Posts Tagged ‘ cyberbullying ’

webRover, a New Internet Guard Dog, Monitors Your Kids’ Internet Time

Friday, March 14th, 2014

webRover-parental-control-internetEver worry about what your children are looking at online? Or worry they are spending too much time on the Internet? Of course you do!

There is so much to fear in the digital age, from online predators to cyberbullies to unwelcomed pop-ups and risqué advertising. But as consumers of the World Wide Web, we also know that so much good content is out there for children as well.

A new product just hit the market that may make it easier for parents to control the content as well as the amount of time kids are viewing it online. PowerCloud Systems, in partnership with Common Sense Media, launched a new parental control feature in Skydog (their home networking monitoring system), named webRover. The control is designed for monitoring kids between the ages 2 and 10. Through the Skydog-connected system, parents can set up multiple user accounts that can be controlled across all devices (including mobile and tablets).

“Kids can easily get exposed to age-inappropriate content,” says Caroline Knorr, the Parenting Editor for Common Sense Media. “They can do that by typing something into the Internet that seems like an innocuous search term, and they can arrive at a website that is not age appropriate.”

“Let’s face it, there’s no way that you can prevent your kids from being exposed to age-inappropriate content or content that you don’t approve of, but there are ways to manage their online activities so they are funneled into sites where they have a greater chance of finding age-appropriate, positive, nourishing websites versus what they might find on their own,” she continues.

Each webRover user profile can be customized based on what each parent deems appropriate for each child. For example, parents can schedule designated study hours during the week for school-age children where only approved websites can be accessed during that time. So even though kids may need the Internet to research a homework assignment, you won’t have to worry that they are wasting time playing an online game. For even younger children, parents can allow access-based categories, including learning potential. This is where Common Sense Media comes in.

The organization rates and reviews media across multiple platforms (like movies, TV shows, video games, apps, etc.) and assesses the appropriate age for each product. Multiple factors come into play, including violence, sex, cigarettes and drugs, language, positive role models, and learning capability. So, even though some websites may be kid-friendly, they may not necessarily promote learning. Through webRover, parents can customize the sites they want to allow, like ones with a higher educational rating. For sites that don’t have a ranking (like religious and regional websites), parents can manually enter in their own information and ratings. Parents can even override Common Sense Media’s ratings if they decide their young child can handle websites aimed at older children, or if they find something age-inappropriate based on their own values.

“Often parental controls are blunt instruments that block out too much good stuff,” Knorr says. “That’s been a real downfall with the controls up until this point. So the way Skydog has implemented it…they are saying, ‘You know what, we want to just curate the good stuff for kids.’”

The big key here is that although there are different recommendations about the what, how, and when children can access the Internet, the webRover feature allows ultimate control to be left up to the parents. And that deserves a little sigh of relief!

Download our Internet-use contract so your kids know the rules before they log in online!

Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children
Digital Devices and Children

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Need Help With Your Child’s Behavior?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Who doesn’t?

We’re halfway through National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and we wanted to make sure you knew about an important event that’s happening: Friday at 12 p.m. EST, our friends at Child Mind Institute, as part of their Speak Up For Kids initiative, will present a live Facebook talk called “Managing Behavior: Strategies for Parents and Teachers.”

The presenter is Melanie Fernandez, Ph.D., ABPP, a clinical psychologist with expertise in treating kids’ behavioral problems. Dr. Fernandez is especially well-versed in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and she’s the director of Child Mind Institute’s Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Program. PCIT is a fascinating technique where parents are coached (behind a one-way mirror and while wearing an earpiece) by experts as they’re playing with their child and given specific suggestions on how to monitor and reinforce their child’s positive behaviors, ignore mild negative ones, and give commands with calm, consistent follow-through.

To watch the hour-long presentation, go to CMI’s Facebook page at 12 p.m. on Friday, where you can post questions for Dr. Fernandez and chat with fellow attendees.

In the meantime, check out all of the events happening around the country through Saturday, May 12, as part of Speak Up For Kids. Mental health professionals in 48 states (and 14 countries!) are leading free talks on childhood mental health disorders and topics of concern to all parents including ADHD, anxiety, depression, behavioral challenges, bullying, trauma, and online safety. Check here for events near you. And for those of you in the New York City area, consider tomorrow’s talk at the 92nd Street Y: “Parenting 2.0: Raising Healthy Children in a Digital Age.” Steven Dickstein, M.D., pediatric psychopharmacologist at CMI, will discuss how much and what kind of exposure is appropriate for kids, and give parents pointers on how to manage children’s screen (and phone!) time, monitor social media participation, and protect them from cyberbullies. It’s free; RSVP at elissa.verrilli@childmind.org.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Childhood Leukemia Survival Rates Reach 90 Percent
Children with the most common type of leukemia now have a dramatically better chance of survival, a new study shows.

Study: Thousands Face Drinking-Water Cancer Risk
About 260,000 people in California may be drinking polluted water that could cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems, according to a study released Tuesday.

Vitamin D Means Fewer Fractures for Girls
Higher amounts of vitamin D in the diet are associated with a lower risk for bone fractures in teenage girls, a new study has found.

A Different Way to Remove the Placenta May Save Mothers’ Lives, a Study Finds
Delivery without pulling on the umbilical cord may be a simpler way to keep some women from bleeding to death in childbirth, a new study has found.

14-Year-Old’s Suicide Puts Spotlight on Online Bullying Dangers
The recent suicide of a 14-year-old middle school student has once again put the spotlight on a new “epidemic”—online bullying.

Calif. Baby Jayden Sigler Tips Scales at 14 Pounds
Doctors told Cynthia Sigler she’d give birth to a big baby boy. But the Southern California woman didn’t know just how big they were talking. Sigler, of Vista, Calif., gave birth Thursday to her son Jayden who weighed in at 13 pounds, 14 ounces.

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October Is National Bullying Prevention Month

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Bullying and its technological twin, cyberbullying, are still ever-present news topics.  As the year progresses, some schools are implementing anti-bullying policies while others are still making sense of tragic suicides.

Since October is also National Bullying Prevention Month (along with Breast Cancer Awareness and Down Syndrome Awareness), we want to bring you our latest resources for stopping bullying and cyberbullying.

Bullying

Cyberbullying

In other news, the Interactive Autism Network is also launching a nationwide survey that will study how bullying affects children with autism.  Since children with autism are vulnerable and frequent targets of bullying, IAN is looking for parents to share their stories in order to educate teachers and school administrators.

Plus, a free new iPhone/iPad app called BeSeen is now available, geared for kids 11 and up.  The mobile app acts as an educational game that simulates a social networking site.  Kids navigate a school year through a Facebook-like environment, learning how to interact with others in positive ways, how to protect personal and private information, and how to guard against cyberbullying.  Learn more about the product at PlayBeSeen.com.

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Back-to-School Season: Tips to Prevent Cyberbullying

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

little-girl-computerAs your kids head back to school, they will make new friends, reconnect with old friends, and possibly encounter cyberbullies, bullies who use technology (computers, cell phones) to belittle, attack, and harass other kids.  Parents.com reached out to Marian Merritt, a tech-savvy mother of three and Internet Safety Advocate and advisor for Norton, the anti-virus software company, for tips on how parents can prevent and deal with cyberbullying.  Marian is also the author of Norton’s “Family Online Safety Guide,” a free guide on how to protect children online, and the Editor-in-Chief of Norton’s Family Resource website, which offers free tips about Internet security.  Read her advice below.

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Although most parents worry about strangers approaching their kids online, the most common online danger to befall kids is cyberbullying. It’s common for 20% of kids to experience some form of online harassment and receive hateful, insulting messages from social networks, emails, instant messages, and videos. Cyberbullying is very painful for anyone to experience and just responding to a mean email with another verbal volley can also turn the victim into a cyberbully and escalate the cyberbullying and. Find information cyberbullying at www.stopbullying.gov and www.cyberbullying.us.

Preventing Cyberbullying

1- Ask if your school’s bullying policy includes an online bullying policy.

2- Talk to your kids about remaining nice and courteous when they’re talking to others online, even if they can’t see them on the computer via a webcam.

3- Explain that even if you type nice things on the computer, someone else can change what you type so it says something different. Role play how that would make him feel if this happens.

4- When they finish using the computer (at school, at a friend’s house, or at home), always be sure to log out. This will prevent anyone from posting anything online, especially on a social network, even if it’s just a “joke.”

5- Tell your kids to never share log-in and password information, not even with a close friend.  If they did, make sure to change the information immediately.

Dealing with Cyberbullying

1- Teach your child not to respond directly or immediately to cyberbully attacks.  Instead…

2- Keep a copy of all the messages sent on a computer or over a mobile phone.  If they include threats of harassment and violence, report the cyberbully to appropriate sources such as the webmaster (if the messages are on a public website) and/or school teachers and administrators.  Be sure to follow up in person and ask for a written plan on how your child’s school will respond to the problem. Most states have laws against this form of abuse and schools have an obligation to address the issue when made aware of the problem. The local police can also help if the dangers are immediate.

3- Make sure your child knows they can talk to you about his feelings. Cyberbullying is an incredibly painful experience and often it’s hard to know which children should feel comfortable confiding in you for support and help.

More About Cyberbullying on Parents.com

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Daily News Roundup

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Cyberbullying a Big Worry for Parents: Survey
Cyberbullying, which usually means one teen or group of teens taunting or spreading rumors about a peer online, has risen along with accessibility of the internet and the popularity of online social media such as Facebook.

Parents underestimate kids’ asthma symptoms
Parents of kids with asthma don’t always realize when their children’s treatment is inadequate, a new drugmaker-funded survey suggests.

Facebook Helps Parents Snoop, But Kids Are Fighting Back
Parents are increasingly using Facebook to keep tabs on their children, but a recent survey reports kids are catching on, in another example of how social media is part of the eternal cat-and-mouse game of child-rearing.

A Young Boy’s Murder Has Parents Second-Guessing Their Decisions
Kids can be very persuasive. That must have been the case with 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, who talked his parents into letting him walk home alone on July 11 from his day camp in Brooklyn.

Children’s Book Uses iPad Interactivity to Teach Open Mindedness
When artist Raghava KK had two children, he decided it was time for a new approach to children’s books. That approach manifests itself in Pop It, a new children’s book for iPad that looks to teach open mindedness to toddlers.

Share of children hits record low in U.S.
Children now make up less of America’s population than ever before, even with a boost from immigrant families with higher children-to-adult ratios.

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Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

9 things you shouldn’t say to your child
Read on for some of the most common verbal missteps moms and dads make, and kinder, gentler alternatives…

How does a newborn get to 16 pounds?
Jamichael’s large birth weight is the result of a condition called gestational diabetes, which his mom has.

Facebook teams with Time Warner to fight bullies
Facebook and Time Warner are ganging up on bullies to address a problem that torments millions of children and young adults.

Florida couple on trial after pet python kills child
Trial proceedings began on Monday for a central Florida mother and her boyfriend who are accused of allowing their pet python to strangle a 2-year-old girl in her crib.

Restaurant Owner: Parents Force Kid Ban
A Pennsylvania restaurant owner who is banning loud children from his eatery tells Fox 29 the behavior of their indignant parents is a big problem, in addition to noisy children.

Parents charged after youth baseball brawl
A youth baseball tournament turned ugly in Metzler Park, Colorado in June. Three parents are facing criminal charges because of a fight over what some said was a bad call.

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May 17 Is National Cyber Safety Awareness Day

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Boy looking at computerYour growing child’s cyber safety is important everyday, but take some time today to think more about safeguarding his or her interaction with others online.

Parents must be vigilant in watching what their kids consume online.  Make sure your child isn’t stumbling across questionable photos, traumatic news, and any other content that are more suitable for mature audiences.  GoGoNews.com is a new site dedicated to providing and sharing kid-friendly news while Net Cetera is a goverment-funded resource (online and print) that can help parents understand the changing internet landscape.

Visit Kidzui.com to download a free web browser designed just for kids that filters out adult content or try out United Parents Protection Service, a free software that will help parents monitor their children’s internet usage.

Also, keeping an eye on your kids may help you spot any potential signs of cyberbullying,  a growing trend of online bullying.  My Mobile Watchdog is an app that can help prevent cyberbullying from escalating.

Other resources from Parents.com to protect your kids:

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