Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

How Do You Know Your Child Isn’t Having Sex?   Leave a comment

young couple
IS YOUR CHILD HAVING SEX? ARE YOU SURE???
The truth is that we really don’t know. Especially if we’ve never talked to them about it. Friends, I hate to say this, but Middle School and High School students all over are engaging in sexual activity.
This is about having “the talk” with your children. Quite honestly, there are about 500 painful things I would rather do than talk to my children about sex. I’m sure you’re right there with me. It’s important, though. Our children need to hear from us, their parents, about the correct information about sex and casual hookups can lead to a lifetime of pain. They definitely should not be hearing what the entertainment industry (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) thinks they should learn about sex. If you think your son or daughter is too young to learn the truth about sex, think again…If they watch TV, go to the movies or read magazines, they are learning about sex. But, is is what they should be learning?
Here are a few things to ponder:

  • Among kids ages 15 to 17, 44% of boys and 39% of girls have engaged in some kind of sexual activity with an opposite-sex partner. (CDC)
  • Although 73% of mothers tell researchers they’ve talked with their teenager about sex, only 46% of teens strongly agreed they had. (Girls Uncovered)
  • More than 80% of parents who have sexually active teenagers know that their kids have had intercourse, but only 45% of parents whose teens said they’ve had oral sex knew it. (USA Today)

Again, although these are things we would probably not like to know, those statistics you have just read show alarming reasons why we parents need to have “the talk”. And not just the “mechanics” talk. We need to have the “I am concerned about how our culture says that casual hook ups are ok/you don’t find your identity in how you look and how good you make someone else feel/I am going to fight for you to have a healthy mental state, healthy attitude about sex, and have a disease free future” talk about sex. It’s not teaching our kids about remaining a “technical” virgin until marriage. It’s about deciding to live a pure life so that our kids don’t have to worry about engaging in dangerous, casual sex hookups and the emotional and physical damage that can happen from them. It’s so important for our kids to know that their identity comes from their creator and not from what some boy or girl thinks about them because they won’t give in to the pressure bestowed upon them.

Check out what the February 2013 issue of “The ParentLink” from Group Publishing says about our “hookup culture”:

happy_couple_2TACKLE THE LIES OF OUR HOOKUP CULTURE
Casual encounters have replaced dating among many young people, as glamorized in movies such as Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. These promiscuous “hookups” accentuate the devil’s diabolical skills:

  • Mental impact—Satan uses the false promises of promiscuity as a primary temptation to overcome a low self-image: “If you can get a guy or girl to sleep with you, it proves you aren’t as [ugly, fat, awkward, unpopular, generally undesirable] as you think you are.”
  • Physical impact—God created sexual foreplay and intercourse as a celebration of unity between a man and woman who’ve vowed to stay together forever. But the devil flaunts sex as just something physically fun to do—a recreational pastime with no downside.
  • Spiritual impact—Satan promises relationship through physical intimacy but leaves us with only wounds and damage to our ability to be in relationship with God and others.

The hookup culture is so enticing that conventional approaches to helping kids avoid its traps are nearly useless. Young people need to hear about positive relationships, about how God treasures them as his children, and about his limitless forgiveness.

It’s probably wise to think about the following questions to ask yourself before you have “the talk”:
  • How has the hookup culture affected your kids’ attitudes about sexuality? How has it affected your views?
  • For you, what’s the most challenging aspect of discussing sexuality with your teenagers?
  • What’s the most important message you’d like to convey to your kids about sexuality—and how can you do that?

Lauren Surprenant, a ministry director for Youth for Christ, suggests these redemptive approaches to engaging with young people on the topic of sex:

  • 65e27476Ignore the awkwardness. Instead, open your mouth and start talking. Kids may giggle, but they’ll still talk to you. So be adult enough to tackle the topic. You won’t be a magnet for tough questions until you’ve proven you can navigate choppy waters.
  • Be “for,” not against. Rescuing kids from the hookup culture is centrally about being for the beauty and power of a redeemed relationship with God.
  • Move from the givens of promiscuity to the starting point of “asexuality.” Calling kids into a commitment to asexual behavior (no sex) generates more interest and discussion than does the use of churchy words. The asexual standard isn’t simply targeted at intercourse. If kids wouldn’t want Grandma watching them do something, then it isn’t “asexual.”
  • Cancel the condemnation. Share the good news of the redemption behind Jesus’ sacrifice. No matter how destructive and repugnant the behavior, it isn’t an impediment to God’s grace and mercy.
  • Speak the Truth. If teenagers are turning to sex to fill their God-shaped hole, then they haven’t yet discovered their place in that epic adventure. Remind them that they’re in the story.

A Template for “The Talk”

Expert Insights for Parents of Teenagers

By Lauren Surprenant

Use this guide for discussing sexual choices with teenagers. Also pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the words he wants you to say to your kids.

young love 1

  • I’m not going to preach at you; I just want to help you understand the long-term ramifications of sex-too-soon with someone besides your spouse.
  • First, you could get pregnant—and you won’t be on a TV show that pays all your bills. Having a baby won’t provide you with someone who will love you unconditionally. (If that’s what you want, get a dog.) If you’re a girl, look at your relationship with your mother; for boys, look at your father. You’ll be just like her (or him), and your child will be just like you. Your child will always have greater struggles, and your life will be over because you’ll exist for your child. And if you think using birth control will prevent these consequences, you’re wrong.
  • Next, consider the impact of intimacy and how your sexual involvement will impact your future spouse. The level of intimacy you have with your sexual partner should enhance a life-time commitment. When you save that treasure for the soul mate you marry, sex isn’t a heat-of-the- moment act but a true expression of love. When you hookup as a teenager, however, you will be having an awkward conversation later with the person you’d like to marry—and that could be a deal-breaker.
  • Premarital sexual involvement also leads to drama and damaged reputations. Don’t give people “something to talk about.” And don’t do stuff that will come back to haunt you in the future.
  • Finally, remember that Jesus sees you as wholesome, valued, and pure. He knows what’s best for you, so consider trusting him by doing things his way. Step away from “sex too soon” and live a life of purity, repenting and walking away from sin.

(Group magazine)

Holding_Hands
I close with this thought – If God were to give you an item, say a really cool watch or something, and He said “I want you to take special care of this. I am sharing it with you, but you need to follow my directions in taking care of. Don’t let it get dirty, and don’t break it. I need it stay as new as it looks now. Someday I will come for it and give it to someone else, someone very special who will then take care of it for you”, wouldn’t you treat it like the priceless gift it is and follow God’s instructions to the letter? That’s what He did with our children. They are not ours. They are His and we are charged to take care of them in any way we can until the day comes that He gives them to their bride or groom. That just might mean having an uncomfortable talk with them.

Posted February 27, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, General, Main

Mom Gives Her 13-Year-Old Son An iPhone For Christmas — Plus An 18-point Contract To Go With It   Leave a comment

From Zagg.com and huffingtonpost.com

In this day and age, it’s more and more common to see a teenager with a smartphone. Prices on devices have dropped in recent years, and the monthly service reasonably affordable, too.

electronics_teen-on-cellphone_146801320-thumb-240xauto-4970One mom, Jannel Burley Hofmann, bought her 13-year old son Gregory an iPhone for Christmas, and wrote the following letter / contract to accompany his gift. So check out her letter to him and let us know what you think: is she being perfectly fair and reasonable? Too controlling and restrictive?

“12/25/2012

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.   If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I love you.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

xoxoxo

Mom”

Posted January 20, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, Music, School, Technology

5 Things Our Kids Will Wish They Had Done Differently   Leave a comment

I do this…I find myself asking, “what if I had done this differently?” It’s not that I’m not happy with the way things have turned out. I don’t want a different “now”. I love my “now”. But I do wish I had acted different in other situations in my life, like treating people better, acting in better ways, saying different things.
I stumbled upon this blog post from R. Eric Tippin over at  theinksociety.net. I think us parents can take what he wrote to his fellow millennials and use it to guide our children.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

BY R. ERIC TIPPIN
NOVEMBER 28, 2012

 

Eric is a freelance writer, a reader and a man. He blogs at The Ink Society and tweets on Twitter@rerictippin.

It’s never fun when you are young to think about growing old and feeble. That time of life seems ages away, hazy and irrelevant to twenty-somethings in the prime of life and health. Alas, the truth remains, unless the FDA approves a magical elixir of youth and wonder, we have no option but to age, lose our hair and hearing and start using words like, “youngsters” and “fiddlesticks.” But, when sinful humans with consciences age, they accumulate something other than wrinkles—namely, regrets. Inevitably, we who are young will someday be old and look back to younger days and say, “Fiddlesticks! I regret some things about my life as a youngster (coughing fit).” Though these regrets are an inevitable part of being human, they can be predicted and, with a little determination, limited. The hope is that, years from now, when you are sipping V8, playing Bocce Ball, wearing a knit cardigan and reminiscing with your friends in “the home,” you never find yourself saying any of the following:
1. “Most of my spare time was sacrificed to social media.”
Collectively, Americans spend 100,000 years on Facebook every month. (Don’t tell Einstein, but it looks like the space-time continuum has been broken.) That means the average Facebook user chooses to spend six and a half hours of his or her month feeding Zuckerberg’s chubby brain child. Add Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites and multiple days of the year disappear like Facebook’s stock value in May. These are lost days that could be spent learning an instrument, writing, cooking experimentally, praying or even having coffee with an old friend.
TIME WASTED NOW WILL BE TIME REGRETTED LATER.
Undoubtedly there are exciting, constructive uses for Facebook, Twitter and the other platforms, but there is a colossal difference between building relationships through social media and replacing them with social media. When you’ve spent twenty minutes on Facebook, are you satisfied deeply and are your relationships strengthened or are you just letting it fill the passing time—one of our most precious resources? Because time wasted now will be time regretted later.
2. “I knew more about celebrities than I did about my neighbors.”
Many people will protest this. “Tabloids make me nauseous!” and from the more dramatic “I’d rather die than follow Taylor Swift’s ‘love’ life!” But even if you distance yourself from the 3 billion dollar tabloid industry, you cannot escape “celebrity.” For in its pure sense, it has only to do with popularity among the masses, and, in the information age celebrities abound—celebrities of sport, celebrities of entertainment, celebrities of politics and even celebrities of the church. As with social media, the institution of celebrity in itself is not sinful or inherently bad, but, like social media, it demands that its followers invest large swaths of their time in order to feel connected. There are two troubles with this: (Run away! A list within a list!)
a. Much of the information learned about celebrities will prove untrue or irrelevant within your lifetime.
b. The relationship with a celebrity is one way and two-dimensional. In other words, you have no opportunity to affect their lives, only observe them.
Most of the time, it is simply not worth your time. Celebrities are people, and it is natural to wish to invest in people—especially pretty people. But why not take the advice of that frantic man on YouTube to, “Leave Britney alone!” and invest that time and effort in our neighbors and classmates. Make someone down the street your new “celebrity,” and change their lives.
3. “I was so set on buying things, I never got the pleasure of making them.”
We are the generation of pre-made pie crusts, instant streaming music, ready-made suppers, waterless shampoo, faux taps bugles, prewashed jeans and even click and grow plants. In many ways it is simply glorious. A colorful and reasonably edible dinner can be cooked and eaten in fifteen minutes so there is more time to apply pre-painted pres-on nails while watching the Do it Yourself (DIY) Network and sharing delicious recipe ideas on Pinterest.
In all this instantity we find ourselves falsely assuming the only reason for doing something is finishing it. But there is another truth that has obviously been shoved behind the microwave: The process of making something can be enjoyable and deeply satisfying. Ironically, we have more opportunity than any of our ancestors to “make for pleasure” and our conveniences make this possible. Instant dinners and dishwashers can make for longer evenings of carpentry, song composition, beer brewing or novel writing. If we pass up this unique privilege history has given us, we may be sorry.
4. “I wasted my life entertaining myself.”
The key word here is self; what Dickens called the, “Grasping, eager, narrow-ranging, overreaching self.” As long as we are preoccupied with self-entertaining, we have little time for reflection on the needs of other people. And—because of a little invention called the computer chip—our available self-entertainment options are stunning. The gaming industry pulls in 10.5 billion dollars of revenue each year. Video games hold no charm for you? How about the 1.3 billion dollar romance novel industry or the 2.2 billion dollar college football industry? Now, the problem here is not video games, college football or romance novels, it is a matter of math. We have manufactured hundreds of new ways to spend our time, but found no substantial way of increasing that time. Every moment of our lives, we will be faced with the choice of self and selflessness. If we indulge the former, our lives will be wasted.
“LIVE LIKE YOU WERE AN EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD WITH A TIME MACHINE.”
5. “I never found time to be quiet.”
Little needs to be said here, especially if this is being read aloud. Our lives are full of noises: humming refrigerators, buzzing lights, dripping coffee pots, roaring interstates, pumping earbuds, ringing phones, and chattering televisions. It is difficult to escape all this constant droning noise, but we need just that. And when we do, we’ll realize that silence isn’t really very silent after all; it only hushes bigger voices so we can hear the small. God spoke in a “still small voice” at least once before. Let’s not miss it when he does again.
It seems like every other singer-songwriter on the radio charges us to, “Live like you are dying,” But it might be more helpful—if less catchy—for them to sing, “Live like you were an eighty-year-old with a time machine.” Or “Don’t let the old you scold you.” Our generation has unprecedented opportunities for excellence and unprecedented temptations toward mediocrity. Let’s go for excellence and make our future crusty old selves proud.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Parents, are we going to be content content with letting our kids speed through life forgetting the important things? Are we content with speeding through life forgetting the important things?
Peace, Greg

Posted January 7, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, General

Snapchat app – Why Parents need to be very concerned   Leave a comment

Parents – Here is just another reason why you NEED to know what is on your child’s phone. The newest, hottest social media app is Snapchat. It’s an app that allows users to take a picture, add some text if they want, and send it off. When the recipient receives it, the picture deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it has been seen.

For those of you I know personally – Some of your children are using this app. I added this app to my phone and it tells you what contacts in your phone are using this app. Some of your children’s names popped up. I am no going to divulge who those young people are. That is something you need to investigate and talk with your children about. (By the way, the same holds true for Instagram – Your children are using this app too.) Facebook is full of requests from our young people to “Snapchat me”.

snapchat-500

What is this picture, taken from Snapchat’s website implying?

My first thought after hearing about this app was “Well, that’s stupid. Why would that appeal to anyone?” That thought lasted about as long as a person can view a Snapchat picture sent to them. My next thought was this app is just begging for people to send nude photos of themselves. I’m sure the Snapchat user’s thought process goes like this: “What could be more perfect? Take a naked picture of myself, send it to ___________ (fill in the blank of the person to be impressed by said picture), he/she will be impressed and like me. Life will be great because photo will automatically deleted and I will be considered cool because I’m giving him/her what he/she wants. This is awesome!”

Ad for Snapchat from a college website

sexting-480x330

This thought process couldn’t be more wrong, and this is why we need to stay vigilant as parents in keeping up on what our kids are doing. We MUST keep reminding them that what they do online will be there forever no matter what they read or hear.

Snap chat arms immature minors (there are no age restrictions) with an easy way to send photos of themselves and others that could have long lasting consequences past the 1 to 10 second timer on the app.

Although an interview with Snap Chat’s CEO, explains that sexting is not the motivation of the app the FAQs say something completely different:

According to Snapchat’s 22-year-old co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, “it doesn’t actually make sense for sexting. Because you see the photo for, what, three seconds?”
Snapchat photos don’t last very long.

From Snapchat’s FAQs:

IS THERE ANY WAY TO VIEW AN IMAGE AFTER THE TIME HAS EXPIRED?
No, snaps disappear after the timer runs out. You can save snaps that you capture by pressing the save button on the preview screen.

WHAT IF I TAKE A SCREENSHOT?
Screenshots can be captured if you’re quick. The sender will be notified immediately.

Yes, anyone can take a screen shot if they are quick enough, and as we can see by watching our kids text, they can be very nimble with their fingers. Even though the sender is notified if a screen shot is taken, it doesn’t matter. The damage is done. A digital photo can be taken of the phone when a Snapchat image is received. Then, the sender doesn’t even know that the image was captured.

Those pictures could be sent around faster than you can imagine, ruining a young persons reputation in a matter of minutes.

Snapchat’s main feature is definitely implying a false sense of security. Their privacy policy states that they “cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case” and “Messages, therefore are sent at the risk of the user”. So, theoretically, if a child were to send an inappropriate photo through Snapchat, the image could be floating around on their servers even after the photo has been deleted from the recipient’s phone. How do we know that we can trust Snapchat employees to respect their users’ privacy? The answer is: We can’t. And the consequences can be disturbing, with parasite porn sites stealing and spreading images and videos of young people, and tragic tales of victims like Amanda Todd, who was bullied so badly over images of her that were shared over the net that she commited suicide. (Taken from Nakedsecurity.sophos.com)

As you can see from Appdata.com, as of today, Snapchat ranks 2nd in photo sharing apps.

top photo app stats

Snap chat is currently sharing more than 10 million images a day.

Parents, as you can imagine, Snapchat would allow a child or teen to send nude photos to their friends without fear of becoming the laughing stock of the school or ending up on a porn site, but we should expect more from our children. We should expect them to make good decisions for themselves, regardless of how easy technology makes it from them to do otherwise. My hope is that you will take this knowledge and use it to leverage your vigilance at home. Keep an eye out for this app on your child’s mobile device. If you see that they’ve downloaded it, chances are it’s time to sit down and have a serious conversation about the consequences of sexting.

(Sources: Yoursphere.com, Nakedsecurity.sophos.com)

Posted December 4, 2012 by sotpyouth in Bullying, Family, General, Media, School, Technology

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 3   Leave a comment

Here is part 3 on my Instagram series for parents. This time with some more information on privacy settings.

You can read Part 1 and 2 here:

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 1

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 2

***Please note that this article only talks of instagram in terms of Ipod and Iphone. It is an Android product as well, and now profiles and comments can be viewed on the web***

Instagram – Is It Okay for Kids? What Parents Need to Know

 | February 8, 2012 |yoursphere.com

In many ways, and without reinventing the wheel, Instagram is changing the way people share photos with each other. The mobile app, which is only available on the iPhone, is steadily growing in popularity among the kid and teen crowds, causing parents to take notice and ask, what exactly is Instagram, and is there anything I should be worried about?

Just like with any social sharing application, there are a few things parents need to know about Instagram and how their teen may be using it, so the Yoursphere for Parents editorial team did the research. But first, what is Instagram?

What Is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing mobile app that’s (currently) only available on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Users can either upload a photo from their device’s library or take a photo right then and there and use Instagram to change the way the photo looks.

The user then has the option to simultaneously upload this photo to a number of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare, depending on which ones they sync to their Instagram account. The photo will also be uploaded to the Instagram community where people can like and comment on it.

In many ways, Instagram is a photo-sharing social network on its own. Users have a profile with the option to fill out information such as first and last name, username, birthday, gender, bio, email address and phone number. Popular photos from all over the world are shared under the “Popular” tab, and every user has the option to follow other Instagram users and vice versa.

The idea behind Instagram is simple, really. And they execute it so beautifully. But just like with any social sharing application, there are some privacy and concerning content issues that can ruin the Instagram experience for a family with kids and younger teens.

What Parents Need To Know

Privacy

The only information required when signing up for Instagram is an email address and desired username. Though they ask for a phone number, it’s very clear during sign up that this is optional, so please consider your privacy or your teen’s privacy before entering a phone number here.

The single most important thing to realize is that, by default, anyone can view the photos that you upload to Instagram. In other words, your profile and your photos are publicly viewable unless you tell it otherwise. If you only want your followers to see your photos, then you need to set your profile to private by following these steps:

  1. Go to your profile page (tap the Profile tab)
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the Profile page, where you’ll see a “Photos are private” switch
  3. Toggle the “Photos are private” switch to ON to turn on privacy.

Once you set your profile to private, anyone who wants to see your photos will need to be your friend/follower first, meaning they’ll have to send a request and you’ll have to approve.

Geotagging

During the process of uploading a photo, the geo-location data of the photo you’re uploading can
easily be shared with your followers if you’re not careful. Fortunately, Instagram turns geotagging off by default, but it’s easy to accidently turn it on.

When uploading a photo, be sure to avoid tapping the button shown in this screenshot. If you do, you can always tap it again to turn it off. This is just something to be aware of as geotagging is a huge risk to you and your teen’s privacy online. You can learn more about how geotagging works,here.

Age-Appropriateness

Instagram is not for children under the age of 13, and in my opinion, not suitable for slightly older teens, either. If you’re 12 years old, there isn’t even a 1999 year to choose when signing up. Instagram has strict Terms of Useand Community Guidelines that make their age requirement clear. Also, there’s an obvious connection between Instagram and other adult-intended social networks like Facebook and Twitter.


Blocking and Reporting Users and Content

While there are tools for reporting/blocking users and inappropriate content, know that people will, and do upload nude photos. In fact, the editorial team found a multitude of bestiality photos in less than one minute when searching for friends. It’s a sad fact, and another commonsense reason that you shouldn’t allow your children to use Instagram. If you are an Instagram user, they provide easy-to-use tools to block or report someone. The steps below show you how:

Blocking a user –

  1. Navigate to their profile page (tap Profile > Search Instagram > Names and usernames, then search for and tap on their username).
  2. Tap the button in the top right corner of the screen (gear icon).
  3. Tap “Block user” to prevent the user from viewing your account.

           

The same steps can be followed to report a user, in addition to giving a reason why you’re reporting them.

Reporting a photo –

  1. Tap the “…” below the photo you would like to report and then “Flag for review”
  2. Select the proper reason for reporting from the list and, if prompted, a short description.

              

NOTE: All flags are anonymous and go directly to Instagram.

—————————————————————————————————

So, parents, do you use Instagram? Does your teen? If so, have you or they encountered any privacy, bullying or content issues like we did?  As I said at the outset, Instagram does a simple and fantastic job of letting us do some very fun and creative things with our photos. Frankly, in my opinion, it’s a shame that others ruin what should be enjoyed by you and your family.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And remember, there are plenty of apps out there, just like there are plenty of social networks out there that were made FOR your children, and with their privacy in mind. And though it’s a wonderful app that enhances the way we share photos, Instagram is not one of them.

I hope you have found this series useful. I can’t stress enough how important it is to know what your kids are doing when online. It’s important to understand that online doesn’t mean sitting in front of a computer. If they have a smart phone, they can be online anywhere. For their safety, please know what they are doing.

Peace,

Greggor

Posted November 30, 2012 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, School, Technology

Tagged with , , ,

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 2   1 comment

Continuing on with Instagram for Parents – Info for Parents Series

I hope you found part one informative. If you didn’t read it yet, you can find it here:

Instagram for Parents – Info For Parents – Part 1

Here is another article on Instagram that I found interesting:

Instagram: What parents need to know

By  Washingtonpost.com

Business news today is dominated by Instagram, a quirky photo sharing application. Facebook has announced it’s buying the start-up used by 30 million people in a deal worth about a billion dollars in cash and shares.

Some of the most prolific users of Instagram are teens. Using their iPads and smart phones, they snap photos, embellish them and share them with friends.


Instagram is a hit with teens. (Karly Domb Sadof – AP)

A 16-year-old writing for the teen-produced site Radical Parenting detailed in a recent post why she and her friends are addicted to Instagram. Perhaps the biggest reason the application is such a hit with teens, as the writer mentions, is that it offers an outlet for that abundant need teens have for self-expression.

The purchase by Facebook is likely to make Instagram that much more popular. So, it might be a good time for a parental primer.

The folks at Yoursphere For Parents, a group that provides Internet safety information, recently gathered some helpful tips to better supervise this digital playground.

First, it’s important to know that photos uploaded on Instagram can, by default, be viewed by anyone, anywhere. There’s also an option to share the photo location, which may be of concern if a parent would rather not have a child broadcast his whereabouts.

Also, Instagram, like Facebook, is not supposed to be used by children under 13. Images are usually cute or artistic, but there are also nude photos and disturbing images to be found.

The application requires an account sign-on, which includes entering a birth date, but many parents have already found that tech-savvy kids easily overcome this obstacle.

Also, like so many digital gathering places, Instagram has been used for cyber-bullying.

The Yourshpere editors make it clear that it’s not the application itself that is necessarily a problem — and the Radical Parenting writer offers a glimpse at how teens are using it to explore their artistry.

Still, a certain level of supervision is advised.

Do your kids use Instagram? How? Do you monitor their use?

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Coming tomorrow…greggor

Posted November 28, 2012 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, School, Technology

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10 Building Blocks of a Happy Family   Leave a comment

From Jim Burns over at http://www.homeword.com/
Over the past few years more and more youth workers talk with me about family issues in the church as well as their own family problems. I spent much of my youth ministry career studying kids and families in crisis and just a few years ago I started asking the question, “Are there any happy families out there?” I ended up doing a two-year study of traits of healthy families. I came up with 10 traits or what I like to call building blocks for a happy family. As a youth worker one of your jobs is the help families succeed. A majority of youth workers, also, now have families of their own. For me there may not be a more important part of my job than to focus on my own family as well as bring positive Christ-honoring input to families in the church. 

Most parents are doing a good job of parenting – but don’t realize it. All parents should understand that there are no perfect families. I know for sure that mine isn’t! Likewise, there is no perfect parenting method. Still, my wife Cathy and I have settled on what we believe to be the ten essential ingredients for building and maintaining a happy family. Here they are presented in an “overview” form. For a more in-depth look at these issues, you may find my book (by the same name) helpful! 

  1. Be there for your kids. Your children regard your presence as a sign of caring and connectedness (even when they don’t seem to do so!) Presence provides kids with a greater sense of security than almost any other quality parents can offer.

  • Express affection, warmth and encouragement. Families with a sense of A.W.E. – as opposed to shame-based parenting – is a home where children and spouses will feel more secure.

  • Build healthy morals and values. The decisions kids make today will often affect them for the rest of their lives. Parents have significant powers of influence – through modeling and teaching – over the morals and values their kids carry into adulthood!

  • Discipline with consistency. Clearly expressed expectations and consistent follow-through produce responsible kids. Make your goal of discipline one of teaching kids responsibility not evoking obedience.

  • Ruthlessly eliminate stress. The unbalanced life will not be kind to the areas we neglect. Parents must make the difficult decisions of reducing the effect of our culture’s breathless pace on their family.

  • Communication is key. Positive communication is the language of love for our children. Parents must take the initiative to set the tone for family communication – which includes the important skill of listening.

  • Play is necessary for a close-knit family. There is nothing like play to bring about family togetherness and communication. Play builds family memories, reduces family stress and produces support and affirmation.

  • Love your spouse. A loving marriage brings hope and security to your children. At times, this means putting your spouse’s needs ahead of your children’s needs.

  • Let your life reflect the understanding that the best things in life are not things. Healthy stewardship and financial decisions produce positive family priorities.

  • Energize your family’s spiritual growth. Your greatest calling in life is to leave a spiritual legacy for your children. Pay close attention to your own spiritual health and model a healthy spirituality for your family.

Posted August 1, 2012 by sotpyouth in Family

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo