Social Media Education Blog

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

Is 13 The Best Age For Facebook?

13 On Facebook?

      Is 13 the best age to be on Facebook? If you talk to ten parents will more than likely get ten different opinions. Many parents prefer not to discuss the topic of what is the appropriate age to be on Facebook since there is so much variance on opinions. If you are the parent of a pre-teen then you will know how popular this question is among your children, teens, and other parents. What is the best age to be on Facebook? If not 13, then what should it be?

     How was the age of 13 decided upon? Most parents do not realize that Facebook did not establish the age restrictions for their social platform. Actually, Congress decided that 13 was the best age for Facebook. Congress created the C.O.P.P.A. law or Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act  to protect children from advertisers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are very impressionable and do not have the age appropriate skills to discern the truth in advertisements. Therefore Congress created the law before Facebook was even invented. Ms. Social gave a detailed explanation about this topic earlier. You can find her response here.

13 on Facebook -what is your opinion?

     Is 13 the magic number to be on Facebook? Did your children want to be on Facebook before they turned 13? Do you think Facebook is where teens are online or have they abandoned Facebook for other platforms? Do you feel at 13, teens know enough about online safety and what they should never share online?

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?


10 Facts About Cyber Bullying

10 Cyber Bullying Facts

10 Facts About Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is a result of any online threats, intimidation, offensive language, continued harassment, or sexual exploitations aimed at your child. Here are some suggestions to follow if a cyber bullying incident occurs with your child.

8 Steps To Prevent Cyber Bullying

  1. Before an incident, talk with your children about specific people they should tell if someone makes them feel uncomfortable online. It could be a parent, teacher, or coach. The important thing is they know they should notify someone right away. Talking about it ahead of time gives your child a plan to implement.
  2. Tell your child not to engage in a hateful online debate. Many times others are trying to lure a victim into a flame war.
  3. Watch your child or teen for noticeable signs of distress. If their behavior changes or they do not want to go to school, you should be asking why.
  4. Keep records. If the cyber bullying occurs over the phone, then make a recording if possible. Log the time of day and how many times your child is being contacted.
  5. If the threats occur online, take a screen shot. Print off all evidence.
  6. Request a meeting with your child’s teacher and school administrator. Both should be present and be aware of the situation in the event it is occurring at school.
  7. Many times schools will not get involved if the cyber bullying is not happening on school grounds. If that is the case go immediately to your local law officials in your area and register your complaint. Take all evidence as proof.
  8. Consider contacting a lawyer if you feel you need to know your rights or if your child is not getting protection.

Our children need to be protected from bullies. If you have a cyber bullying incident, then do not hesitate to take action to prevent it. For further information view the article Cyber bullying How To Deal With It .

Apps To Monitor & Prevent Cyber Bullying

Prevent Cyberbullying

  Cyber bullying is one area all parents are concerned about. We would like to share several great apps that you should know about. Here are a few questions for you to think about:

Would you monitor your child to prevent cyber bullying if you had the opportunity? Are you worried that they are vulnerable? Many parents have these same fears.  It is estimated that every seven minutes a child is bullied.  Almost 60% of children admit to not telling their parents or another adult when they were threated online. How do we protect our children from cyber bullying when they are afraid to let us know they are being harassed?

     We have a list of seven apps for you to consider. These apps allow you to monitor your child’s texts, emails, social accounts like Facebook and Twitter, and smartphones. Some charge a monthly fee. Each provides a variety of services. Find one that you are comfortable using. I think these offer a preventative measure that allows parents to help their child before things get out of hand.

Cyber Bullying Apps Parents Should Know:

1.    Bully Block This app allows a child to report, block, or record a bully. It can capture inappropriate emails, which can be used as evidence. This evidence can be given to school authorities or a Human Resources department if someone is being harassed in the workplace.

2.    Find Help on Facebook Add a bookmark on your child’s Facebook account under the title “Find Help.” This gives you and your child instant help by providing phone numbers and links when an urgent problem needs to be reported.

3.   Go Go Stat This app allows you to try it for free. It will monitor activity on your child’s Facebook account.

4.   Safety Web This allows you the ability to track and monitor texts and instant messages. In addition to monitoring cellphones, they also patrol Facebook, My Space, and Twitter.

5.   Social Shield They offer a free program and a paid service. This app searches social networks looking for alerts. They monitor inappropriate language, drugs, sex, violence, and the addition of suspicious contacts/friends. It also searches photos that have been posted about your child.

6.   U Know Kids this app monitors Facebook, My Space, Twitter, and Instagram. They also monitor all mobile phones: Android, iPhone, and Blackberry.

7.   Mobicip  this parental control app allows parents to set up anInternet filter that can monitor the computer or smartphone.

8.   Net Nanny This is not an app but a software package that you purchase. It protects against pornography, cyber bullying, and online predators. It monitors your child’s social networks and instant messages.

     We all need to work together to protect our children. Please share this list with other parents as one more step in trying to prevent cyber bullying.

Social School 101 is helping parents, children, and teens, to be prepared for a great school year!



Visit Our Store

Click here to go to our store
Social Media Dictionary


  • Follow Me on Pinterest