Tips for teens in a digital world

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.

Smartphone Addiction in Teens

PHONE-ADDICT-1024x512

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

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

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

Online Communications: What Parents Need to Learn

like

Fast developing Internet technologies give its user the spectrum of communication modes with most of them requiring no special advanced computer skills. Some parents may find themselves overwhelmed by the number of online activities their children have these days that is why we begin our enlightenment for the most popular types of communication on world wide web (it is not only emailing, you know).

  • Chat allows to exchange messages in writing in real time between the group of two or more;
  • Instant messaging allows private messaging in real time;
  • Message board Made for discussions in writing, unites users generally based on mutual interest like music, sports, etc. Allows extended posts, embedded pictures and videos. Messaging can also be done in real time;
  • Blog Online alternative to the public diary with entries on whatever authors find interesting and ready to share. Allows comments for the close circle of friends or anyone reading the blog (depending on custom settings);
  • Microblog Design to make fast entries (up to 200 symbols) accompanied by pictures, news comments, links to other webpages. The followers of such microblog receive instant alert that the new publication is made so they can react/comment;
  • Social network Allows to share personal info and make “friends” online by browsing the content and communicating both by commenting other people’s posts or PM (personal messages). Most popular among teenagers since allows them to share pictures, videos, links with the entire circle of online acquaintances and even play games online. The problem of openly exchange of private data and potential risks of using them with malicious intent is becoming more urging by a day. Considering that it is better to teach your child save more to themselves during a conversation online and keep yourselves as anonymous as possible. Almost every registration for online suggest providing personal data such as name, date of birth, home address, mobile number, etc. Ask your child to be cautious about it and when it is impossible to avoid registration the real data might be replaced with imagined one. Such information as first name and age can be specified since it does not give away your child’s identity.                                                                                                             With that in mind as an option try to convince your child that their better use a pen-name. They can choose among their favourite comics superheroes or even invent a special fantasy name on their own – what a fun way to “play”! But do not forget to explain that appearing under other name does not give you the right to insult other users or treat them badly. Online etiquette woks just like non-virtual one.      However, Internet communication has its unique specifics your child should be aware of. Unlike real life conversations there are no face of the partner in conversation to be seen so no one could be trusted without come precaution. Even on social networks where most of users have their own profile pictures instead of avatars and share personal info about themselves you cannot be 100% sure that the same face you see belongs to the same person posting on this page. This trick or hiding behind someone else’s identity is widely common among online predators who have a perfect way of draw a veil over their dark intentions and even get away with a crime. They obtain the necessary information about their potential victim, start an innocent conversation with a child, pretend to be of the same age and interests, try to become their friend luring them into a trap, and only after arranging a meeting in the real world they make a harassment.

You know you are on the right track as a caring parent if you are actively involved with your child’s online activity and get yourself educated in the new tendencies to keep up with your little one at any time. And remember – Safe Lagoon is always ready to give a helping hand!

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

Which online behavior your child is hiding from you?

9611422

According to the recent studies, the time kids spend surfing the Internet nowadays surpasses their parent’s online activities. The numbers show that half of all network users are children aged 8-13. More of them start using their portable devices (such as smartphones and tablets) to go online by each day. If 5-10 years ago the only thing they could use to access the network was their desktop home PC – now Wi-Fi connection is available as almost at every street café.  The most popular activities for children online are found to be search engines, social networks and gaming.

But highly advanced computer technologies brought not only the good, but a source of trouble as well – some people may use Internet to get advantage of your kids. Many parent (65%) tend to think that their children spend hours on the net only for the benefit of doing the homework. While from a kid’s perspective the knowledge Internet can give is not that important as downloading music/video, emailing, chatting and other fun-related activities.  ¾ of all kids say that they are online to chat with friends and start new relationships while 15% claim that after some time in virtuality, they are eager to meet their new acquaintances in real life.

The studies produced the following fascinating statistics:

  • 49% of children who go online frequently have been harassed at least once in their virtual experiences, with 13% of children receiving such sexually inappropriate messages on a regular basis. Other cases find the offenders among Internet uses who send nasty emails to their chosen “victim” (trolling, cyber-bullying);
  • 19% of the surveyed have met their online acquaintances, 12% of they gone to such meetings on their own, 8% have not bring this to anyone’s knowledge.
  • 23% of children have seldom visited porn sites, 11% more are doing it regularly, 48% of kids have browsed web pages showing violence, 18% are familiar with racist content,  31% are chatting about sex while 61% of children are tend to access internet alone, without asking any permission from their parents.

More than that, many parents seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact their child could face pop-up pornography screens simply browsing through pages with free music/video downloads. It is not the only problem – we all know that teens are obsessed with chatting on various message boards where users can easily hide behind avatars. How to make sure the real encounter with a virtual “friend” is safe enough for our children?

Their curiosity can lead much further than we would want to – online world is full of vandalism, racism, sex, violence and suicidal references either of which may cause the actions on behalf of your child that could damage his physical and mental health.

Nowadays the huge amount of web pages, emails and file-sharing programs offer the opportunity to download music, film and files free of charge. Even though they may seem harmless the frightening percentage of such “offers” are packed with dangerous viruses and over malicious software that can ruin your PC’s safety and hack confidential data.

Any precocious methods are far less complicated and expensive than dealing with unwanted consequences so start protecting your child only today with Safe Lagoon.

– Safe Lagoon Team

‘Parent’ as a full-time occupation

boy-and-his-father-using-a-notebook-in-their-kitchen

Once young and unexperienced parents face any problems considering their dear kids all I hear is: “Let professionals take care of this situation. They will know exactly how to deal with it.”

This habit has taken roots so deeply in our minds we see it as a normal state of things which is perfectly explainable. Say, why would you fix the fridge yourself when you can call a skilled specialist armed with instruments and experience to get it running again in to time? Or.. you are not supposed to address dental pain with a make-shift, are you?

But to my way of thinking there are areas you should not entrust a strange person utterly and completely no matter how skillful this person appears to be. It certainly will not do with up-bringing of your own child. When it’s time to introduce your child to social institutions such as kindergarten and later – school – it goes without saying that you will do your best to find the friendliest place ready to provide the most professional level of assistance.

But look at you – you are already a professional working as a “parent” at full-time job! No one knows you better when your own parents, no one spends that much time with you. No one cares that much about child’s happy future and well-being. And every discovery, every difficulty in their life they share first and foremost – with the closest keen they know – their parents.

Thus you as a parent must find ways to enhance your professional level since there might be people to help you (such as school teachers and doctors) but the responsibility for up-bringing your children rests on your shoulders alone. And as for “parental control” issue you cannot push it on o anyone – you must seek possibilities to get acquainted with anything new in the world of nowadays technology and information security – find it, learn it, master it to the best of your abilities as it is a key for helping your child to stay safe and guided.

Remember that there is no other occupation as noble and proud as a Parent!