Why You Should Talk to Kids About Cyberbullying

Mashable recently published this infographic on online bullying. They say

According to a recent study by internet security company McAfee, kids are witnessing and sometimes engaging in cyber bullying. Almost one in four of teens claimed to be a target of cyberbullying and two-thirds of all teens have witnessed cruel behavior online, notes the Teen Internet Behavior study.

But only one in 10 parents are aware that their teens could be targets of cyberbullying.

Although the statistics are from the USA, it’s worth noting that only 10% of parents are aware their child is having problems. This obviously calls for more parent vigilance and an openness where children can feel that they can discuss these issues with their parents.

The social media conversation you have to have

Mashable blog has published a post on how employers and colleges are rejecting applicants purely on their negative social media presence and digital footprint. They give tips to parents on how to have a conversation with their teenagers on cleaning up their digital footprint including:

  1. Investigate yourself – google your name and look at the results
  2. Create a positive profile
  3. Investigate Facebook apps.

Read the expanded sections here.

Study reports on teenagers’ online behaviour

A few days ago Mashable reported on McAfee’s study into the online behaviour of teenagers. Although US based, this gives us a reasonable idea of how Australian teenagers are using the internet.

  •  70% of teens are hiding their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010. What exactly teens are hiding runs the gamut, but across the board parents are in the dark about most of their kids’ online activity. 
  • For example, 48.1% of teens admitted to looking up assignments and test answers online, while 77.2% of their parents said they don’t worry about their kids cheating in school.
  • And while 32% of teens surveyed have accessed pornographic content online, only 12% of their parents thought they had.
  • Similarly, 51% of teens reported that they have hacked someone’s social media account and 31% reported pirating movies and music. Meanwhile, less than 1 in 10 parents surveyed were aware that their children engaged in these illegal activities.
  • The study found that teens are getting creative with how they hide their online content and activity—a majority of teens (53%) regularly clear their browser history to keep their parents out of the loop. Twenty-four percent of teens went so far as to either create private email addresses unknown to their parents or create duplicate/fake social media profiles.
  • Despite an overwhelming sentiment of “not my kid” denial, parents are stepping up their game with online monitoring in an attempt to keep their kids out of trouble. Many are setting parental controls (49%), obtaining email and social network passwords (44%) and even using location-based devices to keep track of teens (10%). Still, nearly a quarter of parents surveyed admitted that they are so overwhelmed with technology that they can’t monitor their children’s online behaviors and are simply hoping for the best.
  • Other key findings of the study included statistics indicating a rise in cyberbullying, and Facebook proves to be the epicenter. Sixty-two percent of teens have witnessed cruel behavior online, and 93% of them say that it took place on Facebook.

Read more information from Mashable here and McAfee’s whole report here.

25 worst passwords of all time

Last week, Mashable published the list of the worst passwords of all time. Do you have one on the list? If so, change it asap!

SplashData created the rankings based on millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers. Here is the complete list:

  • 1. password
  • 2. 123456
  • 3.12345678
  • 4. qwerty
  • 5. abc123
  • 6. monkey
  • 7. 1234567
  • 8. letmein
  • 9. trustno1
  • 10. dragon
  • 11. baseball
  • 12. 111111
  • 13. iloveyou
  • 14. master
  • 15. sunshine
  • 16. ashley
  • 17. bailey
  • 18. passw0rd
  • 19. shadow
  • 20. 123123
  • 21. 654321
  • 22. superman
  • 23. qazwsx
  • 24. michael
  • 25. football

5 lessons for parenting in the digital age

Mashable has an excellent article addressing the etiquette of digital device use:

Parents of older children face challenges — for instance, whether it’s acceptable for their teen to text at the dinner table, or whether it’s tolerable for a teen to peer at his laptop when someone is trying to address him. Essentially, we wonder, just how much technology should be allowed in our lives and those of our kids?

Few parents are going to completely forbid their children from interacting with today’s amazing gadgetry. However, it’s essential that we focus on a conscious, rather than habitual, use of modern technology.

The article looks at:

  • Technology no longer has boundaries
  • Know when to cut it off
  • The difference between preference and addiction
  • Focus on technology that truly connects us to our kids
  • Model the balance.

Many adults have difficulties moderating online use, so it follows that children and young adults may also have problems. Guidance and discussion about the role of ever-present media in our lives is vital.