Social Media Education Blog

7 Dangers On Instagram For Kids

7 Dangers on Instagram

Parents need to be aware of the dangers on Instagram if they suspect their kids, pre-teens, or teens, are sharing images online. Here are some very interesting and impressive Instagram statistics:

There are more than 75 million daily users.

Instagram has over 400 million monthly users.

51% of the users are male and 49% are female.

The % of drivers that admit to checking their Instagram while driving is 14%.

The % of teenage girls that said they have been bullied on Instagram is 9%.

*research stats from DMR

Instagram which launch in October 2010 is owned by Facebook and has become an incredibly popular social platform. Instagram is a very creative way to take photos, share images, and use creative filters.  It is also a social platform that exposes users if precautions are not taken. Instagram is wildly popular and that means parents need to be informed and on alert.

You may have heard that teens are abandoning Facebook in favor of Instagram. Realizing that Facebook owns Instagram, it is almost like a distant cousin. Teens can communicate on Instagram by commenting and writing messages on images. This activity can be concealed from parents, unless the parents know how to stay involved.

Instagram is not just sharing images online and using clever filters to alter the images.  It is a social platform just like Facebook, Twitter, Path, or Foursquare. You must be 13 years of age, set up a profile, have the option of completing a bio, and option of using privacy settings.

3 Things You Should Do Today

  1.  Get involved. If your children are using Instagram, then you should be using Instagram as well. By default, anyone can hover over your child’s profile and view info unless you change the settings.
  2.  You need to sign up for an account and start using the platform. You will realize that photos can be shared on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter.
  3.  You also need to make sure your child adds your name to their friend’s list. (Yes, they will tell you that no one else has their parent’s on their friend’s list. It just isn’t fair! Do you believe that?)

   We offer a helpful guide for parents to make it super simple to get started.

 Parent Alert: 7 Dangers for Kids On


  1. Many times pre-teens and teens give away personal information that should not be shared. Yes, even though you have had a thousand conversations about not over-sharing, it happens. The Profile section on Instagram makes your child vulnerable to listing their, first and last name, birthday, gender, phone number, (How many times have we talked about not listing your phone number?) and email address. They could also share personal information in the bio section if they are not careful.
  2. All information begins as viewable by the public unless you change the settings to private. This way their profile information is concealed from strangers.
  3. Instagram is available on your child’s iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Android phone. Many parents have been surprised to learn their child, under the age of thirteen, had a secret Instagram account they were accessing from their iPod. If in doubt, check it out.
  4. Make sure your child or teen is not revealing their location on their photos. You can turn off geo-tagging in the settings under Location Services.
  5. Instagram is another social platform, therefore, your teen can become friends with strangers posing as another teen. They have the option to “follow” other Instagram users in the “Popular” section. This is one of the ways they can come in contact with strangers. Many times teens feel it is popular to follow many people similar to collecting “likes” on Facebook. Always check their friend’s list to make sure you know the people they are communicating with.
  6. One of the many dangers of teens on Instagram is nudity. There is not a filter to prevent your child from being exposed to explicit photographs unless you limit sharing photos to friends they know. This is another reason you should be on your child’s friend’s list.
  7. A current trend on Instagram is to rate girls according to their looks. Many parents are not aware their daughter’s picture has been posted and ranked online. This exposes their picture to strangers and their self-worth to an online ranking status and comments.  Online beauty contests, or cyber-pageants, are another danger of teens being subjected to finding out if they are “hot or not.”

Instagram can be a creative way to learn photography and modify pictures using the filters.  Now, is the time to get involved. With so many people participating and sharing, you need to be aware of how children should be protected by implementing safety settings and joining the service. Happy snapping!

10 Benefits of the Social Media Dictionary

10 Benefits of the Social Media Dictionary

10 Benefits of the Social Media Dictionary is a list that will convince you that you can always learn something new.  So, what are the 10 benefits and how will they help you navigate social media more confidently?

The Social Media Dictionary is a comprehensive go-to reference guide with over 2,000 of the latest trending definitions, Twitter abbreviations, Instagram hashtags, acronyms for texting, and emoticons, all assembled into one resource. This comprehensive book enables users to communicate confidently in the Digital Age. It will boost digital competence for increased opportunities and is essential for elevating digital literacy skills to improve our schools, communities, and our workforce. The Internet is not slowing down requiring users to speed up or risk being left behind.”

Consider that there are over 2.4 billion global users online and the numbers continue to grow. The number of digital devices: smartphones, digital tablets, and computers, now exceeds the number of people living on the planet. As connectivity expands further around the globe, the online vocabulary will continue to be invented at a faster rate throughout the world. According to a recent study by Ofcom, an average six year old has the same knowledge of technology as a 45 year old. Digital literacy for business professionals, parents, and baby boomers, will benefit greatly by using the Social Media Dictionary.

10 Benefits of the Social Media Dictionary

  1. The language of the Internet and social media has grown exponentially and digital communication forces the adoption of new words.
  2. Digital Natives, people born after 1980, are fluent with technology, texting, and Twitter yet still need a resource to stay up to date. Digital Immigrants, people born before 1980, need an instant reference manual for modern terminology and engaging in the digital conversation.
  3. The book increases digital literacy and will boost technical competence for increased opportunities to compete in the global marketplace.
  4. The dictionary helps in avoiding embarrassing social blunders online.
  5. It gives quick access to texting abbreviations, Twitter terms, emoticons, characters, and social media definitions.
  6. It bridges the digital gap that exists between seasoned business professionals and Millennials in the workplace.
  7. It helps students understand what their peers are communicating online.
  8. It aids teachers and school administrators in understanding what students are communicating online.
  9. It helps parents decode texting language on their child’s phone.
  10. The Social Media Dictionary enables digital communication in multiple formats: Twitter, texting, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.


10 Mistakes Teens Make Online

10 Mistakes Teens Make Online-1
It is not always easy to know what teens are doing online so we put together a checklist of the 10 Mistakes Teens Make Online so you can remind your teen how to protect their online reputation.

Try to remember what it was like to be 13, 15, or 18. Teenagers live for today. It is very difficult for them to realize they have a long future in front of them. They do not realize they will not be in high school forever. Teens usually cant see themselves as adults with responsibilities. That is why it is important for them to realize that everything they do online leaves a permanent record. It is called a Digital shadow and it will follow them for the rest of their lives. Everything they post online will leave a trail that is visible overtime they apply for a job, a loan, date someone, or they to enroll in college.

I think we all recognize how easy it is to make mistakes online. We all use technology to get more things done in a shorter period of time. We are all dependent on our smartphones, tablets, and computers, but many times we are in such a hurry that we take shortcuts, hit send before checking for errors, or simply don’t realize that a short response is not always the best reply. Teens are under tremendous pressure and many times they need to be reminded with all the technology available to them, they need to be responsible and engage correctly online. We have created a checklist of  10 Mistakes Teens Make Online. Please feel free to share this with other parents and teacher in the effort to help our teens engage positively and productively online.

Checklist: 10 Mistakes Teens Make Online

Tech Addiction/Facebook Depression Facebook depression is when a teen or student does not feel accepted, popular, or has enough friends on their Facebook account and compares themselves with other peers’ Facebook pages. Teens live in the era of friending, liking, commenting, and unfriending, Teens live online. All their social connections are public. Their emotional status is connected to what is occurring on their social platforms and many times it is negative when they compare themselves to others and that can make them feel unworthy. They feel inadequate compared to others and many times can lead to depression.

Tech Addiction is when your teen has a compulsive need to use devices. They sleep with their phone so they can check it at all times of the night, they prefer to communicate with their friends online instead of face to face interaction, they become nervous if they cannot find their phone or check their messages. Tech addiction is real and it has been diagnosed in children as young as four. Pay close attention to how your children are feeling. Pay close attention to signs of Facebook Depression or Tech Addiction. If  your children are depressed or seem overly occupied with technology it may be time to disconnect. It fact, it is healthy to take a break from technology.

Sexting Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit pictures over mobile phones or devices. 61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it. Sending these images is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. There needs to be more education for adolescents to understand the consequences of sexting in the Digital Age. They need to protect themselves from manipulation, betrayal of trust, and harassment. They should know that it is okay to say no when someone asks them to do something that they know is wrong.

Relationships that end Not all relationships are for a lifetime. Friends come and go and that is so true when it comes to teens. It starts out innocently. Teens become friends and share their passwords. They may ask a friend to log on and check something when they are in a hurry. But friends, boyfriends, or girlfriends can turn into not so nice people when a relationship turns sour. A frenemy can log in and start posting as their former friend, ex boyfriend, or ex girlfriend, and do serious damage. Password sharing is popular among teens but has huge risks.

Using public Wi Fi spots Remind your teens to think of it this way, if the Internet or Wi Fi is free, so is all of their information! Do not use public Wi Fi.

Catfishing/Impersonation Catfishing is pretending or faking the identity of a person online in order to carry out a relationship. Someone impersonates or pretends to be someone else in order to pursue a deceptive romance. The victim has no idea they are communicating with an imposter whose sole purpose is to embarrass the victim. People can disguise themselves online which is one of the negative aspects of communicating online instead of face to face. Kids and teens can be lured into unsafe situations with a predator or someone who is up to no good. They need to be cautious of who they are communicating with online.

Disrespecting Authority If students use the Internet to criticize their parents, their teachers, coaches, or their school principal it could have serious consequences since all their comments are public. If they do not understand the limits of expressing their criticism online guess who might be next? It may be their future employer. They could jeopardize their employment  or college admissions if they do not learn early that the Internet is not the place to criticize or disrespect authority.

Cyber bullying/ Stalking Here are some facts: 40% of children in grades 4-8 have been bullied online. Every single day of the school year, 160,000 students across America are absent because they are concerned about bullying. Cyber bullying is abuse on the Internet. 

Cyberstalking is when an attacker harasses a victim using electronic communication like email, phone calls, or instant messaging. If your teen has been threatened teach them not to engage. Save all the evidence by taking a screenshot. Tell your child’s teacher. If that doesn’t work, then tell the principal. If that fails, then tell the police. Keep telling authorities about the abuse until someone will realize the threat. Our children deserve to feel safe and we have to help prevent bullying.

Wanting to be popular Would your teen turn to the Internet to make friends?It happens all the time. Kids, and teens friend people they do not know. It is important to know who is on their friend’s list. Make sure your teens actually know the people on their list.

Never rely 100% on Privacy Settings  Social platforms are constantly changing. The interface and features are constantly being upgraded and many of the features are moved to another location. Just because you signed up for account and checked all the correct boxes does not mean that the platform will keep all those requests. Privacy settings can easily be moved or switched. Teach your teens to know where they are and know how to use them. Teach them to check periodically to make sure their privacy settings are correct.

Post objectionable content There are numerous things that should not be displayed on the Internet. Some of these include: offending post, threats, hate speech, abusive language, inappropriate images, pornography. Ask your teen to always think how would my parents, grandparents, or teachers, feel if they knew I posted this online?



Online Privacy Protection

Online Privacy Protection

Everyone is talking about online privacy protection or rather our lack of security for our personal information. The recent credit card information that was stolen from Target, Neiman Marcus, and the Michaels stores has many people wondering if it will ever be safe to use their credit cards. Many times we have been so busy that we have overlooked just how vulnerable we really are. It seems daily we read about about hackers invading major corporations, government leaks, or identity theft.

Online Privacy Concerns Everyone

It is increasingly becoming harder and harder to secure our online privacy. Not only do we have to keep up with numerous passwords but we also have to guard and provide online privacy protection for our children. One of the biggest areas of theft is social security numbers for children. Thieves are hopeful that by the time the child is old enough to use their social security number they will discover all too late that their identity was stolen while they were still toddlers. Many people are trying to disguise or mask their personal information from hackers and most recently from the government.

Have you made changes recently for your personal online privacy protection?  What are some steps you have taken?

Looking for information on how to protect your children online? Take a look at our documentary and get started today:

A Parent’s Guide to Social Media: Ages 3-8

Internet Addiction Disorder

Internet Addiction Disorder

What do you know about Internet Addiction Disorder or, IAD?  We all jokingly say that we know someone who has become “addicted” to a new game, app, or social platform.  Eventually, the newness wears off and they move on to something else. Many women are accused of being Pinterest addicts. It wasn’t so long ago that the words “Blackberry addict” were heard on a regular basis.

Internet Addiction is very different. It can take over a person’s daily life. They end up spending between 40-80 hours a week in front of a screen.  They prefer “virtual friends” to real life relationships. They spend their time engaged in excessive social networking, gaming, blogging, or shopping online. Just like drug or alcohol addiction, individuals must receive treatment or become aware of their behavior to overcome the obsession.

10 Warning Signs Of Internet Addiction

  1. Things you use to enjoy (reading, exercise, movies, etc.) you no longer consider due to your consumption of technology.
  2. You risk having more friends online than actual real friends.
  3. You forgo social events to spend more time online.
  4. You take your phone to bed with you so you can check messages during the night.
  5. You become panicked if you misplace your device or if you go without using your device for several hours.
  6. You cannot stop checking your device. You check messages during meetings, face time, appointments, and at meals.
  7. You have experienced fatigue, eyestrain, backaches, finger/wrist strain from using a device.
  8. Your schoolwork or job suffers because of your technology use.
  9. You become withdrawn and prefer to spend hours on the computer.
  10. Exhibit signs of not taking care of your personal appearance due to spending time on the computer instead.

If you know someone who has some of the warning signs you should not treat it as a passing fad. It could be a much more serious problem like Internet Addiction Disorder.




Meeting Cyber Strangers

Meeting Cyber Strangers

Meeting cyber strangers is a discussion every parent should have with their digital children.Would your child, tween, or teen, meet a cyber stranger in real life? Many times children have a difficult time understanding the difference between cyber strangers they meet in the virtual world and meeting people in the real world. It is probably a good idea to have a conversation or re-introduce the topic to your pre-teen or teenager. Cyber- strangers are constantly searching for online to connect with innocent children. Take time to start a discussion about the dangers of meeting cyber-strangers online and in real life.

Etsy For Teens: 12 Steps To Launch A Business

Etsy for TeensEtsy for teens may be the ideal choice if your teen is considering launching a business. Etsy launched in 2005 as an e-commerce storefront for handmade items. They have remained true to their initial offeringof only selling items made by hand. Many teens have launched successful businesses on Etsy although no one would know the difference between a shop that is run by a minor and a shop run by a member over 18.

Summer is the perfect time for energetic and crafty teens to consider all the steps required to setting up an Etsy storefront. We have collected some talking points to share with your teen to make the process of considering everything involved in being an entrepreneur. To make it easy we have a checklist to consider if this is the right time and the right opportunity for your teen to start an online business.

12 Steps To Launching An Etsy Biz:

  1. An adult is responsible for the account since the teen is under the age of 18 is considered a minor. If you use PayPal it also requires the teen to be 18 to open an account. The parent, who is the responsible party, will have to open the PayPal account and link to the Etsy storefront their teen has opened.
  2. The parent will be required to have a credit card on file.
  3. All items sold in the store must be handmade.
  4. Consider the time it takes to produce items, fill the orders, process payments, package and ship items. Remember, the holidays may require even more time to fill orders if your products are popular as gifts. Teens deciding to sell on Etsy must consider the time involved to run a successful store.
  5. Make sure the name of your business reflects the product you sell in the store. Customers have to be able to find you. Clever names are just that, clever, but will that business name bring you customers if the name does not describe accurately what you have to offer? If you sell ceramic plates, do not call your business, Tabletoppers. That could imply anything from tablecloths to placemats to candleholders. A more specific name would be Kate’s Custom Dinnerplates.
  6.  Accurately label your different products knowing that customers will be doing a keyword search looking for specific items. When you identify the products in the store, you will want to label them the way a future customer will try to find them. Etsy has a keyword tool on their Home Page.
  7. Be personable! If you are not excited about your product, do not expect customers to be either.  Show your passion and personality. What makes your shop unique? List this in your Shop Owner Section. Remember to repeat some of those keywords that describe your product here as well.
  8. Be prepared to communicate. Your customers will have questions about colors, size, delivery date etc. You will need to respond to these promptly just as you would in a stand alone store.
  9. Consider the policies you want your customers to be aware of. You will have a section titled, Policies where you discuss forms of payment accepted, refunds, exchanges, shipping etc.
  10.  Etsy will charge a fee to run your store on their e-commerce site. You should contact them to find out what their current charges are. Before you price your  items you will want to  factor this information into the price of the merchandise.
  11.  Sales tax is collected in Direct Checkout. You will need to keep itemized records for tax purposes.
  12.  Here are the Terms and Conditions:  Here are the Do’s  and Don’ts:

There are numerous benefits to learning a business. On the job training is usually the best teacher. Although this seems like an extensive list, keep in mind thousands of people have successfully accomplished each step and had success selling online. This list if offered as a blueprint to guide your teen on starting a business by using an Etsy storefront. Good luck!




Digital Dinners For Busy Families

Digital Dinners

     Have you considered digital dinners? No, I am not talking about finding recipes online. Where do you go for dinner inspiration when you cannot think of anything to cook? If you have dinner burnout, then maybe you need to consider going to your computer and ordering. Let me introduce you to the newest e-commerce trend: digital dinners to go.

     Your dinner, with a little advance planning, is literally a click away.  Companies are combining online ordering, tempting menus, pre-packaged ingredients, and overnight shipping to send you a savory dinner in a box. You select the menu and the recipe and instructions are included. Each kit arrives with fresh ingredients, never frozen, step-by-step instructions, and photos. You do the prep work and cooking. We have found four companies that offer digital dinners. We have provided a brief introduction to what they have to offer.

 4 Online Digital Dinner Choices

Hello Fresh  The delivery is free. It is a subscription model that you can cancel with a seven day notice.  You pay the same price each week. 3 meals for 2= $129.00

Blue Apron  The minimum order is for three meals and the delivery is free. You must join their service and select a plan to get the pricing for a typical meal.  Sorry, we could not provide that information.

Plated   Each week the menu changes. They are very up front with their prices. A recipe we selected, Panko Baked Chicken with Quinoa and Asparagus was $60.00 plus shipping to serve four people.

Chefday!  They state that all their recipes are created by top chefs and feature step by step videos. For every meal you purchase, they donate one to the Food Bank of New York City. A recipe for Parmesan Veal for 4 was $54.95. They only deliver in New York City.

     Since this is a fairly new concept, many have a limited delivery area. You would have to check with each site to see if it is available to be shipped where you live.

      How do feel about not going to the grocery store but having the grocery store come to your door? I think it is a novel idea. It certainly beats frozen dinners.




Summer Reading List For Families

Family Summer Reading List

   Social School 101 has collected even more books to add to the  summer reading list for families. Our latest selections are filled with fabulous ideas on how to turn those long summer days into exciting moments meant to be shared. We have some wonderful solutions to that age old statement you have heard many times before, “I am bored, I have nothing to do all day.”  Now, is the time to start your list of summer activities and we have some great recommendations.

     This month in our summer reading list for families we have four you can choose from. Last month we shared four of our favorites to give your summer a jumpstart. You can review them here. We just had one problem when we started our search for ideas. We could not limit our favorites to just a handful. Lucky you! We found an abundance of books written by talented parents just waiting to share their great ideas.

Summer Reading List

Fifteen Minutes Outside is filled with ideas to create quality time outside away from digital devices. It includes ideas organized by monthly chapters.

Family Reading Night  allows parents to start a new tradition and instill a love of reading. Wouldn’t it be great if more families started doing this?

The Creative Family is a small little book with fun crafts and ways to incorporate creativity into your family.

Family Fun Night is the alternative to television that you have been searching for. You will find fun ideas to try, projects, and games.

     We have shared our favorites for our second summer reading list. Do you have any you would like to add to the list?


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