posted by on AT&T, Cell Phone, Cell phone safety

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May is National Teen Safe Driving Month

Prom season is here, and that means many teens will be driving on that special night. And of course, most will have a smartphone in hand to capture the memories. But AT&T wants to remind young drivers during this, National Teen Safe Driving Month, to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones while driving.

According to AT&T research, many drivers today are snapping selfies, posting to social media, instagramming, even video chatting, all while behind the wheel.

To help keep those prom memories happy ones, AT&T is offering these tips:

  • Take the pledge to NEVER drive distracted at itcanwait.com, and get your friends to do the same. AT&T research shows pledging matters and makes a difference. According to the findings of a 2016 survey, almost half of people who pledged said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving. Those who share their promise or pledge with others are even more likely to stop, and more likely to speak up to others.
  • Use #TagYourHalf on social media to pressure your friends to never drive distracted. New AT&T research shows 57% of drivers would stop using their phones behind the wheel if pressured by a friend. The #TagYourHalf social media campaign encourages you to tag your better half, your BFF – the one person you can’t live without – encouraging them to stop driving distracted. Also, a teen survey conducted by AT&T also revealed 90% of teens say they would stop texting while driving if a friend in the car asked them to.
  • Download a free app, like DriveMode, to help curb the urge to text and drive. AT&T DriveMode is available to customers of all wireless carriers for iPhone and Android users. It can silence incoming alerts and phone calls so you stay focused while driving. Its auto mode feature automatically turns on the app when you reach 15 MPH and turns it off after you stop. The app can automatically respond to texts on your behalf letting the person know you’re behind the wheel and will get back with them when you reach your destination.

AT&T started the It Can Wait campaign against distracted driving in 2010. Since then, people have made more than 15 million pledges to not drive distracted. The campaign has also resulted in 13 million downloads of the AT&T DriveMode app.

posted by on Cybersafety, Digital Life, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety

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By the time children reach the teenage years, tech is entrenched in day-to-day activities, from school work to socializing. Teens are eager to explore the digital universe, which presents many dangers alongside its advantages. That puts parents in a tricky situation as they seek ways to protect their teens from the dangers lurking online without cutting them off from the digital world entirely.

Balance: The Right Approach to Teens and Tech

“Parents often struggle with the many questions surrounding this issue,” explains Angela Stringfellow, Managing Editor at Family Living Today. “Should your teenagers have their own smartphones? Should you permit them to join popular social networks and download the hottest messaging apps? And to what degree should you monitor your teen’s online activities, demonstrating that you trust them yet being diligent enough to identify and mitigate potential risky behaviors? There are so many what-ifs that parents often just don’t know where to begin.”

So what’s the best approach for parents who want to ensure their teen’s safety in the digital world, yet aren’t sure how to monitor and manage their teen’s online activity without watching their every move? “Like so many aspects of parenting, the technology issue is about balance,” Stringfellow suggests.

If your teen is venturing into the digital world, here are a few ways to encourage safe online behavior and ensure that your teen stays safe in the online world without going overboard and sacrificing trust.

  • Talk to Your Teen About Safe Online Behavior: Teens first navigating the social media landscape may not realize that habits that seem ordinary could actually be exposing them to risks. Make sure your teen knows the safety risks of putting personal information online publicly – such as their phone number, home address, the name of their school, and personal photos. Agree to some guidelines together so that your teen feels like she’s participating in laying the groundwork. For instance, you and your teen might agree that she won’t accept friend requests from people she doesn’t know personally, at least without running it by you first. It’s also a good idea for teens to keep their profiles private, meaning that only people they’re connected with can see the information they share.
  • Monitor, But Don’t Helicopter: Monitoring is a fair solution, but just how much monitoring you should do depends on factors such as your teen’s age, maturity, past behaviors, and any history of questionable encounters online. “This doesn’t mean that you have to have to approve every post your teen publishes. And you don’t have to sit with your teen as she or he use the Internet,” says Peggy McKibbin, a school nurse, in an article for the Family Online Safety Institute. “Just check-in every once in a while to see what sites your teen is visiting and how much time he or she is spending online.”
  • Watch Out for Troubling Apps: Knowing what apps your teen has installed on her smartphone or tablet is a fair approach that gives parents an idea of how their kids are spending time online. The tricky part is that there are thousands of apps, and the must-have app of the moment can change from day to day. What’s more, some apps are disguised as something they’re not, designed to fool parents into thinking that a calculator is a calculator, when in fact it’s a secret photo messaging app. Stay on top of the most popular apps for teens and the associated risks with sites like Common Sense Media, which rates the safety of apps for different age levels and analyzes any risks that they present.
  • Keep Open Lines of Communication: Parents are in the best position to proactively address many of the challenges of parenting teens (digital media, peer pressure and bullying, sex, drugs, and the like) when they have open lines of communication with their kids. When your teen feels like she can talk to you about anything, she’s more likely to come to you for guidance when she encounters situations she’s uncomfortable with online.
  • Consider Tech Tools Designed for Parents: There are a variety of apps and services that help parents more efficiently monitor their kids’ online behaviors, such as TeenSafe, an online service that enables parents to monitor their teens’ texts, social media, phone calls, and phone location. This is the juncture at which many parents struggle. Your teenager may resist the idea of you having total visibility into all their communications, but for some parents, this is the right choice. Also, remember that you don’t have to view every chat message and conversation, but having the ability to do so when needed can provide peace of mind.

Don’t Focus so Much on the Negatives That You Lose Sight of the Positives

While it’s important to take precautions and remain vigilant, parents also shouldn’t ignore the creative and educational possibilities that exist in the digital world. “While we want our teens to be safe online, we also want them to feel empowered by the possibilities and resources the Internet offers,” says Kerry Gallagher, Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org. “There are opportunities for creativity. My teacher friends with kids from age 11 up through high school age have told me they create their own YouTube channels with original, upbeat video podcasts like Kid President or how-to videos like Club Academia.”

Gallagher points out that kids who engage in these types of online activities engage in skills such as brainstorming, drafting, and storyboarding, and parents who have safety concerns have options, such as setting videos to private.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for keeping teens safe in the digital world, but parents who follow these best practices can gain some peace of mind in knowing that they’ve laid a solid foundation – allowing their teens to explore the valuable opportunities for education and enrichment the online world has to offer, while setting the stage for a safe online experience.

Contributor: Cynthia Lopez

posted by on Bullying, Bullying prevention, Cyberbullying

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Sometimes it can be very difficult to know for sure if a loved one is being bullied or abused. Often the victim will not share their true feelings out of fear. They may be afraid that no one will believe them or that their abuser will punish them. For children, they may think how they are being treated is normal, so it is important to talk with kids about bullying and what to do if someone is treating them poorly.

Bullying is a major problem in the United States, leading many teens into depression, self-harm, addiction, eating disorders, or even suicide. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people. According to BullyingStatistics.org, 14% of high schoolers have considered suicide. This is why it is so imperative to recognize if a loved one is being bullied and have constant communication with them.

Some of the warning signs are more subtle, while others can be more obvious. Of every successful teen suicide there were at least 100 attempts. Talking about suicidal thoughts should not be taken lightly or looked at as “attention seeking”. Suicidal ideation or suggestions should be treated medically. If a teen says they can’t handle life anymore, or constantly talk about death, this could be a big red flag for bullying.

Some other warning signs of bullying include:

Personality changes

Victims of domestic violence or bullying often display a noticeable personality change. They begin to isolate from friends and family and display more sadness. They may become very tired and unmotivated. Often bullying victims will begin to lose interest in favorite activities and start to miss work or school. These should all be clear signs that something is wrong.

Low self-esteem

Bullying victims will often begin to have very low self-esteem and self-worth. They may suggest they “aren’t worth people’s time”, or “don’t want to be a hassle”. They are afraid to let people give them time or go out of their way to help them. They may insist they aren’t smart enough for school or work. Sometimes teens will become sexual promiscuous in an attempt to gain self-worth. 

Substance abuse

Bullying and addiction have a very significant correlation. Often victims will become depressed and look for external stimuli to give them comfort. Drugs or alcohol can give victims a false happiness or confidence that quickly becomes addictive. Substances can offer a “safe place” for someone who is constantly living in fear and depression. Here are some signs of addiction.

Self-harm

Bullying victims, especially teens, often engage in reckless behavior or self-harm. Cutting is more popular among youth, and can often be found on wrists or thighs. This behavior becomes addicting for victims because it gives them a sense of control and can help “relieve” emotional pain, replacing it with physical pain. Eating disorders are also common among teen girls, like bulimia or anorexia. Rapid weight loss or refusal to eat meals should be a major concern, especially if the person is displaying other signs of bullying or domestic violence.

Here are some ways to help again bullying.

  • Always take someone seriously if they threaten suicide or show signs of suicidal thoughts. Pep talks are not appropriate, but rather medical help from psychiatrists and psychologists.
  • Talk to children about bullying and insist that they can always come to you for help if someone is abusing them or being mean to them.
  • Monitor a teen’s social media outlets. Unlike bullying of the past, a lot of bullying takes place online. Many suicides have been attributed to cyber bullying.
  • If a child complains about bullying, take it very seriously. Talk to school authorities and look for solutions to solve the problem. If school authorities offer little help, take it up with police of attorneys. Many states are putting laws in place to stop bullying, whether it be inside or outside of school.
  • For domestic violence, offer a domestic violence help line. If you know for a fact a person is a victim of domestic violence, contact local authorities.
  • If you suspect a child is a victim of child abuse at home, contact Child Protective Services in your state.

Contributor: Trevor McDonald

posted by on AT&T, Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Distracted driving

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but beginning Monday, April 11th, AT&T started encouraging the public to join the  #TagYourHalf conversation on Twitter.

#TagYourHalf is based on new AT&T research that says 57% of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if a friend or passenger pressures them to.* That means half of people are just waiting for someone to tell them to stop! So, tag your better half, your BFF – the one person you can’t live without – encouraging them to stop driving distracted.

The #TagYourHalf social media campaign is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait public awareness campaign focused on a simple, powerful message: Distracted driving is NEVER ok.

AT&T launched the It Can Wait campaign in 2010 to help save lives by changing the behavior of all wireless users who engage in dangerous smartphone activities while driving. To date, more than 15 million pledges – and counting – have been made by people at www.itcanwait.com to not drive distracted.

If you haven’t take the pledge yet, AT&T encourages you to do so.

*Ongoing online survey with 1,804 respondents conducted by Kantar Added Value. Data represented here was collected September 26 – December 18, 2016. National panel sample (ages 15-54, drive and have a smartphone).

posted by on AT&T, Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Distracted driving

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. A time when we should all take a moment to remind each other that it’s never okay to double task while driving.

It’s as simple as a glance.

Distracted driving is NEVER OK. You’re never alone on the road, even when you’re alone in your car. That’s the simple message behind AT&T’s IT CAN WAIT campaign against distracted driving. Research by AT&T shows smartphone distractions behind the wheel have grown beyond texting to social media, web surfing, selfies, and video chatting. With Distracted Driving Awareness Month beginning April 1, AT&T is urging you to take the IT CAN WAIT pledge.

Here is what AT&T has learned through its research:

Power of a Pledge:

  • More than 14.2 million people have taken the IT CAN WAIT pledge, and 2016 research shows pledging matters and makes a difference.
  • According to the findings, almost half of people who pledged said they now don’t use their smartphones while driving.
  • Those who share their promise or pledge with others are even more likely to stop, and more likely to speak up to others.

o   4-in-10 asked a friend or family member to not use their smartphone while driving.

o   One-third asked a driver to not use their smartphone while driving when riding as a passenger.

o   4-in-10 asked a passenger to operate their smartphone while they are driving.

You’re Never Alone on the Road:

  • 2016 research shows that only 36% of drivers look at their smartphone with passengers in the car, compared to more than 6-in-10 (64%) without a passenger.
  • People look at their phone even less when the passenger is a child.
  • AT&T created a powerful PSA in 2016 to drive home the “You’re never alone on the road” message. You can view it at https://www.itcanwait.com/videos .

Habit Stats:

  • For 1-in-3 drivers distracted driving is a habit.
  • Habitual distracted drivers have a false sense of security in their actions. Only 58% feel that using their smartphone behind the wheel is “very dangerous,” compared to 78% of non-habitual distracted drivers. Ironically, they’re also twice as likely to have been involved in a near crash or a collision.

Smartphone Distracted Driving Stats:

  • 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving.
  • 62% keep their smartphones within easy reach while driving.
  • Nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users tap into social media while driving. Almost 3-in-10 surf the net. And 1-in-10 video chat!
  • Facebook tops the social platform list — more than a quarter of those polled use the app while driving. About 1-in-7 said they’re on Twitter behind the wheel. 30% of those who post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”
  • 22% who access social networks while driving cite addiction as a reason.
  • Of those who shoot videos behind the wheel, 27% think they can do it safely while driving.
  • Smartphone activities people do while driving:

–       Text (61%)
–       Email (33%)
–       Surf the net (28%)
–       Facebook (27%)
–       Snap a selfie/photo (17%)
–       Twitter (14%)
–       Instagram (14%)
–       Shoot a video (12%)
–       Snapchat (11%)
–       Video chat (10%)

 AT&T DriveMode:

  • AT&T DriveMode is free to customers of all wireless carriers for iPhone and Android users.
  • It is now available in Spanish.
  • It helps curb the urge to text and drive by silencing incoming text messages.
  • Its auto mode feature automatically turns on the app when you reach 15 MPH and turns it off after you stop.
  • AT&T DriveMode can help keep young drivers safe by sending a message to a parent if the app is turned off.
  • The campaign has resulted in more than 5 million downloads of the app.

AT&T launched IT CAN WAIT in 2010. Since then, many celebrities have joined the cause to deliver the message via TV ads, concerts, public appearances, Twitter and Facebook.

AT&T’s aggressive social media campaign encourages people to share the #ItCanWait message with friends and follow the @ItCanWait Twitter handle.

The company has also added a virtual reality experience component to the campaign to show the potentially deadly consequences of glancing at your smartphone while driving. You can download the free AT&T VR app and buy Google Cardboard at www.ItCanWait.com/VR to use with your smartphone to experience the IT CAN WAIT driving simulation.


How will you celebrate Distracted Driving month?
You can start by paying it forward…. share this post with a friend or family member. Remind them that distracted driving kills. It’s just as dangerous as drunk driving – and hopefully someday it will be taken as serious as driving while intoxicated. #ItCanWait.

posted by on Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Internet Safety, online addiction, Smartphone Addiction

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According to scholars and psychologist, the smartphone devices are causing a heist of the apparent preoccupation, not only in adults but also in the kids. Especially when the matter of the availability of the internet over the smartphones is concerned, the hike certainly makes it clear that the extensive users of this technology are addicted to it.

A comparison between the addicting drugs and the smartphone was drawn by a psychologist analyzing that alcohol makes a person addict of it as the consumption of the first sip makes it more enchanting in the next. Similarly, the smartphone usage has been analyzed with the study of over 1,500 users, majorly including teens, that the initial usage raises the urge for the next usage.

Extensible Teens:

Common Sense Media (CSM) surveyed more than 1,200 people including parents and teens which resulted that 50% of the teens accept that they are addicted to the smartphones; while around 60% parents say that their children are addicted to their devices.

The smartphones sale comparison could definitely tell that 50% of the sale of smartphones has grown up in the present year since 2013.

Availability of internet, social media networks, attractive games, handy apps and vast data storage capability has raised the bar of the smartphone usage and so it the mercury of the smartphone obsession rising.

Smartphone Addiction:

Presently in the world, some states argue that extensive smartphone usage is a disorder and is an addiction but some of the developed states including United States have no view over the smartphone addiction. They take it as just an extensive use, not an addiction as they don’t have any solid base to determine it as a disorder.

Going through some general examples, the roads and streets are the best examples in telling that how much the teens are addicted of the smartphones. A number of accidents happen every day in routine, caused by the teens, as they were busy in using their smartphone and smashed their car into the others or a pole or a pedestrian.

Consequences of Smartphone Addiction:

Almost 80% teens are surveyed who at least check their phone every hour, amid 70 – 72% of teens is found responding to the SMS and the instant feeds instantly. Parents stay worried for their children and the smartphone distraction has increased the ratio of worry in parents. Parents find their children:

  • Distracted from studies because of the excessive smartphone use
  • Getting physically and biologically weak because of lack of outdoor sports
  • Becoming irritating and itchy because of lack of actual social life with friends
  • Paying less attention to the family sit downs for the night meal

These situations are particularly an alarm for the parents that ring the bell of danger that their child is getting to a highly distracted venture by paying much heed to their corky device instead of the actual requirements of living.

Preliminary Measures:

Some essential preliminary steps are required on the part of the parents to ensure safety and prosperity of their children. It’s initially quite hard for the parents to properly analyze in what ways and how much time is their child giving to his or her smartphone.

Precisely the direct questionnaire would certainly sound like a direct assault to the children which could bring up any of the unexpected results upon parents. Or if the parents inspect the smartphones of their children or restrict them directly to use it, could create a wave of defiance in the homes.

The most preferable and highly recommended solution, and one of handpicks of the experts, are the spy apps. They help the parents to be with their children when they are using their smartphones, virtually.

Contributor:  Angela Smith fills in as tech and digital parenting expert. She is managing technical content at cell phone spy software, listen live phone calls, and monitor social instant messaging logs. Follow her on twitter @LatestTechBlog

(Please note, apps should never replace offline parenting. Your communication with your child is crucial in helping them make better online decisions when you’re not there. Experts have also agreed that your child should know if you have installed these apps. Breaking down a trust factor with your child is never a good idea unless there is a good reason or you fear your child is in danger).

 

posted by on Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Online bullying, Online Safety, Parenting

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The modern technology and rain of contemporary devices such as smartphones, tablets and IPAD’s playing a positive role in spreading information among the general public. But these tech gadgets when connected with the internet often play a negative part and may cause some serious issues especially in the lives of young kids who use to of using these tech gadgets and perform internet activities and ultimately become addicted to it. They might be cyber bullied, blackmailed by stalkers and lose their health doing activities all day long which may cause them physical as well as psychological issues. So, in short, online activities by using the contemporary tech devices generate horrible issues to young kids.

What precautions should parents keep their child safe online?

Parents should follow following six ways in order to protect their young kids while doing online activities, here are following ways.

  1. Be a role model:

The first education institutes where young kids learn all their basic activities are their parents, so it is the parents who should look after their own activities in front their young kids. Parents should be the role model for their kids; if parents do healthy activities in their lives then kids automatically follow their parents and take an interest in their parent’s activities. So, parents need to perform positive things online in the presence of their kids such as using instant messaging applications, searching appropriate sites and use of tech creatures within the limitations. So teach your kids positive things when they are online. They will definitely follow your footsteps.

  1. Set some house rules:

Parents need to set some house rules, if their young kids have habits of doing online activities at extreme, tell your kid’s if they don’t follow the house rules they should face some serious consequences such as they will have to face a week ban on their online activities. If any of your kid doesn’t follow your instruction, make an example out of it to warn your other kids.  So, you will see your young kids will follow all the rules and regulations which you have set for online activities.

  1. Educate your kids: be a tech-savvy

The best way to educate your young kids is that parents should be tech-savvy first, and then parents can easily manage to educate their kids about how they can perform online activities such for getting information, for the little entertainment, for school assignments and socializing with the online world for making their communication sharper and stronger.  Guide your kids, for how much time online activities are enough, don’t become addicted to it, and don’t visit inappropriate social messaging sites until they become legible for it.

  1. Take control on internet activities:

Whenever you see your kids are tending towards online activities, make use of parental controls on your home internet services. Always keep in mind to make a check on your mobile phone devices, desktop computers, gaming gadgets and your smart TV as well. Tell your friend to send you a friend request from their all social media platforms like Facebook, snap chat, WhatsApp, vine, Tinder and many others.  Tell them if they are going to publish their pictures and videos which they don’t want you to see then the stuff should not be in public domain.

  1. Make a friendly environment with your kids:

The best part is to keep your child safe online is to make a friendly relationship with your young kids, it is necessary because having a friendly environment your kids will not hide anything from you. So, be a best friend of your child in order to prevent other best friends whom they share everything. Encourage them being a friend and stop them from any bad online stuff in a friendly way. This will help parents building a positive trustworthy relationship with your kids, and they follow your instructions even in your absence.

  1. Use monitoring applications:

If you have applied all best possible ways to protect your kids and even then that you are not able to stop your child to prevent them from their online obsession. In short, they follow your instructions in your presence and start doing whatever they want in your absence. Then don’t worry use the TheOneSpy monitoring application in order to monitor all of the activities of your kids online. TheOneSpy is the powerful and best applications to track online activities with the exact time stamp. It will allow you to monitor all social messaging app with its IM social media feature. Parents can record calls, spy on messages, bug their kid’s phone, view multimedia files and track GPS location with the help of Track GPS location feature.

Author Bio:

Nicki is a working mum writing blogs to help fellow mums use technological apparatus to make parenting easier in today’s era. Her work on tracking spy app for android devices has received great appreciation from a reader. To know more about her follow on twitter @nickimarie222

 

posted by on AT&T, Bullying, Cell phone safety, Cyberbullying, cyberbullying prevention

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 1 in 3 students say they have been bullied at school. The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that nationwide, 19 percent of students had been bullied on school property during the 12 months before the survey, while nearly 15 percent had been bullied electronically in that same time period.

While face-to-face bullying is still common, cyber-bullying – bullying via email, text messages, instant messaging, chat rooms, social media sites, videos, and pictures – is on the rise, according to BullyStatistics.org. With most kids today carrying a mobile device, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior because:

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

In light of Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 22), a national observance to encourage people to take a stand against bullying, AT&T has compiled a list of apps, tips and tools that can help parents protect their children from bullying and create awareness around the problem.

Anti-Bullying Apps

  • BullyBlock – (Android – FREE) – This app captures and block bullies that are causing you and your family harm. The Bully Block app allows users to covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features. Bully Block blocks bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers, HR departments, and law enforcement. All audio, messages, and calls are stored on the phone SD card.
  • TipSubmitMobile – ( Apple iOS, Android – FREE) – TipSubmit Mobile allows tipsters to submit secure and anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers, law enforcement agencies or school safety officers and administrators. Thousands of communities, schools and government agencies are covered by this application since it connects directly with TipSoft, the world’s largest and North America’s only, truly anonymous tip reporting system. Tipsters could receive rewards of up to $1,000 in the U.S. and up to $2,000 in Canada for information submitted to Crime Stoppers and nobody will ever know your identity.
  • Bully Stop (Android – FREE) – This app helps protect your children from bully calls, texts and picture messages. The app gives your children the ability to block calls and messages from people they don’t want to hear from. Bully Stop uses a Block List to block unwanted callers and texters. The app maintains a password-protected call log of all attempted contact with your child so you can approach the relevant people, parents, teachers or police and show proof of the bullying communication.
  • Bully Free Zone – (Android – FREE) – An app for younger kids, the Bully Free Zone app features Captain McFinn and encourages kids to join him in helping to put an end to bullying. The app includes a bully free pledge, a cartoon that shows how Captain McFinn stopped his bullying ways, a kindness calendar that tracks the child’s kind actions.
  • Bully Button – (Apple iOS – $0.99) – This application is for helping when the user is in trouble. It lets them record and send an email with audio attachment with text by tapping “Record and Send” button. Children can call a parent, friend or school by selecting appropriate options.

Anti-Bullying Tips and Tools

  • Take advantage of parental controls. Ask your provider about parental controls available to you. For example, AT&T has Smart Limits which allows parents to block unwanted calls and texts from up to 30 numbers and restrict texting and data usage during specified times of the day.
  • Be aware of what your kids are doing online.  Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.

o    Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with.

o    Tell your kids that as a responsible parent, you may review their online communications if you think there is a reason for concern.

o    Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency

o    Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.

o    Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Let them know you will not take away their device if they confide in you about a problem.

  • Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, cell phones and other technology.

o   Be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.

o   Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others.

o   Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Think about how people who aren’t friends could use the information.

o   Remind them to keep their passwords safe and not to share them with friends because sharing that information could compromise their control over their online identities and activities.

Courtesy of AT&T.

Follow #PinkShirtDay on Twitter and Facebook.

posted by on AT&T, Cell Phone, Cell phone safety, Dating, Digital Distractions

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Opening doors, holding hands, going steady. When it comes to love, tech isn’t a replacement for in-person chemistry. But sometimes it can help move the relationship along. This Valentine’s Day, AT&T conducted a survey to learn more about technology and relationships and found:

  • 36% of respondents agree long-term relationships can start on dating apps.
  • Only 7% of respondents are most likely to ask someone on a date via text compared to 27% who are more likely to ask in person.
  • 64% of respondents first said “I love you” to their current or most recent significant other in person vs. only about 3% through text or social media.
  • 77% of respondents have never broken up with someone via text.

To help you use your smartphone to keep romance in the day and potential pitfalls out, AT&T is offering these Valentine’s Day tech dos and don’ts:

  • DO text sweet nothings.  Nothing can put a smile on your Valentine’s face quicker than an unexpected, romantic text from out of the blue. A short text like “I LUV U” or “MISS U” can  make your significant other suddenly  happier to see you when you get home. But remember, don’t over-abbreviate and stick with terms and symbols that most people know and use.
  • DO share love notes.  Rekindle memories of the ‘old-fashioned’ paper love notes once exchanged in school by sending your Valentine a love quote or saying through one of the free apps in your smartphone’s app store, like Love Quotes and Sayings or Love Notes.
  • DO take advantage of free apps to plan your romantic evening.  Want to find the perfect bottle of wine, order flowers, buy chocolates or make dinner reservations quickly and on-the-go? There are lots of apps for that, and many are free! For example, 1800Flowers features a selection of best-selling flowers. Find Chocolate helps you locate the nearest chocolate shops, and OpenTable allows you to book a table at more than 20,000 restaurants, browse menus and search by cuisine, price or location.
  • DON’T check your texts and emails at the table.  You’ve gone to the trouble of planning a romatic dinner for your sweetheart, so why risk ruining it by checking your device for messages while at the dinner table? Give your Valentine the gift she likely values the most:  your undivided attention.
  • DON’T text it if it’s better said face-to-face. Plan to pop the question on the most romantic day of the year? Think through your approach before you do. You know your Valentine better than anyone else. Would a face-to-face proposal have greater meaning for her or would she find a proposal via text more romantic?  On the flip side, if something doesn’t go as planned on the special day, avoid texting while frustrated or angry. Instead, pick up the phone to hash things out.

Courtesy of AT&T.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online Safety

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Guest Post by Brenda Barron

Year after year, we watch as media consumption rises — in our homes, our professional workspaces, and even while we’re out and about. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report from the first quarter of 2016, our consumption of media has increased by a whole hour since the same time period in 2015.

The reason for this is obvious. With greater technology adoption comes more avenues through which we have access to media.

It’s not surprising then that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) compiled a thorough analysis this October on the effects of media on children. In addition, they included a revision to their recommended usage guidelines along with the report.

In sum, the AAP expects parents, educators, and physicians to work with children in maintaining a “healthy media diet” based on the following breakdown:

  • 18 months and younger: no screen time except video-chatting.
  • 18 to 24 months: parents should guide children through their interactions with high-quality media programming.
  • 2 to 5 years: parents should allow up to an hour each day of supervised high-quality media viewing.
  • 6 years and older: parents should establish limits on media consumption each day, including when, where, and how much.

The AAP’s recommended healthy media diet isn’t groundbreaking news. As children become exposed to more media and have greater access to technology, this question “Should there be limitations?” comes up frequently. What’s interesting to note, however, is the correlation between what the AAP now recommends with what the tech elite already do with their own children.

In the following infographic, we discuss what your children’s current media “diet” looks like, how tech leaders weigh the risk and reward of technology in their own children’s lives, and the major lessons high-tech parents have to offer about striking a balance between media consumption and unplugged time.
High-Tech Parents and Their Low-Tech Kids - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

Source: WhoIsHostingThis.com

High-Tech Parents and Their Low-Tech Kids

New technologies present parents with unique challenges. Smartphones and tablets have become an easy babysitter for many stressed out parents. But that’s not usually the best thing for the children. Here we will look at how the world’s leading tech execs — people whose lives revolve around these gadgets — deal with these problems.

Tech and Today’s American Children

  • Even very young children are using technology
    • Children use the internet daily
      • 25% of children by age 3
      • 50% of children by age 5
    • 27% of digital media is screen-based for children age 8 and under
    • 30% of apps on parents’ devices are due to their children downloading them
  • Very early online presence
    • 33% of US children have an online presence before birth
      • Ultrasound images
    • 92% of US children have an online presence by age 2
      • Photos uploaded by parents
      • Full online profile
  • A large part of the digital world is geared toward children
    • 72% of children have a computer accessible at home
    • 22% of children ages 6-9 own a cell phone
    • 61% of digital users are between ages 3-11
  • It’s not just computers
    • 67% of children have a video gaming system
    • 42% of children have a TV in their bedrooms

How the Tech Elite Do It

  • Bill Gates
    • Co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft
      • “None of these new technologies come without some real issues that have to be thought through.”
      • Supervises kids’ Facebook accounts
      • Limited his young children’s screen time
        • 45 minutes daily during the week
        • 1 hour daily on weekends
        • Not including homework time
  • Chris Anderson
    • Former editor of Wired and CEO of 3D Robotics
      • Time limits for using devices
      • Sets parental controls on devices
  • Dick Costolo
    • CEO of Twitter
      • No time constraints on devices
      • Children must use devices in the living room for supervision
  • Ali Partovi
    • Founder of iLike and advisor for Facebook, Zappos, and Dropbox
      • Makes distinction between “consuming” and “creating”
        • Watching videos is very different from creating them
      • No time limits set for creative tech use
  • Steve Jobs
    • Co-founder and former CEO of Apple
      • Kids didn’t use the iPad
      • Family focused on real-world activities
        • Cooking
        • Face-to-face conversation
    • Family ate dinner together
      • No tech at the table
      • Talk of books, history, and other topics
  • Waldorf School of the Peninsula
    • Serves students in Silicon Valley
      • One of 160 Waldorf schools nationwide
      • Children of execs from Apple, Google, Yahoo, eBay, and Hewlett-Packard
      • ¾ of students are connected to high-tech parents
    • Bans screens from use in classrooms
      • Frowns on tech use at home
    • Uses pen and paper, knitting, and mud to teach lessons instead of electronics
    • Focuses on physical, creative tasks rather than technological competency
    • Alan Eagle, a Google exec, has a 5th grader at Waldorf who doesn’t know how to use Google

Tech Limit Guidelines for Kids

Every parent needs to decide what works for their children, here are some options:

  • There are two things that unite all these techie parents:
    • Setting tech usage boundaries
    • Supervising tech use
  • Usage Boundaries
    • Setting tech usage limits is important
      • This is similar to limiting television watching
    • Common reasonings for tech boundaries
      • Promotes
        • Hands-on creativity in areas outside of tech
        • Interpersonal interaction
        • Expressive movement
      • Limits protect children from dangers of tech
        • Harmful online content
          • Pornography
          • Violence
          • Bullying
        • Addiction to devices
        • Cognitive and physical issues
          • Interacting with devices near bedtime can cause:
            • Poor sleep
              • Interacting with digital screens ignite hormones in the brain that keep people from sleeping
            • Poor mental functioning
            • Lower overall health
  • Supervision
    • Another thing that unites most tech elites is their supervision of tech usage — both by the parents themselves and via software
    • Direct parental supervision
      • A family computer in a common room in the house where others can see the screen at all times
        • Devices only allowed to be used when and where parents are present
        • Living room or dining room, for example
        • No devices in the bedroom
        • Monitoring software
        • Software is available to help parents track their children’s activity online, even if they are not able to be present all the time

Though high tech is marketed as a boon for the world, the tech elites who create it also have a good understanding of its dangers. It might be convenient to hand an iPad to a squirming toddler. But it is usually better to follow the lead of these tech elites and manage the situation in a more old fashioned way. Sources: parenting.com, edudemic.com, techaddiction.ca, nytimes.com, breitbart.com, thewire.com, reuters.com, webmd.com, mashable.com

Sources