Joining your teenagers on Facebook improves your relationship

Although I’m sure many teenagers would disagree, the Huffington Post is reporting that parents who friend their teenage children on Facebook enjoy a stronger relationship than those who don’t.

There’s a new study out of Brigham Young University that says engaging with your kids on social media sites helps strengthen your bond. The study found that teens who were the most connected to their parents on Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media felt closer to them in real life. Those teens were also less likely to be depressed, delinquent or behave aggressively.

However, article author Ann Brenoff states that

I am unconvinced of the value of parent-teen bonding versus the potential harm of a misstep by a kid on social media. Learning to use social media safely and appropriately is a process. Some kids get it and some kids will learn it the hard way. For now, I will continue to monitor my kids’ online gaming activities, perform spot Instagram checks just like the spot urine tests given athletes — all the while teaching my kids about what is safe and appropriate “sharing” with real and virtual friends. The Internet is full of land mines and parents shouldn’t need social media to talk to their children about it or anything else.

Read the whole article here.

When a screen is their world

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that

Giving your child internet access isn’t damaging, but having no limits may be, writes Linda McSweeny.

Toddlers are navigating technology at a rapid pace, but left to their own devices, some of these tech-savvy kids could end up in a dark and possibly addicted head space by adolescence.

Psychologists say parents must pay attention to their children’s access to apps, online games and smartphones from a young age, to ensure they glean the benefits rather than the problems of our tech-heavy world.

Your children may have a problem if they:

  • Seem happy online but angry offline.
  • Focus on being online instead of doing homework or dining with family.
  • Spend more time online than with friends.
  • Refuse to admit how much time they are spending online.
  • Lose sleep to go online.

Although we know that technology is important to us all, the amount of time spent using it is one of the most important issues facing parents at the moment.. Read the article in its entirity here.

Public servant loses job over Twitter attack on the government

Last week The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a court has upheld the sacking of a public servant who criticised the government via social media, even though her name and job was not linked to her Twitter account.

Likely to shock all of those who openly criticise their places of work, this judgement means everyone who uses social media in Australia must be more aware of what they publish.

In a decision likely to curtail bureaucrats’ use of social media, Federal Circuit Court Warwick Neville rejected Michaela Banerji’s application for a stay on her dismissal.

Judge Neville found Australians had no ”unfettered implied right (or freedom) of political expression”.

Read the whole article here.

Helping families live safe digital lives

Yoursphere for parents provides an amazing array of resources on

  • Facebook must-knows
  • social media
  • cybersafety and
  • privacy

for students and parents. Although some posts are US specific, most of the resources are applicable to us in Australia.

Mary Kay Hoal is the author and creator of Yourshpere, a US based site with a wealth of information on ways to keep safe when using social media. “She is an Internet safety expert in the USA and the founder of Yoursphere.com.”

I’m 13 and none of my friends are on Facebook

Last week, Mashable published this post on the waning appeal of Facebook by a New York teenager.

Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have.

Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.

Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school. Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but again, it does happen there. If my mom heard I was getting bullied on Facebook, she would tell me to quit right away.

An interesting insight into teenagers’ thoughts about social media. Read the whole post here.

Parents underestimate risk of cyber-bullying for teens

Recently The Sunday Age published a report stating that

Nearly 80 per cent of Australian children under 10 years of age use social networks. Among older teenagers – those 16 and 17 – parents underestimate bullying and risky online behaviour. But the most likely candidate for cyber-bullying is a 14 year old girl who checks her Facebook account daily.

By the time teenagers are 16, parents start to underestimate the likelihood of their child being bullied or involved in upsetting experiences. Only 17 per cent of parents said their 16-year-old was bothered by something on the internet, but 26 per cent of teenagers of that age said they suffered through an upsetting experience.

What is of concern is that once parents believe that their work is done, that their children know how to successfully navigate the social media world is when they are actually most at risk.

Read the whole article here.

 

Twitter changes its rules to help protect users

Twitter has just updated its rules to help protect users from abuse and spam.

Abusive behaviour has been targeted with a new “I’m reporting an abusive user” page:

This makes it so much easier to report abuse than previously. Hopefully, this will also discourage abusers.

1 in 4 young adults regret social media posts

Mashable reports that

Among younger adults aged 18 to 34, 29% said they have posted a photo, comment or other personal information they fear could compromise their current or future job prospects.

FindLaw, the organisation that carried out the survey on 1000 American adults suggests that

social-media users: Think before you post, check your privacy settings, limit your personal information and seek legal help if you think you’re ever wrongfully terminated. The survey did find that a sizeable 82% of young users “pay at least some attention to their privacy settings,” while only 6% leave the default settings as they are.

 

Read the whole report here.

Digital citizens’ guide

The Australian Communications and Media Authority‘s website Cybersmart has developed and published new cybersmart material for Australians. Looking at how our online behaviours affect us and our networks, the following video and accompanying resources encourage us to relate positively in all our online communications.

Third party apps and privacy

Two weeks ago I was the victim of cyberfraud. I pride myself on my internet skills and cybersafety and yet I was caught out. What happened, you ask?

I was using a third party app, giving permission for that app to use my Google credentials. The app itself seemed to be down, so I logged into the app’s website. Almost instantaneously, I could see emails being sent out under my email address directing everybody (over 500 people) in my address book to a dubious link. Although I changed my Google password immediately and revoked the third party app access, the damage had been done.

I’d like to think that I was a trusted contact of all of those 500 people. And unfortunately, that’s why some of my contacts clicked on the link in the rogue email. Because of that, some of that trust has now been diminished.

So my advice is review all of the third party apps you use, whether it be Google, Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Consider revoking access to some of the sites you don’t use very often or are suspicious about. Think twice before you allow a new third party app to use/see your data. Change your password regularly. And never click on a link that you deem suspicious.