Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#NCSAM: 5 Unsafe Habits Social Media Is Teaching Kids

It's National Cyber-Safety Awareness Month
The social media heyday shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, and likely will just continue to gain speed and momentum as it appeals to younger and younger audiences; however it can’t go unnoticed that the values it’s teaching our children are less than ideal, especially in regards to unsafe internet habits. As social media becomes more prevalent, so do our kids apparent lack of regard to what is considered over-sharing and what isn’t. Social media has made it completely acceptable to engage in the following less-than-safe behaviors:

1.     Checking into places – It’s become commonplace to check into places once you get there; whether it’s the gym, a restaurant, or even a different city or state from the one you reside in, you’re now able to post onto your social media sites where you are, and are even rewarded with badges for checking into places regularly. However while the badges and upgrades to “mayor of the city” may make kids feel cool, it’s also alerting anyone and everyone that they’re not at home and where you can find them, something that seems less than stellar from a safety standpoint.

2.     Posting provocative and risqué photos – Scantily clad pictures, pictures showing drug and alcohol use, and pictures of people in risqué circumstances routinely grace Facebook walls, get uploaded to Instagram, and find their way onto Twitter. All this does, however, is encourage risky behavior, prompting teens to engage in it and even challenging them to outdo their friends,as well as appealing to predators with questionable motives, making it easy for them to identify easy targets.

3.     Putting your address, phone number, and email address online – While this type of information may be posted innocently for friends and family to easily find, kids tend to forget that the internet is not a private forum, it’s very public. Posting this information makes it easy for scammers, spammers, and predators to prey on unsuspecting victims, which is why this information should never be made publicon the various social media websites.

4.     Demeaning others – Bullying others online has become the new social norm. This kind of cyber-bullying has had an overwhelming effect on kids, leaving them feeling depressed and hopeless. When kids are unable to achieve any respite from the constant demeaning of their peers the effects can be monumental, with self-mutilation, uncontrollable anger or depression, and even suicide or harming their peers being the fallout.

5.     Encouraging hazardous games – Remember the choking game that encouraged kids to hang themselves to get high? These types of dangerous games are a result of social media allowing them to spread like wildfire, and the results are often tragic because kids don’t realize how dangerous they really are until it’s too late.

Social media, while it is many wonderful things, has its drawbacks as well. The younger the audience allowed to interact on it, the more unsafe it becomes, especially because they don’t yet understand that for every action there can also be a tragic reaction. This is why it’s imperative for parents to be vigilant in teaching their kids safe internet habits and to monitor what their kids are doing online.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parent Teacher Conferences: Coming Soon

It’s that time of the year already.

Your first parent-teacher conference of this school year. Be prepared.

Parent teacher conferences provide parents with the opportunity to gain valuable insights about their child’s study habits, academic performance, and behavior at school. In many cases, your child’s teacher will be privy to information that even you aren’t aware of, simply because your child spends the bulk of her day with the teacher.

Preparing for a parent teacher conference isn’t always a high priority for busy parents, and many assume that the evening is little more than a school-mandated formality.
These ten tips can help you get the most out of the annual meeting with your child’s teacher so that you can better help her achieve her goals.
  1. Talk to Your Child in Advance – When she realizes that a parent teacher conference is approaching, your child may give you a more accurate picture of her academic situation. Hiding certain aspects of her life at school seems simple to a child when she realizes that you’re not there to watch her, but understanding that you’ll be speaking with her teacher can give her a new perspective. If there are any problems that she’s been concealing, you may be able to get pertinent information about them from your child before you’re blindsided with them at a conference.
  2. Prepare a List of Questions – In order to get the most out of the limited amount of time you’re allotted with your child’s teacher, you’ll need to have an idea of what subjects you want to discuss beforehand. Preparing a list of questions is an effective way of providing yourself with reminders about talking points, but it’s wise to forgo non-essential questions in order to hear what the teacher has to say if time is running short.
  3. Consider Her Behavior at Home – While some children behave very differently at home than they do at school, you’re almost certain to have a basic idea of your child’s behavior based upon how she acts when she’s around you. If you know that she has a tendency to be unruly or that she struggles with paying attention, then you shouldn’t be upset to hear that same information from her teacher.
  4. Share Important Information – If your child is being bullied, is dealing with the aftermath of a parental divorce, or has other difficulties in her personal life, your parent teacher conference may be the only opportunity that you have to share that information with her teacher. While it can be uncomfortable to disclose such things to a relative stranger, it’s important to keep the person responsible for educating your child in the loop about things that could affect your child’s classroom performance.
  5. Be Open and Receptive – Every parent likes to believe that their child is an absolute angel all of the time, but this is very rarely the case. Getting an accurate idea of your child’s performance and behavior will require you to hear things that you may not want to, but it’s essential that you keep an open mind and do your best not to be offended.
  6. Include Your Child’s Other Parent – It can be challenging to include an ex-spouse, especially if things are still tense between you, but for the sake of your child it’s important that you do your best to set any differences aside so that both of you can take an active role in her education.
  7. Focus On Your Child – Questions about school policies that can be answered with a glance at the handbook or a call to the administrative office might not be worth the time you’ll waste on them if you approach them at a parent teacher conference. Remember that your appointment is likely to be quite short, so you should keep the focus of your questions on your child and her needs.
  8. Take Notes – Carrying a notepad and pen with you to a parent teacher conference is wise because there’s a strong chance that you’ll be receiving quite a bit of information in a relatively short time. Jotting down important points for future consideration can help you remember them.
  9. Take the Teacher’s Advice to Heart – If the teacher offers you some insight or advice regarding your child, you should accept it as gracefully as possible. It can be difficult to accept information about your own child from someone that you don’t know, but it can also help you determine the areas that your child needs assistance with the most.
  10. Discuss the Meeting with Your Child – While a kindergartener might not have much interest in the happenings at a parent teacher conference, an older child is likely to be on pins and needles until she hears how things went. Discussing the meeting with your child in an honest but gentle way can help her understand that she needs to work on some things, and that you’re willing to help her do so.
Establishing a working relationship with your child’s teacher at the conference and maintaining that partnership throughout the year is one of the most effective ways to stay informed about what’s happening at school and how your child is reacting to it. A teacher who knows that you’re interested in playing an active role in your child’s education will make a greater effort to help you stay informed, so leave her with your email address or another method of contacting you and encourage her to use it if the need arises.

Source: Live in Nanny

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Online Safety Rules for Students: New Report

As we head into August, millions of teens will begin the transition to adulthood by matriculating to college. Many of these newly independent teens will find themselves the target of online scams.
In this 24/7 digital world, sending a son or daughter off to college can be a daunting task. Of course, parents want to do everything possible to prepare their children for a successful transition. Previous generations didn’t need to have “the digital talk” but in a world where what goes online stays online, it’s essential.

iovation, the trusted source for mobile and online fraud prevention to safeguard businesses, is providing eight digital safety tips for college-bound kids as part of its dedication to making the Internet a safer place for everyone.

“We understand how sophisticated fraudsters can be and everyone at iovation works hard to stop schemes that negatively impact businesses and consumers,” said CEO Greg Pierson. “As a company focused on stopping online fraud, and as parents, we strongly recommend talking about online safety early and often. The transition to college is a great time to remind young people to be careful and stay safe online.”

Here are the top eight tips to keep your college-bound teenager safe online.

1. The Internet is forever—think about future employers, including those coveted summer internships
Don’t post anything online, including inappropriate photos, which would make a future employer think twice about hiring you. Good judgment is something employers look for, show that you have it.
2. Don’t add your address to your Facebook profile
Keep your address private. Anyone who needs your address can get it from you directly.
3. Don’t broadcast your location
Go ahead and check-in at your favorite coffee place and post photos of you and friends at a concert. Just do it sparingly. People don’t need to know where you are all the time or when your dorm room or apartment might be empty.
4. Don’t “friend” people you don’t know
Be choosy when it comes to friending people on social media. Just because someone sends you a friend request doesn’t mean you have to accept it—especially if you have no idea who they are.
5. Guard your social security number
Your social security number is a winning lottery ticket to a fraudster. It is the key to stealing your identity and taking over your accounts. Keep your social security card locked away in a safe place. Memorize the number so you can minimize using the card itself. Question anyone who asks for your social security card. Employers, banks, credit card companies and the department of motor vehicles are some of the few legitimate entities who may need your social security number. Never give it out online or in email.
6. Don’t use the same password everywhere
All your accounts need a password, but not the same one. Consider using an all-in-one password manager. If you choose this option make sure that you log out of the service when not in use. Get in the habit of locking your computer and shutting it off at night.
7. Beware of emails phishing for personal information
Be very wary of any email with a link that asks you to disclose your credit card details, username, password or social security number. These emails can look official but no bank, or other legitimate business, should email asking for this information.
8. Be Wi-Fi savvy and safe
Free Wi-Fi at coffee shops, libraries and restaurants make these great places to hang out and study. However, free comes at the cost of security. Unsecured networks create the risk of identity theft and other personal information being stolen. Make sure sites you visit use encryption software (website addresses start with https:// and usually display a lock in the browser address bar) to block identity thieves when using public Wi-Fi. Additionally, be careful to avoid using mobile apps that require credit card data or personal information on public Wi-Fi as there is no visible indicator of whether the app uses encryption. In general it’s best to conduct sensitive transactions on a secured private network or through your phone’s data network rather than public Wi-Fi.
Your college-bound teenager is more connected to their friends, and the world, through devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, than any generation before. Every day they like, tweet, text and share. As long as they use common sense and take a few precautions, their online world can be a safe one that provides value.

iovationAbout iovation
iovation protects online businesses and their end users against fraud and abuse through a combination of advanced device identification, shared device reputation and real-time risk evaluation. More than 3,000 fraud managers representing global retail, financial services, insurance, social network, gaming and other companies leverage iovation’s database of Internet devices and the relationships between them to determine the level of risk associated with online transactions. The company’s device reputation database is the world’s largest, used to protect more than 10 million transactions and stop an average of 200,000 fraudulent activities every day. The world’s foremost fraud experts share intelligence, cybercrime tips and online fraud prevention techniques in iovation’s Fraud Force Community, an exclusive virtual crime-fighting network. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It Starts At The Top: What Message Parents Are Sending To Their Kids

Do as I say - not as I do.

Yes, many parents are very good at this - however we are in a generation where this needs to stop.  Actions speak louder than words.

Are we sending our kids mixed messages?

What are you posting online that you would frown upon if your child decided to post?

We are trained and taught to monitor our children - but what many parent's forget is that our children are snooping on us!  Your keystrokes and photos matter!

The following video is provided by #TalkEarly:

#TalkEarly was created with a simple goal in mind: Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age. Follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The New Drug for Teens: Social Media

When you think of drugs, most think of cocaine, marijuana, crack, ecstasy, etc...

Years ago when Facebook hit the scene no one really knew what to expect from the website.

The site was exclusive to college students and allowed them to keep in touch with their friends at different colleges… and that’s it.

Fast forward to today and social media, which has grown far beyond just Facebook with the addition of websites like Twitter and YouTube, has become an addiction that doesn’t just encompass college students, it encompasses teens, parents, and grandparents alike. Even our pets have their own Facebook pages or Twitter accounts.

Don’t believe that social media is a metaphorical type of drug? Let’s compare.

1. It fills a self-imposed boredom: How many times have you heard someone say, “well I just get on to [Facebook, Twitter, etc.] when I’m bored”? People spend more time being “bored” than ever before. Instead of getting out and doing something we choose to spend our time inside on a computer checking up on other people’s lives and connecting with our friends through websites. Like a drug taking up all of our free time that could be spent doing something productive, instead we opt to fill our free time with social media.

2. It gives highs and lows: What about when you log onto a social media website and see that you have new notifications or connections? There is that instant high that someone has reached out to you publicly on a social media site. We crave social media popularity. It’s addicting. We need the gratification and we get jealous when we see other people are more popular and depressed when no one has tagged us in anything.
3. It’s used as a reward: Finish a project? Check Twitter. Write an article? Check Facebook. Check off items on a to-do list? Check blogs. We use social media as a reward for completing everyday tasks that deserve no reward, tasks that we should be doing because we are supposed to, not because it will allow us to reward ourselves with our next social media high.
4. It causes us to have withdrawals: Maybe the first time you noticed was when you sat at a stoplight and had to log onto your Facebook account from your phone… just to see if anything interesting was happening. Maybe it was when you couldn’t sit through dinner without tweeting something to your followers. Maybe it was the first time you got a pang of longing to log on because you weren’t around an internet. Whatever the cause, we suffer withdrawals from not being able to check in with our social media sites, just like drug addicts long for the next time they can get high.
5. It’s a tough addiction to break: As easy as it is to say that you aren’t addicted to social media as soon as you think about closing your accounts you’re probably met with that same fear that many people feel when faced with the thought of a life without it. How will you function since it’s become such an integral part of your life? Many of us have been addicted for so long that it would be incredibly difficult to make a clean break from the constant routine of checking our varying social media profiles.

Social media may not be illegal and it may not come with serious physical consequences, but it is an addiction that we are facing, and our teens are facing it in an even greater way because they’ve been inundated into the social media culture at a much earlier age than our generation of young and old adults were.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Look Up: Before You Have Regrets

'Look Up' - A spoken word film for an online generation.

'Look Up' is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Different Forms of Bullying

No parent wants to believe their child is a bully.

As the importance of preventing bullying and teaching kids to deal with torment from their peers is emphasized more and more in the media, it becomes apparent that today’s bullying bears little resemblance to the taunting and teasing that most parents were subjected to during their own childhood years. The modern bully wears many faces, and has an unprecedented level of access to the lives of those they hurt.

Here are seven forms of bullying that today’s children are exposed to on a regular basis.
  1. Cyber-Bullying – Bullies are able to take their insults, threats and hurtful words to a very public and thoroughly humiliating new level through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Status updates make it easy for an entire social group to view and even comment on cruelty, while more personal threats can be sent through private messaging. Blogging platforms can also be used to mount full-scale smear campaigns, making it almost impossible for victims to face their peers.
  2. “Frenemies” – While the word “frenemy,” a portmanteau of the words “friend” and “enemy,” can be traced back to a 1953 Nevada State Journal article, the concept is intimately familiar to modern tweens and teens. Girls in particular have started to accept backhanded compliments and blatant rivalry as traits of their associates. When more assertive girls use the force of their personality and the threat of revoked social standing to coerce other members of their peer group into doing or saying things against their will, it is absolutely a form of bullying and should be treated as such.
  3. Bullying By Authority Figures – Typically, bullying is considered to fall in the realm of children and their peer group. As a result, taunts, insults and derogatory comments made by mean-spirited teachers or overzealous athletic coaches typically go unchallenged. Taught to obey authority figures, meek and mild-mannered children may never report this behavior for fear of retribution or punishment.
  4. Physical Harassment – There’s nothing new about physical bullying; stronger kids have been known to lord their prowess over smaller peers since the beginning of time. Tougher punishments and penalties have simply forced these bullies to get more creative when doling out their abuse, rather than curtailing it.
  5. Exclusion and Ostracism – Teachers and counselors with good intentions can make every effort to stamp out physical and verbal harassment, but their hands are tied when it comes to exclusion. Children and adolescents simply can’t be forced to associate with someone they’ve deemed an outcast, and this ostracism can be more painful for the victims than physical punches and kicks.
  6. Verbal Harassment – Name-calling, teasing and making fun of a child’s appearance, wardrobe or any other area of perceived inferiority might have crept over into social media and text message wars, but that hasn’t diminished its face-to-face value. Though the old adage about sticks and stones makes for a catchy rhyme, it does little to comfort youngsters that are mercilessly taunted for one “failing” or another.
  7. Blackmail – When every tween and teen carries a phone that doubles as a camera, snapping photos that double as blackmail material is the work of a moment. The release, or even the mere threat of release, of an embarrassing picture can send kids into a panic; kids who willfully inflict this torment on a peer are a new breed of bully.
Shame and fear of revenge can keep children from telling even a trusted adult about what they’re suffering through, leaving them feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of shouldering the burden alone. Because children are so often reluctant to discuss bullying, parents and caregivers should be on the lookout for signs of depression, isolation and agitation, which can be indicators of emotional turmoil and distress.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Identity Theft and Your Security

Identity theft has become an increasing problem as our world shifts to being more online and mobile. Many people feel like there is no way to keep their information safe should someone want to steal it.

Is this the case, or are there things that you can do to make your information harder to steal?

These 18 blog entries touch on what you can do to protect your identity online, at work and when you are out and about living your life.

The press is doing an admirable job of bringing scams to light so that the public can be better informed and thus better able to protect sensitive information.

To learn what you need to know to keep your personal information safe, keep reading.

With more and more people shopping and banking online, keeping your information safe from thieves becomes both more important and more difficult. Avoid common or easy to guess passwords, as many times you are making the thief’s job easier. For more online safety tips, take a look at these six blog posts.
At Work
While your employer likely has their own security measures in place, you still need to make sure that you are keeping your personal information safe from hackers or other co-workers. When you go to a meeting make sure that your desk and computer are locked. Don’t get your personal e-mail on your work computer, as that information can stay in that computer, even if you delete it. To learn more important safeguards, read these six blog articles.
Out and About
If you pay for your gas and other snacks with a credit card that you can tap and go, you may want to stop using it. While it’s a convenient way to pay for things, it’s also an easy way for a thief to pick up the credit card number at the same time. When you are out for dinner and you pay the bill by sending your credit card with the waiter, you may want to keep an eye on him. Specialized equipment designed to steal credit card numbers in a hurry have been found in various restaurants. Check out these six blog articles and learn more about identity theft scams going on today and how to avoid becoming a victim.
Source: Nanny Website

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

By danah boyd

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

Order on Amazon today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Teaching Our Kids to Be Upstanders

Bullying and cyberbullying is a topic that everyone is concerned about.

With over 1 million teens that were harassed on Facebook last year, another study showed that 90% of teens have witnessed their peers bullying other kids and have done nothing about it.

This is why it is imperative we educate our kids to become upstanders.

10 Tips from School Climate:

  1. Learn more about mean, cruel, and bullying behavior. Educate yourself and your community with the resources on For example: Why do kids bully? Where does bullying take place most often in your school? What are the effects of bullying? How can we prevent it? Understanding this information will help you if you are bullied, and will help you to stand up to bullies if a friend or classmate is being bullied.
  2. Help others who are being bullied. Be a friend, even if this person is not yet your friend. Go over to them. Let them know how you think they are feeling. Walk with them. Help them to talk to an adult about what just happened. (Just think for a moment about how great this would be if someone did this for you when you were being picked on or hurt!)
  3. Stop untrue or harmful messages from spreading online or in person. If someone sends a message or tells you a rumor that you know is untrue, stand up and let the person know it is wrong. Think about how you would feel if someone spread an untrue rumor about you. Don’t laugh, send the message on to friends, or add to the story. Make it clear that you do not think that kind of behavior is cool or funny.
  4. Get friends involved. Share this site (and other related sites) with friends. Let people know that you are an upstander and encourage them to be one too. Sign the Stand Up Pledge, and make it an everyday commitment for you and your friends.
  5. Make friends outside of your circle. Eat lunch with someone who is alone. Show support for a person who is upset at school, by asking them what is wrong or bringing them to an adult who can help.
  6. Be aware of the bullying and upstander policies at your school and keep it in mind when you witness bullying. What are the school’s bully prevention policies? Are there also policies that “catch” kids “being good”? How can you support school rules and codes of conduct support students and adults doing the right thing? If there isn’t a policy, get involved or ask teachers or front office staff to speak about how you can reduce bullying.
  7. Welcome new students. If someone is new at your school, make an effort to introduce them around and make them comfortable. Imagine how you would feel leaving your friends and coming to a new school.
  8. Refuse to be a “bystander” and be a role model to others instead! If you see friends or classmates laughing along with the bully, tell them that they are contributing to the problem. Let them know that kind of behavior is not okay in your school.
  9. Respect others' differences and help others to respect differences. It’s cool for people to be different—that’s what makes all of us unique. Join a diversity club at school to help promote tolerance in your school.
  10. Develop an Upstander/ Prevention program or project with a teacher or principal’s support that will help reduce bullying and promote socially responsible behavior in school. Bring together a team of students, parents and teachers who are committed to preventing bullying, and create a community-wide project to raise awareness, share stories and develop helpful supports. Learn more about how to start an Upstander Alliance at and access free support to sustain your team.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Girl Talk: Honest Chat with Your Daughters

Let's face it, raising girls today is not easy. 

Combine it with puberty, technology and peer pressure and we can quickly loose our mind!

Recently launched by author  and tween expert, Sarah Burningham, Girl to Girl: Honest Talk About GROWING UP and Your CHANGING BODY is a guide to help parents and girls understand and open lines of communication to what is going on in their lives!

Being a girl isn't always easy, and growing up is far from a walk in the park. This time of transition is particularly confusing without a confidante to help.

Sarah O'Leary Burningham is like a real-life big sister here to coach preteens through all of life's big moments, from first bras to first periods.

Filled with letters and testimonials from real girls—as well as confidence-boosting advice and myth-busting sidebars—this fun, accessible, and highly visual book is a must-have for every girl navigating her way through the preteen years.

Order on Amazon.