people are connected through social media a majority of the time, it stands to reason, some of that time is likely on an employer’s time/dime. So how are they dealing with this?

Let’s review why employees are checking in with social media during business hours – it’s not always personal:

Workers use social media at work for many reasons; taking a mental break is one of the most common

With 24% of them wanting to build stronger professional connections, 12% are using it for work related issues, and another 12% also noted questions related to their employment — social media is a way of expanding your knowledge and network, that can be an asset to the employer.

However – when it comes to the pitfalls of it, according to the study (like the headlines we’ve read), it’s when we have to find the right balance, like we do in all things tech.

WorkPlaceMany employers do have social media policies in place, and employees should be informed of them.

Many workers report that their employers have policies about social media use on the job, or about how employees may present themselves in various online spaces. Half of all full-time and part-time workers (51%) say their workplace has rules about using social media while at work (45% say their employer does not have these policies), while 32% report that their employer has policies about how employees may present themselves on the internet in general (63% say their employer does not have these policies).

Policies that regulate how employers present themselves online outside of work may be expected to influence whether these workers use social media at all. However, this does not seem to be the case: Fully 77% of workers report using social media regardless of whether their employer has such a policy in place.

At the same time, there is some evidence that workplace policies concerning social media use while on the job may have an effect. Workers whose companies have policies regulating social media use at work are less likely to use social media in certain ways:

  • 30% of workers whose companies have an at-work social media policy say they use social media while on the job to take a break from work, compared with 40% of workers whose employers that don’t.
  • 20% of workers whose employers have at-work social media policies say they use social media to stay connected to family and friends while on the job, compared with 35% of workers whose social media use is not regulated at work.
  • Only 16% of workers whose companies regulate social media at work say they use social media while working to get information that’s helpful to their job, compared with 25% of those whose workplaces have no such regulations.

Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends and family, however everyone needs to remember unless you do have a family emergency, checking in online should limited to your breaks.

It’s not any different than what we are expecting from our children in schools. It starts at the top — you must be the role model. If they see you are busy cyber-socializing during the day, when you are at work, what message does that send to your teenager or tween?

Lead by example mom and dad.

A relatively modest share of workers say they have incorporated specific social media platforms into their day-to-day work lives:

  • 19% of workers say they ever use Facebook for work-related purposes.
  • 14% ever use LinkedIn for work-related purposes.
  • 3% ever use Twitter for work-related purposes.
  • 9% use a social media tool provided by their employer for work-related purposes.
  • 5% use social media platforms other than the ones listed above for work-related purposes.

But among the group that answered yes to at least one of the items above – that is, the subset of workers who use at least one social media tool for job-related purposes – large shares see certain positive or beneficial impacts on their job performance:

  • 78% of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes say social media is useful for networking or finding new job opportunities.
  • 71% of these workers say social media is useful for staying in touch with others in their field.
  • 56% say it is useful for connecting with experts.
  • 51% say it is useful for getting to know their co-workers on a personal basis.
  • 46% say it is useful for finding information they need to do their job.

On the other hand, these workers are divided on the utility of social media in other respects, especially when it comes to the impact of social media use on their own job performance:

  • 56% of workers who use social media platforms for work-related purposes agree that social media distracts from the work they need to do, with 30% agreeing strongly.
  • 54% of these workers agree that social media breaks help them recharge at work. A statistically similar proportion (46%) disagree that social media breaks help them recharge while on the job.
  • 51% of these workers agree that social media use at work lets them see too much information about their coworkers; 47% disagree with this statement.

Social media can recharge, excite and amuse people — but what happens if you’re checking in and you find out bad news online (which is where we see 56% saying  social media is a distraction while 30% agreeing strongly)? Life is not always full of cheerful news feeds. Will your work for the day suffer? What about those that are on the job hunt? Keep in mind, public wi-fi’s are not secure. Wait until you get home. The stat of 51% of workers believe that social media usage allows them too see too much about each other…. Well — there’s a way to limit that — keep your sharing online to a minimum. There won’t be much to see — personally that is. Share with care, knowing you are likely working with curious co-workers. 

To read the full report – visit PEW Research Center.

In conclusion, a majority (56%) of these workers believe that using social media ultimately helps them with their job performance. Only 22% believe it hurts them while 16% feel that it doesn’t have much of an impact either way. 4% can see both the benefits and the drawbacks.

Moral of the study, find out if your workplace or school has a social media policy. It’s good to know.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety

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Parent or Warden

Familoop1This is a parenting confession. One of the more frustrating things about being a parent is navigating that fine line between offering reasonable, open-hearted, and generous advice with my kids versus playing jail warden. Regarding the latter, all of us parents have been there, right? You wish you could take a bit of time out of the day to calmly explain and provide a persuasive point-of-view to your kids why it’s in their best interest to eat their vegetables. But at the end of the day, the fabulous persuasive position you had planned falls by the wayside, and you end up just screaming at your kids to finish their freaking vegetables!

Of course, in the Digital Age there is a lot more to be concerned with than not getting the daily-recommended servings of veggies. These days us parents have to think about abusing online screen time, lack of exercise, bad digital influences, cyberbullying, and sexting; not to mention the really scary stuff out there like pornographic content, identity theft and online sexual predators. When it comes to the Internet, my instinct to play warden kicks into high-gear. Unfortunately, I find myself losing patience before I have a chance to explain the how’s and why’s of what it means to be a responsible digital citizen to my 2 daughters.

Then I Found a Reliable Parenting Solution

Gone are the days where I peer over my kids’ shoulders, making sure they aren’t on a suspicious website or watching a YouTube clip that is not suitable for children. Or all the other times – when I was distraught, wondering what my kids were exposed to online when I wasn’t in the same room to check-up on their online searches, app downloads, and text chats with who knows who.

With Familoop Safeguard, the monitoring and restrictions are automatically set, based on my kids’ age and can be easily customized to suit his level of maturity. Apps are blocked by age on Apple devices, and by age, name, or category on Android devices used by my children, giving me more control over what games and app content they download. Online websites may also be blocked based on age-appropriate content, and all browsing history is saved to a log I can review anytime. This is crucial, so I can take action at those pivotal moments before it’s too late. Because my daughters use Android devices, I can also monitor calls and text. I understand this feature will be available on iOS soon. Best of all, because my kids’ devices are controlled and monitored from a centralized Familoop parental account, I no longer have to wrestle the phone away from my kid, and instead she is in-training to establish good digital habits.

It’s Easy to Adjust Protection Settings

Familoop offers extensive flexibility. If my kid misbehave, I can easily adjust the settings in my Familoop Safeguard account and initiate tighter restrictions. Likewise, if my kids are particularly good, or have proven that their digital habits are improving, then I can give more digital freedom. I can even turn off monitoring for certain social media sites like Facebook to permit my responsible teen more privacy. Either way, it’s easy and straightforward with a just few buttons in my Familoop Safeguard account to adjust monitoring to suit my family’s needs.

One ongoing argument from the past that my daughters and I have since resolved, thanks to Familoop, is whether they can play apps or Facebook chat with friends before homework was completed. Familoop’s features include the ability to review how my children spend their time online. If my child has returned home from school and spent four hours texting on Facebook instead of completing online research for an assignment, I can easily tell from the screen log that it’s time for a talk. Until my child’s priorities are in order, I can disable the phone manually for “time out” mode.

Everything is Under One Umbrella

Because all of my family’s devices can be monitored via one single Familoop Safeguard account, the days of policing each phone, iPad, and computer are over. Thanks to Familoop’s default settings based on age-appropriate content, my children’ online permissions are set automatically. Making customized tweaks to the default settings is easy, and the modifications are adapted across all of my children’ devices. And on Familoop’s Insight page, I can monitor what my kids are up to – what they search for online, where they are, any new photos they’ve taken on their device before they are shared with others, and who they’re Facebook friends with.

Switch From Warden to Parent

Best of all, parental control software by Familoop provided the opportunity I was looking for to set aside the role playing position I adopted as jail warden in exchange for parent. Familoop’s “contract”, designed with both the child and parent in mind is a digital safety agreement that my children and I discussed and finally agreed to. It was more of a teaching guide, enabling me to share my opinions on safety and why it’s important, communicated to my children in a way I never thought possible. Likewise, I learned more about my children – not only in terms of their digital habits, but in terms of their life. Who their friends are, issues at school, and much more. Heck, I didn’t even realize that my kid’s teacher assigns homework to be completed on a smartphone. Imagine that!

You don’t have to take my word for it.

Familoop is offering a free trial so you can try out the software and see for yourself how your home life can improve. Less battles, less policing, and more parenting, on your terms. And because the folks at Familoop so often implement new updates (social media activity monitoring as well as time restrictions on apps are both in the works), I know that the software will grow as my family’s digital needs grow.

I feel like I’ve been given a great gift – more knowledge, tools, and faith that I can be a great parent and coach for my children as they learn the skills that will prove them well into adulthood. Most of all, I’ve been given the gift to discover who my children are both offline and online. 

Contributor: Kate Silmon is a tech-savvy mom of 2 girls and copywriter at Familoop, working hard to parent smartly and passionate about helping other moms do the same. She also posts and carries on communications on behalf of Familoop in social media. Follow Familoop at Twitter and Facebook

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posted by on Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online Safety

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TeenCellWith the sheer volume of shareable content available these days, our children are being introduced to the world of social media at a shockingly young age.

While the minimum age to register for a Facebook account is 13 years old, more than 5 million children under age 10 have a Facebook account.

Even more surprising? Only 69 percent of parents are friends with their kids on Facebook.

Many of today’s teens may not remember or know a world without social media and are, perhaps, more concerned with sharing their latest selfie than safeguarding private information.

Unfortunately, some seemingly harmless social media habits can be putting you, your home or family at risk. Below is a list of some of the more common social media practices that can inconspicuously put you at risk.

Sharing Vacation Plans

We all get excited about vacation — and your teen is no exception.

Whether they’re publicly counting down the days to your next family trip or posting selfies from the beach, your teen is broadcasting to would-be burglars of impending plans or that you aren’t home.

Instead of putting a ban on all vacation sharing, ask your child to stock up their favorite photos from the trip and post them upon your return.

This will allow them to capture moments and share them with friends (and, let’s be honest, count how many “likes” they can get) without broadcasting your vacant home.

If they MUST share their morning latte or outfit of the day, have them omit tagging a location or mentioning the out-of-town status in the caption.

Geotagging Your Exact Location

Did you know social media sites assign your current location to posts and photos unless you change your privacy settings?

By not disabling this feature on your teen’s (and your) social media accounts, any time they post from home, they are sharing your home’s location with anyone who cares to look.

Additionally, if they post frequently from routine places, like school, the gym, or a friend’s house, they are allowing criminals to establish not only their daily habits and routines, but also their exact location, making them a walking target to predators wherever they go.

Have your child go into their privacy settings on each social media site (and their smartphone) and disable geotagging from posts and photos to safeguard their location moving forward.

If you are worried about past posts that contain your location, consider installing a home security system for additional peace of mind.

Limit Public Posting

While there are certainly times and instances that a public post can be valuable on social media, your teen should not be posting the bulk of their social media activity for the world to see.

Become familiar with the privacy settings for each social media platform your kids utilize, and sit down with them to adjust and customize settings for each.

Additionally, create guidelines and expectations for your teen’s social media use — and monitor their accounts to ensure they are adhering to them.

Need help? Start with these five things you should never share online and customize from there.

Too Much Privacy

Parents walk a fine line with their teens when it comes to keeping them safe and giving them independence.

When it comes to social media, set some ground rules with your teen, like limiting daily access to their social media accounts.

You should always have the passwords to their accounts and access to view any public and private messages or posts.

Your teens should not be sharing or posting anything on social media that they would not say in front of you.

Whether you check it daily or somewhere in between, do periodic checks of their accounts for red flags, including:

  • Bullying (both received and given)
  • Suspicious friend activity/requests (your teen should personally know everyone on their friends list)
  • Inappropriate content (safeguard their future by not allowing photos they would not want future employers to see)

posted by on Bullying, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Online bullying, Online harassment, Online Safety

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Unicef1UNICEF released their report Perils and Possibilities: Growing up online, based on an international opinion poll of more than 10,000 18-year-olds from 25 countries, revealed young people’s perspectives on the risks they face growing up in an increasingly connected world.

The new report  that shows online violence and exploitation is a reality in the lives of children worldwide, but many are not provided with resources and knowledge to protect themselves. Children from very poor communities, such as in the Philippines, Madagascar, El-Salvador and Brazil have been targeted by adult offenders through the internet.

There are a number of interesting findings;

  • Two-thirds of 18-year-olds in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean believe children and adolescents are in danger of being sexually abused or taken advantage of online. This compares to 33% polled in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Two-thirds of interviewees in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean either believe strongly, or somewhat, that friends put themselves at risk online, compared to 33% in the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Eighteen-year-olds in the United States and United Kingdom are most confident they can avoid online dangers with 94% strongly or somewhat agreeing they can protect themselves on social media. In the Middle East and North Africa only 41%  strongly agree and an additional 37% agree somewhat.
  • Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa appear to value meeting new people online most, with 79% saying it is either very or somewhat important. In the United States and United Kingdom 63% say it is not very, or not at all important to meet new people online.
  • In Central European countries, 63% of interviewees strongly agree they would tell a friend if they felt threatened online, compared to 46% who would tell their parent. Only 9% would tell a teacher.

Let’s dig a bit more into this report.

More than half, (53%) of  the 10,000 18 year-olds that were polled around the world strongly agreed that online dangers exist.

UnicefStatbox
With more than half believing there are online risks and dangers, 90% believe they know how to avoid these problems.

Despite recognition that dangers
exist online, nearly nine out of 10
adolescents think they have learned
how to protect themselves on
social media and know how to avoid
dangerous situations while using the
Internet.

Whenever you are being harassed or bullied online, especially if virtual violence or otherwise is involved, being able to tell someone is imperative. With younger people we encourage them to tell their parents, however we know at times this can be difficult. They fear their will lose their online privileges or not be taken seriously.

In this report the majority of adolescents polled said the would turn to a friend, and that’s okay. As long as you tell someone.

  • 54% said they would tell a friend.
  • 48% said they would tell a parent.
  • 19% said they would tell a teacher.

ADoleFriends

Today sexting is considered the new flirting. So if you share flirty pictures with your boyfriend or girlfriend keep in mind, those images will typically have a life span longer than the relationship. If you simply look at the divorce rates today, 40% of first marriages end in divorce, while 60% of second ones end that way — the promise of a young relationship may not be long lasting. Don’t assume your sexy images will be kept private even if your friend makes a promise they will be — once there’s a break-up, all bets are off. It’s why we see the rise in revenge porn and sextortion.

  • 67% of girls agreed they would be worried if someone made sexual comments to them online.
  • 47% of boys said they had the same concern (a significant difference).

The fact that less than half the boys have the same concern shines the light on the fact that we often read so much about women being targets online when it comes to digital shaming, harassment, revenge porn and more. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen to men – but we do hear an overwhelming amount of stories that revolve around the female gender.

To engage children and adolescents in ending violence online, UNICEF is launching #ReplyforAll, which is part of its global End Violence Against Children initiative. #ReplyforAll puts adolescents’ front and centre as messengers and advocates to keep themselves safe online. Children and adolescents will be asked to give their advice on the best ways to respond to online violence or risks and to raise awareness among friends through social media. This work has been supported by the WePROTECT Global Alliance, which is dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children online through national and global action.

UNICEF, together with the WePROTECT Global Alliance, is calling on national governments to establish coordinated responses between criminal justice systems including law enforcement, and child welfare, education, health and the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sectors, as well as civil society, to better protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation.

“When young people, governments, families, the ICT sector and communities work together, we are more likely to find the best ways to respond to online sexual abuse and exploitation, and send a strong message that confronting and ending violence against children online – indeed anywhere – is all of our business,” said Williams.

About the WePROTECT Global Alliance
The WePROTECT Global Alliance is dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children online through national and global action. Its vision is to identify and safeguard more victims, apprehend more perpetrators and create and internet free from this crime. The WeProtect Global Alliance is comprised of governments, companies and civil society organizations signed up to the commitments made at the WePROTECT Children Online summits in London (2014) and Abu Dhabi (2015) and the members of the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online. 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The full study is here: http://www.unicef.org/endviolence/endviolenceonline/files/UNICEF_Growing-up-online.pdf

posted by on Kindness Counts, Parenting, Parenting Blogs

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KindnessBGBy Barbara Gruener

We’ve all undoubtedly read or heard about the importance of our carbon footprints and digital footprints, but I would submit that equally if not more important is our kindness footprint. As a veteran educator finishing up and reflecting upon my thirty-second school year, I can’t help but wonder, “Do my students know that one of my greatest desires for their future is that they treat one another with kindness? 

Because kindness matters, everywhere, all the time, in every interaction.

But beyond encouraging our future leaders to “Be kind,” how can we inspire them to walk the talk and live the kindness ideal as they leave their imprint on the hearts and minds of the people whose paths they cross?

We can mobilize kindness by our example.

Kindness is one size fits all. Kind acts don’t have to be great to be grand. Mother Teresa reiterated this reflection best when she said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Consider these simple but powerful ideas for people of all ages: Share a kind word or a smile, an affirmation or a compliment, a thoughtful text or a thinking-of-you email; hold the door opened for someone and welcome him or her with a friendly greeting; plug a few quarters into someone else’s parking meter; make smile cards and, with permission, leave them under windshield wipers on cars in a parking lot or inside books at your local library; let the car behind you have the closer parking spot; return that lost shopping cart back to its corral; donate a sick day to a colleague who is out with an illness or death in the family; leave a cup of coins to pay for a few loads of laundry at the Laundromat; buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee or a Coke; send an uplifting song from YouTube or iTunes to cheer someone; make get-well cards and ask your pharmacist to put them with the prescriptions; donate your gently-used clothing and/or toys; tape a dollar to the Redbox so that the next person’s rental is on you.

Kindness is love with its work boots on. Some kindnesses require a little more time, a helping hand, and maybe even a little sweat.

Lace up your boots and try one or more of these ideas: Give someone the gift of time by doing some chores or duties in their stead; offer to take someone else’s children to the park to give them a quick break; make an extra large batch of something special in the kitchen and share a meal with someone; help clean up after a sporting event; donate some time stocking shelves at a food pantry or walking the dogs at an animal shelter; mentor someone; buy a case of water and deliver bottles to cool off the workers as a nearby construction site; donate some socks to a homeless shelter; offer to mow someone’s lawn, rake the leaves so they can mow, or sweep the sidewalk after they’ve mowed; shovel some snow; pull some weeds in the garden of an elderly neighbor; offer to drive someone to a doctor’s appointment; take a bouquet of flowers to brighten someone’s grave.

PenniesofTimeKindness is the real global warming. Sheila Sjolseth from the non-profit Pennies of Time suggests engaging in a kind act with your family (like she and her husband do with their two elementary-aged boys) every single day. Can you imagine the global warming that a familial practice like that could generate?

While she advises starting small, here are some ideas to do something a bit bigger when you’re ready: Go to City Hall and pay the utility bill of a family in need; help pay for a part of someone’s school tuition or for their school supplies; put together toiletry kits for the homeless; use a skill like knitting to help warm someone up with a hat, some mittens or a scarf; tip generously; buy a haircut gift card and donate it to the local food pantry to hand out with the food; support a favorite charity in honor or memory of someone; put up a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to a cause dear to a neighbor’s heart; send a pizza to the police station, fire station, hospital or nursing home and treat those community helpers to dinner one night.

Kindness knows no calendar. Here’s amazing news; we don’t need to wait until a special occasion like the end-of-the-year holidays to shower people with kindness. Opportunities for random or planned acts of kindness are as limitless as there are people willing to concoct them and carry them out. If your school wants to join other students worldwide to feel the synergy of a kindness celebration, sign up now for the Great Kindness Challenge at the Kids For Peace website.

Kindness is the new cool. Kindness creates a win-win, and what could be cooler than that? Not only does it serve to help its recipient but it also creates a helper’s high in the hearts of those who serve. In that way, just like a boomerang, kindness always makes its way back to us. Now that’s a footprint that we can be proud about leaving behind.

About Barbara Gruener

BookUndertheCapeBarbara Gruener is a counselor and character coach at Westwood-Bales Elementary, a National School of Character. She grew up on a family dairy farm in Wisconsin and credits life on the farm with helping build her strength of character and work ethic during her formative years. Though she’ll tell you that she informally started teaching when she was in kindergarten, Barbara has worked a s a teacher and counselor with students across all grades, pre-K through twelfth, for thirty years — sharing her message about the importance of shaping hearts and minds for the future with kindness, respect, and care.

Her book, which I highly recommend, What’s Under YOUR Cape? has received the highest praise from educators and parents alike! Order it on Amazon today!

posted by on Digital citizenship, Online Life, Online Privacy, Online reputation, Online resume, Online Safety

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HashtagHyper

What would a potential employer think reading this?

It’s a fact today, your online reputation will effect your future. From teens applying to colleges to filling out job applications; to adults interviewing for career changes or leasing an apartment or even dating online — someone at sometime will put your name through the Google rinse cycle.

What does your social personality say about you?

Are you someone that overshares your life? Are you a humble-bragger? Like to comment on everyone’s post? Are you a one-upper or maybe a Debbie-downer? Are you obsessed with selfies? Maybe your #hashtag happy (hyper).

More and more we are learning that universities are talking to their students about their virtual landscape before they head out to their career future. They are recognizing that it’s not only their diploma that matters – your online reputation can literally cost you a position or possibly get you a job.

Nancy Rothbard, Wharton management professor recently was quoted:

“The idea of curating your digital footprint is right on target because it gets to the heart of the matter, which is that this is a new aspect of our reputation that we have to work at. We can’t just assume that it’s good, and we can’t assume that we’re vigilant enough. We have to think about that carefully.”

Let’s look at the positive.

We often look at what people are posting to eliminate them from being hired, but what could you post to actually get you employed?

According to a Career Builders Survey,  about one-third (32%) of employers found information that caused them to hire a candidate, including:

  • Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications –42%
  • Candidate’s personality came across as good fit with company culture – 38%
  • Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image – 38%
  • Candidate had great communication skills – 37%
  • Candidate was creative – 36%

Microsoft Safer Online has an educational site for kids and teens on digital safety as well as a great library of videos (Post Remorse and Post Regrets) to help remind us that our online reputation is a priority today.

Join them on Facebook and follow them in Twitter to stay up-to-date with today’s social trends.

posted by on Cell phone safety, Texting and driving

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it-can-wait_6Summer months bring a higher death rate for teen drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months of June, July, and August consistently have higher teenage crash deaths than any other month.

Distracted driving doesn’t discriminate — no one is immune to being hit by a person that is texting or reading an email. No one is so good at live-streaming that they should be driving at the same time.

No one wants to become a headline or a statistic this way. No one wants to make a call to a parent or family member to share the news of a lost loved one due to a digital addiction.

With Memorial weekend ahead of us and summer approaching we will have more cars on the road and youth driving among them. It’s imperative we learn skills to detach from our devices while operating our motor vehicles. Lives, and maybe our own, depend on it.

We used to talk constantly about drinking and driving, and this shouldn’t stop, however just as serious is distracted driving.

What can be confusing is that it isn’t only texting and driving (which is commonly discussed), we are distracted by many bells, beeps and whistles on our phone. From alerts from Facebook, an email arriving to beep letting you know a video is ready — there are many sounds that arrive from your device that are distracting and can take your eyes off the road.

The #ItCanWait Pledge is to help you keep your eyes on the road — and off your phone.

Mitch Jackson, a dedicated advocate against distracted driving, as well as a renown attorney for over thirty years, has made it his mission bring a new awareness to those that believe they have the ability to drive while using their devices.

His his recent article titled (a must read), Why It’s Socially Responsible To “Out” Habitual Distracted Drivers, Jackson explains that distracted driving is similar to drunk driving (yet we aren’t recognizing it in the same light — yet).

An interesting point (and there are many) was that even if you are talking on blue-tooth, studies have proven you are not giving your full attention to the road.

Regardless of what the laws in each state are, studies from around the world have unequivocally determined that any use of mobile while driving is distracted driving. This includes the use of hands-free devices.

Being a drunk or distracted driver is a choice. It’s a decision to act recklessly which exposes innocent people other than yourself, to harm and death. – Mitch Jackson

The statistics for drunk driving and distracted driving are disturbing. Read his article to get the details, what’s most important is how we, as a nation, can turn this around.

Education is key to prevention.

Changing your habits may not be easy – but necessary. Let’s not fool ourselves, more studies are telling us that digital addiction is becoming a reality.  That means that not only teens are guilty of not being able to unplug in the car — parents and adults are staying connected too. This has to change.

Everyone has to understand they are a role model to someone. Whether it’s a child, niece, nephew, neighbor or even someone in your office that looks up to you — you must always lead by example. The last thing you would want to hear is that a person said they did something because you always were doing it and you were their mentor.

AAA Study: Distracted Driving May be Involved in More Teen Crashes Than Previously Thought – 58% Caused by Driver Distraction

AAA Study: Distracted Driving May be Involved in More Teen Crashes Than Previously Thought – 58% Caused by Driver Distraction

Talk to your teens often about distracted driving. This isn’t a conversation that is once or twice. It’s one that you have frequently, don’t wait for a news headline.

Sock it in a pocket-case. Consider buying a cell phone pocket-case (maybe just a freebie you received at a trade show) that can go into your glove box.  Maybe it’s a pretty make-up case (you know all those free ones you get at the counters when you purchase  your make-up?) Girls would love it! Tell them it stays in the car – and their phone is turned off and goes in the case while they are driving. Having the case deflects them from wanting to even glance at it. Seriously — digital addiction is becoming a concern among youth.

Don’t hesitate in watching YouTube videos about distracted driving together. The more you know, the more they will understand the risks that are involved. AT&T #ItCanWait and EndDD.org have libraries of videos to share.  Encourage them to send them to their friends and post them on their social media platforms. Let’s have a summer safety platform.

One of the most comprehensive sites on distracted driving is EndDD.org.

Thousands of people have been killed by distracted drivers; hundreds of thousands more injured. Research shows that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident (about the same as drunk driving). That risk doubles again, if you are texting. You can help stop distracted driving. – EndDD.org

EndDD

Courtesy of EndDD.org

Visit it, read it, share it. Be an educated parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent – community resident.

We will start having safer roadways.

Also read:

Summer Months Brings Higher Death Rate for Teen Drivers

posted by on Parenting, Parenting Blogs

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ThePresentThere’s no surprise that kids are glued to their screens, especially when it comes to video games.

As you start this short four-minute plus film, you may believe this is another young boy completely engaged in this video warfare.

Then enters mom…. and the story begins. It’s not what you expect and completely not what you will imagine. A must watch and definitely share this one forward with a friend.

Learn more about this amazing short film by visiting their Facebook page.

After watching the short film, you wonder, did this young boy find more friends in his virtual life than he had in his real life?

We have to think — was he left out of school functions or maybe teased because of his limitations? Was cyber-life easier for him?

What lessons can we as a society take from this? We are all different, but we shouldn’t have to be isolated because of our differences.

Technology is a great gift we have, especially for those with special needs. But we can’t allow it to limit people to a point that they are boxed in. Everyone needs a friend.

If you know someone that has created their life inside a device, go knock on their door — take them outside. Maybe out to lunch, a walk in the park – be that difference for them.

Be a friend. It matters.

posted by on AT&T, Distracted driving, Uncategorized

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ATTMothersDayThere’s no better gift to give your mother than the gift of safety!

Take the pledge! 

In honor of Mother’s Day, AT&T  helps you give back. But in a different way. Together, let’s give the gift of safe driving.

We see it on the roads each and every day. People glancing at their smartphones while behind the wheel. In fact, our research shows 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. And, nearly 4-in-10 social network while driving!

This year, we’re asking you to take the #Pledge4Mom at ItCanWait.com. Pledge your love to your mom, grandma, sister, aunt or that special woman in your life. Pledge to always be a safe driver and to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. Follow the steps below to go online, take the pledge and share! #Pledge4Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!


MomsLeadByExample
Don’t forget parents – lead by example!

posted by on Digital citizenship, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online Safety

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DigitalDietTeensTeen digital media consumption has increased 300%  over the last 20 years. The American teen now spends up to 9 hrs a day consuming media across a range of channels – SMS, social media, radio and more. To put it in perspective, your child now spends more time glued to a screen than they do sleeping!

Mobile phones are the main driving force behind the explosive growth. In fact, the typical American teen spends around 6.3 hrs a day on their smartphone. With on-demand access to so many different communication channels, digital media is fast changing the way our children learn and communicate.

One of the biggest concerns facing parents and educators is the “digital creep” occurring in the classroom. With mobile devices “almost always” within arms length, teens are plugged in and constantly multitasking.

Texting while studying.

Checking social media in the classroom.

Watching TV while doing homework.

Teens are distracted, and attention spans are shrinking.

It’s understandable 1 in 3 parents are expressing concerns about online safety, sleep deprivation, reduced physical activity and sliding grades caused by the growing pre-occupation with online media.

What are you to do?

The team at Rawhide have put together the infographic below. It explores the growth in digital media consumption, it’s impact on communication and learning, top concerns for parents, while addressing some things parents can do to encourage a healthier digital diet for their teens.

The digital diet of American teens