5 Summer Online Safety Tips for Kids

Summer is here and the odds are good that your kids will be spending quite a bit of time online. Here’s 5 quick tips to help you keep them safe while they learn and play.


 1. Limit their online time

Just because school is out doesn’t mean that structure should go out the window. Decide the amount of online time that is right for you and your family and stick to it. For younger kids that may mean 30 minutes a day, but older kids might need an hour or more. Can’t decide how much time is right for your kids? Check out this article from TheWeek.com on how and why you should limit screen time.

2. Supervision is key

Your child is much less likely to browse suspicious content if Mom or Dad is watching. Place the family computer in a central location and limit their usage of tablets and smartphones when you’re not around.  Parental control apps like NQ Family Guardian can help you with this.

3. Do your research

Review their browser history and look up any sites you see that are unfamiliar. If you just can’t keep up with what the kids are doing consider using a parental control app to automatically block questionable content.

4. Sometimes, time away from the phone is a good thing

Kids going to camp this summer? Consider having them leave the phone at home. After all, they’re probably there to enjoy the great outdoors. Do you really want endless games of Candy Crush Saga standing between them and a great time at Camp Granada? Learn more about a phone-free summer camp experience at commonsensemedia.org.

5. Educate yourself

Let’s be honest, your kids are probably ahead of you in the curve when it comes to technology. Often by the time you become aware of the latest social networking craze, your kids have moved on to the next big thing. Don’t spend time educating them about how to use these new technologies—instead, focus on teaching them the basics: courtesy, respect, why you shouldn’t share too much with strangers. Lessons like these will serve to protect them well on sites you haven’t even heard of yet.

What are your favorite online safety tips for kids? Join us on Twitter on June 20 at 3pm Eastern. We’ll be discussing online safety tips for parents with the National Cyber Security Alliance and others. Use the hashtag #ChatSTC to join the conversation!

6 Things We Learned About Teens & Social Media

The Pew Research Center, famous for its studies of human behavior, has shared some new findings about teens and online privacy, and some may come as a surprise to parents. Researchers surveyed 802 teens to learn more about their social networking attitudes and safety habits.

1. A typical teen Facebook user has 300 friends

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You may know some kids who accept every friend request that shows up, and some who befriend all of their friends’ friends, as well. This is certainly the spirit and intent of true networking – perhaps these kids will be our politicians and PR experts in the future.

2. Even those who are tired of the Facebook game tend to stay in because of social expectations

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According to this survey, many teens are tired of Facebook “dramas” being played out online, and adult participation has dampened their enthusiasm about social networking. But, participating in Facebook has become an important part of teen socialization.

3. Only 9% of the teens interviewed express a serious concern about uninvited access to their private data

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An encouraging finding is that 60% of teenage Facebook users do not share their profiles, and most are confident about managing their privacy settings. Apparently much of the effort to educate kids about online privacy has been effective.

4. 52% of online teens say they have had an experience online that made them feel good about themselves

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We know there are some destructive and negative incidents resulting from oversharing on Facebook, but teens seem “considerably more likely to report positive experiences than negative ones.

5. 90% of teens use their smart phone for social media

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Three out of four teens have their own social networking sites online, and half of all teens visit their sites daily.  In fact, more than a third (34%) of teens visit their main social networking site several times every day.

(source: commonsensemedia.org)

6. Almost half of teens feel addicted to their smartphones, a third of them would like to go back to pre-Facebook days

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Those kids who expressed a wish to go back in time say they often encounter racist (32%), sexist (32%), or homophobic (31%) content in social media.”

Father of the Cell Phone, Martin Cooper

The man who imagined, visualized and invented the first wireless cell phone was inspired by none other than Star Trek’s venerated Captain Kirk.

Martin Cooper is 85 years old. Forty years ago, he made the first call from a completely wireless cell phone, igniting a trend that would change our world.  Using a 2.5 pound, awkward device he called “the brick,” Cooper made an historic call to Bell Labs from a street in downtown New York in 1973. Cooper knew this was just the beginning of a wireless world.

MartinCooper.EricRisberg.APAn amazing futurist, Cooper feels his invention will eventually evolve into a sophisticated sensor that will relieve humanity of disease.

“Just suppose that you could do a physical examination, not every year, which people do and which is almost worthless, but every minute, because you’re connected, and because we have devices that you can put on your body that measure virtually everything on your body. If you could be sensing your body all the time and anticipate a disease before it happens,” Cooper said.

The device Cooper envisions would scan and report any problems in the body, and instruct the user on how to heal them.

In addition to his many other patents, Cooper recently invented the Jitterbug, a large-key phone designed for seniors and those who want a no-frills, easy to see device. He believes in personalized devices suited for individual needs, as opposed to the “one size fits all” concept.

Cooper’s brilliant career includes leadership positions at Motorola and AT&T, martincooper1973collaboration with the FTC, his own company called “Dyna,” as well as a number of books, publications and awards. He stays focused on the future and the potential of wireless communications and speculates that we are only now just getting started, saying, “If we don’t blow ourselves up, this is going to be a really wonderful world.”

While you’re out shopping for mobile devices and accessories for that special father in your life, take a moment to remember Martin Cooper, a man who fathered what may be the most important technology of our time. And make sure Dad’s new phone is protected with the most powerful mobile security available.

Here’s to fathers of all kinds.