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Why Cyberbullying Isn't the Same as Traditional Bullying

protect your kids online Bullying is one of those age-old parts of childhood and adolescence that everyone seems to have gone through at some point, and it’s common for victims of bullying to hear advice like “It won’t last forever,” or “Just ignore the mean kids and they’ll go away.”

The main problem today, however, is that bullying isn’t the same as it was “back in the day” (you know, when you had to walk six miles to school, uphill both ways, in two feet of snow, without boots). Something called “cyberbullying” is beginning to push traditional bullying methods out of the way, and beyond the fact that most adults can’t comprehend the severity of online bullying (simply because they’ve never been directly involved in it), it’s harder than ever to protect your kids online and monitor whether or not they’re dealing with bullies (or being bullies themselves).

But what exactly is cyberbullying, and how is it any different from traditional bullying?

As the name would suggest, cyberbullies use social sharing websites and apps to pressure, tease, and threaten their peers. Instead of making jokes in the lunch room or knocking a classmate’s books over in the hallway, cyberbullies are able to spew out hurtful insults and threats from behind their computer screens.

Whereas traditional bullying often incorporates a physical form of intimidation or injury, cyberbullying is more psychological. Time and time again, studies have shown that this sort of abuse has long-lasting effects on victims, and has been the direct cause for countless cases of teen depression, anxiety, and suicide.

It might be surprising, but teens themselves are actually very aware of the severity of online bullying. Even though 95% of all teens online have seen other people ignoring an instance of someone bullying a peer, about 84% of teens say that they’ve seen someone stand up for the victim. Overall, nearly 70% of teens today agree that cyberbulling is a serious problem.

As a parent, it isn’t always possible to protect your kids online and monitor internet activity at every point during the day, especially when they start growing up and want to have more freedom and trust. There’s plenty of social media monitoring software for parents on the market today, but the power of face-to-face conversations with your kids, regarding tips on internet safety, shouldn’t be ignored.

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What You Need to Know About the Short Term Effects of Cyber Bullying

short term effects of bullyingCalling cyber bulling a “serious problem” would be a gross understatement. Even though about 84% of teens who use social media have seen people defend the person being harassed, the overwhelming majority (95%) of social media-using teenagers have seen someone being cyber bullied online with no one helping them.

Yet, only 68% of teens think that it’s a serious problem.

Chances are it’s because these teens don’t know or understand how serious the short term effects of bullying are. While some people can simply brush off cyber bulling, it can cut others all too deeply.

To give you, as a parent, a better understanding of just how harmful this noxious practice is, here are a few of the most devastating short term effects of bullying.

Depression
One of the most obvious short term effects of bullying is depression. Children who are being harassed in some way, shape, or form online often withdraw into themselves and feel upset almost all of the time. Consequentially, they wind up avoiding others, even their parents. Things may get so bad that they actually wind up skipping class or school.

Physical Effect
Cyber bullying can be so bad sometimes that it even manifests itself physically. Some of the short term effects of bullying can include symptoms like constant stomach pains, headaches, and other similar issues, which are caused by the perpetual anxiety and stress of being cyberbullied.

Academic Performance
Bullying not only affects the victim, but the bully themselves, which often has an impact on their school work and life. Some of the short term effects of bullying that aggressors experience include difficulties keeping friends, school absences, and even an increased risk of dropping out.

The short term effects of bullying are serious, and need to be treated as such. The best way to protect your kids online and protect kids on social media is to keep an eye on their online activity. Establish an honest and open dialogue with them, and if you think they’re not being entirely truthful with you — as victims often try to protect their attackers — consider using an Internet activity monitoring tool or an iPhone home monitoring tool to make sure there’s nothing of concern going on.

If you have any questions about the long or short term effects of bullying, feel free to ask in the comments.

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Are Your Kids Staying Safe on the Internet?

internet safety tips for parentsThese days, an astonishing 93% of teenagers and adolescents use the Internet. And as a parent, it can be scary to imagine what your child could be doing during their time on the web. When statistics show that one in five children will receive a sexual solicitation on the Internet and about 68% of teens today consider cyberbullying to be a “serious problem” for people their age.

And while your concerns are completely valid, it’s also surprisingly easy to protect your kids online and ensure they’re looking at parts of the Internet that are age-appropriate.

Here are some of our favorite Internet safety tips for parents so you can help protect your children online:

Limit their time in front of the computer.
Spending too much time on the computer is never good, especially for kids who should be going outside or spending time with their friends. A great way to ensure your child isn’t viewing harmful content on the Internet is to simply limit the amount of time he or she can go on the computer. A half-hour a day of computer time after school is a great time limit to start with!

Keep the household computer in an open area.
Rather than allowing your child to lock him or herself up in a computer room, place the family computer in an open area such as the living room, where you can monitor Internet activity with just a glance over their shoulder from across the room. This allows you to view what your child is doing without needing to skim through your computer’s Internet history, an often tedious task.

Limit social media access.
Social media sites can be hotbeds for cyberbullying, as they’re the best conduits for gossip, bullying and other social behaviors that can harm your kids — and cause them to harm others. To protect kids on social media, limit the amount of access they have to sites like Facebook and Twitter by getting software and social media monitoring tools for parents.

Communicate with your kids.
Communication and education between parents and their kids is essential for both a healthy relationship and for both parties to better understand the workings of the world wide web better. You should play an active role in your child’s online life and educate him or her about why it’s important to keep personal information private on the Internet.

What are some other good Internet safety tips for parents you have used? Share with us by leaving a comment.

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Are Internet Monitoring Tools a Violation of Your Children's Privacy?

 Instagram monitoringAlmost 93% of today’s teenagers (ages 12 to 17) spend time online. Of that same demographic, almost three quarters of them already have social networking profiles. And nearly half have posted photos and videos somewhere online.

This just in: the Internet is not, repeat not, a fad.

It’s the most natural thing in the world for parents not to understand the trends and pop culture references of their children. And hey, it’s funny, right? Think of every sitcom you’ve ever seen where the older parents try to be “cool” in the eyes of their kids. Or think back to your own parents, if they ever tried the same. Makes you L-O-L, doesn’t it? But at least with music and television, parents are familiar with the medium.

The Internet is a whole new ballgame.

Not only do parents these days not understand the things their children are watching, listening to, and participating in on the Internet, but a great many of them don’t fully understand the Internet itself — what it is, what it can do, and how far it can really reach.

For those people who think that things like social media monitoring software and Instagram monitoring tools are a little too “Big Brother” to be good parenting, consider the online “beauty pageant.” These are impromptu “contests” where teen girls post photos of themselves on Instagram, and the world at large — at large, mind you, not just their friends or their peers at school — votes on whether the individual is “hot” or not.

No parent in their right mind would want their daughter (or their son, for that matter) to subject themselves to that kind of criticism — and there is plenty of it, in the form of hateful comments, degrading remarks, and wholly inappropriate statements from people who would never say such things face-to-face.

Instagram monitoring can help parents address this kind of activity, and if not put an immediate stop to it, or at least open up a channel of dialogue with their kids, to discuss things such as self-worth, popularity, and even sexual predation.

Is knowing how to monitor Internet activity (using things like Instagram monitoring tools) a violation of your child’s privacy? No more so than being in the bathroom with them as they were learning to use the potty. Until they know what to do and what not to do, it’s a parent’s job to show them.

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The State of the Internet: Our Teens

internet safety tips for teensThere are many ways to keep track of what your kids are doing online. Social media monitoring software, iPhone monitoring software, Instagram monitoring tools, endless lists of Internet safety tips for teens… all designed to make sure your kids aren’t getting into trouble online, or that trouble isn’t finding them. In light of the horror stories we hear in the media, these precautions give a lot of parents peace of mind. But the horror stories might not be the only stories.

More and more lately, it seems the mainstream media considers their job less informative and more sensationalist fear-mongering. So naturally the horror stories will be what get the most pomp. When things are actually positive and beneficial, and reflect well on a sector of society, the headlines aren’t nearly as large.

For instance, the Media would have you believe that cyber-bullying is running rampant on the Internet, irreparably damaging our youth and eroding the underpinnings of our very civilization. And no one in their right mind would say that cyber-bullying isn’t every bit as reprehensible as regular bullying.

But what doesn’t get reported as often is the fact that many teens aren’t putting up with it. Almost 70% of teens today feel cyber-bullying is a genuine threat and a major problem. Over 94% report that they’ve seen others ignore cyber-bullying when it happens. And an admirable 84% have either witnessed a victim being defended or participated in the defense themselves.

We as parents should never stop worrying about threats to our children’s safety. Learning about Internet safety tips for teens, children, and even ourselves is imperative in today’s rapidly expanding online universe. But let’s not forget to take stock every now and then, see the positive and forward-thinking ways our teens are reacting to these threats, and take a moment or two to be proud of them.

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Why Parents Shouldn't Live in Fear of the Internet

 monitor internet activityIf you’re like most parents today, you’ve found yourself feeling pretty conflicted about new technology. On one hand, Netflix is pretty much your best friend and it’s great to keep your entire shopping list right on your phone. But on the other hand, you find yourself worrying about what your kids are getting into when they go online. You want to set privacy controls (or just block everything, honestly) but you just know that one of the kids will figure out what you’ve done, and before you know it, the next world war is taking place at the dinner table.

And more than anything else, you just feel confused. How are you supposed to monitor internet activity without encroaching on your kids’ privacy? How can you make sure that your kids aren’t seeing inappropriate pages without flipping through their Instagram and Twitter feeds every night? An estimated 93% of teens between the ages 12 and 17 go online, and it’s not just to use social media sites. Anyone with a teenage in high school knows how much teachers love assigning research projects. It’s great that learning opportunities are more accessible than ever, but it’s getting harder to monitor internet activity — and nearly impossible to keep kids from the internet entirely.

The thing is, wanting to find out how to monitor internet activity is about more than wanting to make sure that your 13 year old isn’t swearing in online chat rooms. The problem with so much new technology is that no one seems to know how to use and control it; we only find out about its flaws after something bad happens. Kids aren’t always aware of the permanence that accompanies internet postings, but parents often have a hard time finding reasonable ways to protect kids on social media because “I’m just blocking the entire social media forever” seems so much easier than sitting down and really figuring out which sites are safe, and which aren’t.

Rather than just secretly installing iPhone text monitoring software, or waiting until your kids are away at school, another option is to sit down with kids and discuss tips for internet safety. An estimated 68% of teens agree that internet bullying is a serious problem, and about 95% of all teens who use the internet have seen their peers abuse social media sites in order to bully others. But by teaching your kids how to use these websites safely, and by developing a trusting relationship wherein they feel comfortable talking to you about what they do online, you can help make the internet a safer place for everyone.

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5 Points to Discuss with Your Child About Cyberbullying

protect kids on social mediaYour children likely spend a lot more time on social media than you do. Ninety-three percent of teens go online, and 73% have profiles on social networking sites. This might make you a little nervous, and it should. Cyberbullying has become an epidemic. But what can you, as a parent, do to protect kids on social media? It’s most important to talk to your children about cyberbullying, and we’ve included some points for you to cover in the conversation.

  1. “What is cyberbullying?” – Make sure your child understands what cyberbullying is, and why it is so important to be upfront about it. Sixty-eight percent of teens agree that cyberbullying is a problem, so it’s likely that once you bring it up, they will have seen it happen before. Sometimes, children do not realize that it’s necessary for adults to step in and protect kids on social media, in order to avoid a serious problem.
  2. “You can come to me” – It’s important that your child understands that they can come to you if they think they are being cyberbullied, or have witnessed someone else being cyberbullied.
  3. “Just between us” – Also assure them that any information that is not a matter of health or safety will be strictly confidential. You’re not about to get involved in the middle school gossip circle unless something serious is going on.
  4. “No repercussions” – The main reason kids avoid reporting cyberbullying is because they are afraid they will get in trouble, and have their phone or internet privileges taken away. Make sure your child understands that cyberbullying is not their fault, and that they will not be punished for talking to you.
  5. “Let’s be honest” – What social networking sites do they frequent? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Make sure you know where they are on the internet, and what they’re doing. Also, let them know that you will monitor internet activity and will be keeping an eye on what they’re doing. Internet parental control software for child phone monitoring, and parental control for internet usage, may seem like an invasion of privacy, for the both of you, but it’s the only way to keep an eye on the situation.

It may seem overwhelming, but there are ways to protect kids on social media. There are many steps you can take, but the most important one is to be open and honest with your child, because if he or she feels comfortable coming to you without any problems or judgment, you’re much more likely to be able to nip any problem in the bud before it becomes too serious.

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Keys to Online Safety for Your Kids

instagram monitoring toolThink about how wide the gap is between your Internet savvy and your kids’. Now think about the likely gap between your Internet skills and the skills of your grandchildren. When the time comes to educate that next generation on Internet safety, you’ll be left in the dust. You have to do everything you can right now to make sure your children know the dangers, and can safely navigate the murky waters of the online world enough to pass on that knowledge to their kids, whatever that world may look like.

There are many ways you can monitor Internet activity on your children’s devices, as well as many levels of involvement. Some parents exhibit very little (if any) control on their kids’ Internet habits, reasoning that it’s just a “virtual” world, and therefore nothing bad can really happen.

And other parents have a much better grasp of what’s really at stake.

Over 90% of teenagers (ages 12-17) spend time online. Over 70% of them have social networking profiles. Over 45% regularly upload photos online. And almost 15% upload videos. The simple fact is, the information your children are putting out on the Internet will be there forever. It does not go away. And even if the photos or videos they upload are seemingly harmless, deviant predators and mentally unbalanced sociopaths can pick out a whole host of details from that information — even without a geo-tag.

Programs such as iPhone monitoring software and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram monitoring tools can help parents keep track of their kids’ Internet activity, in order to ensure that the information they’re providing, however unwittingly, isn’t falling into unsavory hands. It can also be used to make sure that your kids aren’t seeing things that they shouldn’t be, such as gratuitous violence or pornography.

But an Instagram monitoring tool can never take the place of good old-fashioned communication with your children. Talk to them about the Internet, and the things they might see there. Be upfront with them about the dangers they could face online. Should you terrify them into never going online again? No! In today’s world, that’s not even an option. But being straightforward with them could mean the difference between a life filled with well-dodged bullets and a sobering experience that could have been avoided.

Do you have any handy tips for Internet safety? Please share them in the comments below.

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Parents Beware! Facebook is Full of Creepy, Catfishing Predators

protect your kids onlineThere is more reason for you to be concerned about your child entering the world of social media than ever before. If you have teenagers who have smartphones, you will need to up your ante to protect your kids online. You may have innocently thought that cell phones are a great way to keep tabs on your children (which may be true), but this also subjects them to the dangers of predators and bullies on social media. In fact, about 68% of today’s youth identify cyberbullying as a major problem. Furthermore, about 95% of teens who have seen cruel behavior on social media sites notice that others have completely ignored it.

You also may not realize that most teens between the ages of 12 and 17 go online on a regular basis, leaving them vulnerable to these risks.

Here are some other real dangers your children face online.

  • Catfishing
    This practice is when someone creates a false identity on Facebook or other social media sites in order to facilitate an online relationship. This is one of the main reasons to protect kids on social media. An older man or woman can easily create a younger persona, adding in a Photoshopped picture, fabricating contact information, and chronicling a bogus life story. An social media neophyte could be swept up by one of these dangerous predators at any time.
  • Irreversible Posts
    A night out with friends or family can make its way onto Facebook or Instagram instantaneously, without a second thought. While this can be a great way to commemorate a fun event, it is also something that cannot be taken down. Once the picture has been loaded onto the web, whether it is favorable or not, it is permanently part of the internet. Racy pictures with a significant other, or of underage drinking, may be entertaining to post at first, but when a teen is trying to find a job, these pictures could come back to haunt him or her.
  • Unrestricted Profile
    On sites like Facebook, there are a number of settings that help protect your kids online. These settings restrict access to information on a user’s profile, such as email address, phone number, or home address. Many users are much smarter about the personal information they post on the internet, but do not realize that since Facebook went public, anyone can search for any user and find at least a minimal amount of information on the person. Without placing several safety restrictions on a profile, any user can be traced and found by another user anywhere in the world.

These dangers may make it seem like it is impossible to protect your kids online, but this is not the case. There are several tools in place for parents to monitor internet activity, such as social media monitoring software and iPhone remote monitoring.

Along with these measures, you could always talk to your children about the dangers of social media — they are more receptive and often much more aware than you think.

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Dear Parents: Don't Ignore the Dangers of Social Media

protect kids on social mediaDid you know that almost three quarters of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 have created a profile on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites? This may not come as a surprise to you, as social media has exploded in recent years, but what is shocking is that there are an increasing number of young children making their way onto these sites.

In some cases, children under 12 illegally create a Facebook account by lying about their age. One study from the British Broadcasting Corporation shows that one in five under-aged children have create a profile.

The problem with this is that cyberbullying is becoming a serious problem, according to about 68% of teens. With older, more experienced users on these sites, young children may not know who to ignore, and who to accept as friends. Consequently, they could also be placing themselves in danger by sharing information with complete strangers. Almost half of these children upload photos, and many also post videos.

For this reason, many parents elicit the help of social media monitoring services and social media monitoring software. These programs help protect kids on social media sites, as they allow parents to see what their children post, who they are friends with, and how many times a day they log into their account.

Here are a few other ways to protect kids on social media sites.

  1. Set Rules
    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 75% of teens own a cell phone. With many of these being smartphones, teens have unlimited access to their social media accounts. But most children get their iPhones and smartphones from their parents, and since parents are the ones paying the bill, they can set usage rules. Talking to your child about how much data they are allowed to use in a day will help keep them off of social media to a certain degree, and also, giving them a time limit for this activity at home would also be beneficial.
  2. Change Phone Settings
    In some cases, you can work with your cell phone provider on data allowance for each of your phone lines. The ones that you or your spouse use can be set to “unlimited,” but you can restrict data for any additional lines. This will help reduce the amount of time your child spends on social media since you can’t always monitor internet activity while he or she is away at school during the day.
  3. Open Communication
    Sometimes, just a simple conversation with your child can be enough, and you won’t need to invest in iPhone monitoring software. You can talk to your child about the dangers of online predators, how cyberbullying is rampant, and also about keeping interactions on these sites to a minimum. This will at least open the line of communication between you and your child, and if anything does happen, he or she will likely tell you about it.

There is no way to completely protect kids on social media from stalkers, bullies, and other predators, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. The little effort you make could save them from unnecessary danger.

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