Smartphone Safety

What Does your IPhone know About You, Profile of a Smartphone

How often do you think about smartphone safety? If you are like most people probably never. We obsess over hard to decipher passwords that will prove difficult for hackers but at the same time we fear we will never be able to remember them because they are so complicated. We see headlines about credit card security breeches. We cringe every time a major retailer has been hacked knowing that we have shopped at those stores and our information is possibly in the hands of cyber criminals. We think about online safety, obsess over social media identity leaks or compromising posts, worry about our digital footprints, but when it comes to smartphone safety we rarely give it a passing thought.

Smartphones currently outnumber traditional mobile phones. Over 56% of Americans adults have smartphones. This statistics does not include the number of people under the age of 21 who own smartphones.  Our smartphones travel with us  wherever we go and we feel immense panic if our batteries get is the red zone indicating low battery life. Probably the biggest trepidation we have is we discover that we accidentally left our smartphone at home and feel either extremely vulnerable that we will need it in an emergency situation or we fixate that we have missed something really important since we cannot check our phone to see incoming messages.

Considering that we rarely feel anxiety over smartphone safety, here are some things you may have overlooked. We all just assume that our smartphones are the one place we are not vulnerable. We never imagine that criminals, hackers, or cyber snoops would want access to our financial online banking data, our location, contacts, stored photos, who you call, and what you search for on your smartphone. Thinking that it might be good time to put some safety measures in place, here is a quick list of tips.

5 Smartphone Safety Tips

1. Manage your location settings. You may giving away info on apps, social media accounts, and GPS tracking features. You can control your location settings.

2. Password protect your phone, set up a screen lock or make sure you can track your phone (Find My iPhone) in the event it is stolen.

3.You loose control over your privacy every time you install apps without checking the permissions screen.

4. Keep your smartphone software up to date.

5. Your phone contains information that is personal to you. Don’t leave your phone exposed in public or susceptible to theft. Your info or photos may be stolen and used as blackmail.

10 Internet Safety Tips For Pre-Teens

Internet Safety Tips for Pre-Teens
Now we are going to look at pre-teens or children between the ages of 9-12 roughly. We have created 10 internet safety tips for pre-teens knowing they have expectations and challenges that are different from young children and older teens teens. Pre-teens have one foot in childhood and the next foot is stretching to be a teenager. They are in-between so they constantly switch back and forth. They all want cellphones and to be on Facebook yet many times they find themselves in situations where they are  just not mature enough or do not have the experience to make the right decisions in social situations. This list of internet safety tips was designed with pre-teens in mind.

Children did not create cell phones, computers, or digital tablets. Technology was designed by adults for adults not for children. That is why there is a law requiring children to be 13 to obtain an account. Technology is a tool yet many pre-teens view it as a fun way to spend time not realizing the consequences. This is the age when pre-teens begin to experiment using social media. Just like riding a bike, learning multiplication, or learning a new sport, they need guidance and supervision. They need someone to show them how to use social media. That is where you can provide guidance. If you keep this list of 10 internet safety tips for pre-teens visible it will serve as a reminder about what they should do when they are in doubt.

Below you will find the steps for keeping your children safe while using social platforms. They apply to all platforms: Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Instagram. These suggestions will help you monitor your children and provide guidance.


10 Safety Tips For Using Social Media


  1. Participate in signing up for an account. Children do not experience with filling out questionnaires. This is one of the many places where they give away too much information. Every social platform wants as much of your child’s information that they are willing to give them. Social sites, like Facebook, will ask for your child’s phone number but do you think Facebook is going to call you? No. Children should never, ever, give their phone number over the Internet. This is why you need to help them sign up for an account.


  1. Use parental controls Before you leave the mobile phone store ask them to show you where the parental controls are. I also recommend monitoring software that will send you an alert about profanity, sexting, or new friends your child may not know. It cost between 5-10 a month.


  1. Keep your child’s profile set to private Check this often to make sure your child has not switched this to public. This is one of the ways strangers find your children online.


  1. Do not allow a webcam Children are vulnerable and webcams make it possible for private conversations in chat rooms, sexting, talks with strangers, and children can become overly concerned about their social appearance on the camera. Webcams are not for children.


  1. Friend your child on every platform Make sure you join everything they join. Ask them to show you how to use it if you do not know.


  1. Tell your child you will be monitoring their activities If your children know you are going to be watching they are going to think twice about what they do online. It’s okay to be a “peeping parent.”


  1. Apps cannot be used without your approval This is another way children give away information and run up big bills when making in-app purchases.


  1. Turn off tagging and geo location If the geo-location is turned on, your child can be located within 39 inches of where they are standing. Predators have software that helps them locate people in photos.


  1. Stay positive everyone can see your wall Teach your children the golden rule of posting. “Post about others the way you would want to be posted about.” Remind them the Internet is for positive exchange of ideas.


     10. Every entry is a permanent record so avoid digital dirt Every one of us leaves   information about ourselves online. We do it on security cameras, photos, medical records, airline reservations, and online purchases. Everything we write on the blogs, websites, Facebook, or emails leaves a permanent trail. Just like a tattoo it makes a lasting impression that can never be erased. Teach your children, “When in doubt, leave it out.”


It is important at this age to sit down and have a family discussion about your house rules for posting on the Internet. This is the second installment in our series on 10 Internet Safety and Security tips. Stay tuned for the next list which will deal with internet safety for teens. Be sure and share this list with other parents!

10 Internet Safety And Security Rules

internet safety and security
Do you always know what your children are doing online? Parenting the first Digital Generation can be overwhelming especially if you have multiple devices scattered around your house and children of different ages and abilities. Many times trying to monitor your children online is complicated by friends using the same computer, babysitters, or older brothers and sisters sharing sites with younger children.

We are providing a list just for parents trying to provide online protection for younger children ages 3-8. This list is the first in a three part series that will culminate in 30 Internet Safety And Security Rules For Children. This series will be divided into three different age categories to help you focus on children of different ages and abilities. A four year old certainly needs internet safety and security rules that are different from what a fourteen year old would need to know. The three different categories will be children ages 3-8, the second article will be focused on preteens and tweens ages 8-12, and the final list will be for teenagers. We will present the articles consecutively. The 30 rules will provide a framework to protect your children and will also be beneficial in consulting the list frequently because we all need reminders about the the risks of oversharing and the potential dangers online.

10 Internet Safety And Security Rules For Young Children

Let’s get started on younger children who are in elementary school. The Internet can be compared to a very large playground, there are many adults and children at the playground so it makes it very difficult to keep up with where your children are going. There is a great deal of activity and many tempting sites. That is why it is important for you to give your children rules before they start using the Internet and to follow up with reminders about online safety.

How many times do you have to remind your children to clean up their room, brush their teeth, do their chores, and remember to say please and thank you? Or did you do your homework, where is your backpack, are you ready to go? Here are some more things you need to add to your list. Children need to be reminded on how to use the Internet safely. Even though you tell them day in and day out they will forget even when they are pre-teens, and teenagers. One of the main reasons so many children and adults get into trouble on the Internet is because they over share information. There is a new word called “sharent.” A sharent is a parent that over shares online. Even adults make mistakes online that is why it is so important to be the example you want your children to emulate.

10 Things Your Child Should Never Share Online:


  1. Date of Birth When you reveal your full date of birth it can lead to identity theft. If you must list the year, go back and remove it.


  1. Where You Live Photos can reveal too much personal information. Look at your photos and make sure street signs, names on buildings, and license plates are not revealed. They are all traceable.


  1. Passwords When children are young, parents should control all passwords. This is the best way to monitor them online. They have to ask permission to use a program because you control the password.


  1. Recent Purchases Burglars shop for merchandise online. If your child mentions a new pet or Dad just assembled a new grill for your cookout, then your child just created a potential online advertisement for thieves.


  1. Dates Of Events You would not post a sign on your front door saying we are not at home. Dates of birthday parties, kindergarten graduations, pizza parties, church picnics, and where you are going to dinner send out alerts to more people than you realize.


  1. Drama Children are like mina birds. They repeat everything they hear. They need to be taught that there are some things that are just personal to your family and should not be shared online.


  1. Home Alone We have all heard stories of how one message that “my parents are gone” can quickly turn into a major party and the next thing you know your house is party central. Remind your children that one message can be forwarded and shared to hundreds of strangers.


  1. Inappropriate Comments Anything you post on the Internet is like putting it on a billboard. Teach them to ask themselves, “is this something I would want my teacher, principal, or my grandmother to read?”


  1. Embarrassing Photos There is a big difference between a funny photo and a hurtful photo. Children need to be taught the difference  between a funny photo and one that is hurtful or embarrassing to others.

        10. Set Time Limit Too much tech can have adverse effects.       


It takes a long time to learn how to use social media and technology. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your children need for you to sit beside them and show them how to engage properly. That is why it is so important for you to learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Wherever your children are is where you need to be.  Spend time sitting with your children and sharing what they think is fun and exciting on the computer.

Be sure and share this list of 10 Internet Safety and Security Rules For Children with other parents. Be on the lookout for next series that will contain 10 Internet Safety And Security Rules For Pre-Teens. 

Instant Messaging Apps Every Parent Should Know

The top 10 Instant Messaging Apps in the world

There are numerous instant messaging apps and chances are if you have kids then they are using one of these. Why are they so popular?  Instant messaging is an online chat that occurs in real time. It provides a great way to communicate with multiple friends, instantly. After all, calling someone on the phone is so, so, yesterday. It also provides a way for teens to take their activity private away from prying eyes that may be looking on their social media platforms. To eliminate confusion, here is a list of the most popular instant messaging apps and also some of the features of each. They all similar but some offer numerous features that allow users to engage in multiple ways. All of these require the users to be at least 13 and one requires the user to be 17+. You will want to pay attention to which apps are age appropriate.

 Instant Messaging Apps Every Parents Should Know

WhatsApp In February, Facebook announced it would purchase this product for 19 billion dollars. Obviously, Facebook recognized the popularity of this app.

WeChat  Currently, this app supports 20 international languages for translation. It was developed in China.

Facebook Messenger It features a split-screen selfie camera and has recently added record and send short video capabilities.

Line This app is very appealing because users can send emoticons and stickers with their messages.

Viber This app offers free calls, texts, and photo sharing. It also has the added benefit of free international calls if the other user has the app installed.

Snapchat Users can set a time limit on how long their snaps can be viewed. They turned down an offer of 3 billion dollars from Facebook in 2013.

QQ This app was developed by a Chinese company and offers online games, shopping, voice chat, and microblogging.

Skype You must have a Skype account to use this service since it does not connect through a phone number.

KaKao Talk Developed in Seoul, Korea, this app launched in 2010. Users can connect by simply tapping their phones together if they each have the app installed.

Google Hangouts It offers video calling, photo sharing, emojis, and group conversations. It connects through a Google account and not a phone number.

Kik Messenger Users have multiple options of talking to groups or individuals, can send photos, or greeting cards. It is rated for 17+ in the App Store.

Tango Users can text, share photos and music, send voice or video messages, and even play games.

Message Me This app  can connect with friends through Facebook authorization. It has a feature that allows users to draw or doodle on top of photos.

Does your child use instant messaging? What is their favorite app?

Did Someone Say Presents? Social Media Dictionary!

Social Media Dictionary reduced700x1054More than 140 million shoppers launched their holiday shopping season just as the Thanksgiving meal was concluded. Quickly one holiday ended as consumers turned their attention to the mall in hopes of shopping bargains and major discounts for the Christmas giving season. Of all the gifts you purchase this holiday season which will be the one that gets used again and again? Give the gift of digital literacy this year with the Social Media Dictionary A Modern Guide To Social Media, Texting, and Digital Communication.

 Give The Gift Of Digital Literacy

Digital literacy provides the foundational skills for communicating online. The Social Media Dictionary increases opportunities for technology learning, expands knowledge of digital communication, and creates digital citizens for a more productive society. Here are a few digital literacy facts.

* A person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment is increasingly required for many opportunities in the workforce. 62% of working Americans use the Internet as part of their daily jobs.

* 80% of Fortune 500 companies only accept online applications. Online skills are necessary for seeking and applying for jobs today.

* 79% of students are required to submit or access their lessons online.

* Today four of the seven fastest growing jobs directly require technology skills.

6 Benefits Of The Social Media Dictionary

* The ability to understand and use technology in multiple formats: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, texting, and new terminology is greatly enhanced by the Social Media Dictionary

* It is a complete comprehensive guide to enable users to communicate in the Digital Age.

* It contains the latest trending social media terms.

* It provides quick access to a comprehensive lists of texting acronyms.

* It is a tool that will be used to prevent social blunders online and increase digital confidence.

* The Social Media Dictionary will boost technical competence for increased opportunities.

Give the gift of digital literacy this holiday season. It is a gift for all ages. It is a gift that will be appreciated and used again and again!