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Category: Online Safety for Kids

Which States Are Doing the Most to Fight Cyberbullying?

Keeping kids safe online while learning

In many ways, the internet is a great learning tool and can be wonderful for connecting children with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there is also plenty of inappropriate content, and online social networks can give other kids a forum for teasing and bullying.

Currently, there are only a few federal protections to keep minors safe online—the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) being the most prominent.

The good news is, states have the power to rein in bullying and inappropriate interactions that happen in the digital sphere—and several are going above and beyond to keep kids safe online. Here’s a closer look at which states are doing the most to keep their young residents protected while learning on the internet.

States Taking Action

Many states have implemented some combination of laws specifically addressing cyberbullying (at school and otherwise), online harassment, and texting inappropriate content (known as “sexting”). But nine states have doubled down on establishing protections for kids online:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Kansas
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Dakota
  8. Texas
  9. Utah

These states have taken clear legislative action against both cyberbullying—bullying, belittling, or harassment that occurs via digital means like social media or texting—and inappropriate texting with minors.

In Arkansas, schools are required to institute and enforce anti-bullying policies. Schools must also offer group conflict resolution services for students and training for teachers to learn how to recognize bullying.

Connecticut is a leader when it comes to cyber-bullying policies and resources for students and teachers. In addition to the laws put in place by Arkansas, Connecticut school districts also have strategies for including parents of both the student who was bullied and the student(s) doing the bullying to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Texas also has a strict policy that covers all these bases, though protections for specific classes aren’t clearly delineated.

The state of Florida includes a process for involving families in cyberbullying situations. It also requires districts to keep a list of programs that can offer training for school staff, parents, and students on how to identify and react to online harassment. Like Texas, specific groups aren’t called out in the laws, but state-funded schools are still held to federal anti-discrimination rules.

While the requirements in Georgia do not include training for school personnel, the state has implemented character education programs for all grade levels and includes off-campus cyberbullying directed toward students or school personnel in their laws and regulations.

Laws in Kansas don’t include off-campus incidents, but they do require training for educators and staff on navigating bullying situations. And Pennsylvania and Utah include everything except offering mental health support for students who have been bullied, even going so far as to require regular policy reviews and to involve families in policy creation, respectively.

South Dakota’s laws focus on responding to bullying as it happens, and while there aren’t plans in place for prevention or family involvement, the state does offer immunity for reporting bullying.

Additionally, all nine of these states have laws that directly address minors sending and receiving inappropriate content via text.

What Can Parents Do?

Regardless of what state you live in, there are some basic precautions you can take to keep kids safe online.

  1. Educate yourself on what dangers are out there and how to identify them.
  2. Figure out where your state stands on online privacy and safety for minors.
  3. Monitor your children when they’re using the internet, keep computers in common rooms, and set up restrictions to keep your kids off message boards, chat rooms, etc. until they’re old enough to engage responsibly.

Last but not least, have a conversation with your children about the importance of being careful with personal information and the potential risks of being online.

In many ways, the internet is a great learning tool and can be wonderful for connecting children with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there is also plenty of inappropriate content, and online social networks can give other kids a forum for teasing and bullying.

Currently, there are only a few federal protections to keep minors safe online—the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) being the most prominent.

The good news is, states have the power to rein in bullying and inappropriate interactions that happen in the digital sphere—and several are going above and beyond to keep kids safe online. Here’s a closer look at which states are doing the most to keep their young residents protected while learning on the internet.

States Taking Action

Many states have implemented some combination of laws specifically addressing cyberbullying (at school and otherwise), online harassment, and texting inappropriate content (known as “sexting”). But nine states have doubled down on establishing protections for kids online:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Kansas
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. South Dakota
  8. Texas
  9. Utah

These states have taken clear legislative action against both cyberbullying—bullying, belittling, or harassment that occurs via digital means like social media or texting—and inappropriate texting with minors.

In Arkansas, schools are required to institute and enforce anti-bullying policies. Schools must also offer group conflict resolution services for students and training for teachers to learn how to recognize bullying.

Connecticut is a leader when it comes to cyber-bullying policies and resources for students and teachers. In addition to the laws put in place by Arkansas, Connecticut school districts also have strategies for including parents of both the student who was bullied and the student(s) doing the bullying to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Texas also has a strict policy that covers all these bases, though protections for specific classes aren’t clearly delineated.

The state of Florida includes a process for involving families in cyberbullying situations. It also requires districts to keep a list of programs that can offer training for school staff, parents, and students on how to identify and react to online harassment. Like Texas, specific groups aren’t called out in the laws, but state-funded schools are still held to federal anti-discrimination rules.

While the requirements in Georgia do not include training for school personnel, the state has implemented character education programs for all grade levels and includes off-campus cyberbullying directed toward students or school personnel in their laws and regulations.

Laws in Kansas don’t include off-campus incidents, but they do require training for educators and staff on navigating bullying situations. And Pennsylvania and Utah include everything except offering mental health support for students who have been bullied, even going so far as to require regular policy reviews and to involve families in policy creation, respectively.

South Dakota’s laws focus on responding to bullying as it happens, and while there aren’t plans in place for prevention or family involvement, the state does offer immunity for reporting bullying.

Additionally, all nine of these states have laws that directly address minors sending and receiving inappropriate content via text.

What Can Parents Do?

Regardless of what state you live in, there are some basic precautions you can take to keep kids safe online.

  1. Educate yourself on what dangers are out there and how to identify them.
  2. Figure out where your state stands on online privacy and safety for minors.
  3. Monitor your children when they’re using the internet, keep computers in common rooms, and set up restrictions to keep your kids off message boards, chat rooms, etc. until they’re old enough to engage responsibly.

Last but not least, have a conversation with your children about the importance of being careful with personal information and the potential risks of being online.

How to Ensure Internet Safety for Kids

App Use Safety for Kids

Almost everyone owns an electronic gadget, and the internet has become part of our daily life. While the internet furnishes us with a wealth of information and convenience, it can be a liability, especially to children. Some reports say that approximately 34% of kids have experienced cyberbullying online!

Because of these startling stats, it’s never been more important for every parent to ensure internet safety for kids. Fortunately, there are different ways of safeguard your child’s internet safety.

Below are tips on how to protect your kid on the internet, including a helpful info graphic.

1. Train Them About Online Threats

Teach your children on the many online perils. For instance, let them know why it’s risky to converse with strangers online. Educate them on the sites which contain inappropriate information and let them know why they shouldn’t share personal information online. If your child doesn’t require a phone, speak to them about getting rid of their gadgets. Besides, there are many places you can sell your iPhone for cash.

2. Know How to Use a Computer

While this might seem odd, it works for most parents. It’s surprising how children know much about the family computer than even the parents. The first step to ensuring internet safety for kids is by becoming computer literate.

This way, you can monitor what your kid does online and block specific sites containing inappropriate information with ease. More so, you can access our child’s internet history to ensure that they aren’t surfing in the wrong places. You can do all this when you know how to use a computer.

3. Acquire Monitoring Software

Parents should control their children’s access to the internet, and you can achieve this with the use of control software. You can even install it discreetly without their knowledge. With such software, you can track all their movements online, including messages, chats as well as websites visited.

Take Away

There are various reasons why internet safety is important. With the many risks online, parents have a right to get concerned.  It’s your role as a parent to ensure internet safety for kids. Therefore, teach them on the many online dangers, learn how to use electronic gadgets, and, if possible, get parental control software.

Infographic: Most Dangerous Apps for Kids

Read about some safe apps for kids.

Almost everyone owns an electronic gadget, and the internet has become part of our daily life. While the internet furnishes us with a wealth of information and convenience, it can be a liability, especially to children. Some reports say that approximately 34% of kids have experienced cyberbullying online!

Because of these startling stats, it’s never been more important for every parent to ensure internet safety for kids. Fortunately, there are different ways of safeguard your child’s internet safety.

Below are tips on how to protect your kid on the internet, including a helpful info graphic.

1. Train Them About Online Threats

Teach your children on the many online perils. For instance, let them know why it’s risky to converse with strangers online. Educate them on the sites which contain inappropriate information and let them know why they shouldn’t share personal information online. If your child doesn’t require a phone, speak to them about getting rid of their gadgets. Besides, there are many places you can sell your iPhone for cash.

2. Know How to Use a Computer

While this might seem odd, it works for most parents. It’s surprising how children know much about the family computer than even the parents. The first step to ensuring internet safety for kids is by becoming computer literate.

This way, you can monitor what your kid does online and block specific sites containing inappropriate information with ease. More so, you can access our child’s internet history to ensure that they aren’t surfing in the wrong places. You can do all this when you know how to use a computer.

3. Acquire Monitoring Software

Parents should control their children’s access to the internet, and you can achieve this with the use of control software. You can even install it discreetly without their knowledge. With such software, you can track all their movements online, including messages, chats as well as websites visited.

Take Away

There are various reasons why internet safety is important. With the many risks online, parents have a right to get concerned.  It’s your role as a parent to ensure internet safety for kids. Therefore, teach them on the many online dangers, learn how to use electronic gadgets, and, if possible, get parental control software.

Infographic: Most Dangerous Apps for Kids

Read about some safe apps for kids.

How To Protect Your Computer at Risk?

How to Protect Your Computer

Let’s be real here: our computers are our lifelines. We work with and from them. We order things with them. We used them for entertainment. Our phones, tablets, and even iPods are all computers to their core. Our lives are all on a computer. We couldn’t survive one day without them.

If a virus or malware hits our computers, we are screwed. It will turn into a battle to clean and save what is left. And that is if we are lucky to catch the problems in time. In some cases, the whole computer is fried with no hope of retrieving any data that might be left. But it does not have to be that way.

There are ways to protect your computer from the nightmare of spam, viruses, and malware. Common sense is one way to do it. Taking care of a computer doesn’t always have to take so much work. It is much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to block your computer from utter disaster.

Virus protection programs cannot be stressed enough. There are various virus protection programs on the internet. All it takes is one Google search. However, you can’t go for just any virus protection. Only go for the best that is known out there.

Just having virus protection isn’t enough. It needs to be kept up to date at all times. These can be done automatically or manually. Automatically can be easily set up with the settings. It probably doesn’t take up too much time either. Tips online can also with what to do with virus protection.

There are other programs to help keep a computer clean. Sometimes, virus scan programs will not be enough. You have to get deep sometimes to keep a computer clean. There are a number of programs that will help with that. One example cleans out malware.

You have to be careful when installing virus protection and malware cleaner. Some of them are legitimate while others will make the problem even worse. How can you tell you are getting a good program to take care of the computer? Do the homework. It doesn’t take much to get on Google to check out which programs will work best.

Block malicious websites. This is one of you the reasons why computers end up having problems. If you are not careful, a virus or malware will latch onto a computer without warning. Some virus protection will block the sites for you. Do not ignore the page being blocked.

Adblocker is your friend! This will eliminate the threat of possible malware and other computer problems that could stalk the internet. Adblocker will cut down on the chances of being a victim of ransomware. Ransomware is a nasty program that will hold your computer hostage until you pay up. It is a pain to have the machine freed up for use again.

Always have a pop-up blocker on at all times. This will lessen the chances of getting ransomware, malware, or any other viruses. Nowadays, browsers will have it on automatically. In case it doesn’t, check the settings and turn it on. The pop-up blocker goes great with Adblocker.

Back up everything! In case your computer is beyond repair, have everything backed up. The cloud has made this much easier. External hard drives are also good for backing up files. Have at least two to three places of storage for back-up. There is nothing worse than losing everything precious to somebody all because of computer problems.

Having a strong password will help too. Not having a password is like leaving a front door wide open. It is not wise to have a weak password either. Some sites will require at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol to be strong. Even Windows is starting to use pin numbers for its user to log instead of an actual password.

Another thing to think about is keeping the password written down somewhere. It would not be wise to do that when in a public place. Anyone can see it and log into any computer they want. Sure, it is easy to understand not remembering a password. In that case, write it down and keep it close by.

Keep all software up to date. Out-of-date software is an invitation for malware and viruses. Check for everything for new updates. If you aren’t sure what version you have on your computer, go on the internet to check if the latest version is out there. Sometimes, some software has the latest version already.

On another note of updates, do not go for bootleg sites for them. Otherwise, the computer will end suffering more damage than good. The worst that could happen is causing the computer to freeze to the point of needing to force shut down. The best way to go is to download software updates from the official website itself. Sometimes, a customer might have to buy a physical copy of the software in question.

VPN might be a good way to go too. More people are looking for a secure way to enjoy their time on the internet. This will keep out spying eyes for sure. It does not take more to look up how to install a VPN either. Again, just be careful to look for a legitimate VPN system that will not mess up a computer.

Use common sense. This is the easiest way to keep a computer safe. If an email looks suspicious, deleted it as soon as possible. If a site doesn’t look right, don’t visit it. Going with one’s gut will save so many headaches and much money.

Let’s be real here: our computers are our lifelines. We work with and from them. We order things with them. We used them for entertainment. Our phones, tablets, and even iPods are all computers to their core. Our lives are all on a computer. We couldn’t survive one day without them.

If a virus or malware hits our computers, we are screwed. It will turn into a battle to clean and save what is left. And that is if we are lucky to catch the problems in time. In some cases, the whole computer is fried with no hope of retrieving any data that might be left. But it does not have to be that way.

There are ways to protect your computer from the nightmare of spam, viruses, and malware. Common sense is one way to do it. Taking care of a computer doesn’t always have to take so much work. It is much easier than you think. Here are a few tips to block your computer from utter disaster.

Virus protection programs cannot be stressed enough. There are various virus protection programs on the internet. All it takes is one Google search. However, you can’t go for just any virus protection. Only go for the best that is known out there.

Just having virus protection isn’t enough. It needs to be kept up to date at all times. These can be done automatically or manually. Automatically can be easily set up with the settings. It probably doesn’t take up too much time either. Tips online can also with what to do with virus protection.

There are other programs to help keep a computer clean. Sometimes, virus scan programs will not be enough. You have to get deep sometimes to keep a computer clean. There are a number of programs that will help with that. One example cleans out malware.

You have to be careful when installing virus protection and malware cleaner. Some of them are legitimate while others will make the problem even worse. How can you tell you are getting a good program to take care of the computer? Do the homework. It doesn’t take much to get on Google to check out which programs will work best.

Block malicious websites. This is one of you the reasons why computers end up having problems. If you are not careful, a virus or malware will latch onto a computer without warning. Some virus protection will block the sites for you. Do not ignore the page being blocked.

Adblocker is your friend! This will eliminate the threat of possible malware and other computer problems that could stalk the internet. Adblocker will cut down on the chances of being a victim of ransomware. Ransomware is a nasty program that will hold your computer hostage until you pay up. It is a pain to have the machine freed up for use again.

Always have a pop-up blocker on at all times. This will lessen the chances of getting ransomware, malware, or any other viruses. Nowadays, browsers will have it on automatically. In case it doesn’t, check the settings and turn it on. The pop-up blocker goes great with Adblocker.

Back up everything! In case your computer is beyond repair, have everything backed up. The cloud has made this much easier. External hard drives are also good for backing up files. Have at least two to three places of storage for back-up. There is nothing worse than losing everything precious to somebody all because of computer problems.

Having a strong password will help too. Not having a password is like leaving a front door wide open. It is not wise to have a weak password either. Some sites will require at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol to be strong. Even Windows is starting to use pin numbers for its user to log instead of an actual password.

Another thing to think about is keeping the password written down somewhere. It would not be wise to do that when in a public place. Anyone can see it and log into any computer they want. Sure, it is easy to understand not remembering a password. In that case, write it down and keep it close by.

Keep all software up to date. Out-of-date software is an invitation for malware and viruses. Check for everything for new updates. If you aren’t sure what version you have on your computer, go on the internet to check if the latest version is out there. Sometimes, some software has the latest version already.

On another note of updates, do not go for bootleg sites for them. Otherwise, the computer will end suffering more damage than good. The worst that could happen is causing the computer to freeze to the point of needing to force shut down. The best way to go is to download software updates from the official website itself. Sometimes, a customer might have to buy a physical copy of the software in question.

VPN might be a good way to go too. More people are looking for a secure way to enjoy their time on the internet. This will keep out spying eyes for sure. It does not take more to look up how to install a VPN either. Again, just be careful to look for a legitimate VPN system that will not mess up a computer.

Use common sense. This is the easiest way to keep a computer safe. If an email looks suspicious, deleted it as soon as possible. If a site doesn’t look right, don’t visit it. Going with one’s gut will save so many headaches and much money.

The Ultimate University Guide for Parents

Parents Guide to Preparing Students for University

Now that university is back in full swing, you will have noticed students in every corner of the city. This may instill some fear into you, especially if your child is in their last year of school and planning to head to university. You may have some worries about them leaving or home, or whether they will get a place in the university of their dreams.

Whatever the case, you need to start preparing for your child’s future in university, as this move will affect them as well as you. Take a look at these tips which will help you assist your child with the next step of their education.

One of the hardest decisions your child will have to make is which university course is right for them, as this will define their future career. Parents tend to have a big say on this, as some would prefer their child to stay closer to home, while others are adamant that their offspring will attend a prestigious university. Both can offer your child clouded judgement, as they may end up at university they don’t enjoy or take on a course that provides them with little to no job opportunities.

Choosing a Course

Instead, you and your child should conduct thorough research on UCAS where you can look into subjects that he or she finds enjoyable or will excel at, while also taking note of the employment prospects. You should avoid just focusing on the course overview, as this will only provide you with a generalized description.

Most universities lay out each module for individual courses to help the potential students decide if its right for them, and whether the entry requirements suit them. If they can relate to any of the skills or experience mentioned on the course, they can use this to their advantage in their personal statement. Before making a final decision, you should try to choose three universities where you can attend open days with your child to help them choose up to five universities to apply for.

The Application Process

After researching courses and selecting the top five universities, you can then commence with the UCAS application. This consists of everything from your child’s education to work experience, along with a personal statement of 4,000 characters which is used to promote your child’s key skills, knowledge and work experience in support of their application. Once it has been sent off, your child will receive a notification whether they have an offer. If they receive a conditional offer, they will have to wait until they receive their results to find out, whereas if they are granted an unconditional offer, they will have secured a place immediately.

If your child is lucky enough to be approved of all five, they must decide which university is right for them and decline the remaining four. This is a hard decision to make, so make sure you and your child sit down and discuss their options before confirming where they want to attend. Don’t worry if your child does not get any of their choices, as there is always the opportunity to get place through Clearing, which enables students to find a last-minute course that aligns with their grades.

Funding Options

Once your child’s place at university is secure you can then start looking into finances. The majority of students tend to receive funding from student finance, where they can apply for living expenses and tuition fees, which are now charged a standard rate of £9,250. Your child may receive a maintenance loan or grant, but this will all depend on your income, as student finance takes into account the parents or guardians financial situation and their ability to support their child.

So basically, the less you earn the more financial support your child will get. You must input all the right information when applying for student finance, as the application may be rejected if the information is incorrect. Make sure you do not take too long with this, as the deadline is around May or June time, and if you do not submit in time, your child’s financial aid will be severely delayed.

Finding the Right Accommodation

Some parents wait to see how much their child is awarded before they can find somewhere for them live, while this is financial responsibility it can actually result in slim pickings. The majority of first-year students living in student halls, however, others do opt for private student accommodation. Some of the best purpose-built student accommodation is located in central areas, such as the RW Invest developments which are located next to some of the UK’s top universities. These provide students with comfortable and sociable living spaces, which include high-quality bedrooms, common area and even gym facilities.

Now that university is back in full swing, you will have noticed students in every corner of the city. This may instill some fear into you, especially if your child is in their last year of school and planning to head to university. You may have some worries about them leaving or home, or whether they will get a place in the university of their dreams.

Whatever the case, you need to start preparing for your child’s future in university, as this move will affect them as well as you. Take a look at these tips which will help you assist your child with the next step of their education.

One of the hardest decisions your child will have to make is which university course is right for them, as this will define their future career. Parents tend to have a big say on this, as some would prefer their child to stay closer to home, while others are adamant that their offspring will attend a prestigious university. Both can offer your child clouded judgement, as they may end up at university they don’t enjoy or take on a course that provides them with little to no job opportunities.

Choosing a Course

Instead, you and your child should conduct thorough research on UCAS where you can look into subjects that he or she finds enjoyable or will excel at, while also taking note of the employment prospects. You should avoid just focusing on the course overview, as this will only provide you with a generalized description.

Most universities lay out each module for individual courses to help the potential students decide if its right for them, and whether the entry requirements suit them. If they can relate to any of the skills or experience mentioned on the course, they can use this to their advantage in their personal statement. Before making a final decision, you should try to choose three universities where you can attend open days with your child to help them choose up to five universities to apply for.

The Application Process

After researching courses and selecting the top five universities, you can then commence with the UCAS application. This consists of everything from your child’s education to work experience, along with a personal statement of 4,000 characters which is used to promote your child’s key skills, knowledge and work experience in support of their application. Once it has been sent off, your child will receive a notification whether they have an offer. If they receive a conditional offer, they will have to wait until they receive their results to find out, whereas if they are granted an unconditional offer, they will have secured a place immediately.

If your child is lucky enough to be approved of all five, they must decide which university is right for them and decline the remaining four. This is a hard decision to make, so make sure you and your child sit down and discuss their options before confirming where they want to attend. Don’t worry if your child does not get any of their choices, as there is always the opportunity to get place through Clearing, which enables students to find a last-minute course that aligns with their grades.

Funding Options

Once your child’s place at university is secure you can then start looking into finances. The majority of students tend to receive funding from student finance, where they can apply for living expenses and tuition fees, which are now charged a standard rate of £9,250. Your child may receive a maintenance loan or grant, but this will all depend on your income, as student finance takes into account the parents or guardians financial situation and their ability to support their child.

So basically, the less you earn the more financial support your child will get. You must input all the right information when applying for student finance, as the application may be rejected if the information is incorrect. Make sure you do not take too long with this, as the deadline is around May or June time, and if you do not submit in time, your child’s financial aid will be severely delayed.

Finding the Right Accommodation

Some parents wait to see how much their child is awarded before they can find somewhere for them live, while this is financial responsibility it can actually result in slim pickings. The majority of first-year students living in student halls, however, others do opt for private student accommodation. Some of the best purpose-built student accommodation is located in central areas, such as the RW Invest developments which are located next to some of the UK’s top universities. These provide students with comfortable and sociable living spaces, which include high-quality bedrooms, common area and even gym facilities.