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.

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.

 

 

 

Safe Lagoon just gave parents a reason to have more kids

Today, by popular demand, we’ve launched a new service package for parents called “Safe Lagoon Big Family”.

You guessed it – it is a package for families who require all the awesome premium features that you can find in our “Safe Lagoon Plus” but with extended protection for up to 15 devices … and folks, it is huge!

Don’t delay, start protecting the Safe Lagoon way today!

 You can find more details here: Safe Lagoon Big Family Pricing

 

Cyberethics For Our Kids

It is not that hard to hide behind the safety of our computer screens, but let us ensure our values and beliefs align with our deeds in the digital realm as well as in everyday life. We need to take a few moments to judge our online behaviors in terms of maintaining respect, kindness and dignity for yourself and the others. To put it simply, our kids need to understand the power and responsibility they have at their fingertips.

Consider the following six tips for raising cyber conscious children with strong cyberethics:

Start early. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Teach kids digital manners from the first time they log on as a toddler and build on that foundation as a child grows. Do not be afraid to include in your cyber lessons all you know about sexting, oversharing, cyberbullying, and more before a situation develops. A good rule to follow is “only share images or comments that you are comfortable with grandma or grandpa seeing”.

Words can hurt. We all know the quote, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Try to have a heart-to-heart conversation or use stories to make your children understand this essential point. In their young lives, almost every child has experienced cruel things directed at them and could draw from those incidents to appreciate the great power words have.

Empathy at a young age. Seek ways to encourage children to volunteer or pay it forward. This will give children a unique perspective into the lives of others and develop their compassion.  Set them a good example by performing the same things you expect from them, including a rule of always considering others’ feelings before you act.

Credit intellectual property. Avoid a bunch of problems with a basic lesson or two in referencing. Teach them not to still but give courtesy to authors of any picture, video or quote them post online. It takes only second to add a couple of words, but it might take years for someone forgiving your liberty with other people’s ideas and any kind of intellectual property.

Create a technology contract.  Make a list where you clearly outline cyber behaviors that are acceptable and the consequences if the agreement is breached. This sort of contract with your children will help them realise how serious this is and allow everyone be on the same page on understanding the basics of cyberethics.

-based on TeenSafe publication

Everything a Parent Needs to Know About PERISCOPE

Twitter-live-streaming-app-Periscope

Last February, in Ohio, a 17-year-old was raped and assaulted by a man she had only met the day before. How did authorities find out? The rape was streamed online via periscope by her best friend and high school classmate. Now, the friend Maria Lonina, 18, and the accused Raymond Gates, 29, are facing the same charges of kidnapping, sexualt assault, and rape.

The question is was Lonina recording her friend’s attack as a cry for help or for attention on social media? Prosecutors believe the latter.

So What Is Periscope, Exactly?

Periscope works in conjunction with Twitter, which purchased the app in 2015. Users can broadcast live — with no filter or delay — to their followers using only a smartphone. The app lets users stream both audio and video to their audience for an interactive experience that includes feedback and comments. Audiences can not only interact, but watch and replay the video up to 24 hours after the broadcast ends.

Since it is linked to Twitter, live broadcasts are supplemented with social sharing. The app is also designed for mobility, meaning users can spontaneously go live with on-the-go broadcasts that include the broadcaster’s location. It could provide a platform for public speakers to showcase their skills or enable users to share first-hand experiences as they happen, from a neighborhood block party to a fish being reeled in by an angler on a river.

The app’s website shows scenes of hot air balloonists broadcasting live from the sky to friends back home, civilians broadcasting the aftermath of a disaster to their concerned followers and tourists visiting a city for the first time.

All those scenarios are certainly possible with this amazing, ingenuitive application — but it is also possible that teens could misuse its power to send out a live, public video broadcast that they can never take back.

Periscope has only existed since March 2015, but the statiatics tell the story of an app that is taking off, especially in the last few months:

  • There are 10 million registered Periscope users.
  • 1.85 million people use Periscope every day.
  • Users stream 350,000 hours of video daily.
  • Viewers watch 40 years worth of video every single day.
  • Periscope dominates the critical 16-24 age demographic                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today’s teens are accustomed to broadcasting their lives on social media. Periscope, however, can turn their bedrooms into studios. Regular social posts can be edited or deleted, but when it comes to live broadcasts, there are no second takes.  Among the other dangers the investigation uncovered were:
    • The potential for real-time cyberbullying.
    • Sexual harassment, requests for teens to stream inappropriate broadcasts and inappropriate broadcasts being streamed to teens.
    • The potential for viewers to uncover the broadcaster’s personal information, such as username or Twitter account.
    • Location services reveal your teen’s physical location. Once the user’s location was identified, the news investigation plugged that information into a free website that allowed them to track the user’s exact location, giving them location updates every time the broadcaster posted something on social media. Even more troubling is that the location marks are timestamped, leaving a “trail of breadcrumbs” to identify the user’s exact movements, allowing the tracker to follow the user’s physical movements as they go.

What parents need to know

Live-streaming apps like Periscope pose an elevated danger because they combine real-time broadcasting, comment-based interaction and the potential to determine physical location. Periscope’s guidelines urge users to “not show graphic material,” but essentially, anyone can broadcast anything, whether it’s a virtual lap dance or a real-time ice cream truck burglary.

While Periscope is a relatively new app, there are some established guidelines that parents can follow:

  • Get your own Periscope account so you can see what your teen is doing and act as a personal moderator.
  • Turn OFF location services — this is a good idea for all social media accounts.
  • Instruct your teen to be aware of their surroundings and never to broadcast potential location markers, such as their school or home address in the background.

Periscope is a remarkable, innovative app with a powerful potential for both good and bad. Like everything surrounding your teen’s online activity and social personas, the best recipe for keeping them safe is dialogue, honesty and technology.

Monitor your teen’s activity on Periscope, but explain why you’re monitoring — that even if you trust them, you don’t trust the Internet. If teens are breaking into ice cream trucks, they’re likely going to get into trouble anyway. With Periscope, however, an otherwise perfect kid can face a lifetime of regret from one lapse in judgement and one live broadcast.

– Safe Lagoon Team