posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Texting, User friendly websites

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In 1990 the United States Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to ensure “access to employment, state and local government programs and services, access to places of public accommodations, transportation, non-profit service providers and telecommunications” for those with disabilities. Under this law, websites for local and state government must also be ADA-compliant, as they fall under the heading of “public services.” Here are ten of the things that an ADA-compliant website must feature.

  1. Text Equivalents For All Images – With one line of HTML code, assistive technologies for the vision-impaired can provide information about images on the page. This information should include a meaningful description of the image that includes the information that a sighted person would have access to by viewing the image.
  2. Documents Should Have a Text-Based Alternative – Though PDF files are the most popular choice for downloadable documents, all state and local government websites must also include an alternative text-based format, such as HTML or RTF, which are more compatible with assistive technologies.
  3. Customizable Font and Color Settings – Because people with low vision have differing needs regarding typeface, font size, and color, it’s necessary that users are able to manipulate the settings for these items within their browser settings.
  4. Video and Other Multimedia Must Be Accessible for Hearing and Vision Impaired Visitors – Websites that contain video and other multimedia offerings must provide both captions for hearing impaired visitors, and very detailed audio descriptions for those with vision impairments.
  5. “Skip Navigation” Links – A “skip navigation” link allows visitors who utilize screen readers to bypass navigation links and access webpage content directly.
  6. Animated Figures Can Be Paused – Any features that move, blink or are automatically-updating must have a “pause” or “stop” function available.
  7. Online Forms Are Accessible To Those With Vision Impairments – Online forms must be designed to include descriptive HTML tags in order to facilitate use by disabled persons. Visitors with impairments must be able to complete and submit these forms with assistive technology.
  8. Timed-Response Pages Have a Static Equivalent – Any pages that are automatically refreshing or require a timed response should include a static second copy in order to be ADA-compliant.
  9. Complex Pages Must Be Navigable – Titles, context, and other heading structures which help impaired users navigate pages using frames or are otherwise complicated are required to make pages accessible to those with disabilities.
  10. Contact Information – An email address or telephone number must be displayed for those with disabilities in order to provide them with assistance in the event of their having difficulty accessing any available information.

These are only a sampling of the Americans with Disabilities Act website requirements; as new technologies emerge, these elements are subject to change. More detailed information is available on the Americans with Disabilities Act website.

Source:  Longhorn Leads

posted by on College scholarships, Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Defamation, Internet profile, Internet Safety, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social Networking

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We are becoming a broken record as we try to explain to our kids what they post online can potentially affect their future.

The Internet is a wonderful educational tool but can also work against us if not properly used.

The dangers of technology, especially for kids and teens, has been in the media for the past several years.  Whether it is cyberbullying or Internet predators, our country especially is not a stranger to these horrific events.

For teens looking forward to higher education and especially applying for scholarships to help them with financing college, they need to think before they post on their social networking sites such as Facebook.

According to a 2011 Kaplan study, 80% of college admissions are using search engines and a students’ social media presence to screen their applicants which means your college application isn’t the only papers being reviewed about your child.  Exactly how does their digital footprint look?

Now let’s talk money.  Especially in today’s economy many families and students are applying for as many scholarships are they can.  Recent reports, like college admissions, are also using students’ social media presence to determine whether they are deserve the scholarship.

Facebook is obviously the largest social networking site that many use.  Isn’t it time to encourage your teen to sit down and clean it up?  Especially with the latest Timeline, it is simply a click away to see pictures or comments that maybe just don’t need to be there.

You may think because your child’s Facebook is set on private you are safe.  Don’t be fooled.  If it’s online, it’s usually public information – remember your child is friends with friends that may not not have their privacy settings set as high.

Don’t risk losing a scholarship or a college of your choice for a dumb remark online or a compromising photo!

3 Tips to maintain your teen’s digital resume:

  • Set up your Google, MSN, Bing, Twilert alerts (always know when there is something online about you so you can address it immediately). It only takes a few minutes, it is free and can save you a lot of reputation repair later on.
  • Buy your own URL in your teen’s name.  This can be less than $10.00 through GoDaddy and you can own your own online real estate.  Building a site can be easy and if you can do it with your personal interests, it sets the tone  for your future.
  • Create a Blog about you and your interests.  This is free.  Use your name as the URL.  You can use or  Both are user friendly and again, create it about you and your interests.  Keep your grammar and spelling in check.

If you need to know what happens when you don’t maintain and take pre-cautions with our online profile, read Google Bomb!  This is a cautionary tale of how a flourishing and successful career of over a decade can literally be brought to its’ knees due to a few keystrokes and a click of a mouse.

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posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parenting, Social media, Social Networking, Yoursphere

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What kids do online have real world consequences – do they realize that?

The answer is probably not surprising to many parents.  Most kids and teenagers do not think of the consequences when they post what  they believe are silly comments or funny photos today.

Everyday a parent somewhere is faced with a question from their child – “Can I join Facebook?”

Facebook was originally created for college students in 2004. Ever since then the once small private website has grown to over 800 million uses. Not only is it for college students, but for parents, companies and children. According to, 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13, and two-thirds of those kids are under 10.  It’s becoming a huge debate among children and parent; to join Facebook or not to join is the question. [See options for younger kids at the end of the article].

The current legal Facebook user age is 13 years old. Any child younger is discouraged to log on, but of course there are plenty ways around that. It is really simple for a child under the age of 13 to get on to Facebook. All you need is a name, email address and a fake birth date.

Before you let your kid log on there are a few things to consider before allowing your child on Facebook:

Facebook is relatively safe. You have many options on the level of privacy and protection you want to set on your page. But keep in mind that your child is always susceptible to online predators if they are online. Whether it is Facebook or online gaming, predators are lurking everywhere. The ‘checking in’ feature can be dangerous in the sense anyone can know where your child is once he or she check in, whether that is at school or at a movie theatre.

Not only is it dangerous it can be a huge distraction. According to, “Research has found that students in middle school, high school and college who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period got lower grades.” Facebook is just one more distraction for your child.

There are over millions of Facebook users and just like surfing the web there are things you may not want your child to see. You may be in some control of what people can see your child do, but you can’t control what your child may see or read from another user.

Probably the most news making problem with kids on Facebook is the amount of cyberbullying that is occurring. There are dozens of news stories, books, news articles and movies based on this growing epidemic. Cyberbullies are other kids that harass and bully children using technology like Facebook, Twitter, texting and blogs. Cyberbullies are able to hide behind their computer without thinking about the consequences their rumors, teasing and mean words are doing. Cyberbullying is serious; studies show that 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. (For more statistics information visit

When Facebook is used appropriately it can be a great way for your child to keep in contact with friends and family members. If you choose to allow them to log on, it’s suggested to closely monitor your child’s Facebook by logging on for them, keeping the password safe until you feel they are able to handle it.  Monitoring their page and having access to their page will help with possible dangers. Remember to set your child’s page to private and be sure that comments and photos are on the settings you want.

Source:  Internet Service Providers

Now when you are faced with that question, “Can I join Facebook?” from your child – you can offer a safe, fun and exciting option! is one of the fasting growing social networking sites for kids.  The benefits are endless, their priorities are the safety of your child and their information.  The founder, Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five children, created as well as Yoursphere for Parents which is full of educational materials and information to keep you up-to-date on today’s gadgets and how to keep up with the ever changing privacy settings of the Internet.

Watch the video on the as an introduction to Yoursphere!

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posted by on Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Social media, Twitter

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These days, Twitter is becoming a major part of how professionals in nearly all fields communicate and academia has been no exception. Professors, researchers, and experts of all kinds are using the social media site to connect with other professionals, share research, teach students, and even, strange as it might sound, do serious academic research.

While Twitter might not be the first place many would turn to look for academic-quality information and advice, it’s actually a much more valuable tool than you might think. It offers instant access to a wide range of libraries, museums, and archives as well as an incredibly diverse assortment of individuals who can offer feedback, support, and guidance through all parts of the research process. Read on to learn how to make the most of Twitter as a research tool and, whether you’re a college student or a seasoned educator, you’re bound to find a few tips and tricks that will make you consider Twitter the next time you’re putting together a major academic project.

  1. Carefully evaluate potential sources.

    Like everything on the Internet, information on Twitter should be carefully fact-checked and all sources should be checked out to make sure they’re valid. A little legwork (mousework?) up front could save a lot of time in the long run.

  2. Create lists.

    One of the best ways to make following a lot of people on Twitter not so overwhelming is by organizing your contacts into lists, with each falling into a specific category that will make it simple to browse.

  3. Know how to cite.

    Want to use a tweet in a paper? Then you need to know how to properly cite it. The MLA has just devised a standard format which you should be using.

  4. Ask for feedback.

    What’s the point of a social network if you’re not going to get social or network? Use your Twitter feed to get feedback on any academic research you’re doing, from asking for help with sources to getting ideas on your paper.

  5. Build a professional network.

    Twitter is a great place to connect with others in your field, both those just starting out and those with prestigious careers alike. Start following others who share your research interests to build a network that can be a big help anytime you run into problems or concerns with research.

  6. Hook up with traditional sources of information.

    Some of the first places you follow on Twitter, provided you’re using it for academic purposes, are libraries, archives, museums, laboratories, and other academic sources of information that are related to your areas of interest. These organizations can often point you toward great materials or help you find the things you need with much less effort, sometimes even from miles and miles away.

  7. Use hashtags.

    Get your tweets noticed by using relevant hashtags. For instance, if you’re researching dinosaurs, just add a hashtag like #dinosaur or #paleontology.

  8. Share your work.

    Twitter can be a great place to showcase your published work or to get feedback on work that’s still in progress. Don’t hesitate to show off your accomplishments, it can help you build a better brand and get more valuable connections.

  9. Crowdsource information.

    Need help with a tough problem? Can’t find good documents that support your thesis? Just can’t figure out how to use Twitter? Just ask! One of the best benefits of using Twitter in research is being able to easily crowdsource information.

  10. Make connections outside of your field of expertise.

    While getting connected to professionals who work in your field can be extremely beneficial, it can also be useful to connect with people in related fields or outside of your line of inquiry altogether. They can sometimes bring up solutions or points of interest that might not occur to someone in your own field.

  11. Understand how social media works.

    If you’re a social media newbie, it can be advantageous to spend some time learning about the ins and outs of how it works. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, and will ultimately have a more successful experience in using it for academic purposes, like research.

  12. Decide if Twitter is right for your particular project.

    Twitter is great for a lot of purposes, but the reality is that it won’t work for every research project. Decide up front (and be honest with yourself) if Twitter is really the most productive route for research for your field and area of interest.

  13. Use a mobile Twitter interface.

    If you’re going to be relying on Twitter for research and academic contacts then make sure you can access it from anywhere by downloading a mobile interface. You can use Twitter’s own app, or take a look at some of the most popular alternatives.

  14. Tweet regularly.

    Twitter is about give and take, and if you want others to help you out with research and provide you with interesting information, then you have to be willing to reciprocate. Make tweeting a regular part of your workday to get the most out of the site.

  15. Conduct surveys and polls.

    Since Twitter offers access to an easily accessible pool of people from a wide range of backgrounds, it can be a great place to do some simple, informal polling, which can help you in deciding on a direction to take your research.

  16. Live tweet conferences and big events.

    Share your experiences at conferences (and document your thoughts for later) by live tweeting them on your feed.

  17. Watch what you say.

    The Internet is a public forum and what you say can be hard to take back. Keep everything on Twitter extremely professional.

  18. Keep track of your Twitter progress.

    It can be hard to build a good network on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to regularly check up on your tweets and your followers to see how well you’re getting your research (and your name) out there.

  19. Blog alongside your Twitter account.

    Twitter is great for a lot of things, but not everything can be stated in 140 characters or less. Create a blog to go along with your Twitter feed, which can be used to talk about your research, your life, or anything else on your mind.

  20. Use Twitter to share and document resources.

    Found a great resource? Keep track of it and share it with others by tweeting it!

  21. Collaborate with others.

    Through Twitter, you can meet others who share your research interests. You may even be able to collaborate on large projects.

  22. Motivate yourself.

    Use Twitter as a way to announce your daily research or writing goals. Putting them out there in public will give you a little extra motivation to get the work done.

  23. Take part in Twitter chats.

    Twitter chats are a great way to learn more about a given topic, network, or just enjoy a good academic debate. Check out this list for existing chats or create your own.

  24. Use Twitter to find new ideas, resources, and publications.

    Twitter can be an amazing place to find inspiration for your research! Reach out, browse, and keep your eyes open for new ideas and sources that can add to any project you’re working on.

  25. Get support.

    Writing papers and getting published can be stressful, especially if you’re still early in your career. One way to deal with the frustrations, headaches, and stresses that come along with the territory is by reaching out to others over the web. They can offer a few words of advice, or just commiserate over the tortures of academic life.

  26. Go global.

    Don’t just connect with scholars and tweeters in your home country. Find people from around the world to talk with on Twitter, expanding both your cultural and your academic horizons.

  27. Revisit old tweets to see how far you’ve come.

    Think you’re not getting anywhere on your research? Look back at your old tweets to see how far you’ve come.

  28. Be open and honest.

    If you make a mistake on your Twitter, own up to it. If you’re struggling with a project, be honest about it. Even on a professional feed, people want to know that you’re human.

  29. Follow specific themes and topics.

    If you’re researching a particular area, start following as many feeds related to that issue as possible. Check the web to see if there are related lists of good feeds to follow to get a head start.

  30. Know your audience.

    While a few of your academic colleagues might know what you’re talking about if you use highly technical lingo, your points may be lost on a larger audience. Decide who your intended audience will be before ever penning a tweet.

  31. Share your expertise.

    Know a lot about a subject? Then share what you know! Don’t be afraid to respond to others who are looking for help with research, school assignments, or just a burning question about a given topic.

  32. Be willing to teach and to learn.

    Ideally, Twitter should be a place that you not only take information away from, but also add valuable information to. Teach some, learn from others, and be open to new ideas and experiences.

  33. Build an academic brand.

    Part of having a strong social media presence is building a great online brand, which can make you a go-to source for information on a given subject and can increase your clout in your field. It isn’t without work though, and you’ll have to be dedicated to tweeting, blogging, and being on the web to really make it work.

Source:  Online College

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posted by on Bullying, Cyber Safety, Cyberbullying, Online harassment, Parenting, Parenting Teens

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Did you know bullying could start as early as 2 years old? While we all have experienced bullying in some form or another, the advent of Facebook and Twitter have provided more avenues for harassment. This insightful graphic explores why some kids are compelled to bully and the detrimental effects it has on everybody.

Cyber Bullying and Social Media
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posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Sexting, Texting

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You probably already have a few pretty good ideas about text messaging.

For instance, you know walking while texting can be tricky, and you know texting in your college courses has a negative impact on your grades. You didn’t need a study to tell you so, but researchers went ahead and did them anyway. But not all the research done on the subject can be filed under “Obvious.”

Here are 15 scholarly facts about texting that you may not have suspected.

  1. Getting a text makes you happier: It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that receiving a text message from a close friend makes you happier, but now we have the research to confirm it. Berkeley psychologists found even sending a text message makes people feel more connected and causes an upswing in mood.
  2. Hypertexters are less healthy: Texting may make you happier, but those who do it too much seem prone to unhealthy habits. Case Western Reserve School of Medicine concluded a study in 2010 that found “hypertexting” — sending more than 120 messages a day — can “have dangerous health effects on teenagers.” Hypertexters were found to be more likely to engage in harmful behaviors like binge drinking (43% more likely) and drug use (41% more likely).
  3. Texting behind the wheel is even riskier than we thought: Few things are as distracting to a motorist as trying to read or send a text message. Researchers at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute now say, based on their study, that texting while driving double’s a driver’s reaction time. In the test, drivers using their phones were 11 times more likely to miss a flashing traffic light than focused drivers.
  4. Texting while driving killed 16,000 in a six-year period: Exactly measuring the number of traffic deaths caused by texting is impossible, but researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center have put the number at 16,000 between 2001 and 2007. Their findings were compiled based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and were published in the American Journal of Public Health. They estimated that in 2008 alone, 5,870 people died as a result of drivers distracted by texting.
  5. Texters use fewer abbreviations than we thought: Three universities are currently partnering to determine whether it’s true that cell phone communication is really ruining the way we write. The study began in December 2011, and head researcher Christian Guilbault of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia says the research has already revealed some interesting info. It turns out people don’t resort to shorthand as often as we might think. “See you” is used four times as often as “C U,” and of 12 variations of the word “OK,” “okay” is the most common.
  6. Black people send the most text messages: The Nielsen Company looked at monthly cell phone bills of 60,000 users in the U.S. and determined that African-Americans send more texts than Hispanics, whites, and Asian-Americans. The 790 text messages they send per month, on average, is more than twice the amount sent by Asian-Americans, who send an average of 384 per month.
  7. Texting helps HIV sufferers take their meds: A study that recently appeared in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that sending HIV patients weekly text messages to remind them to take medicine and to ask them how they are doing can help them stick to their antiretroviral therapy treatment plans. Researchers at UC-San Francisco’s Global Health Sciences recommend hospitals text patients on the treatment, which has tough side effects, but is also critical to survival.
  8. Texters don’t believe that’s a word: Blame it on autocorrect. A University of Calgary student did a study of texters and word usage, expecting to find that texting encouraged “unrestrained language.” Instead, the results showed people who text more are more likely to reject new words rather than accepting them as possible words. The people who were more open to a range of new words were readers of traditional media like magazines and books.
  9. Texting makes it easier to lie: The Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia recently published the results of their study that paired students playing roles of stockbroker and buyer, with the stockbroker needing to unload a stock that will soon lose 50% of its value. Deals done via texting were 31% more likely to involve lies than those by face-to-face talks. And buyers who were lied to via text proved to be much angrier than buyers lied to in person.
  10. Many people are addicted to texting: Researchers at the University of Maryland studied 200 students after 24 hours of no texting or other media. They found many of them were basically experiencing withdrawal, anxiety, and difficulty functioning. Dr. David Greenfield of the Center for Internet Behavior has compared constant texting and checking email to gambling addiction.
  11. Most people still prefer a phone call: Nearly three-fourths of American adults text. However, while 31% say they prefer to be contacted by text message, fully half of adults still prefer a good old phone call. The findings were the result of a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, the first such time the group has polled Americans’ on their contact method of choice.
  12. Banning texting while driving is not the answer: At least one group of researchers is making a case against laws banning texting while driving. Researchers at the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute found that driver education is more effective than a ban, partly because people would disobey a law and partly because hands-free devices meant to replace texting as a safer alternative do not actually lower crash figures.
  13. Female teens text the most: Perhaps the only surprising thing here is that it’s older teenage girls, not pre-teen girls, who send the most texts of any group. Girls 14-17 send a median of 100 texts a day. Pew’s Internet and American Life Project also discovered that 87% of all teens in this age group have a cell phone, while only 57% of 12- and 13-year-olds have one.
  14. Texting has spawned its own injury: Texting is convenient, but it could also be a pain in the neck. Dr. Dean Fishman has trademarked the phrase “text neck” to describe an ailment he is seeing conflicting more and more patients. He even started the Text Neck Institute in Florida to treat pain in the neck, back, arms, and shoulders of frequent texters. “Forward head posture” pain, his original diagnosis, did not catch on.
  15. Predictive texting changes children’s brains: Using the built-in dictionary when texting on a cell phone makes children prone to making more mistakes. An epidemiologist from Monash University in Melbourne studied children ages 11-14 who sent 20 texts a week and found that the autocorrect technology makes children more impulsive and less accurate in their learning.

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

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Let’s face it, the Internet is here to stay!

Much has been made of the potentially hazardous landscape for children that is the internet, and rightly so. Parents do need to be concerned about how their children make use of this valuable tool, and a valuable tool it surely is.

No longer a luxury but a basic necessity that each person will need to familiarize himself with in order to function in our society. That’s why it’s important that new generations become tech savvy at as early an age as is practical.

Let’s look at ten reasons kids should be online at an early age:

  1. Research Tool – For school studies, projects or as a general educational aid, there is just no substitute for the worldwide web. It’s the primary means by which information is disseminated in the 21st century. Kids need to know how to use it as soon as possible.
  2. Social Networking – Like it or not, more of a child’s socializing will occur online with each passing year. It should never fully subjugate personal interaction, of course, but we cannot ignore the significance of the internet in today’s society, especially as it applies to young people.
  3. Getting Acquainted – Like anything else a kid is expected to master, navigating the internet safely should be something that a parent and child can work on together. If a child becomes acclimated to the internet early on under supervision, she will have less chance of stumbling into trouble later out of ignorance or naiveté.
  4. Interest Groups – Your child can benefit from involvement with the right kind of crowds when he meets other kids with similar interests in forums or on websites where they gather and share information.
  5. It Will Demystify the Web – The sooner a child is inducted into cyberspace, the better equipped she will be to incorporate it into her life later as she matures and needs to rely on it more.
  6. It’s a perfect Vehicle For a Child to Discover Interests – and possibly a lifelong vocation. Prior generations could go years without ever having heard about fields of study or interests that might appeal to them. It can be done in a matter of days, if not hours, online.
  7. Education – Beyond its functionality as a study aid, the internet can be an instructional tool for itself as well. That is, children can learn the protocols and hazards related to its use, both in formal training at school and at home with their parents.
  8. Balanced Perspective – The alternative to addressing an area of concern early on – as in the case of sex ed or drugs –  is for a child to learn on his own, via his peers, or at best, through an education that comes too late to avert the consequences of his ignorance. A child with an early introduction to the internet at least starts off with some frame of reference with which to work later.
  9. Cyber-bullying – The unfortunate reality is that a lot of cruelty and mean-spirited behavior is prevalent online. It stands to reason that children who learn to use the internet for social networking at an early age can better identify, with the help of parents and teachers, the situations they should avoid.
  10. E-commerce – Kids will be growing up in a world where conducting business of every kind, from paying utility bills to buying groceries, will be done on the web. They need to learn the ropes as soon as possible.

Source:  Share A Nanny

If your child starts asking to be part of a social network, there is an age appropriate place for them you can consider. is one of the fasting growing social networking sites for kids.  The benefits are endless, their priorities are the safety of your child and their information.  The founder, Mary Kay Hoal, a mother of five children, created as well as Yoursphere for Parents which is full of educational materials and information to keep you up-to-date on today’s gadgets and how to keep up with the ever changing privacy settings of the Internet.

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posted by on Internet Safety, Sexting, Texting

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Sexting and the College Student

posted by on Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens

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Does your teen or tween Tweet?

Years ago raising our children never included teaching them social media manners.  Today, however, your social networking etiquette could determine whether you get into your college of choice and land the job you have been dreaming of.

Social media forums have some real up sides, we can’t deny that. When it comes to staying in touch with far-flung friends and family and being up to speed with all the latest and greatest in news and gossip, it’s been a real blessing to have social networking sites like Twitter.

We just wish that some kids/teens didn’t suffer from some side-effects of overuse.

Here are 7 bad habits that kids pick up from Twitter:

  1. Poor Grammar – We’ve seen this from chat room usage, text messaging, and IM’s; so it’s nothing that’s really new. The 140-character limit and Twitter’s wildly popular platform just seem to exacerbate the problem to a far greater degree.
  2. Time Management – Let’s be frank, this isn’t just a problem for kids, but it poses a greater threat to them, since they haven’t yet learned to balance their time between work and leisure to the extent they will need to as adults.
  3. Following Celebrities – On the surface, and with proper balance, there’s nothing inherently wrong with corresponding with celebrities. In fact it’s one of the great things about Twitter. The danger is in placing more emphasis on the posts of the famous, re-tweeting every little blurb as though it were sage wisdom, all just because of the person’s celebrity status.
  4. Public Venting – It’s good to have outlets for our anger and frustration, so long as they are safe and private. The trend these days apparently is to go to your profile and launch into a thoughtless tirade when the mood swings. Not a wise or healthy habit and one that can end up backfiring on you.
  5. Loss of Originality – This isn’t a widespread thing, but it’s something we are seeing more and more often. Re-tweets are another form of showing approval, like a thumbs-up or a like. Used in that way, they’re vaguely useful and certainly harmless enough.  The difference is that re-tweets at times almost seem like recitations, with RT’ers supplanting original thought in favor of aping whatever post happens to be popular at the time.
  6. Auto-Following – In this context, it’s more or less seen as a polite reciprocation of a friendly gesture. It can be done automatically with an app, or manually on a tit-for-tat basis. The thing is, following someone should be based on individual merit, as determined by the follower, on a case-by-case basis. Kids need to establish these parameters and values in their lives now, and not toss them aside in a social networking environment.
  7. Blurring the Lines – This is a virtually universal issue, in that it affects people of various ages, backgrounds and occupations. There seems to be little if any distinction for so many of us, between our personal and professional lives, as we embrace these social media sites.

Source:  Become A Nanny

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posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens

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Social networking is here to stay and it is starting younger and younger with our kids.

You had to have seen this one coming: kids are picking up bad habits from their extensive use of social media giant Facebook. This can’t come as too big of a surprise though, because it stands to reason that something so popular and fun would be bound to have some ill effects.

Not that we’re condemning Facebook, mind you, but there are a few potential pitfalls to watch out for regarding your child’s usage.

The following are seven bad habits that kids pick up from Facebook:

  1. TMI – To be honest, many of us are already guilty of grossly over-sharing our personal lives on Facebook. When you have a place to update your status 24/7, though, it shouldn’t come as any real surprise that eventually one’s entire personal life is right there for anyone and everyone to read on their profile.
  2. Inappropriate Friending – It tends to be an automatic reaction for some to “friend” someone after they’ve added you, accompanied by the friend confirmation request, whether this person is someone you know well or not. While they may not like the idea of saying ‘no’, safety should have a higher priority than popularity.
  3. Posting Inappropriate Photos – Inappropriate photographs always seem to find their way onto people’s Facebook pages. For that matter, taking such photos in the first place is ill-advised, to say the least. Coupled with the prospect of being friended by stalkers and strangers, not to mention being available for any potential employers or school officials, this makes for a very dangerous mix.
  4. Poor Time Management – It’s very easy to lose track of one’s time while socializing on Facebook, and hours at a time can be lost without even realizing it, often at the expense of more important things like homework, chores, etc. It may be wise to install a filter software that can monitor use and block certain sites during specified time periods to ensure that your kids don’t spend too much time on the website.
  5. Indiscriminate Downloading – Facebook is notorious for third party apps that seek to gain access to personal data and the friend lists of members who use them. There’s a large risk associated with accepting gifts via some of these app, unfortunately, that could end up compromising your personal information.
  6. Poor Grammar – As with chat rooms, IM’s, and text messaging, all of which came prior to social media, Facebook posts can tend toward cyber shorthand, whether it’s in the interest of brevity or simply born out of sheer laziness. Although it’s acceptable – even necessary in some cases – to limit character usage, it’s very easy for this habit to leak over to your child’s more formal writing and correspondence.
  7. Not Safeguarding Personal Info – Facebook provides varying levels of privacy settings for its users. Members can share everything with anyone, or limit access to their profile to just friends and/or family. Kids today have become ok and even lax with the safeguarding of their personal information, and identity theft, stalking or harassment can end up being one of the penalties for your child being too open with his or her personal information.

Source:  Become A Nanny

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