posted by on Cyber Safety, Internet Defamation, Online image, Online profile, Parenting Teens, Social media, Social Networking

No comments

Do you know what Google is saying about you?

The Google Yourself Challenge

Here are some statistics on who is looking for your data:

  • 81% of millennials Google or Facebook their date before going out
  • 79% of recuiters and hiring managers screen applicants by information available online
  • 86% of hiring managers have rejected someone based on information available online
  • 7 in 10 internet users search online for information about others

As a reminder, my story and book can help you learn about maintaining your online image.  Order today! 

Google Bomb! The Untold Story of How the $11.3M Verdict Changed the Way We Use the Internet.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Predators, Internet Safety, Online Dating, Parenting, Parenting Teens, teen relationships, Teens and Technology

No comments

In most cases, cyber dating is unsafe for teens. This is because, as you probably already know, there are a lot of predators online who try to prey on teens. That cute 16-year-old lacrosse player who lives a few hours away that your daughter is talking to online could really be a 40-year-old dude who lives with his parents a few blocks away from you. It’s easy to stretch the truth online, and people do it all the time. Although most reputable dating sites don’t allow teens to sign up for their services, there are a few online dating sites and dating chat rooms geared toward teens. If you discover that your teen has starting dating someone online, you should definitely be concerned. Here are a few tips to help you deal with this type of situation:

1. Have a serious discussion about the risks

Your teen probably already knows that meeting people online isn’t the safest choice. However, he or she decided to do it anyway. As a parent, it’s your job to communicate the risks of online dating to your son or daughter without seeming too much like an overprotective, overbearing parent. So, sit down together and have an adult conversation about online predators. Try not to get angry with your teen, and calmly ask your teen to stop visiting online dating sites. This discussion may not be enough to convince your teen to stop meeting people online. It will, however, get your teen to start thinking more about how dangerous online dating can be.

2. Monitor your teen’s online behavior

Install some software on your computer that will let you monitor your teen’s online habits. You can choose whether or not you let your teen know you’re doing this. After the software is installed, check to see what sites your teen is visiting regularly, but avoid invading your child’s privacy too much. There’s no need to go through all of his or her Facebook messages, unless there’s good reason to suspect something is up. If you notice your teen is regularly visiting sites that appear to be online dating sites, you may want to get some software to block those sites from your family computer.

3. Do a background check on online suitors

If your teen still finds a way to cyber date, despite your efforts to curtail this activity, find out who he or she is talking to. Find out the name of the person, where he or she lives, and where he or she supposedly goes to school. Then conduct a background check on the online suitor to see if he or she is telling the truth to your teen.

Call the school the suitor allegedly attends and see if he or she is actually enrolled there. Try to find the phone number of the parents of the suitor, call them, and let them know their child is dating your child. If it turns out that the person your teen is communicating with is actually another, normal teen, you’ll have to decide whether or not you’ll allow your child to continue communicating with him or her. If you discover that the online dater isn’t actually a teen, it’s best to report him or her to the authorities.

Cyber dating is a real risk in your teen’s life. So, make sure you have an open, honest conversation about meeting people online with your son or daughter. And keep tabs on your child’s online behavior. It’s critical that you take the necessary steps to protect your teen from online predators.

Familiar with personal information screenings and online background checks, Jane Smith regularly writes about these topics in her blogs.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Facebook, Internet Safety, Online activity, Online education, Parenting, Schools, Social media, Social Networking, Teachers and social media

No comments

A Teacher’s Guide to Social Media

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Internet Addiction, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social media, Social Networking, Teens and Computers, Teens and Technology, Texting

No comments

Your teens and you probably have more in common than you think in today’s technological world. For one, you are both probably tuned in to the latest advancements in technological gadgets, be it cell phones, home entertainment systems, music, and more. But is that necessarily a good thing?

In the cases of many parents today, looking back on their teenage years and watching the world in which their teens live, they see a big difference. It oftentimes boils down to this: How much technology is too much for your child?

According to research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than three-fourths of teenagers have cell phones in their possession (a higher percentage than possess computers). The research goes on to point out that on average, teenagers send 50 text messages a day, or 1,500 a month. Many teenagers are also logging onto the Internet on their phones (approximately 35%, according to Pew), yet the majority of them still utilize computers to go online.

So, should you as the parent of a teen be worried that too much of their time is being plugged into the technology world?

The Pros and Cons of Our Technological World

It is important to look at both the pros and cons of such devices before you make a final judgement on whether or not your teen should have them in their possession.

First, here’s a look at some of the most popular items and how they can negatively impact your teen:

* Phones – How many times have you had the discussion with your teen about cell phones and driving? As statistics have shown, talking or texting on a cell phone while driving can be a recipe for disaster. Along with the fact that teens are typically not the greatest drivers due to their lack of experience behind the wheel, cell phones in the hands of teen drivers not only puts them at risk, but also other drivers on the road. If your teen insists on having their cell phone in use while driving, make sure it is a hands-free device.

* Computers – Assuming that there is a computer in your home and you are the parent of a teen, it is important to properly monitor their online activities. As too many parents know, teens–especially young girls–are prime targets for online sex offenders. Whether your teen is 13 or 19, if they are living under your roof and your rules, you have every right to monitor their online footprint. That being said, it is good for parents and teens to come to a mutual agreement in this area so that the teen does not tune out your concerns, feeling you are trampling all over their privacy.

* Video games – You no doubt remember your teenage years a few decades back when video games were all the rage. There is a strong likelihood that you played them for hours and hours every week, sometimes driving your own parents nuts. In today’s video gaming world, more and more of the games involve more violent themes than a few decades ago, so parents should have their finger on the pulse of what their teens are playing. If your teen is addicted to such video games morning, noon, and night, have a talk with them about your concerns and what they can do to alleviate them.

Now, here’s a look at the same items and how they can positively impact your teen:

* Phones – Your teen is out on a date and/or behind the wheel. They run into some form of trouble and need to reach you immediately. Having a cell phone on hand is a great means by which to reach out for help, be it a broken down car, an injury, or a run-in with a stranger or the law. Parents should be able to sleep a little better at night or relax more during the day knowing their teen is armed with a way to communicate with them quickly if necessary.

* Computers – For teens that are considering college or the military down the road or even going out into the working world right after high school, computers are essential. Unlike when you went to school and computers were still in their infancy, today’s job world and furthering one’s education demand computer skills. Computers are a great means by which your teen can research, write reports for school, and more. While you do not want your teen addicted to the computer, by all means encourage them to have regular interaction with a laptop, desktop, or mobile device.

* Video games – Given that there is a good chance your teen is not going to go into a career in the video gaming world, you have a good argument for not wanting them to spend 24/7 playing video games. On the other hand, games that are not violent-laden can help your teen with computer skills, thinking skills, reactionary skills, and more. There are many video games out there where both you and your teen can compete together, bringing with it more family time.

With Knowledge in Hand, Is it Time to Talk to Your Teen?

Now that you can see the pros and cons of such devices, is your teenager properly spending time on these items, or are they what you might consider out of control?

If you are not sure how to go about monitoring your teen’s time with cell phones, computer, video games, and other such devices, at least know some of the warning signs of too much activity. From browsing online sites they should not be viewing to wanting to borrow your credit card for online purchases, nip the problem in the bud before it causes trouble for both you and your child.

In the event that you are seeing your teen’s grades drop, if they seem more tired than usual, if you witness them removing themselves from family activities to spend more time in front of a computer and/or playing video games, you need to have a talk with them.

Today’s technology presents great opportunities for teens to learn, expand their horizons, and be in constant contact with you. It also has the same abilities to make teens become removed from the family, limit their growth, and come in contact with the wrong people.

Contributor: With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of topics from home improvements with Cincinnati air conditioning to buying the right electronic products for your home.


posted by on cheating online, Parenting, Parenting Teens

No comments

  • 73% of online students admit to cheating (versus 56% for blended learning).
  • 89% of college presidents believe the internet facilitates this behavior.

Do Online Students Cheat More Often?
Brought to you by:

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Addiction, Internet Safety, Online activity, online addiction, Parental control, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social Networking, Teen Help

No comments

This has been a debate for years and the answer comes back to when safety trumps privacy…

Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, school life.

Teenagers earn their trust with their parents. Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.

What are some of the warning signs that may prompt you to cross this line?

  • Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a “gut feeling” something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line.
  • Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line.
  • Is your teen changing peer groups? And this is not into a better one, however to one that is less than desirable? You will again attempt to talk to your teen and find out why and what happened to the other friends.
  • Is your teens eating habits changing?
  • Is your teen sleeping a lot? Bloodshot eyes? Do you suspect drug use?
  • Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don’t recognize?

Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?

Should you read your teen’s diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites? That is a personal question only you can answer.

Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn’t giving you any valid reasons to “invade their privacy” – respect it.

When safety trumps privacy – it may be time to pry – but every day you should be monitoring your child’s online activity – it’s called parenting.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parental control, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social Networking

No comments

Unless you are going to move to a lead-shielded cabin in the woods, surrounded by an electromagnetic force field, your children are going to find their way onto the Internet. There are products out there that will help keep them from stumbling across (or purposefully accessing) objectionable material, but no piece of hardware or software is foolproof. There are more than enough “safe” sites out there with words, images, video, and/or audio that can emotionally scar even the most resilient child. Have you taken a look at the news lately? All humor aside, online child safety is a complex issue that can baffle even the most tech-savvy parent. Where do we even begin?

Before you say a word to the little ones, you need a plan. Choosing the right safeguards for your family is like buying auto insurance: Your criteria and product options create a complex web of choices that put it beyond the scope of this post. The first plan you must make involves how you will communicate to your children and what you will and will not tell them. Do they do the opposite of what you say? You might need to put stronger safeguards in place. Are they more tech-savvy than you? Bounce your speeches off a nerd friend before debuting it in front of the brood. Do they have friends who spend a lot of time online? Talk to those friends’ parents; hit them up for ideas and find out how much their kids have learned about the world from the Internet.

The Internet does not speak English. It speaks an ever-changing mishmash of terms pulled from contemporary lyrics, games, TV, and sources that are likely not of terrestrial origin. When communicating with your children about the Internet, do not use any terms with which you and/or they are not familiar. Nothing shuts off a kid’s attention quicker than an adult trying to act all “street.” That being said, it will help you to study up on the latest terminology. The Urban Dictionary and NetLingo are good starting points. In the course of your discussion, should your child tell you that her best friend’s mom kicked her dad out because he got arrested for smishing (which NetLingo tells us is “a form of criminal activity using social media technology similar to phishing), your newfound knowledge could save some embarrassment.

The next step involves talking to your children. Turn off the computer, lock up the iPhone, and burn the DS–a good plan for communicating Internet safety to your kids begins with good old fashioned face-to-face communication. While your values will shape your discussions, always stick to your plan. If a child says something off-topic, gently steer things back to the matter at hand. If she makes an objection to a rule you’ve announced, respond calmly and assert that these measures are in place because you love her and because her safety is your responsibility.

No matter how tempted you may be, don’t lie. This is not just a matter of good parental ethics; in case you haven’t noticed, anyone with Internet access can find the answer to any question, and any software or hardware safeguards can’t keep a kid from finding an answer eventually. If you tell a kid that there are no Beyblade trading sites, he will come back in two minutes with a list of thirty Beyblade trading sites, and you will have lost credibility. Credibility is important in this plan because if they haven’t already, your kids will soon put your technical abilities to shame, and you need them to trust you if they are to follow your rules when you and your safeguards are not around.

Lastly, follow through with what you have discussed and taught your children. You may have to monitor their Internet usage closely for a while, and you may come to a point where you can trust them on their own in certain situations. If you have set up punishments for breaking Internet rules, be sure to enforce them across all devices, at all locations. Keep up on your terminology, check your kids’ browser histories daily for questionable sites, and above all, make the time to do things online with them, be it homework or games. No matter how many rules and safeguards you set up, the thing that helps them feel safest is knowing that you care about them.

Special contributor:

Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and Law Enforcement. He is the father of two young children who have not yet even discovered Google. If he has his way, it will be another 30 years before they do.



posted by on Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social media, Social Networking, Teen careers

No comments

Encouraging your teens today is part of parenting.  Every parent wants to see their child succeed.  With all of today’s technology there are many ways social media and social networking can help and in some ways hinder (if they are not careful with what they post online) with their future.

These days, the traditional path of getting a good education and going to work in the corporate world isn’t always the best way to find success. Although it’s still a great choice, many young people prefer instead to take a path of entrepreneurship, and there’s a lot that parents can do to help them follow that path. Lemonade stands, family learning adventures, and smart financial lessons are just a few of the ways that parents can instill an entrepreneurial attitude of success in their children from a very early age.

Read on to find out how you can help your child become a great entrepreneur from the very start.

  1. Kids earn an allowance for chores, not for existing:

    Instill a good work ethic in your children by requiring that they earn their allowance. Emptying the dishwasher, mowing the lawn, and washing the family dog are all ways that kids can learn how to earn money. Take it a step further by encouraging them to do similar tasks for neighbors as a way to earn additional money.

  2. Create a bank account for your child:

    Lay the foundation for earning money by giving it a place to go. When your child earns money, make going to the bank a major event that is it’s own reward. Have fun helping your kids do the math and figure out how much they’ve put away in the bank for all their hard work.

  3. Share opportunities for extra earning:

    Teach your children that going above and beyond leads to increased earning. Give them the opportunity to do more difficult chores that go above what they’re normally expected to do. Trent at The Simple Dollar suggests that kids can pull weeds, and parents will pay a certain amount for every pound of weeds delivered.

  4. Encourage good personal finance skills:

    Kids begging for items at the store might be annoying, but it’s a teachable moment. When your child asks for a toy that’s out of budget or not really necessary, make it a goal to earn enough money to buy it. Encourage your child to come up with ideas for ways to make enough for the toy and maybe even more.

  5. Encourage them to follow their ideas:

    Whether your kids want to start a blog, sell vegetables from your garden, or set up a classic lemonade stand, give them your time and encouragement. Let them learn by doing, and find opportunities for lessons along the way. Ask them to consider how they’ll fund their startup, where to get supplies, how much to charge, how to find their customers, and of course, what to do with the money they earn. You should of course set some limitations for time, legality, and safety, but be open to let your kids explore their own ideas. Allow them to fail, and turn failures into learning moments.

  6. Teach good teamwork:

    Rarely do entrepreneurs succeed completely independently. Even if they’re in business alone, they’re networking, getting others interested, and meeting with people that can help get their business off the ground. Learning how to work with others is essential for success, so be sure to encourage group work in school, in your home, and beyond.

  7. Encourage team sports:

    Team sports are a great way to teach kids to work with others, and they’re also great for learning business lessons. Chances are, they won’t win every game, but the setbacks and hard work that are a part of playing sports can teach kids how to work toward success.

  8. Be available:

    Every great entrepreneur needs a mentor, and for your kids, you are that person. Although you should encourage your child to operate independently, always be there to answer questions or offer helpful suggestions. If you don’t know how to solve a problem, learn how to do it together.

  9. Teach your kids to be self-starters:

    Doing what they’re told is easy for most kids. Asking them to complete certain chores is simple and straightforward. But if you want them to start thinking creatively, encourage their initiative. Ask them to come up with ideas for chores that need to be done, or encourage them to plan a meal and cook for the family once a week.

  10. Encourage adventure and observational skills:

    Some of the best entrepreneurs found success simply by filling a need that no one else even knew existed. The world is full of business opportunities, if only we could notice them. Parents can help their children learn to recognize these types of opportunities by developing observation and creativity. Walk around your neighborhood with your kids and consider which needs are not being met. Do you have neighbors that need lawn care? Businesses that need a website? Teach kids to recognize and anticipate the needs of others.

  11. Teach problem-solving:

    Entrepreneurship can be a bumpy road full of obstacles and challenges to overcome, even for the best-laid plans. Show your children that problems are just solutions that have not been solved yet. Give them small challenges to overcome, and nudge them in the right direction to find a solution.

  12. Show your own entrepreneurial spirit:

    Kids can learn about entrepreneurship by watching you in your own venture. Even if you’re working a 9-to-5 office job, you can take on a small entrepreneurial experience on the side. Selling crafts on Etsy, walking dogs, and doing handyman (or woman) work is a great way to set an example. Be sure to openly share your experiences with your kids.

  13. Tell them about great entrepreneurs:

    In addition to setting your own example in entrepreneurship, encourage your kids to learn from the greats. Tell them the stories of young, successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook in his dorm room. Give them examples and role models to look up to and be inspired by. Show them that others are making it big as entrepreneurs, even other teens and young adults.

  14. Point them in the direction of Junior Achievement:

    Many schools have chapters of Junior Achievement, an organization that brings business owners into schools to teach and mentor students as they create entrepreneurial opportunities. This is a great way for your child to learn about leadership, teamwork, and real world entrepreneurship in a team setting.

  15. Play business games:

    Many games exist to teach kids the basics of business. Make learning about entrepreneurship fun by engaging your children in these games. In one such game, Disney’s Hot Shot Business, children decide what to do when a comic book company leaves town and leaves the opportunity to utilize resources.

posted by on Bullying, Cyber Safety, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Facebook, Facebook addiction, Internet Addiction, Internet Safety, Online activity, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social media, Social Networking, Teen Help

No comments

Special guest post by Roxanne Porter:

I know that a lot of people love Facebook. They love that it can help them to stay connected to their friends. They love that it makes it easy to share their thoughts, feelings, and pictures. But Facebook has a dark side. It can be very damaging to people. Facebook can cause privacy issues, make you lose your job and your friends, and can be used as a tool for bad guys.

Some of the problems that come with Facebook arise because of privacy issues. Even though you can choose to have your profile set to private that does not always mean that your information is really safe. A lot of times friends of friends can see your posts. That can mean people you have never met and do not know. Also, people can share your posts with others, taking away your privacy. On top of that, businesses can pay to have access to all of Facebook, supposedly for marketing purposes, but they can use the information any way they wish.

Facebook is also bad because it can make you lose your friends or your job. Just because you think your Facebook is set to private does not mean that somehow something might escape to the public or people not on your friend list. Your employer could find out that you are posting during business hours or that you called in sick but went to the beach. Those things could get you in a lot of trouble or even fired. The same idea goes with your friends. If you tell someone you are going to bed or home and then you post pictures at a party, they are going t be upset with you for lying to them.

Facebook can also be used as a tool for bad guys who want to steal your information. There are lots of people out there who steal identities. They might use Facebook to get your name, numbers, friends’ names and even your address. Worse than identity theft, though, is real theft or physical harm. If someone has access to your Facebook and wanted to find you, it would be pretty easy. They could track you down based on where you work or even where you eat regularly. If you tag your posts with your location, you make it even easier for a stalker to find you. There was even a case of a burglar breaking into a house because someone posted a picture of a pile of money on their Facebook page. That is pretty dumb, but you can see how easy that would be to do.

Facebook is supposed to be something great, but it can also be very bad. There are a lot of people out there that want to use your information to do the wrong thing. Facebook makes it much easier for them. It might be better not to post anything important or really identifying on your Facebook page. Or you could just not have one at all!

Author Bio:

Roxanne Porter is a freelancer & a regular contributor for  She helps in providing knowledge about nanny services & love writing on nanny related articles. She helps in giving a fair knowledge about nanny Jobs to the community. You can be in touch with her at “” .

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Online activity, online addiction, Parental control, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social Networking

No comments

A Closer Look at Teen Online Video Consumption
Presented by:

Follow me on Twitter and join me on Facebook for more informational articles on parenting teens.