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

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ITCanWaitHispanicU.S. Hispanics More Likely to Use Smartphones While Driving; AT&T Says “Puede Esperar,” Launches Campaign

Recent research conducted as part of the AT&T It Can Wait campaign shows that 83% of Hispanics admit to using their smartphones behind the wheel. That compares with 71% of Americans as a whole.  Half of U.S. Hispanics admit they use their smartphones to social network while driving. More than a quarter (28%) snap selfies or take photos. And nearly 7 in 10 (68%) text.

Half of U.S. Hispanics admit they use their smartphones to social network while driving. More than a quarter (28%) snap selfies or take photos. And nearly 7 in 10 (68%) text.

In response, AT&T created a campaign in Spanish, Puede Esperar. It includes:

  • The AT&T DriveMode app**. It’s now available in Spanish and open to all carriers. And it’s free for iPhone and Android users. The app helps curb the urge to text and drive by silencing incoming text messages. It can automatically turn on when you reach 15 MPH and turn off after you stop.
  • A 360° video experience that simulates the potentially deadly consequences of glancing at your phone while driving. View it on your smartphone.
  • A coast-to-coast virtual reality tour visiting local high schools and community events in more than a dozen cities by year-end. A Samsung Gear VR headset, powered by Oculus, delivers a realistic simulation of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving through a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone.***

Spanish_ICW_Selfie_English_042216“Now more than ever we need to focus on those who put themselves at high risk behind the wheel,” said Sandra Howard, assistant vice president of advertising, AT&T. “We want them to know the dangers and take the pledge. Ultimately, we want them to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.”

Since its launch in 2010, the It Can Wait campaign has:

  • Helped grow awareness of the dangers of smartphone distracted driving to more than 90% of audiences surveyed.
  • Inspired more than 8 million pledges to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones.
  • Worked with departments of transportation in Texas, Kentucky and other states on research that suggests a correlation between It Can Wait campaign activities and a reduction in crashes.
  • Collaborated with AT&T data scientists on research that shows how statewide anti-texting laws impact the rate of texting while driving.



About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high-speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.* And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at http://about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

© 2016 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Parenting tips, Social media

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TeenTechAddictionFacebook has officially welcomed babies into the social network, with the creation of its new Scrapbook feature that allows parents and their partners to tag their children in photos and share them in a centralized location. Internet security company AVG found out way back in 2010, 92 percent of American children already had a presence online by the age of 2. As parents hand their smartphones and tablets to babies and toddlers to calm their crying, and as more tech tools are introduced in educational settings, it’s no wonder kids are becoming addicted to technology in ever-increasing numbers. Pew Research Center reported in 2015, 92 percent of teens go online at least daily, and 24 percent go online almost constantly.

That’s disconcerting news to parents, as Pew Research Center also reported in 2015, 33 percent of parents have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use in the past year. As technology rehabilitation centers pop up around the globe, there are ways parents can instill the value of unplugging so kids can better manage the temptation for constant connectivity.

Start Early

Psychology Today identifies attention, decision making, memory/learning and information overload as some of the most significant ways children, tweens and teens are affected by technology. These are areas parents can focus on if they want to combat negative effects of screen usage. Compared to reading, where kids have to focus and use their imaginations, television and the Internet foster distraction and negate the need for using the brain to conjure up images or commit things to memory because of instant access to information. Reading with your child, even if you’re both reading separate books, and rewarding them for pursuing intellectual hobbies like science helps them sharpen their attention and imagination skills, which are vital for creative thinking and will be useful when tasked with writing long-form essays or research papers.

Keyboards and smartphones have negated the need for “old-school” skills like telling time and writing in cursive, but these are still currently important in schools today where kids have to do math problems involving the passage of time using clock visuals and must hand-write assignments in class. Reading an analog clock and writing in cursive also give children more opportunities to sharpen their focus and can even provide benefits related to hand-eye coordination and the emotional benefits of learning a new task. A fun time telling worksheet can get kids motivated to practice at home, while parents and their kids can use creative writing prompts as a way to practice writing.

Encourage your kids to play physical board games with you rather than hunker down with a video game. Board games are another way to get imaginations flowing, especially ones where kids can make decisions to affect the outcome of the game.

Stick to Tech Limits

The Atlantic reported in 2015 that kids are far exceeding the two hour-per-day limit of screen time recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics. As access to information online aids children in research for homework, it’s up to parents to impose limits on how much “fun” screen time their children can partake in. Kids’ daily lives should include the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with non-tech activities like art, reading or learning a musical instrument.

Encourage play dates and social outings that are focused on physical activity and that don’t allow for the temptation to look at smartphones constantly. Have meaningful conversations with your kids whenever possible, and set a family dinner time where everyone gets together to talk about their days. Be a good model to kids by not being an addict to technology to yourself, and set strict guidelines about device usage and consequences that will happen if the rules are not obeyed. By being a partner in helping your child become more enthusiastic about the non-tech world, he’ll be more likely to independently make better decisions about tech usage in the future.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Social media

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TeenonTabletIt’s no secret that keeping our children safe is a full time job. In the past we could simply baby proof our homes and hold our child’s hands when they crossed the street. Now, today’s children have the world at their fingertips with the countless devices and forms of technology we have come to rely on. While this invasion of social media and the Internet offers our families countless benefits, it can also expose our kids to a variety of unforeseen dangers.

Many parents find it can be difficult to make sense of the apps our children are using on a daily basis, because new trends and apps on the market are constantly changing at rapid paces. In an effort to keep our sons and daughters safely snapping selfies and sending messages, we have compiled the following guide for parents that highlight seven popular apps and possible problems areas teens commonly encounter using this app.

Dubsmash. This fun app allows users to develop short videos that feature themselves lip syncing to movie and song sound clips. The possibilities are endlessly entertaining, with celebrities even enjoying in the fun.

Things for parents to know:  A few questions have been raised about copyright laws and this app. If possible, children should be encouraged to use sounds that are public domain to avoid infringing someone’s intellectual property. Lawyers suggest only privately sharing videos with close friends and keep them off “public forums such as Facebook or Instagram”.

Whisper. This favored anonymous app allows our teens and fellow users to share secrets and confessions. Users place the words of their confession over funny or related images to post and people scroll through the post “hearting” the ones they enjoy.

Things for parents to know: This app is definitely entertaining, but behind these confessions lurks a dark side of cyberbullying and slandering. The anonymity of this social media application is perfect for spreading lies or posing as others.

Meet Me. This app, formerly known as MyYearbook, allows users to meet new people that are located nearby. It is meant to encourage new friendships with other users who share similar interests.

Things for parents to know: The FBI warns that there are 500,000 child predators online everyday seeking new victims. This app is the perfect vehicle for grooming and contacting new prey, because often the predators create fake profiles or share interests that kids enjoy to lure them into their traps.

Ask.fm. This is another anonymous app, but it relies on a question and answer format. Users simply pose a question and other users answer.

Things for parents to know: We need to know that this app has a checkered past associated with extreme cases of cyberbullying resulting in suicides and even has been used as a communication method for terrorists.

Burn Note. This disappearing app self destructs all messages after the receiver views the message. It was created to keep sensitive material and emails in the workplace from falling into the wrong hands. One feature people enjoy is the “spotlight” that highlights a certain section of the text as it is being read to prevent screenshots and prying eyes from reading the content.

Things for parents to know: All Burn Notes disappear leaving no evidence behind. This provides bullies a wonderful outlet for sending hateful messages, because there is no trail of the cruelty.

Tinder. This site is often associated with adult dating and hookups, but the site admits that 7 percent of its users are are between the ages of 13 and 17 years old. Users simply scroll through profile images to look for attractive people they want to meet.

Things for parents to know: Tinder has a dedicated section for teen dating, but many teens lie about their true age on social media apps exposing them to much older, wiser, and experienced people. It also allows children to quickly judge others on appearance alone.

Down. This app was formerly known as “Bang With Friends”. It allows people to sort through Facebook friends and ‘friends of friends’ to mark someone they are interested in getting “down” with for a one night stand. If two people like each other, a message is sent to both parties so they can contact one another.

Things for parents to know: Yes this app reduces the awkwardness of finding friends with benefits. However, it can promote unhealthy relationships and sexual encounters.

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What sites and apps do your children frequently use?

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33

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

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it-can-wait_6Surfing the Net. Checking email. Posting to social media accounts. These are just a few of the things drivers are doing while behind the wheel. According to research from AT&T, 7-in-10 people admit to engaging in smartphone activities while driving. In light of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AT&T is sharing the following tips to help prevent smartphone distracted driving:

  • Take the pledge at www.ItCanWait.com to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.
  • Use a mobile app to curb your temptation to text behind the wheel. For example, DriveMode is a free app that silences incoming text message alerts and sends an auto-reply letting the sender know you’re behind the wheel.
  • If you have a teen driver, take advantage of parental controls like Smart Limits that allow you to determine when and how your teen will use their device. Or consider a device like Car Connection, which, in addition to letting you know where your vehicle is and how it’s being driven, allows you to limit the use of a mobile device while the vehicle is being driven.
  • Watch the short, but powerful Close to Home and Fletcher’s Drive videos that show how glancing at your smartphone for a split second can change lives forever. Both of the “It Can Wait” campaign videos can be found on You Tube.
  • Check out the “It Can Wait” Virtual Reality App at www.ItCanWait.com. The simulation shows the real consequences of looking at your phone while driving.
  • Get involved with the “It Can Wait” movement and educate others in your community and workplace about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. You could just save a life.

ATTAT&T started the “It Can Wait” campaign in 2010 to increase awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. But as smartphones have evolved, so have our interactions with them. As a result, AT&T expanded the “It Can Wait” movement in 2015 to address multiple smartphone driving distractions following research that showed people engage in the following smartphone activities behind the wheel:

  • Texting (61%)
  • Emailing (33%)
  • Surfing the net (28%)
  • Posting to Facebook (27%)
  • Snapping a selfie/photo (17%)
  • Tweeting (14%)
  • Using Instagram (14%)
  • Shooting a video (12%)
  • Using Snapchat (11%)
  • Video chatting (10%)

So the next time you reach for your smartphone behind the wheel, remember no text, email, post or glance is worth a life. It can wait.

Data analysis shows impact of anti-texting laws – http://about.att.com/innovationblog/041116antitextinglaw

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posted by on Cyber Safety, Digital citizenship, Digital Life, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Social media, Social Networking

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TweenSocialMediaMore than 70 percent of teens use more than one social network site, with Facebook being the most popular, reports Pew Research Center. Thanks to the advanced cameras on smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S6, Instagram and Snapchat are the next two most popular sites with teens. Parenting magazine explains that social media benefits teens by giving them access to more information and increasing their sense of self; however, social media channels also pose threats, such as the sharing of information about illegal substances and the spreading of illicit photos online.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents should view the digital world as an environment that’s as meaningful as the physical world their children live in. This means you should talk with your children about social media to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience online.

Educate Early

Common Sense Media recommends that you start talking with your children about social media as soon as they go online, which could be as young as preschool age. While young kids aren’t old enough to be on social media sites according to age restrictions, it’s important to instill digital safety principles that they’ll follow once they are on these sites. Explain to your kids that they should not talk to strangers and to only interact with people they know in real life. Let them know that if they’re approached by a stranger online, they should alert you.

Create clear expectations about what information they can share online. Personal details such as their phone number and address should not be posted, but hobbies and interests are OK. Use the network’s privacy settings to ensure it displays the most limited amount of information to the public. Tell your child to avoid contests and giveaways where they need to input personal information to participate.

Once your teens have their own profiles, write a contract together that outlines how they can use the profile. Be sure to include consequences for not using the profile properly. You also may want to include limits on how much time they’re allowed to spend on sites and a limit on how many sites they’re allowed to have profiles on. By involving your children in the process, they’ll be more likely to follow the rules. Examples of what you can include in a contract are outlined by the Family Online Safety Institute.

Determine Your Involvement

For most teens, social networks provide a place where they can talk about their interests and chat with friends. Most teens want privacy online just like they do in real life. If you want to monitor your teens’ tech usage, services such as NetNanny and My Mobile Watchdog let you see all your children’s communications on their computer and smartphone. You can also stipulate in your social media contract that they’re only allowed to use social media if you have access to their passwords and will conduct random check-ins to ensure they’re complying.

Emphasize that what your child puts online, from negative rants to sexy photos, may live on the Internet forever even if they’re erased. According to the 2015 Social Recruiting Survey by Jobvite, 92 percent of recruiters examine social media sites when they’re considering candidates. What your teens post online now could have a detrimental effect on their career and affect their entire future.

Have regular conversations with your kids about their interactions online and how they’re feeling in those environments. Ask who they’re talking to, what they’re talking about and how their interactions are affecting their self-esteem. If cyberbulling occurs, emphasize you’re an advocate who will help fix the problem. Periodically review your contract, and keep evolving it based on new developments to ensure a strong parent-child social media partnership remains intact.

posted by on Cyberbullying, Depression, Digital Life, Digital Parenting, Online Life

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The recent study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has produced many headlines referencing the link between social media usage and depression.

“Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use,” said senior author, Dr. Brian Primack and director of Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health.

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It’s about balance, not about taking away our devices and gadgets. According to the research, the more time spent on social media, the more likely a person is to be depressed.

Lead author of this study, Lui yu Lin noted that some depressed people turn to social media to fill a void, however it can result negatively has it fuels more internet screen time as follows:

  • Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives.
  • Engaging in activities of little meaning on social media may give a feeling of “time wasted” that negatively influences mood.
  • Social media use could be fueling “Internet addiction,” a proposed psychiatric condition closely associated with depression.
  • Spending more time on social media may increase the risk of exposure to cyber-bullying or other similar negative interactions, which can cause feelings of depression.

Let’s remember, online cruelty is not limited to youth. As Mashable just reported, actor Wentworth Miller was subjected to cyberbullying/harassment while struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.

What can we do to start disconnecting and having more free time with friends, family and even ourselves?

Having these studies helps give us an awareness — I’m sure many of you are nodding your heads and thinking, hey, I don’t need a researcher to tell me I get depressed when I see my friends “living the life” as I’m struggling here…. (and remember, it’s only social media – you really don’t know what’s going on behind the screen).

Some suggestions to get unplugged:

  • Find a cause.  Is there something you’re passionate about?  Get involved!  For example, I love The Monique Burr Foundation — Child Safety Matters. I try to give as much time as I have to them in helping them with projects. It unplugs me and gets me involved in my community. What’s your favorite organization offline?
  • iCanHelp StackIt.  During every meal make it a point to STACKit! What a great campaign iCanHelp presented in 2014. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – talk to each other at meals.
  • HandsFreeLifeBookSet limits for yourself to answer emails and social media connections. It’s important, even as an adult, just as you give your child guidelines – give them to yourself too. It’s so easy to get online and not get off! Read Hands Free Life and start living again by Rachel Macy Stafford. (Lead by example if you expect your child to disconnect – you must be doing the same thing).
  • Set your phone to silent in the car or when you are out visiting with friends. Distractions are rude. Distracted driving kills. There is no message that can’t wait until you arrive alive, or you are finished with visiting with who’s in front of you — face-to-face. BTW – silent and vibrate are different. You don’t need a buzz any type of movement to get your attention. Your friend or the road should be your only focus. Live your life!

I’m sure there’s many more ideas you have, feel free to leave them in the comments. Who knows — you may discover there’s more to real life than you realized and end up cutting your social media time in half.  Nah – but here’s hoping to everyone’s continued happiness both online and off…..

posted by on Civility, Cyberbullying, Cybersafety, Digital citizenship, Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Online harassment, Online profile, Online reputation, Online Safety, Parenting Blogs

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InternetRuinedOn March 9, 2016 a new series started, The Internet Ruined My Life on the Syfy Network. Though the series is new, we know that keystrokes and cyber-wars have been destroying lives for a long time.

“I wish I had never hit send.”

“I never knew one Tweet would ruin my life.”

“Everyone wants to be Internet famous.”

Do they? Well, not in the way these stories happened. Have you ever considered what would happen if you become a #hashtag? And I don’t mean a positive one. We have seen many people become victims of viral vomit that have innocently posted something benign that was completely taken out of context.

We have seen others that have posted things on what they believed were private forums or groups, or  to their limited number of friends or followers — only to have them republished by that one friend that maybe wasn’t really a friend at all.

As a viewer, you watch these cyber-disasters and simply can’t believe they can actually ever happen to you. However as someone that has been through digital warfare, I know firsthand, no one is immune to online attacks.

No one is immune to suddenly becoming a victim of cyberbullying or stalking. You never know when a friend can turn on you — or if you have a disgruntled client or even an angry business partner. Maybe you have a competitor that is jealous of you. We are watching more and more people using their finger-tips for e-venge now.

The keyboard has now become a legal lethal weapon that is not only destroying and ruining lives, it’s also taking lives.

We have read the devastating headlines of youth that have committed suicide over cyberbullying. We have also read where teens and tweens can become so involved in the video games it’s hard to define reality from fantasy.

InternetRuinedDianaMost babies learn to crawl before they walk. With today’s tech world, we need to teach our children digital etiquette before we hand them a keypad of any sorts.

It seems children today are more cyber-savvy than most parents, yet aren’t mature enough (or have common sense) to understand the consequences of adult situations – such as sexting.

Sexting is considered today’s new flirting for youth. However what most are not comprehending is the seriousness of it.

Today revenge porn is rampant. Laws are slow to catch up and lives are being destroyed. Kids aren’t mature enough to understand that relationships are here today and gone within a click. However that image is there forever.

These are only a few of the topics that the great team of Cyberwise with special experts each week, will be discussing and offering takeaways.

Everyone is invited! Each week we will have new experts joining us. Diana Graber will host and I will be joining her most of the weeks.

Check out the first Aftershow LIVE (recorded) here. – March 17th, 2016 Show.



Starting March 17th the experts were:
Bradley Shear is a lawyer who focuses on Internet, Technology, and Privacy Law. His advocacy efforts have led to at least 23 states banning employers and/or schools from being able to ask for access to your personal social media accounts.  He blogs at www.shearsocialmedia.com.

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Dr. Pamela Rutledge  is a Media Psychologist who tries to answer those questions by combining an understanding of human behavior, cognition, and emotions with an equal understanding of media technologies. http://www.pamelarutledge.com/

Coming on March 24th:

Richard Guerry – is the founder of the non-profit organization the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (IROC2). Public and Permanent is how you can prevent any digital issue beyond sexting and cyber bullying.

Emily Lindin – is the founder of The UnSlut Project, author of the newly released memoir, UnSlut and UnSlut Documentary.

Coming on March 31th:

Andrea Weckerle – is the Founder of CiviliNation and the author of Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks (2013).

Coming on April 7th:

Dr. Michelle Drouin is a developmental psychologist. Dr. Drouin’s  research on sexting, social media, and mobile phone addiction has attracted international attention, and she regularly does interviews for television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

Coming on April 14th:

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist for Intel Security. She is an author, speaker, and cyber safety expert.

Ross Ellis is the founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying.

RSVP TODAY: https://blab.im/cyberwise-video-villain-onlinesafety

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Can the Internet ruin your life? 5 tips to help you avoid online trouble. My latest post for Connect Safely.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Internet Safety, Online Safety, Parenting, Parenting Teens, Parenting tips, Teen Help, Teens and Technology

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StopMedAbuseBoyOnlineIn today’s hyper-connected society, it’s rare to find a teenager that isn’t on at least one social network. Even more, with new applications and social media sites becoming popular among teens at such a rapid pace, keeping up with everything teens are doing online can be a challenge for parents. With this in mind, it’s important to be wary of the potential threats these sites can pose to our teens, like the promotion of dangerous activities, such as over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse.

Regardless of whether your teen is Snapchatting constantly or live tweeting his or her favorite TV show, use these five tips to make sure your teen is having a safe and positive digital experience.

  1. Do your research.

What social platforms does your teen use? How does he or she use them? What potential dangers do these platforms pose? These are all questions you need to explore to make sure that you are aware of the possible threats these sites may pose to your teen. For example, while Twitter and YouTube can offer a lot of fun and informative content, the platforms can also provide dangerous information about abusing over-the-counter medicine. If you search online for “DXM” or any of the slang terms for DXM abuse, you’ll find posts with instructions on how to abuse DXM to get high, users filming or tweeting about their experiences and more.

  1. Make your expectations clear.

This may mean drawing up a social media contract with your teen or setting ground rules about how, when and where your teen should use various social media platforms. Even if you don’t draw up a contract, be sure to set clear guidelines about how you expect your teen to use digital devices and behave online. These rules can be as simple as no cellphones at the dinner table or emphasizing the “golden rule” – that your teen should treat others in social networks the way they would like to be treated. 

  1. Trust, but verify.

Explain to your teen that you’ll be checking in to see what websites he or she is visiting as well as what he or she is posting online. By checking in, you can actively prevent risky behaviors before they start. For example, if you notice that your teen visited a site that promotes DXM abuse or made an unexplained OTC medicine purchase online, you can start a conversation with your teen about what may be going on.

  1. StopMedAbuseGirlDadJoin your teen online.

If you join your teen on the sites he or she is using, you’ll be able to stay plugged into your teen’s online life. However, make sure to give your teen enough space. This means letting your teen know that you’re keeping an eye on what he or she is posting, but not commenting on every picture uploaded to Facebook. This will also open up an opportunity for you to model good online behavior to you teen. 

  1. Communicate often and openly.

At the end of the day, let your teen know that you have his or her best interest at heart. Explain that you are trying to protect him or her from online threats and risky behaviors. If you’re hesitant about starting this conversation, here are some conversation starters. Even more, don’t make the chat about online safety a one-time conversation. Talk frequently and freely about the importance of privacy, good social media behavior and online threats. And finally, let your teen know that if he or she has questions about something online like the promotion of OTC medicine abuse, you are always around for a conversation.

Although it may not seem like it sometimes, your teen trusts you and looks to you for guidance. Use these guidelines to stress less about your teen’s online activities and possibly build a more open relationship with your teen in the process.

QUESTION: What advice have you given your teen about staying safe online?

CHALLENGE: Take the time this week to establish social media ground rules for your family!

 Contributor: Blaise Brooks

Blaise is a mother of one, caregiver of two, accountant and community advocate. Blaise is also a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org, working to spread awareness about over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine abuse with other parents. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.

posted by on Cyber Safety, Cybersafety, Dating, Digital Parenting, Internet Privacy, Internet profile, Internet Safety, Online Privacy, Parenting, Parenting Teens

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ParentsTinderFinding a girlfriend or boyfriend is a powerful driving force for teenagers around the world. The need to connect intimately with others is a defining moment in the transition from child to adult. Now, think back to our own teen years. Typically, we met prospective dates at school functions, religious get togethers, or outings to the mall.

Fast forward a few years (or twenty some- but who’s counting?) our own teens want to meet a special someone. However, they no longer need to rely on cute meet greets like we did. Yes, our children’s dating rituals have evolved with the digital revolution leaving mall hallways for power walkers. Surprisingly, many of our kids are turning to Internet dating sites, like Tinder, to to connect with peers or possible dates.

Swiping To Like: Teens And Tinder

Tinder, a very adult dating app, is widely known for promoting relationships, romantic and sexual, between adults. Users sort through images that are known to be sexual and suggestive, swiping right or left to like or dismiss another person. If a person swipes right, they can exchange information with the intention to meet in real life.

A shocking 7 percent of Tinder’s registered users are teens between the ages of 13 and 17. The site admits that it sorts users based on their listed profile ages, trying to pair other teens with others in the same age category. However, many of our kids will lie about their ages on social media sites which can open their profiles up to older and more experienced users.

Trending: Teens And Online Dating Apps

To complicate the issue of teens and online dating, we need to consider that 70 percent of teens seek ways to hide their digital activity from us. They manage to do this by dimming their screens, shutting windows, hiding apps, and clearing their browser history. We need to realize that all this secrecy can inadvertently lead our children to frightening or dangerous situations they lack the maturity to handle on their own. This makes it vital that we monitor and know what our kids are really doing with their Smartphones and devices.

Realizing our teens are seeking help from the digital world to spark a little romance, or at least find a date to the school dance can be frightening. For a more indepth look at teens and Tinder, please read the following infographic:

Contributor: Hilary Smith

About Hilary Smith: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33

 

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

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GoogleSearchOverall the internet is a wonderful place that allows us to learn so much at our fingertips. It’s like having the combination of encyclopedia’s, travel guides, exploring real estate as well as the potential of building relationships and finding your next job or career!

Of course we all know there are pros and cons to everything, and the internet isn’t any exception. Let’s keep in mind, there will always be glitches with technology and there will always be new apps and websites being introduced online. The main concern is our human behavior and conduct – digitally speaking.

The cliche, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is more meaningful today, as I have frequently said — “Today your first impression is likely your digital one.”  More and more studies are substantiating this.

In a recent study from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84% of organizations (businesses) are using social media to screen potential job candidates while 9% are planning to use it. With this, 36% of them have disqualified applicants due to what they have found online.

There can be a gray line between internet fact verses internet fiction. I know, I was a victim of cyber-defamation. When I was attacked online, my virtual landscape was a war-zone. The fact is a person looking to hire you typically doesn’t take the time to determine if what they are reading online is true or false. They will most likely move on to the next candidate/applicant.

Why do businesses take the time to use social media for background searches?

In the SHRM study, the majority of (61%) employers turned to the applicants social media activity to learn more about them and/or to verify their resume. (And more, read below).

VerifyTrust

I frequently discuss online reputation and social behavior online. We have witnessed many cyber-blunders which people have lost their jobs while some never made it to their first day due to stupid Tweets or posts.

What this study revealed is in line with what Career Builders survey showed as each year more and more job applicants were not invited for an interview due to their social media behavior. It’s more than content, it’s how they conduct themselves online.

As  a reminder, according to that survey, these were the following top five pieces of content that turned employers off:

  • 46% – Provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • 40% – Information about candidate drinking or using drugs
  • 34% – Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee
  • 30% – Poor communication skills
  • 29% – Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.

In a PEW Study, we know that most adults still favor Facebook (71%) as their social gathering place and second for them is LinkedIn.

According to the SHRM study, both Facebook and LinkedIn are the two top sites used for screening social behavior activity by organizations.  They note that Twitter and Google+ are also being recognized.

Screening
How the internet can change your life depends on many things. What can you do about it?

  • Have you set-up your Google alerts? Sure, we all talk about it, but have you done it? Being proactive about what search engines are saying about you is a good practice. It’s important to know how/or if your name is being used online so you can be proactive.
  • Do you pause before you post or send an email? Too many people can double or triple task while thinking. Take the time to actually stop/pause before you send something into cyber-space.
  • Do you make a practice of checking your privacy settings on a regular basis? They can change without notice.
  • Are you someone that overshares? Humble bragging is not a compliment or an attribute. Learn to make lists to share with those that are interested in your family  and personal photos. Share with those that really do care.
  • De-cluttering your contacts and friends lists. Whether it’s on your cell-phone,  Facebook or any social networking platform, make it a habit to regularly delete people you aren’t familiar with. How many of us have butt dialed someone we didn’t mean to (and really only have called a few times) or sent an email to the wrong “Mary” since we have 20 of them in our email address book!

The internet can change your life. You have the ability to make it happen. It’s literally at your fingertips. Let’s be sure the changes are in a positive direction.