Archive for the ‘Teenagers’ Category

Articles

Kids and technologies: 6 basic tips to bear in mind

In Security,Teenagers,Uncategorized on January 3, 2012 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Published by Ana Etxebarria

Continuing our series of articles on children and new technologies, today we give you some simple tips to make sure your children stay safe on the Internet.

Last week I posted an article describing two different approaches to parenting in the digital age: controlling and permissive; and despite I am clearly in favor of the latter approach, I am also aware that you cannot lower your guard when dealing with Internet risks.

I still believe that interaction on the Internet is not very different from real-world interaction, and people who manage well in real life do at least equally well in the virtual world. In any event, I must admit the online world may pose additional risks due to the Internet’s immunity and anonymity.

How can you help your children deal with that threat?

  1. Just as you know about your children’s friends, you better also know who your child contacts on the Internet.
  2. Keep an eye on how much time your children spend online, including other points of Internet access too, like smartphones and gaming consoles.
  3. Just as you teach your children never to talk to strangers or accept gifts from them, remind them never to physically meet anyone they’ve only become friends with online. If they decide to meet a cyber-friend in person, go with them.
  4. Talk to kids about the types of information they post online and how it can impact their reputation and future. Kids can unknowingly give out personal details about their life that could be maliciously used… And embarrassing and inappropriate photos and comments can stay with you forever.
  5. Teach them to be cautious with giving too much personal information, such as their location, their parents’ working hours, hobbies, etc. The less potential ‘unfriends’, the better.
  6. As Facebook makes frequent changes to its privacty policy, it is a good idea to sit with your kids and check out their online profiles with them. Pay special attention to their privacy settings and which messages, photos and personal details are accesible to whom.

Are you comfortable monitoring your child’s online world? What are your family’s technology ground rules?

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Articles

Social media, teens and parents… Friends?

In Security,Teenagers,Uncategorized on December 28, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , , , ,

Published by Ana Etxebarria

Social media has become an extension of the high school playground for the vast majority of teenagers, with its share of flirting, drama, cruelty and flashes of maturity.

In addition, electronic behavior has become a new frontier of parenting and, as a result, our own behavior may be changing as fast as our kids. We’re watching them more closely, talking to them more about online activities and understanding that social media has become part of growing up.

Friends

Friends

Another surprising fact is that 80 percent of parents who use social media (and who also have a child who uses social media) have friended their child on these sites.

This ‘friendship’ poses a dilemma for parents, who have to choose between being controlling parents who check which websites their children have visited, use parental control software, etc, or permissive parents who don’t embrace the trend to monitor and encourage their children’s autonomy.

According to recent studies, only a small percentage of parents (about 15 percent) consciously avoid monitoring their children’s online activities because they trust them. In my opinion that is an incredibly low figure.

I am a mother of three and I belong to a generation where social interaction between children took place in the playground. Well, let my tell you something: back then parents also fell into one of the aforementioned two categories. There were those who didn’t trust their children despite in some cases not having a reason for not doing so, and those who trusted them. Luckily, my parents belonged to the latter group although I had close friends whose parents showed an incredibly high level of distrust towards them.

So, if you think you know your children well enough, there is good communication between you and them, you are a good role model for them, and there is no reason to the contrary…Why not trust your kids? Why are we so worried and why some of us get so intrusive?

Not so long ago a friend of mine told me that they had installed some sort of ‘spyware’ (I can’t find a better word for it) on their 11-year-old son’s computer and they monitor every step he takes online: the games he plays, the sites he visits, the time he spends on each page, the photos he downloads, who he chats with, the content of his conversations, etc. Isn’t it terrible? That’s like reading someone’s journal, tapping their phone lines or hiding cameras in every room in their apartment.

Do you monitor your child’s social media activities? Do you use parental controls? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your opinions or personal experiences.

Articles

Protect the online privacy of teenagers

In Security,Teenagers,Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 by tecnologyantivirus Tagged: , , , ,

Posted by Ana Etxebarria

When my oldest daughter turned 13, she got a brand new smartphone, signed up for Facebook and Pandora and went on an apps downloading spree. At the same time, my brand new teen lost many protections over her privacy online.
The online games she plays know her location at any given moment through her phone’s GPS technology.

She’s given my VISA card number to buy apps, iTunes has our family’s email address and everyone’s full names and Facebook knows her birth date and the school she goes to…

At an age at when I still don’t let her go to the shopping center by herself or open the door to strangers, she has a growing dossier about her habits, likes and dislikes, etc.  accumulating on the Web. And even though laws have been passed that protect the youngest of Internet users from giving away much information about themselves, once children become teens, the same privacy rules no longer apply.

Leaving aside the laws that regulate these aspects, experts on adolescent development say youths between 13 and 18 deserve special attention, and teenagers are among the most voracious and precocious users of new Internet services, constantly making grown-up decisions with grown-up consequences. However, as experts say ‘Their ability to make decisions is still forming and clearly different from that of adults.”

With few restraints, teens are creating digital records that also build their reputation offline. All the status updates, tweets and check-ins to specific locations can be reviewed by prospective employers, insurance companies and universities.

Despite Internet companies say personal data can be collected only with permission and parents can set security controls on phones and computers, the Web offers so many opportunities to share information online that teens just don’t stop to think about the consequences.

Anyway, don’t think this is something of the future. It’s the present and it’s here to stay. Becoming a controlling, paranoid mother won’t help either, as they will still have endless possibilities to access the Internet. Therefore, once again I think that the only way to get rid of these fears is to educate teenagers about the dangers posed by the online world as we have been doing forever in the offline world.

How to do this? By helping them make thoughtful decisions, giving them the confidence to turn to you if they make a mistake, and having first-hand knowledge of those sites, games and apps they love so much.

What do you think?