Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Watch this- Please implore your kids not to text and drive…   Leave a comment

It’s getting worse, or maybe I’m noticing it more now that it’s illegal. On any given day, I see numerous people either slyly, or blatantly texting, or being on their phone. Usually it’s an inconvenience to me, due to someone not noticing the light change and I have to sit through another red light.

Liz Mark’s story really struck me. Although your kid texting while driving might inconvenience me, it could change your family forever.

Please watch Liz Mark’s Texting and Driving Story and talk to your driving age children about it. – Greg

Posted April 6, 2015 by sotpyouth in General, Media, Technology

10 Things Teens Won’t Tell You   Leave a comment

10 things teens won’t tell you

Published: Aug 16, 2014 8:11 a.m. ET

The secret and costly life of the American teenager

Chip Wass

1. America will look a lot different when we grow up.

Like every generation of adolescents, today’s teens have habits that are utterly unfamiliar to their parents. The roughly 25 million Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 grew up with Facebook and Netflix. They’re more likely to hang out at Chipotle and Starbucks, and less likely to hang out at the mall, than teens of 20 or even 10 years ago.

But teens’ attitudes are also being shaped by an era where people are less likely to assume that a “typical” American family is straight and white. “They’re the most socially and ethnically diverse of all generations,” says Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, which studies teenage demographics. While their parents saw Morgan Freeman as the U.S. president in the 1998 movie “Deep Impact,” modern teens grew up with the real-life Obama White House.

Shutterstock.com
Ready to live in a nontraditional nation.

Only 55% of Americans 18 and under are Caucasian, compared with 72% of baby boomers, according to Magid. Not coincidentally, teenagers and “tweens” are more comfortable with the country’s changing ethnic balance. Some 47% say they feel positively about the U.S. becoming more ethnically diverse, compared with 32% of boomers.

Teenagers are also growing up in a society where same-sex marriage is more widely accepted, and, as a result, television shows aimed at their age group reflect this new reality, she adds. Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie” featured a same-sex couple, ABC Family’s “The Fosters” is a television show about a family with two moms, and ABC’s prime-time comedy “Modern Family” features a male same-sex couple that wrapped its last season with a wedding.

Today’s teens and tweens are also more likely than earlier generations to be the products of a particularly hands-on style of parenting—one that involves 24/7 online monitoring and more involvement in their education. Demographers and researchers say that such tighter-knit parenting can have an impact on how these teens will perceive the world as they become adults: They’ll be more likely to be realistic about their future and to embrace change—though if the parenting was too claustrophobic or authoritarian, they’ll also be more likely to be rebellious and get along poorly with others.

Also read: 10 things Generation X won’t tell you.

2. We’re one click ahead of you online

Some 95% of teenagers are online compared with around 80% of the overall population, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In theory, that should make it easier for parents to keep up with them and track their behavior. But teens are light on their feet, and data suggests that teens are quietly fleeing mainstream social sites that have been adopted by their parents

Snapchat

During 2013, the share of teens active on Facebook dropped by 9 percentage points, while on Twitter it dropped 3 points, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex. Teens are gravitating instead to services like Blink and Snapchat, where messages are easier to keep private. “Video apps like Instagram and Vine are also playing a much larger role with this generation,” adds Jeanne Connon, chief marketing officer of FPgirl.com, a marketing firm that analyzes fashion, technology, trends and relationships among young girls. What’s more, teens are adept at hiding apps in folders on their computers or mobile devices to make them more difficult to find.

Parents are doing their best to play catch-up, Connon says, but it’s still an uphill battle. Around 1 in 5 tweens and young teenagers in middle school have received a sexually explicit message or photo, according to a survey of 1,200 middle school students published in July in the “American Academy of Pediatrics.” Those who received such a text were also six times more likely to be sexually active.

Also see: Teens rebel against Facebook.

3. We’re sooo bored…with the shopping mall

Teen-oriented retailers, take note: Shopping may be losing its mystique among the under -18 set. The latest retailing survey by investment bank Piper Jaffray found that the average teenager spent $1,000 on fashion annually, down from $1,300 in 2006, and took 29 shopping trips a year, down from 38 in 2007. For the first time in the survey’s 13-year history, they spent a bigger share of their spending money on food than clothing (20.8% versus 20.7%).

AFP/Getty Images
Online shopping may make the teenage mall-rat an endangered species.

The big issue here is that teenagers are shopping with their tablets and smartphones, rather than in person: 75% of teenage girls and 50% of teenage boys says they prefer shopping online than in-store. (They spend an average of $56.50 per shopping trip when they do make it to a brick-and-mortar store.) “Teens are browsing regularly on their mobile devices, shopping less frequently and engaging with brands on demand,” says Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Teens’ spending may be waning because their parents are economizing: They remain heavily dependent on the fortunes of their parents, who contribute around 65% of their annual spending, according to the report. And while they do have a penchant for expensive clothing brands, there are only one or two that have a firm hold over them: 19% of male teenagers prefer Nike and the same percentage of female teenagers prefer Lululemon leggings.

4. We do drugs (but not the same ones you did)

Around 36% of high-school students report having used marijuana at least once within the previous 12 months, according to data released in July the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. That’s down from 41% in 1998. The share of teenagers who used alcohol over the past year has declined more sharply, to 51% in 2013 from 68% in 1998.

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Marijuana remains popular with teens, but prescription drug abuse is rising faster.

Use of other drugs, however, have risen slightly: 23% of teens admit to abusing or misusing prescription drugs, at least once in their lifetime, up from 20% five years ago, and one in six report doing so within the past year. Pain medications like Oxycodone and Vicodin and “study drugs” that combat attention-deficit-disorder are among the most commonly abused, according to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And abuse of human growth hormone (HGH)—often used by athletes seeking to add muscle—has risen among teens to 11% in 2013 from 5% a year earlier.

“They are not doing [these drugs] to get high, they’re doing it because they think they can stay up studying to get better grades, to relax and get fit,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Also see: Cocaine use is going to pot.

5. We can’t do financial math (but neither can you)

American teens don’t fare so well on the “Program for International Student Assessment,” an international survey of financial literacy conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years. The most recent version, released in July, tested more than 510,000 15-year-olds across 18 countries. Americans scored below average (492 points versus an OECD average of 500 points), finishing behind China (No. 1 with an average of 603 points), Belgium (541), Estonia (529), Australia (526 points) and New Zealand (520).

Why Johnny can’t understand derivatives

Can the U.S. improve financial literacy? We ask Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Experts blame the system—not the students. “Teenagers don’t know about financial literacy because adults have a low level of financial literacy too,” says AnnaMaria Lusardi, a professor of economics and accountancy at George Washington University School of Business. In a 2011 study conducted by Lusardi, only 30% of U.S. adults gave correct answers to three basic questions concerning numeracy, inflation and risk diversification (versus 53% in Germany and 45% in the Netherlands). Nonetheless, 62% of teens say their parents are good financial role models, according to a survey by tax preparers H&R Block.

Some states are making efforts to fill this knowledge gap, introducing more economics and personal finance classes. For the first time, all 50 states and D.C. now include economics in their K-12 standards, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of Economic Education. Still, only 22 states require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation prerequisite, and only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance.

6. Your recession-era stress is contagious

Teens report having stress levels that surpass that of their parents during the school year, a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found. Teens reported stress levels of 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults; those levels declined to 4.6 for teens during the summer, but that still ranked above the 3.9 score that’s considered normal. One-third of teens reported symptoms of fatigue related to their stress, more than one-quarter said they skipped meals, and some 30% said they felt overwhelmed or depressed.

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School is a drag; parental stress, even more so.

Nearly 40% of parents say their high school kids experience stress, according to a 2013 Harvard School of Public Health Survey conducted for National Public Radio. About one-quarter of high-school students’ parents said homework caused their child a lot of stress, the survey found.

But school is far from the only factor, experts say. Teens pick up coping mechanisms or a lack thereof from their parents, and they’re also more likely to experience parental divorce than children were 20 years ago, says Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association. The impact of stress over divorce and financial trouble gets passed onto children who may also feel less able to tell their parents or teachers that they’re feeling stressed out, she says. “Often times, they don’t want to add to their parents’ burden,” Bufka says. If a child has a problem turning in homework or lack of attention, she adds, parents should tell teachers what’s going on at home.

One potentially positive sign for college-bound teens: The SAT will undergo a revamp in 2016 in ways the experts say will make it somewhat less demanding.

7. Our hunger for gadgets will cost you billions

Remember when loose-leaf binders and a new backpack were all the school supplies you needed? Parents are set to spend $8.4 billion on back-to-school electronics this year, including computers, tablets and smartphones, up 7% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Back-to-school shoppers will spend an average $212.35 per household on electronic items.

Stanislav Komogorov/Shutterstock

Phones are a major driver of this spending: About 27% of teens owned smartphones last year, up from 23% in 2011. Howard Schaffer, vice president of retailing website Offers.com, says these mobile devices are seen as critical by parents because they allow them to keep tabs on their kids via geolocation apps like “Trick or Tracker” or “Connect.”

Some parents say they’re trying to moderate the back-to-school tech spending this year. Only 37% of parents are buying tablets or computers, compared with 61% who will underwrite clothing and 55% who will buy shoes for their kids, according to a survey of 1,000 parents by Offers.com. And 36% say they’ll spend more than $200 per child on technology, down from 45% in 2013; Schaffer says that reflects the fact that computers and smartphones are lasting longer.

Also see: 5 apps for spying on your spouse.

8. We’ll double the price of your car insurance

Adding a teenage driver to a married couple’s car insurance can be a financial tsunami for the typical family. According to a report by insuranceQuotes.com, a division of personal finance site Bankrate.com, adding a male teenager hikes premiums by an average of 92%; while female teen drivers hike premiums by 67%. The good news for parents: The older their child becomes, the lower the premium. The premium hike falls from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.

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Texting and driving: Bad at any age, particularly troublesome among teens.

The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium surged 111%. Hawaii is the only state that prohibits age, gender and length of driving experience from affecting car insurance costs, so teen drivers there cost only 17% more to insure on their parents policy.

That said, more families are dodging this bill these days. There are fewer teens on the road, says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at BankRateInsurance.com. Twenty years ago, 70% of 18-year-olds had their driver’s license, she says, but today only 54% do, due in part to the rising cost of car ownership, increased unemployment among teens, and the increased use of social media (rather than face-to-face time) for teenage socializing.

There are other ways to minimize the financial damage: For example, some cars are cheaper to insure than others. “Choose a model that has a low crash history,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Highway Loss Data Institute, which publishes insurance claim data. Larger, heavier family cars such as Toyota Corollas, Ford sedans or Subarus are safer for teens, and their insurance rates reflect that. Many insurance companies offer a “good student” discount for those with B averages or better, adds Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. “A friend of mine told his teen driver that if he got a B average, he would split his insurance savings with him,” he says. “It was good motivation and a gain for both of them.”

9. We get bullied, even when we’re popular

Teenage movies from “Clueless” (1995) to “Mean Girls” (2004) show the hazards of being on the low end of the status scale at high school. But a recent study offers evidence that popular kids get bullied, too.

Getty Images
Being popular doesn’t mean they’re safe.

For the paper “Causality of Social Combat: School Networks of Peer Victimization and Their Consequences” (links to pdf), researchers at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University studied 4,200 high-school students across 19 schools. They found that students’ chances of being bullied rise 25% if they move from a group with average popularity to the 95th percentile, beyond which victimization begins to drop. (Popularity was measured based on friendship nominations among students.) Those with higher social status also experienced stronger adverse psychological consequences when bullied—because they felt like they had more to lose. More popular kids may also escape the radar of concerned educators and parents who focus on isolated students. The study also found that females are victimized 30% more often than males and “social isolates” are bullied 23% more often than others.

There has been a major push to combat bullying in recent years, including suicide prevention campaigns such as the LGBT-focused “It gets better” social media effort, which featured videos from sports stars, celebrities and politicians, including President Obama. In 2012, the Department of Education released a free training tool kit aimed at reducing bullying in schools. But 17% of students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month during a school semester, and 1 in 10 drop out because of bullying, according to DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization focused on young people and social change.

10. We don’t buy into the American Dream

Like member of other generations, most teens define the American Dream as involving homeownership, educational opportunities, a high standard of living and the likelihood of doing better than the previous generation. But teens are more likely to see that Dream as out of reach. According to a survey by Magid Associates, only 60% of teens and tweens believe in the American Dream compared with 71% of millennials, 64% of Generation Xers and 75% of boomers.

Although most teens are too young to remember 9/11, they’re not too young to recall how their parents struggled during the recession. “They’re influenced by their Gen X parents and older siblings,” Hartwell says. Many Xers were clobbered financially by the housing bubble, while millennials have more college debt than any previous generation of Americans. Older role models are “telling these kids that it’s not going to be better for you just because it should be.”

But that doesn’t necessarily make teens negative or pessimistic, it makes them pragmatic and realistic. “They still have the optimism of youth,” Hartwell says.

Snapchat Capture App – Another reason to guard your children (and yourselves)from SnapChat   Leave a comment

SnapCapture for Snapchat SnapCapture is the most popular solution for easy snapchat saving.Save all the snaps and stories you’d like to keep forever.

Well, if you didn’t believe it before that Snapchat photos don’t really disappear, Take a look at this app. I just saw over on Appbrain.com. It’s an app that can save Snapchat photos: http://www.appbrain.com/app/snapcapture-for-snapchat/de.innovationz.snapcapture.noroot

If you haven’t read about why we must make sure our kids aren’t using Snapchat, check out:

https://greggornation.com/2014/01/01/urgent-parents-i-strongly-recommend-uninstalling-snapchat/

I’m going to leave you with a comment one user made about this new app:

A Google User
Yesterday 5:16 AM

“Yay Great app lol I get to save nudes”

Posted January 28, 2014 by sotpyouth in Family, General, Media, Technology

URGENT – Parents, I Strongly Recommend Uninstalling Snapchat!!!   1 comment

First of all, I ask you to find out if your child is using the popular social media photo app Snapchat and then read this entire post. Yes, I know it’s long, but I’m serious here…Serious enough to spend part of my New Years Day providing this post to plead to you to protect yourself and your children.

Second, just go to this link: http://lookup.gibsonsec.org/lookup , yes, right now, and input your and your children’s Snapchat user names into the box and see what comes up. Then come back here and read the rest of this post.

Well, what did you see? Your phone number? Your child’s phone number? Yep, phone numbers and names were leaked from Snapchat. I checked…Mine was. I also checked your kids who were my contacts on Snapchat, and they were leaked too.

As we can read from Brian Barrett at Gizmodo.com http://goo.gl/2wT6Up:

The leaked user info from SnapchatDB matches phone numbers to user names, and in some was in retrospect probably inevitable. Just a week ago, a group of researchers calling themselves Gibson Security not only publicized how easy it would be to acquire data like this from Snapchat, but detailed how one might go about doing it. And so someone has!

Fortunately—well, relatively—the minds behind SnapchatDB have shown some restraint, blurring out the last two digits of phone numbers to “minimize abuse.” They are offering, however, to show the full listings “under certain circumstances.”

If names and phone numbers were leaked, don’t you think pictures could be too?

Although it seems to be a fun app to take goofy pictures and send them to people and the pictures “disappear” (more on that soon), Snapchat is really just an avenue of nefarious activity, with possible negative effects on our children later in life when snapchatted photos surface of them online.

Bottom line – Snapchat was created for sexting by some creepy guys from Stanford. From Adam McLane’s post at http://adammclane.com/2013/08/22/why-you-should-delete-snapchat/: (In part):

“Currently, the creators of SnapChat are busy suing one another about who really created the application in the first place. The case has revealed documents which confirm what everyone has known since the beginning. SnapChat was created as a “safe” sexting app.

Here’s an email about drafting the first press release, included in the court documents. (The app was originally called picaboo)

snapchat-email-1

And this is an exchange between the creator and a person they are asking to promote the app’s release.

snapchat-email-2

The creators refer to themselves as “certified bros” who brag about their fraternity getting kicked off Stanford’s campus. And they refer to women, their target demographic, as “betches.”

Is that how you like to be talked about? If you are a parent, are you excited about your daughter being targeted to send images through a service to “certified bros” who call your daughter a “betch.”

I think not.

The fact is that SnapChat was created as a sexting app.Like a do it yourself version of Girls Gone Wild. You might not use it that way, but that’s what it was created for.

And the fact is that the images are not deleted, according to the terms of service, they can store for whatever purposes they want for as long as they want.

(Read this article about the lawsuit, including more documentation about how the creators talk about women, the app, and their hopes to get very rich selling your usage data.)

Worse yet?SnapChat is funded with venture cap money, lots of it. So the goal of SnapChat is to sell it for a lot of money… including all of the data… meaning you have zero control where your “private” images will one day end up.

Check this little gem out in their privacy policy: “Sharing of information: We may share information about you as follows or as otherwise described in this Privacy Policy: In connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company;”

What does that mean? That means your “private pictures” are ultimately for sale. And you’ve given them permission to sell them.”

You read above about how the photos aren’t deleted but stored on Snapchat’s servers to be used for whatever the creators want. Check this out from MSN.com http://goo.gl/wEGucH:

“According to a KSL report, a 24-year-old digital forensics examiner in Utah has found a relatively easy way to recover supposedly deleted photos from the incredibly popularSnapchat app.

Back in December, Buzzfeed discovered a simple way to retrieve supposedly deleted Snapchat videos. The whole gimmick behind the app is that app users can send friends photos and videos, which are then supposedly deleted 10 seconds later. The photos and videos are supposed to be wiped even from the company’s servers.

Now, Richard Hickman, of Orem, Utah-based firm Decipher Forensics, says that along with videos, he and others like him can recover the photos that Snapchat says are gone forever. Hickman told a local TV station that it takes him about six hours to recover the shots. But they are available. He says he’s already perfected the method for recovering photos on Android devices, and is now looking to do the same for shots taken with iPhones.

“The actual app is even saving the picture,” Hickman told the station. “They claim that it’s deleted, and it’s not even deleted. It’s actually saved on your phone.”

Hickman says that rather than deleting the photos, Snapchat’s makers simply affixed an extension on them. That extension makes them ‘unviewable’ to most of us without a background in computer forensics. But when an expert like Hickman gets his hands on the phone, it only takes a few hours for him to find the photos that might be of interest to parents, teacher, and law enforcement.”

So parents – I beg you to dig into this yourself, and then I hope that you will decide that this app should not be on your child’s phones. Even innocent photos can come back to haunt. Read the story of Angie Varona, who shared some images at age 14 and is now a face & body used to sell porn and fake Facebook accounts against her will.

One other item to note…It is possible to take a screen shot of a Snapchat. Imagine your child sending a not so proper Snapchat to some who takes a screen shot of it. That screen shot can be passed around, posted on internet sites, or held on to haunt a person later in life.

 

 

Posted January 1, 2014 by sotpyouth in Media, Technology

Guess What Parents – Snapchat photos have been leaked   Leave a comment

If you recall my post from December 2012 (http://wp.me/p2gSP3-6H) I warned you why should be concerned about a popular app called Snapchat. As a refresher, 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.

I came across this article from MSN (you can read it here – http://goo.gl/dZ05C). I have posted it below for your information.

By the way, a lot of your kids are still using Snapchat…Please, to protect them, talk to them about the dangers of Snapchat and let them know that their photos are being leaked.

Be cautious about following any links or going to this website. Although I haven’t been there I assume it is not a pleasant site.

From MSN-

Hey Snapchat users — a website is posting all of your naughty pics

20 hrs ago

Here’s another thing you really should have known. Not only are the photos you sent over Snapchatnot being deleted, they are also being posted on the Internet. Of course they are. The very NSFW Snapchatleaked.com is posting all of your private, supposed-to-delete-after-10-seconds photos for everybody to see. That is, when the website can load again. Due to heavy traffic, it is currently breaking the Internet. Of course it is. According to UK Metro, the site contains mostly pics of “boobs, bums and other body parts,” and has drawn major traffic in the last day. Snapchat users, be ye not so stupid. Keep your boobs and bums away from your smartphone. — By Michaela Gianotti [Source]

Posted May 29, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, Technology

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

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

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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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Instagram – Info for Parents – Part 1   4 comments

Ok. I’ll admit it. I’m getting fairly addicted to Instagram. I like because it’s fun to take pictures with my phone, add some cool effects and save them to use for my own albums or something in youth ministry. I quickly found out that that it’s a very popular social networking site owned by Facebook. I started being followed by people and in turn I follow people. You can see comments people make on your photos and you can make comments on other peoples photos. It’s starting to become the Facebook alternative for kids who don’t have (or can’t get) Facebook. It does have a 13 year old age limit, meaning you have to be at least 13 or older to sign up, but it’s easy to circumvent that. Instagram is something maybe parents don’t know a lot about and think it’s fairly harmless and let their kids sign up for it. It’s up to you as a parent to decide how harmless it is for your child, but know that “not so good” pictures and comments are not difficult to stumble upon…

That is why I am offering this 3 part series on Instagram. I have found some articles I would like to share with you to give you some information regarding this extremely popular social networking entity. What you do with it is up to you, but it’s no different than any other online access we give to our children – It should be closely monitored.

***By the way – This article speaks of Instagram in terms of Ipods and Iphones. Instagram is also on Android, and has most recently allowed user profiles to be viewed on the web – Pictures and comments. Click the image of my Instagram home screen to see what I’m talking about.***

How Instagram became the social network for tweens

Well-intentioned parents who’ve kept their tweens off Facebook are catching on to the workaround: kids are turning to Instagram, the photo-sharing app that may as well be a social network.

| September 8, 2012 4:00 AM PDT

I just learned that my 12-year-old daughter is an app scofflaw. So, in fact, are the hordes of her fellow tween-agers — kept off Facebook by their well-intended parents — who have turned to Instagram as a seemingly innocuous social-network workaround.

As it turns out, just like Facebook, you technically have to be 13 to have an Instagram account. And, just like Facebook, Instagram is more or less a social network, dark sides included. Kids post photos, their followers comment… and then those not invited to said birthday party or shopping excursion get hurt feelings.

Many of us adults discovered Instagram as a nifty photo-sharing app that’s lets you spruce up your photos with cool filters. But it has all the functionality of a social network, which Instagram founder Kevin Systrom says was by design.

“We are delighted that there is such a social component to using the app,” he said, “but we target and intend for our user base to be 13 or older and because of legal restrictions cannot have anyone under that age using the app.”

It’s not easy proving the popularity of Instagram among the tween set with hard data, mostly because, as Systrom acknowledged, the service doesn’t “currently disclose demographic data.” It’s unclear whether this might change now that Facebook has officially closed its purchase of Instagram.

Asked specifically if he’s heard about the growing numbers of tweens on Instagram and Systrom could only offer that the service has grown in just about every demographic, from “the elderly side” to the 13-plus group. “The proliferation of iPod Touches and iPads has also helped growth outside of people that own iPhones,” he said.

But even if Instagram did release demographic data, it likely wouldn’t reflect reality. Users like my daughter and her 100 young followers have managed to get around the strict Instagram terms requiring users to be 13 or older to use the service. If their iTunes accounts are set up correctly, tweens shouldn’t be allowed to download the app, Systrom said. My daughter’s account, for example, must still be tied to my account — she’s had an iPod Touch for years and still goes through me before buying apps. (So yes, I’m actually just as much the app scofflaw.)

Plus, upon signup, Instagram gives you a birthday picker that doesn’t let you chose an age younger than 13, Systrom explained. (My daughter claims no memory of this part of the Instagram sign-up process, so it’s unclear how she bypassed it.) Systrom kindly offered to close my daughter’s Instagram account, as the service does with any account it learns is in violation of terms. But would mean the end of my already shaky cool-mom status, and after all, she didn’t sign on to be the daughter of a journalist.

Hard data
My daughter’s experience aside, a few studies help us connect the dots in support of this meteoric rise in Instagram’s popularity among tweens. According to Nielsen, for example, Instagram is the top photography site among teens ages 12 to 17, with 1 million teens visiting the site during July. Nielsen doesn’t categorize Instagram as a social network. While Flickr was top photo site for the overall population in July, Instagram was the favorite among teens, Nielsen found.

Add to that an earlier Nielsen study on growing popularity of Facebook and social networks in general among teenagers, and yet another on how teens tripled their mobile data consumption between December 2010 and December 2011, and the picture becomes clear.

Also, a Pew report presented over the summer about teenage online behavior found that 45 percent of online 12-year-olds use social-network sites and that the number doubles to 82 percent for 13-year-old Internet users. The most popular activity for teens on social networks is posting photos and videos, the study found

Parents caught off-guard
We parents have been advised over and over again by educators that our tween-age kids are just too young for Facebook. Most are just not mature enough to gauge what’s appropriate for posting and to know how to respond to cyberbullying or contacts from strangers or spammers.

But with Instagram our guards were down. We never really imagined how it would be used. When my daughter asked permission to download the app, I was frankly excited that she was showing interest in photography. I love using the app and was unaware of the age restriction.

I had heard stories of kids on Instagram who had lost friends over not being included in activities posted to the site. But I only really caught onto Instagram’s ubiquity as a tweenage social network the day before school started this year, when my daughter’s middle school sent out class schedules to individual families using its password protected Web site. Within an hour of viewing the class schedule, my daughter had scribbled out a chart of who was in each of her classes. When I asked how she had figured it all out, she responded, “Everybody posted their schedules on Instagram.”

That started me looking through her account. In another Facebook-like status update, she posted a photo of a note she wrote on her iPod Touch that read, “So glad it’s a 3 day weekend!!!” That got 31 likes.

“My fifth-grade daughter and friends purchased the Instagram app with iTunes gift cards. Her friends thought it was an app to take and share pics and at first didn’t realize they could post comments,” posted a commenter named SAM. “I had no idea that it was a pseudo-Facebook app. (We are waiting until she is 13 to get a FB account.) I did not know that this app would have her following and being followed by hundreds of people she didn’t know…and posting comments…it was alarming.”

Another commenter, Laura, says she’ll be closing her 12-year-old daughter’s Instagram account, which has turned into a “nightmare.”

“She is not allowed to have a Facebook account until high school to avoid bullying issues, but due to my lack of knowledge (I thought Instagram was basically a glorified camera), I allowed her to have an account,” Laura wrote. “In the last week, she has been indirectly contacted by what appears to be a predatorial pedophile posing as a radio contest to which girls send their photos. And she also experienced the middle school drama that I was trying to avoid by the lack of a Facebook account.”

Tweens, of course, are merely following the leads of teenagers, and, for that matter, the general population. An Experian Hitwise survey just found that Instagram increased its market share in the U.S. by 17,319 percent between July 2011 and July 2012.

But a friend of mine just offered up a theory on Instagram’s youth popularity based on the behavior of his 14-year-old daughter and her friends who are also crazy for Instagram. She’s been on Facebook since she was 12 and her parents have always warned her that with other parents (and grandparents) on the social network, she needed to keep her act very clean.

However, her grandparents haven’t yet caught wind of Instagram, so she and her friends can be a little freer with what they post and comment on there.

Of course, it may just be a matter of time before older folks join the party. As Instagram founder Systrom noted, the service’s numbers are growing on “the elderly side” as well.

Stay tuned for Part 2. Until tomorrow…Greggor

Posted November 27, 2012 by sotpyouth in Bullying, Media, Technology

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Facts & Dreams

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