10 Million US parents know why you should use Safe Lagoon

In today’s world where children are “growing up digital”, it’s critical to help them learn healthy concepts of device use. Parents now need to protect their children online and off and teach these online skills to their children. With the average screen time for a child today at a whopping 7.5 hours per day parents are looking for a way to establish healthy usage of technology. There are many parental control apps out there claiming to handle specific online issues for children. But with the launch of Safe Lagoon there is now a single app for families addressing their most important needs.

It’s not just about web surfing anymore

Parents are looking for a one-stop solution which will help them manage and interpret the huge flow of data that kids encounter today across their devices.

In today’s digital age children are met with new threats and challenges everyday including: bullying, privacy, predators and explicit content and more. Left to their own devices, kids lack the knowledge and experience to properly maintain their online safety. Safe Lagoon is a simple tool that can help them manage the complex online world.

Saving Your Time

As we address the challenge of developing responsible and safe usage of connected devices we are saving parents valuable time as well.

When parents use Safe Lagoon they no longer need to spend time with hands-on page by page reviews of their kid’s browser history and avoid causing a scene when they grab their child’s telephone and start scanning text messages manually. The Safe Lagoon app frees up parents by analyzing in the cloud all the channels that their kids use to communicate – and if there is a problem or a behavior pattern that could signify an issue – we send out a notification.

Parenting is hard enough without having to learn a new language  

Parents aren’t always aware of the slang and abbreviations used online today (the good old days of plain old “lol” are long, long gone) and a lot of time can be spent trying to decipher content and serious events can be missed. We take care of that. Safe Lagoon is always evolving and learning how kids speak and communicate today. We have an excellent success rate on understanding jargon, screening with comparisons against the millions of records we have in our database. It would take a huge amount of time for a parent to do that – and to be honest, it’s really boring reading kids texts all the time. Now parents are saving valuable time by letting let Safe Lagoon handle it for them.

Parents Protect Kids Online

Pew Research Center survey of parents finds that parents today have a variety of methods in guiding their kids in the direction of healthy digital habits.

Connected devices are so abundant in a child’s life, that 65% of parents have taken to “digitally grounding” their children when they misbehave.

Infographic

While more and more parents are incorporating parental software tools like Safe Lagoon, most are still taking a hands-on approach to managing their child’s interactions online, from screen time to sites visited. According to the Pew study:

  • 61% of parents say they have checked which websites their teen visits.
  • 60% have checked their teen’s social media profiles.
  • 56% have friended or followed their child on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform.
  • 50% have looked through phone call records or text messages.

More and more parents are looking to technology assist them in managing and monitoring their child’s internet use. For example:

  • 39% of parents report using parental controls for blocking, filtering or monitoring their teen’s online activities.
  • 16% use parental controls to restrict their teen’s use of his or her cellphone.
  • 16% use monitoring tools on their teen’s cellphone to track their location.

39% of US parents using parental controls for filtering, blocking or monitoring their child’s online activities equals more than 10,000,000 US parents who have decided to implement software such as Safe Lagoon to protect their children.

The app of choice for parents

From blocking unsafe content and search results, managing games and device screen time, child location, and real-time reporting as well as automated insights into online behavior – Safe Lagoon is simply the best way to protect your kids as they explore online.

Safe Lagoon is a unique and revolutionary parenting tool, which aims to help parents better understand and maintain their children’s digital activity and safety. At Safe Lagoon, we’re excited to bring parenting into the 21st century. We’re working hard to help facilitate strong relationships, and a safer world for families around the world.

Sign up for a free trial and join 10 million other parents who use parental software to protect their kids.

How to Raise your Cyborg (or tips for teens in a digital world)

 

"Child-robot with Biomimetic Body" (or CB2) at Osaka University in Japan in 2009, where the android was slowly developing social skills by interacting with humans and watching their facial expressions, mimicking a mother-baby relationship.

Today childhood and technology go hand-in-hand: with many parents feeling like tablets and smartphones have become extensions of their children, could I go so far as to say our kids sometimes seem like cyborgs – plugged in and absorbing data at an impossible rates of speed.

The younger generations have grown up amid computers, the world wide web, and digital media. Our children have not experienced the liberating experience of flip cell phones or dial-up Internet; they have only known a world where high speed information and communication is a given.

This can be difficult at times. There are days where you feel like you’re trapped in a foreign land as you try to tap your way through touchscreens of “likes”, disappearing messages and Snaps. Our lack of app understanding may frustrate our children, because apparently even our choice of browser is “so old school”. Parents can feel lost and confused at times, desperately grasping for ways to communicate and relate to their children on their level.

It’s time we took a broader look into society’s love of the digital world and what it has brought to the table of parenting. Many people believe that high school can make or break a child, so it is even more vital to be aware of the digital and real worlds our adolescents straddle.

Common sense can go a long way when raising teenagers, but navigating unknown territories can be intimidating for the “older” generation.

Our children are already comfortable living in two realities at the same time:two realities: digital and face-to-face. So parents are going to have to learn to navigate both worlds if we want to keep up.

Finding Balance: Tips For Raising Teens In A Digital World

Parents may lack the newest skills or digital gadgets, but we aren’t completely in the dark. Although, we may need to step up our game and conquer the technology gap before it plunges a permanent wedge between the generations.

Social media and technology are not necessarily something to fear. As we raise digital natives, the new advancements can bring us closer together and work in our favor.

Keep in mind:

  • Technology is changing the way we relate to one another, but face-to-face conversation is still important in the present. Future generations may value it less, but in the meantime, for our children to be successful in communicating with older generations, they must be able to communicate both online and in-person.
  • Technology increases opportunity for distraction. From dropping conversations, procrastinating important work, or losing the ability to self-reflect, technology represents an ever-present temptation to leave difficult places. Those who will succeed in the future will be the ones who learn to overcome this temptation.
  • Technology can be used for consumption or creation. We can play video games… or we can create them. We can browse Facebook… or we can create places and communities that serve a purpose. Help your children know the difference.
  • You can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. It concern not only the question of how reliable Wikipedia or news feed is but the profiles we create representing ourselves online. We post our most glorious moments online, but hide the most painful. We build a facade of happiness and success but inside, we are as lost and broken as the next person. Our online selves need more authenticity. And our children need to know the danger of comparing themselves to the rose-colored profiles created on social media.
  • Your self-worth can not be calculated by likes and shares and retweets.
  • You can’t expect anyone else to guide your teenager. Relate to them about what high school was like for you. Ask them about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Also, be on the lookout for warning signs your teen may be developing a problem.
  • Use media hype to your advantage and use sensitive headlines as an opportunity to begin a dialogue.
  • Supervise- their activities, even when you aren’t able to be there in person. Follow up on his whereabouts and check in regularly.
  • Research sites and understand the digital world. Knowing potential problem areas can help you avoid traps and pitfalls.
  • Talk about “edited reality”. Discuss photo editing and profile grooming. Anyone can edit their updates and online presence. Teens are likely to be “concrete and literal thinkers” and may jump to conclusion that they are not worthy or that everyone is better than them.
  • Remind your child that deleting a tweet or post won’t completely remove the comments. The Internet doesn’t forget.
  • Use smartphone monitoring software to be aware of your child’s Social Media etiquette and activity.

Raising teenagers can be an adventure of a lifetime. This voyage can be delightful and terrifying at the same time, especially as our children maneuver in two worlds at once.Technology can hinder or improve our parenting, but it doesn’t need to be feared. The digital world allows us to keep updated with our teens and help translate their behaviors. It’s always best to prepare for unexpected surprises along the road.

Gaming Devices: a Parent’s Guide to keeping kids safe

Gaming

Children and young people love gaming. In fact, it is often through games that children first start to use technology. According to latest reports more than 41% of young people aged between 5-15 have a games console in their room.

Handheld Games: Handheld games are played on small consoles. Some of the popular handheld consoles are the Nintendo DSi, 3DS, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the PS Vita. These devices can access the internet wirelessly, and allow for playing games with others online.

Consoles: These devices, like the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii and WiiU, are designed to work with a TV. Consoles like these are capable of connecting to the internet via a home internet connection just like other computers. This allows users to download games or ‘expansions’ to existing games as well as playing online, although a subscription may be required for this. All of the three main manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft) include parental control functions in their consoles that are linked to age ratings systems.

From sport related games to mission based games and quests inspiring users to complete challenges, interactive games cater for a wide range of interests, and can enable users to link up and play together.

Games can provide a fun and social form of entertainment often encouraging teamwork and cooperation when played with others. Just like offline games, they can have educational benefits, helping to develop skills and understanding.

Today’s games consoles have in-built wireless so they can connect to your home internet or other wifi hotspots. This enables a wide range of online functions, such as playing with or against people online (in a multi-player game), viewing films and TV, storing photos and music, browsing the web and chatting to friends.

Internet safety advice is directly applicable to gaming devices because risks of ContentContactConduct and Commercialism also apply:

Content Risks: age-inappropriate material can be available to children in games and through online services.

Some games might not be suitable for your child’s age – they may contain violent or sexually-explicit content. The quality of graphics in many games is very high, so the games can appear very realistic. Many devices allow users to browse the internet, and watch films and TV, and some of the content available is not appropriate for children.

Contact Risks: potential contact from someone who may wish to bully or abuse them.

Many games allow gamers to play with people online, potentially from all around the world. While gaming you can communicate with users by text, voice or video chat. This might mean your child is exposed to offensive or aggressive language from other players. Bullying can also happen, which is known as ‘griefing’ in games, when players single out others specifically to make their gaming experience less enjoyable. Young people can also make themselves vulnerable to contact by those with a sexual interest in children if they give out their personal details.

Conduct Risks: children may be at risk because of their own and others’ behavior.

Specific conduct risks for gamers include excessive use to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. This is sometimes referred to as ‘addiction’. Gamers also need to think about their own behaviour and attitude towards other players, as well as the importance of not sharing any personal information.

Commercialism Risks: young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising.

There have been cases where children and young people have got into difficulty by inadvertently running up bills when playing games online. Some young people may also not be aware of advertising in games, for example, within the game there might be a billboard advertising a real-life product, or the whole game might be designed to promote particular products or brands.

How to stay safe

Gaming devices provide a variety of interesting activities and ways for young people to engage with their friends and families. However, it is important to be aware of what these devices can do and how you can talk with your child to help them to use this technology in safe and positive way. All modern gaming devices offer parental controls to help you manage how your child uses their device, but these do need to be set up in order for them to be operational.

Three steps for parents:

  1. Understand the capabilities of gaming devices and how you as a parent can support your child to be smart and safe in their gaming. To help, read the FAQs below. If you are buying a gaming device, why not print our Shopper’s Checklist and ask these questions in the shop?
  2. Find out about the parental controls available – it helps if you are the one to set up the gaming device so you are in control of these. Gaming devices have parental controls to help parents manage their children’s gaming, for example, to prevent internet browsing or restrict access to age-restricted games. Find out about PEGI age ratings to help you decide which games are appropriate for your child’s age.
  3. Talk with your child about safe and responsible gaming and agree a set of family rules. Perhaps you could agree rules with your child about how long they are allowed to play for, how they should behave towards other gamers and agree rules about not meeting up with people they have only met online.

FAQs: Your questions answered

How do I know which games are appropriate/ suitable for my child?

The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) age rating system exists to help parents make informed decisions about buying computer games, similar to the BBFC ratings for films. The rating on a game confirms that it is suitable for players over a certain age, but is not indicative of the level of difficulty.

PEGI age labels appear on the front and back of games packaging. Additional ‘descriptors’ shown on the back of the packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. Parents should be particularly aware of the ‘online gameplay’ descriptor which indicates whether a game can be played online.

Encourage your child to only access online games that are appropriate for their age and always check the age rating on any game before buying it for your child, as well as considering whether it has an online component. Games consoles have parental controls so that you can restrict your child from accessing games which are not appropriate for their age (e.g. see the picture at the beginning of the article).

How long should I let my child play games for?

Consider what is appropriate for the users in your house and their gaming needs. This may depend on the type of game they are playing, for example, quest based games are unlikely to be completed within half an hour. Talk with your children about family rules for playing games online, which could cover safety considerations as well as play time limits. All games should form part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle – the recommendation is to take five minute breaks every 45–60 minutes.

Communication

How might my child communicate with people using their gaming device?

Many games offer users the ability to chat with other gamers while playing. Players can ‘talk’ by using Instant Messenger style messages which are typed during the game and they can often use voice chat (made possible through in-built microphones or headsets, depending on the console) which is similar to talking on the phone.

Parental control tools are available, which can limit certain functions in games, including chat. Make sure your children know how to protect their privacy; advise them never to give out any personal information, pictures of themselves, or agree to meet someone in person, either when using online chat or sharing information in their user profile. If your child does play against people they don’t know, make sure they know how to block and report other players and use the mute function which can disable chat in many games.

Encourage your child to use an appropriate screen or character name (also called gamertags) that follow the rules of the game. These names should not reveal any personal information or potentially invite harassment.

In addition to chatting within a game, many gamers chat on community forums and content sites related to the games they are playing. Gamers use these sites to exchange information about the games as well as to provide tips and hints to others. It is important to encourage your child to remember to respect their privacy on these sites too and make sure they know how to report any issues they encounter.

Costs

How can I ensure that my child doesn’t run up a big bill when using their gaming device?

Gaming devices with online networks, such as Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network, allow you to make purchases online. This may include games, game add-ons or films. It is helpful to understand how your child could spend money on their device. You should talk to them about agreed spending limits or use parental control settings to restrict spending as necessary.

 

 

 

Text Message Bullying: Responding to Aggression

sad-emoticonBullying comes through many venues – the classic image is a gang of thugs gathering behind the gym at school, but the truth is that many bullies have moved to alternative forms of attack like social media, public message boards, and text messaging. The last of these is most common and today we’re going to take a look at the best ways of responding to any kind of aggression and ridicule sent through texts.

There are several factors that can make text bullying more damaging than traditional bullying for both the victim and the bully:

  • It can happen 24 hours a day, even at home, which is usually a refuge from bullying, so it can feel inescapable.
  • Text bullies are often much meaner because they don’t have to see their victims.
  • The victims may not know who is sending the text messages, which can be frightening.
  • Teens may think text bullying is anonymous and that they can’t get caught. They also may use someone else’s phone to send the messages.
  • Victims often respond by sending mean messages back to the bully, becoming bullies themselves.

Discovering The Problem

Most kids are intensely private when it comes to their technology – they have no desire to share their private communications or let you know when anything is wrong, and like many cases of bullying, children are often unwilling to call attention to it. They may be afraid of retaliation or being thought of as weak, so it’s up to parents to take the initiative when it comes to detecting the bullying.

There are two fairly reliable methods of doing this:

  1. Method one involves paying attention to the child’s behavior. If they’re happy and having fun when they get home, but come down worried and upset ten minutes later, then there’s a good chance that they saw a message of some kind that bothered them. This is a warning flag and should prompt a discussion about what’s upsetting the child.
  2. Method two – and the more reliable way of discovering the problem – involves monitoring the child’s text messages. This can be used separately or in conjunction with method one – quickly glancing over the recent messages for signs of bullying is an excellent way of monitoring the situation without intruding too far on the child’s privacy.

Dealing With Text Message Bullying

The best method of dealing with bullying via text message is ignoring it. Bullies want to provoke a reaction, and nothing will make them happier than getting a response demanding they stop.

Text messaging is, by its very nature, a delayed response. There’s no instant gratification of seeing another child afraid, and no way to escalate things when the bully wants to do so. The upside of this is that bullies will quickly get bored when they don’t receive a response, though they may send increasingly frequent (and crude) messages in a desperate attempt to provoke a response of some kind.

There are cases of cyberbullying which caused teen to take their own life – it’s in the news and it is scary. Any parent may be tempted to take away a teen’s cell phone to prevent text bullies from harassing a victim, but this deprives teens of social connections that are very important to them. Fear of losing their phones is a major reason why teens don’t report text bullying. There are, however, other ways that parents can help combat the effects of text messages from bullies:

  • Talk to your kids about text bullying and why it is wrong. Tell them if they ever are the victim that it’s not their fault and they won’t be punished.
  • Help teens block numbers that are sending mean text messages.
  • Tell teens not to let anyone else use their phone to send messages.
  • If the text bullying is serious, contact the cell phone company to get the teen a new phone number and have the teen be very careful about who they give it to.
  • If the teen knows who the bully is, let the bully’s parents know what they are doing.

Despite examples on the news, warnings, and tough consequences, bullying will never completely go away. As parents, we need to constantly be aware of popular apps and websites that are popular with teens.  The more we monitor what our children are doing with their cellphones, the safer they will be.

Monitoring vs. Spying – which way is the right way?

Online Überwachung - Und die Privatsphäre?

The most basic impulse of parenting is to make sure that children are safe. Ironically, in our culture of constant checking in, selfies, status updates, and tweets, ensuring our children’s online safety can feel more complicated than ever.

Recent studies show that 78% of teens now have a mobile phone, almost half (47%) of those own smartphones, and over 90% of teens have access to a computer or have one of their own. With all of this access to technology that changes on a dime, how can parents monitor their teens without crossing over into spying on them? Does privacy exist for teenagers, and does online monitoring cause teens to lose trust in their parents?

Before addressing the sticky subject of teen privacy within a family unit, it is essential for all teenagers to understand that privacy, while a privilege, does not exist online or anywhere else, for that matter. Regardless of where we go and what we do online or in the physical world, we are observed through a variety of tools, such as security cameras, traffic cameras, internet records, mobile phone records, what comes in the mail, credit card purchases, social media sites, and GPS devices. And even though we believe that certain information can be deleted, that is just not true when it comes to our online reputations.

This is a hard lesson that teens need to learn as soon as possible: If it is online, it is forever, even if they think there is privacy.

The Difference Between Monitoring and Spying on Teens

This hard lesson is partly why parents are so concerned about their children’s behavior online, but the fact remains that teens require the chance to be independent, show responsibility, and experience privacy as they develop into adults. Monitoring software such as Safe Lagoon, can be added to teens’ smartphones and other devices by parents as a preventive measure, offering protection against people who want to do their children harm.

The best way to monitor kids of all ages is to keep talking with them, no matter how difficult it might feel, especially with teens. Open communication is the key when it comes to monitoring online behavior and helping parents keep teens safe. Monitoring is a form of – and adds to – open communication between parents and teens, allowing them to cooperate in an increasingly noisy and busy world.

How to Talk to Your Teen About Monitoring Software

When talking to your teen about online behavior, it’s good to begin with statistics:

  • On average, teens spend 5 hours and 38 minutes online every day
  • More than half of teens have witnessed cyberbullying on social media.
  • Out of over 1300 teens surveyed, 18% have considered meeting with someone in person whom they first met online. Of these, 58% have actually met up with someone in person.
  • 15 percent of teens admit they have hacked into a social network account.
  • In 100% of the cases teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them.
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly.

Your teen probably doesn’t realize what’s going on in the world outside of themselves. Also, share some stories you’ve read about recently that concern you. Teens need to hear examples of what other teens have done and the consequences of their choices. Even as adults, we learn from others mistakes.

Parents may decide for their child’s safety monitoring software would give them peace of mind. If you do decide to go this route, it is important to give your child a heads-up before you do. Again, you may discuss the statistics, the stories, but mainly your concern is for their safety. Explain to them that you are not spying on them, and you want to make sure they are not putting themselves or their family at risk.

We all want that ideal, picturesque relationship with our teens. We all want to avoid dealing with their bad attitudes and senseless behaviors. Part of us would love to just have them skip their teenage years and go straight into adulthood. The thing is we know that can’t happen and really we don’t want to miss out on any part of their growing years. And fact is teenagers are good at drama. While they are reacting negatively to being monitored, secretly, I’d bet they are thanking you for caring so much about them. It’s simple. We need to open our eyes and be the parent! And remember that Safe Lagoon is always ready to give a helping hand!

-based on TeenSafe publication

 

Smartphone Addiction in Teens

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It’s a familiar scene: you’re trying to facilitate family bonding time and your teenager’s attention is off somewhere else, her eyes glued to her glowing smart phone. You’re exasperated! Is this normal, you wonder? It’s hard to comprehend what could be so important!  You begin to wonder if your teen has an addiction.

Well, it’s not outside the realm of possibility…

Many surveys and researches suggest that social media addiction occurs because we become hooked on the validation gained from having our posts “liked” and commented on. 62% of adults worldwide report an increase in self-esteem after they receive positive social-media feedback.

This phenomenon might be intensified for teens that are just beginning to build their identities outside of their parents. Teens across the globe are learning to equate the size of their online audience with feelings of love and acceptance… and when those likes stop rolling in, teens become unhinged.

Worried your teen might be a victim of modern age technology?

There’s a good chance that smartphone addiction is happening if your teen…

  • …feels uncomfortable when they do not have instant access to information
  • …gets angry when told they should leave the smartphone behind
  • …appears agitated when the battery on their smartphone is low, and abandons conversations or activities so they can plug their phone in
  • …frequently expresses concern about, or goes past, any data limit on their plan – and regularly asks to have more data if there is a limit
  • …seems incapable of navigating to a destination without checking for directions on their phone
  • …feels anxious any time they cannot check up on social media
  • …obsessively checks for new messages, and grows increasingly agitated if they go for a long period of time without receiving an update                                                               What can you do to help?                                                                                              1) Be a role model.                                                                                                     When you’re with your teen, be present and put your own phone away. The recent survey has discovered that  parents showed that the smartphone addiction is not restricted only to teens. In fact, 69% of parents admit that they check their phone every hour, with 56% of parents even admitting to checking their phone while they were driving! This alarming behavior does not go unnoticed by teens. Whether they realize it or not, teens are watching you to learn how to behave, so set a good example by limiting your own screen time at home.                                                            2) Set limits.                                                                                                                      Create “no phone zones” in your home to make sure that your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. For example, teens shouldn’t be allowed to carry a phone to the dinner table or to their bedroom when they’re supposed to be going to sleep.                                                                                                                               3) Encourage in-person socialization.                                                                 Allow your teen to have his or friends over after school so they can spend time together in person instead of texting back and forth. Look for clubs or after school activities that your teen can participate in that will help him or her put the phone down and engage in other activities.                                                                                       4) Talk to teens.                                                                                                                      The older a teen is, the more likely they are to argue with you about any rules that you set. To avoid this additional conflict, talk to teens prior to establishing new smartphone rules. Tell your teen about how much he or she is missing out on by being glued to the phone, and tell them this is not a punishment, but rather a lifestyle change that you want the whole family to get on board with. Remind them that a handful of great friends are worth a million acquaintances.

The key to solving smartphone addiction isn’t to totally remove a teen’s smartphone as a part of their life – it’s simply to get them to recognize it as a tool, not a safety blanket, and that like all other tools it’s okay to put it down for awhile.

The ultimate goal is to promote a healthy online/offline balance that improves your child’s life instead of dragging them down and tying their happiness to a single object.

based on TeenSafe article

A Selfie – Fun or Dangerous?

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When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we first experience self-consciousness; this is the exact moment when an individual becomes aware of himself or herself as an object. Taking a selfie as a social phenomenon is a way through which people attempt to feel better about themselves. Very few selfies are meant to lighten someone’s mood or draw a smile on the face of a loved one.

The Most Common Types of Selfies

  • “I’m-having-fun-somewhere-cool!” Selfie — whether it’s the beach, a new coffee shop or a hike, many people snap selfies to show off their interesting adventures.
  • I-look-good-today-I-should-snap-a-picture Selfie — Occasionally, you wake up and think you look great! Teens might have a particularly good hair day, and they want the world to know it! While it might seem vain, at least these kinds of selfies (in moderation) demonstrate self-esteem! And that’s a good thing!
  • I’m-sad-I-want-people-to-know-how-bad-I-feel” Selfie — This one isn’t so good. Sometimes, in an effort to not feel alone, we project feelings and crying sessions that should probably be kept private.
  • Just-finished-a-workout!” Gym Selfie. — Again, this shows that teens are proud of their hard work. They want to share it! However, exercise and feeling good should be their own rewards.
  • Other Common Selfies: “The Car Selfie,” “The Fall-Weather Selfie,” “The Barefoot-Beach Selfie,” “The New-Haircut Selfie,” “The Awesome-Lunch Selfie”… You get the idea. The list is endless.

The common sense tells us Selfies are relatively harmless. Sure, posting too many can make you seem like a narcissist but can it be really actively dangerous for a teen?

 

A Selfie Gives Out Personal Information and Appearance

People either take selfies with friends or in other situations with celebrities. In both cases, people have to be more cautious about giving away information of time, place, and names of people they usually hang out with. By giving out this information, the person sharing it or other friends might be harmed if they are tracked down by a stalker. As you post a selfie on the Internet,  you are also letting others know how your friends and family members look like. While you think you are only doing something fun and light, you do not know that this might give a chance for someone else to use this information against you.  Therefore, you are also sharing with a potential online predator the places where you and your friends tend to hang out and the type of activities you tend to pursue. Selfie also sends the Message that “You Are Not Home”.

Criminal consequences aside, one of the biggest concerns for parents and professionals is Selfies Cause Anxiety in Teens.

Teenagers are already susceptible to low self esteem, and it’s well known that they tend to compare themselves to their peers. Selfies take this to destructive extremes because they force teenagers to compete with one another based on appearances alone, and this plays out day after day whether they’re at school or at home.
Every selfie taken is an opportunity for a teenager to express their emotions and personality. Unfortunately, every selfie posted is also an opportunity for criticism from peers, and teenagers understand this because they’ve seen so many others experience negative attention through social media selfie posts.

This is why teenagers spend so much time selecting clothing, styling their hair, and applying makeup before taking selfies. They also use filters and apps to touch up their photos, and many teenagers look significantly different in their selfies than they do in everyday life. It seems like who you are on social media is more important than who you are in real life for many of our tweens and teens.

When a selfie goes live, teenagers experience intense anxiety waiting for comments and likes. If a picture doesn’t receive much attention or negative comments are left, many teens assume that it  means they’re ugly or not liked. This leads to negative self talk that puts teens at heightened risk of depression. The response to a single selfie can determine how a teenager feels for days or weeks to come.

Talk to Your Teen About What They Post. Taking selfies can really get out of control, but there are some strategies they can follow to avoid being harmed or becoming extremely obsessed with the habit. For those who are taking too many selfies, they might start to think of taking less daily. Also, they ought to consider sharing them with close friends only and not with everyone else. Another great technique is to consider taking pictures of their work/study achievements rather than selfies showing off how they look or the way they are dressed up. This can give them something even more valuable to share with friends and family members, something that does not involve bragging about their looks or clothes.

Eventually, like it or not, what we post on social media affects the way people perceive us. And that in turn can affect job prospects, relationships, and our sense of self. So talk to your teen about the image they’re projecting on social media. Together, you can come up with ground rules to make sure selfies are safe and moderate! Then, you can snap a picture of the two of you together!

Enjoy parenting! And do not forget Safe Lagoon is always there to keep your child safe and happy!

-based on TeenSafe

Proper Parental Etiquette on Social Media

 

monitoring

“Mom, that’s so embarrassing! I can’t believe you posted that cheesy comment to my profile picture!”  

Sounds familiar? Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, and for many parents, it’s hard to determine proper etiquette. How often is it okay to participate in your child’s online interactions? Do you intervene at signs of trouble? Is it okay to send friend requests to your teen’s peers? Want to avoid being “that parent?”

Here are 5 tips to be social media savvy when it comes to your teens:

1.Interact Sparingly – There’s nothing wrong with the occasional “like” or brief comment on a particularly flattering photograph. And special occasions are a great time to make your presence known. (It’s always nice to get a “Happy Birthday” message, even from Mom or Dad!) The key here is to focus on quality of interaction, not quantity. Try to refrain from liking or commenting on every single picture and post. To you, it feels supportive, but to your child it can be embarrassing and feel intrusive. It’s likely your son or daughter is already cautious about what they post if they know you’re only a mouse click away. So give them a little space. They’ll appreciate it.

2.When in Doubt, Be an Observer – Teens divulge a lot online. It’s tempting to call them out when they’re “over sharing” with their Twitter followers or Facebook buddies.  However, if you really want a window into your child’s social life, observe from a distance. When you interact infrequently, your son or daughter will be more inclined to forget you’re monitoring their behavior. As a parent, this information is invaluable. You’ll be much more aware of what’s really going on and even gain a better understanding of your teen’s friends.

3.Discuss Issues in Person – So your teen posted an inappropriate status update and you want them to take it down immediately. Or perhaps your son or daughter is experiencing cyber bullying and you feel the need to intervene. Take a deep breath and consider your course of action. If you jump in and become authoritative online, you will most likely make the situation worse. Discuss concerns in person; don’t use the online platform to address issues. That way, your child saves face with his or her peers, and your family can have a dialogue without it being projected to a bunch of strangers.

4.Remind Them of Consequences – Without being overly negative, gently remind your teen that once something exists on the Internet, it’s hard to erase. Talk to your son or daughter about their future aspirations. If your child has a clear view of what they want out of their life and career in the next five or ten years, they might be less impulsive with what they post. It is widely known that your employer might secretly check out profiles of vacancy seekers before saying “yes” to them so tell your daughter that if she wants to run for office someday, she might think twice before sharing that objectifying selfie.

5.Social Media: Bringing You Together – Social media is a great thing! It allows family and friends who live far away to stay in touch. It helps introverts be social in a way that’s comfortable for them.  Facebook, Twitter and other platforms allow a certain kind of democracy that previous media lacked. Let social media be a power for good in your home! Let social media be just one more tool that brings you together.

Stay aware of things being ever present with not too much interference while Safe Lagoon help you monitor your teen’s activity from a safe distance.

-based on TeenSafe