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Category: Social Media Safety

Online Safety: Posting Pictures Online

Talking to teens about internet safety can often be frustrating, especially if they pretends to listen, giving one word responses at the right times. For that reason, the first tip for talking to a teenager (about anything) is to make it a routine.

If you truly want to have meaningful two-way conversations on a variety of topics, including the short term and long term concerns of posting pictures online, laying the proper ground work is essential.

Making Time for Open Conversation

It can be weekly, or monthly, or as often as every day after dinner. Families that “enforce” open conversations are more aware of what’s really going on with every family member, and that’s important. Discussions about internet safety for kids doesn’t have to (always) center around extremely sensitive, awkward, uncomfortable, or otherwise personal topics. In fact it will feel easier to talk about anything when your family has a routine of open conversation.

Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • The dinner table is a good place for casual family conversation about almost anything, but avoid topics that are too personal or uncomfortable while eating. Use these times as a good starting point to learn what your kids think and feel about various topics.
  • Open conversation should take place in a relaxed and comfortable environment. However, nobody should be distracted… and that means you should not have open conversations while driving or with the TV on.
  • During open conversations, everybody should have their cell phone off or in another room. This includes you!
  • Give your teenager your undivided attention. Ask open ended questions that can’t be given a short answer. Wait for an answer, and listen.

Above all else, having an open mind as a parent is crucial. Your teenager must feel comfortable talking to you, without fear of repercussion, or she will only give you the parts that she feels are safe to tell you.

Be Easy to Talk To

It’s frustrating when you try to talk to a teenager who won’t say much to you, but is always texting on their phone. Surely she has something to say… why are they so aloof with you?

Before you go blaming the phone, ask how difficult it might be for your teenage daughter or son to get your undivided attention. Remember that you have a lot on your mind too, so sometimes you might be too distracted and equally difficult to talk to.

Then there is the parenting style you follow. Parents who say “No, because I said so” are less easy to talk to then parents who say “No, because {explanation}.” Although your teenager is still a child in your heart, you are still raising a person who has reached a point of independence that you aren’t happy about. It shows, but there is nothing you can do to keep her a baby forever.

Make Them Laugh

The tough conversations are even tougher with a teenager. Teens know that babies aren’t brought by a stork, and at least one of their peers probably already has one on the way. When having a tough conversation with a teenager, you want to contribute information from a different perspective while also gaining an understanding of where they are coming from.

While being a good listener, you must also understand that this conversation is a million times tougher for your son or daughter to be having with you. Consider how awkward you feel bringing it up, and multiply it by infinity.

The most helpful thing you can do is set the tone to ease their discomfort. Use humor to make them laugh (but not humor that will only make her more uncomfortable!) and your child will be more likely to relax and open up to you.

Talking About Posting Pictures Online

This might come as a shock to you, but many teenagers can be reckless with the photos they post online. This is particularly true of girls. They want so badly to be seen as mature adults—and as attractive females—that they will share pictures of themselves that are various levels of inappropriate.

(You can start with that, if you want.)

Did you know that pictures you share online can be traced to your location, even if you don’t tag it on Facebook? (You can start with that too, maybe even share an article that talks about how location services in smart phone cameras place a stamp that can be used by computer-savvy web users to find out where a person is located.)

The important thing is not to go through your teenagers’ social media page without her permission and comment on pictures belonging to her or her friends. (A teens privacy on Facebook is up to each parent’s discretion and it may be as easy as ‘being friends’ with your kids on Facebook so they know you expect a certain standard of conduct). Raise awareness about various issues regarding social media and plant the seed of a new perspective.

Note- It is perfectly okay to inform your daughter that “duck lips” are terribly ridiculous looking, but a genuine smile is much more beautiful and attractive to boys!

The point is that you aren’t entirely in charge of the conversation and shouldn’t try to stick to one point. Encourage your daughter to participate by asking her opinion on inappropriate pictures (where does see the line drawn?) or finding out what she knows about geotagging.

Rather than taking the cliché paranoid parent approach, talk about posting pictures online as a casual conversation. You’ll get the answers you want, and it will give you both a chance to learn from each other.

Talking to teens about internet safety can often be frustrating, especially if they pretends to listen, giving one word responses at the right times. For that reason, the first tip for talking to a teenager (about anything) is to make it a routine.

If you truly want to have meaningful two-way conversations on a variety of topics, including the short term and long term concerns of posting pictures online, laying the proper ground work is essential.

Making Time for Open Conversation

It can be weekly, or monthly, or as often as every day after dinner. Families that “enforce” open conversations are more aware of what’s really going on with every family member, and that’s important. Discussions about internet safety for kids doesn’t have to (always) center around extremely sensitive, awkward, uncomfortable, or otherwise personal topics. In fact it will feel easier to talk about anything when your family has a routine of open conversation.

Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • The dinner table is a good place for casual family conversation about almost anything, but avoid topics that are too personal or uncomfortable while eating. Use these times as a good starting point to learn what your kids think and feel about various topics.
  • Open conversation should take place in a relaxed and comfortable environment. However, nobody should be distracted… and that means you should not have open conversations while driving or with the TV on.
  • During open conversations, everybody should have their cell phone off or in another room. This includes you!
  • Give your teenager your undivided attention. Ask open ended questions that can’t be given a short answer. Wait for an answer, and listen.

Above all else, having an open mind as a parent is crucial. Your teenager must feel comfortable talking to you, without fear of repercussion, or she will only give you the parts that she feels are safe to tell you.

Be Easy to Talk To

It’s frustrating when you try to talk to a teenager who won’t say much to you, but is always texting on their phone. Surely she has something to say… why are they so aloof with you?

Before you go blaming the phone, ask how difficult it might be for your teenage daughter or son to get your undivided attention. Remember that you have a lot on your mind too, so sometimes you might be too distracted and equally difficult to talk to.

Then there is the parenting style you follow. Parents who say “No, because I said so” are less easy to talk to then parents who say “No, because {explanation}.” Although your teenager is still a child in your heart, you are still raising a person who has reached a point of independence that you aren’t happy about. It shows, but there is nothing you can do to keep her a baby forever.

Make Them Laugh

The tough conversations are even tougher with a teenager. Teens know that babies aren’t brought by a stork, and at least one of their peers probably already has one on the way. When having a tough conversation with a teenager, you want to contribute information from a different perspective while also gaining an understanding of where they are coming from.

While being a good listener, you must also understand that this conversation is a million times tougher for your son or daughter to be having with you. Consider how awkward you feel bringing it up, and multiply it by infinity.

The most helpful thing you can do is set the tone to ease their discomfort. Use humor to make them laugh (but not humor that will only make her more uncomfortable!) and your child will be more likely to relax and open up to you.

Talking About Posting Pictures Online

This might come as a shock to you, but many teenagers can be reckless with the photos they post online. This is particularly true of girls. They want so badly to be seen as mature adults—and as attractive females—that they will share pictures of themselves that are various levels of inappropriate.

(You can start with that, if you want.)

Did you know that pictures you share online can be traced to your location, even if you don’t tag it on Facebook? (You can start with that too, maybe even share an article that talks about how location services in smart phone cameras place a stamp that can be used by computer-savvy web users to find out where a person is located.)

The important thing is not to go through your teenagers’ social media page without her permission and comment on pictures belonging to her or her friends. (A teens privacy on Facebook is up to each parent’s discretion and it may be as easy as ‘being friends’ with your kids on Facebook so they know you expect a certain standard of conduct). Raise awareness about various issues regarding social media and plant the seed of a new perspective.

Note- It is perfectly okay to inform your daughter that “duck lips” are terribly ridiculous looking, but a genuine smile is much more beautiful and attractive to boys!

The point is that you aren’t entirely in charge of the conversation and shouldn’t try to stick to one point. Encourage your daughter to participate by asking her opinion on inappropriate pictures (where does see the line drawn?) or finding out what she knows about geotagging.

Rather than taking the cliché paranoid parent approach, talk about posting pictures online as a casual conversation. You’ll get the answers you want, and it will give you both a chance to learn from each other.

CyberBullying: A Word for Kids and Teens

Cyberbullying is a phrase you may hear all the time, but it takes many different forms and meanings. Bullying is something that many children and teens go through in school, on the bus, and within groups of friends. However, cyberbullying is even more common because most kids don’t even realize they are doing it!

It’s never fun to be bullied, in the real world or on the web through social media. It’s even worse to be the bully, yet it’s easy to be do it online… even by accident. The internet can bring out passive aggressive behavior, even in the most outspoken person.

When you have a problem with somebody, do you face them with it… or do you Facebook it?

Taking drama to the web creates a whole new set of problems. Remember that you can work out a problem with a friend, but you can never erase something that was said or done online. So before you post that rant, stop and think if it can hurt somebody else.

Even if you feel like somebody has been mean or unfair to you, you won’t want to stoop to their level.

You won’t be able to take it back, and you will have more good friends when you show that you can take the high road and treat others with respect.

Are You Being CyberBullied?

Think before you tweet, update your status, post a picture, or put anything on the net. Remember that anybody can save and share your updates, so it’s a good idea to avoid posting anything impulsively. It might come back to haunt you. That general rule of thumb is especially important to follow when somebody is attacking or bullying you online.

Sometimes you have to start by asking why somebody is trying to hurt you.

  • If it is a friend who is upset with you, perhaps you did something to hurt them? The best response would be to take your drama offline and try to talk it out—in the real world or on the phone. Eliminate the audience and it will be just the two of you, looking for a resolution to end the drama.
  • If there is a group of people you don’t know that well who are “ganging up on you”, they may be the friends of somebody who is upset with you. There could be rumors or numerous direct attacks. Do not respond to any kind of attack coming from somebody you do not know. If you know who the original source is, deal with them directly.

Knowing why does not always put an end to cyberbullying, but neither does “feeding the trolls”. You don’t want to just ignore cyberbullying and wait for it to go away either. So if the harassment is taking on a level that is really troubling you, please tell your parents or somebody in your school.

A Few Steps to Protect Yourself From CyberBullying

  1. Face your problems. Never “Facebook” your problems.
  2. Think before you post.
  3. Always be kind and respectful, and surround yourself with friends who are also kind and respectful.
  4. Be careful around people your age who are always ‘surrounded by drama’. You never know when you’ll get sucked into it!
  5. Never, ever let anybody know your password. Protect your social media accounts from being “hacked” by changing your password every so often. If you use a smart phone never leave it unattended.

What Can You Do if You are Being Cyber Bullied

  1. Don’t respond to messages and never retaliate. It will only ad fuel to the fire and escalate the cyberbullying.
  2. Tell an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher or coach. If they don’t offer you any real solutions, then search for a trusted adult who is better equipped to offer advice, such as a school councilor.
  3. Save all evidence. Do not delete any communications. Be sure to keep electronic copies and print-outs in case things escalate. This will empower you to allow justice to be served against the cyberbully.
  4. Keep records of ISP and law enforcement contacts. If the cyberbully continues to harass you, contact their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  5. Save all information that contains even a hint of a threat and contact law enforcement.
  6. Block the harasser after you have made copies of all communication.

Read how you can stand up against a verbally abusive bully.

Here is an article about cyberBullying written for Parents.

Cyberbullying is a phrase you may hear all the time, but it takes many different forms and meanings. Bullying is something that many children and teens go through in school, on the bus, and within groups of friends. However, cyberbullying is even more common because most kids don’t even realize they are doing it!

It’s never fun to be bullied, in the real world or on the web through social media. It’s even worse to be the bully, yet it’s easy to be do it online… even by accident. The internet can bring out passive aggressive behavior, even in the most outspoken person.

When you have a problem with somebody, do you face them with it… or do you Facebook it?

Taking drama to the web creates a whole new set of problems. Remember that you can work out a problem with a friend, but you can never erase something that was said or done online. So before you post that rant, stop and think if it can hurt somebody else.

Even if you feel like somebody has been mean or unfair to you, you won’t want to stoop to their level.

You won’t be able to take it back, and you will have more good friends when you show that you can take the high road and treat others with respect.

Are You Being CyberBullied?

Think before you tweet, update your status, post a picture, or put anything on the net. Remember that anybody can save and share your updates, so it’s a good idea to avoid posting anything impulsively. It might come back to haunt you. That general rule of thumb is especially important to follow when somebody is attacking or bullying you online.

Sometimes you have to start by asking why somebody is trying to hurt you.

  • If it is a friend who is upset with you, perhaps you did something to hurt them? The best response would be to take your drama offline and try to talk it out—in the real world or on the phone. Eliminate the audience and it will be just the two of you, looking for a resolution to end the drama.
  • If there is a group of people you don’t know that well who are “ganging up on you”, they may be the friends of somebody who is upset with you. There could be rumors or numerous direct attacks. Do not respond to any kind of attack coming from somebody you do not know. If you know who the original source is, deal with them directly.

Knowing why does not always put an end to cyberbullying, but neither does “feeding the trolls”. You don’t want to just ignore cyberbullying and wait for it to go away either. So if the harassment is taking on a level that is really troubling you, please tell your parents or somebody in your school.

A Few Steps to Protect Yourself From CyberBullying

  1. Face your problems. Never “Facebook” your problems.
  2. Think before you post.
  3. Always be kind and respectful, and surround yourself with friends who are also kind and respectful.
  4. Be careful around people your age who are always ‘surrounded by drama’. You never know when you’ll get sucked into it!
  5. Never, ever let anybody know your password. Protect your social media accounts from being “hacked” by changing your password every so often. If you use a smart phone never leave it unattended.

What Can You Do if You are Being Cyber Bullied

  1. Don’t respond to messages and never retaliate. It will only ad fuel to the fire and escalate the cyberbullying.
  2. Tell an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher or coach. If they don’t offer you any real solutions, then search for a trusted adult who is better equipped to offer advice, such as a school councilor.
  3. Save all evidence. Do not delete any communications. Be sure to keep electronic copies and print-outs in case things escalate. This will empower you to allow justice to be served against the cyberbully.
  4. Keep records of ISP and law enforcement contacts. If the cyberbully continues to harass you, contact their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  5. Save all information that contains even a hint of a threat and contact law enforcement.
  6. Block the harasser after you have made copies of all communication.

Read how you can stand up against a verbally abusive bully.

Here is an article about cyberBullying written for Parents.

Parent’s Guide to Protecting Teens on Social Media

Raising a teenager is no picnic! On one hand, you want to respect boundaries and give your growing child the freedom to make—and learn from—their own mistakes. On the other hand, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from… well, everything.

(This article is directed at parents. Teens, read what you can do here).

When it comes to online safety, social media has its’ own unique set of problems for teenagers… and it can go far beyond the online predator horror stories. That’s why it’s important as a parent to be involved with your teens’ use of social media

Let’s be honest, most parents have their own Twitter or Facebook account.

Not every parent is involved in social media. If your teen is using social media… that is a good reason why you should be too. (Of course, there aren’t really that many good reasons…)

Even if you don’t use social media actively, you should be friends with your teen so you can routinely check and see their posts. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s really going on in their mind (because social media brings out a passive aggressive behavior in everyone, and teenagers are especially likely to Facebook their problems instead of facing them) but you can also recognize inappropriate behavior or posts, such as posting personal information.

Note that Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teenagers to hide certain posts from parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your child might be filtering the posts that you see.

While we’re being honest, most teenagers use another social media site more than Facebook or Twitter.

Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites you probably didn’t even know about. Talk to your child and make sure you know every site they are using and how those sites are used.

Here are some of the most popular social networking sites used by teenagers:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• G+ (Google Plus)
• Instagram
• Tumblr
• Snapchat
• Meetme

Open communication.

Parents who openly communicate with their children are more likely to receive the same approach in response. It is critical that your teenager feel safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior.

During the difficult teenage years, your child will want to test boundaries. They will want to do and say things that you would not approve of. This is basic human nature. It’s important that you understand and respect this, while letting them know they can talk to you about anything.

At the same time, you should lead by example and initiate those difficult discussions with your teen. Even if you only get one-word responses, they are still listening… and it establishes a comfortable environment for open communication in your home.

It is also important to have a discussion about cell phone safety, where kids can access social media site with ease and outside the watchful eye of parents. This raises issues of cell phone safety.

Practical privacy.

Keep computers in a “public” location, rather than in their bedroom. At your discretion, it may be a good idea to routinely check computer and phone history and require that you know the passwords to all of your teen’s accounts… but keep in mind that infringing on their right to privacy may only push them further away.

In a nutshell, trust your child enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behavior.

Establish boundaries.

Boundaries, rules, and guidelines can be applied to behaviors that are allowed on social media… as well as the amount of time allowed to spend on social media. Teenagers with smart phones tend to be more interested in the cyber world and oblivious to the real world around them, but as a parent you can set the rules to prevent this from happening.

Stay informed of the threats.

Internet safety is about so much more than online predators or identity theft. In fact, teenagers are not the only vulnerable internet users.

Even parents can make mistakes on social media!!! Did you know that you should never brag about an upcoming vacation, and when you take a vacation you should wait until you return home to post pictures?

It helps to know the tricks and trends, because the more likely online threats are much more common—such as falling victim to a spambot.

Here is a guide you can give your teenager about social media safety for teens.

Raising a teenager is no picnic! On one hand, you want to respect boundaries and give your growing child the freedom to make—and learn from—their own mistakes. On the other hand, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from… well, everything.

(This article is directed at parents. Teens, read what you can do here).

When it comes to online safety, social media has its’ own unique set of problems for teenagers… and it can go far beyond the online predator horror stories. That’s why it’s important as a parent to be involved with your teens’ use of social media

Let’s be honest, most parents have their own Twitter or Facebook account.

Not every parent is involved in social media. If your teen is using social media… that is a good reason why you should be too. (Of course, there aren’t really that many good reasons…)

Even if you don’t use social media actively, you should be friends with your teen so you can routinely check and see their posts. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s really going on in their mind (because social media brings out a passive aggressive behavior in everyone, and teenagers are especially likely to Facebook their problems instead of facing them) but you can also recognize inappropriate behavior or posts, such as posting personal information.

Note that Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teenagers to hide certain posts from parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your child might be filtering the posts that you see.

While we’re being honest, most teenagers use another social media site more than Facebook or Twitter.

Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites you probably didn’t even know about. Talk to your child and make sure you know every site they are using and how those sites are used.

Here are some of the most popular social networking sites used by teenagers:
• Facebook
• Twitter
• G+ (Google Plus)
• Instagram
• Tumblr
• Snapchat
• Meetme

Open communication.

Parents who openly communicate with their children are more likely to receive the same approach in response. It is critical that your teenager feel safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior.

During the difficult teenage years, your child will want to test boundaries. They will want to do and say things that you would not approve of. This is basic human nature. It’s important that you understand and respect this, while letting them know they can talk to you about anything.

At the same time, you should lead by example and initiate those difficult discussions with your teen. Even if you only get one-word responses, they are still listening… and it establishes a comfortable environment for open communication in your home.

It is also important to have a discussion about cell phone safety, where kids can access social media site with ease and outside the watchful eye of parents. This raises issues of cell phone safety.

Practical privacy.

Keep computers in a “public” location, rather than in their bedroom. At your discretion, it may be a good idea to routinely check computer and phone history and require that you know the passwords to all of your teen’s accounts… but keep in mind that infringing on their right to privacy may only push them further away.

In a nutshell, trust your child enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behavior.

Establish boundaries.

Boundaries, rules, and guidelines can be applied to behaviors that are allowed on social media… as well as the amount of time allowed to spend on social media. Teenagers with smart phones tend to be more interested in the cyber world and oblivious to the real world around them, but as a parent you can set the rules to prevent this from happening.

Stay informed of the threats.

Internet safety is about so much more than online predators or identity theft. In fact, teenagers are not the only vulnerable internet users.

Even parents can make mistakes on social media!!! Did you know that you should never brag about an upcoming vacation, and when you take a vacation you should wait until you return home to post pictures?

It helps to know the tricks and trends, because the more likely online threats are much more common—such as falling victim to a spambot.

Here is a guide you can give your teenager about social media safety for teens.

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