Sexual Shaming:Ask Ms. Social

Dear Ms. Social,

     My daughter just graduated from high school and we have a million things to think about before she heads off to college in the fall. Right now, we are collecting items for her dorm room, getting a new computer, and talking about a bank account for her purchases at school. We are adding to the list everyday.

     Those are all the fun things to do before she leaves. We also have to cover all the not so fun but serious matters before she ventures off on her own. One of my friends told me about a new form of cyber bullying that occurred at her son’s college last year. It is called sexual shaming. She said it was a major problem and we needed to talk to our daughter about the devastating effects on girls being victimized online.

     I have a general knowledge about what sexual shaming is from the conversation with my friend. I would like to know how to talk to my daughter on this topic and what she should know to stay safe.

                                       College bound freshman

  Dear College bound,  

    Sexual shaming is also known as slut shaming. It refers to revealing explicit nude photos, compromising videos, bragging about sexual conquests, or rating girls on their willingness to have sex and placing all the details online. The images, text, or video, once posted on social platforms like Facebook, go viral.  Other people find these images in their feed.  Commenting, rating, and sharing, the pictures spreads through social media. The victim, many times unaware until someone tells them, has been sexually shamed and her sexual encounter  or compromised photo has been publicly displayed similar to placing it on a billboard for everyone to view.  Sexual shaming involves a victim, harassment, and it occurs online just like cyber bullying.

Sexual shaming has devastating effects on the victim. In some cases, suicide has been the result of online humiliation. Often the victim was recorded without knowing it.  The victim was recorded with a hidden camera or photos were taken with a cellphone.  The perpetrator shares it with his or her friends who share it with more friends.  Many times girls “shame” other girls. Collectively, they form a group to criticize the victim. This is known as victim blaming and brings another negative element on top of the public exposure.    

  You could see where a freshman at college would be vulnerable. They are meeting many new friends and they have entered a world of independence with little supervision.  Do not think, however, that sexual shaming is just occurring on college campuses. It is also happening to middle and high school students as well.   

   There needs to be more awareness about sexual shaming. Just like cyber bullying, there are always bystanders and upstanders. We need to encourage everyone involved to be upstanders and stop the victimization.  

    Thank you for asking information on such an important social topic.                                    

     Socially yours,     

       Ms. Social

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?

10 Creative Instagram Products

Ask Ms. Social

Dear Ms. Social,

I took your advice and when my daughter wanted an Instagram account I signed up for an account as well. I am on her friend’s list and although I really do not take many images, I enjoy the photos her friends exchange. They are very creative. Thanks for the tip sheet which explained Instagram. It really helped me to get up and running in a hurry.

Now, my daughter wants to add the other “grams” that go along with Instagram. I do not understand all these products that you can purchase. If you could provide some guidance, I would appreciate it. Should I allow her to use these?

Instagram Mom

 

Dear Instagram Mom,

     As you know, Instagram is super popular with teens. Everyday over 60 million photos are posted online and over 200 million people use the site every month! It did not take long for other entrepreneurs to realize they could make spin off businesses from Instagram images and be successful.  All the “grams” you refer to or Instagram products are businesses that turn Instagram photos into creative Instagram products. I think you will find them very unique. 

10 Creative Instagram Products

Printstagr.am prints your images into calendars, stickers, posters, tiny books and more.

Postrgram creates a poster with 50 images or more.

Instasparkle takes your favorite image and turns it into a necklace. 

Instagrid creates a gallery for your Instagram photos.

Casetagram can create a custom iPhone case from your image.

Origami creates postcards from your photos in different designs and themes.

Wallgram creates wallpaper for your favorite device.

Stickygram creates little magnets from your images.

Artflakes turns your prints into stickers.

Keepsy creates Instagram photo books

   This is just a partial list of add on products that can be used with Instagram. There are many more that are just as creative. Enjoy looking at these.

    Please be sure and share the Instagram Tips and Tricks article with other parents. I think they will want join in the fun when they see how much you are enjoying it!

                                                Socially yours,

                                                 Ms. Social

Internet Bullying: Is Your Child The Bully?

Internet-Bullying_Title
I know it is difficult to imagine but is it possible to consider for just a moment that your child may be the bully? Believe it or not, many parents secretly suspect that their child is the instigator of bullying. One third of parents secretly suspect that their child is bullying others on the Internet. Is the child to blame or are the parents responsible for not addressing their suspicion and taking action before the bullying gets out of hand?

Internet Bullying

Internet bullying is far more prevalent than the statistics that are reported. I know that is a disturbing thought. Here is why it is be true. Many children who are victims of Internet bullying do not tell anyone. Many fear retaliation. Many feel that other users will turn on them as well. Maybe the victims are ashamed or possibly they think it will go away. Maybe and I hope this is not the reason, children, tweens, and teens, feel that it is just part of growing up. We teach children not to be bystanders when they see bullying occur. We encourage them to be upstanders instead. Shouldn’t we expect the same from parents?

Here Are The Facts

Internet Bullying
Lacking maturity, and social awareness, many times underage children and teens make social blunders, friend people they do not know, or post comments that are not appropriate. Posting on the Internet is like writing with a permanent marker. You cannot erase the comments. They are permanently exposed for everyone to view. Many tweens and teens are vulnerable to inappropriately engaging in online conversations since they lack social media skills and may end up involved in flame wars. In a recent survey by the National Children’s Bureau and McAfee, more than 50% of children admitted that they regularly go online without any parental supervision. Most of the children stated that there were not any parental controls on their home computer.

The Internet can be a very dangerous place for children and teens. If you suspect that your child may be the bully or may be part of a group that is bullying, please do not be a bystander. Have you thought about it secretly? Is you child an Internet bully?

What Are Teens Sharing Online

 What Teens Are Over Sharing Online

Most parent want to know what their teens are sharing online. There are many different types of parents. You may be the parent that has monitoring software installed that alerts you to profanity, drugs, or if an unknown friend contacts your teen. You may be the parent that checks your teen’s phone every night. Many parents require that their children hand over all devices at night. Or, you could be the parent that trusts your teen to make the right decision and gives them total autonomy to use their devices without you knowing what they are doing. One thing is for certain. Parents need all the help they can get when it comes to parenting the first Digital Generation.

Tips For Teens Sharing Online

We all need reminders and teens are no different. After viewing these new findings you may want to revisit some safety conversations.

You might want to remind them of the following:

1. Negative comments and drama should never be shared on social media. Take it offline.

2.Tagging photos without permission or posting unflattering images of their friends is not appropriate.

3.Oversharing personal information like name of school, phone number, or using location based check-ins gives lurking predators free information. Not Cool!

4. They have a reputation online and offline. They are the guardians of their personal information and need to make sure they reflect their best selves online and off.

Has your teen posted videos of themselves online? Have they revealed their birthdate? Take some time and start a discussion about what teens are sharing online.

Shocking News About Smartphone Safety And Parents

Smartphone Safety and Parents

Do you know enough to teach smartphone safety to your children?  Sooner or later your pre-teen or teenager will be asking for a smartphone.Chances are they probably already own one. The question is, “are you prepared to provide safety guidance?” It is shocking to learn in a recent survey that most parents do not.

     Children quickly learn from their peers how to seamlessly use digital devices. Many times parents feel their children know more than they actual do when it comes to technology. Just because their friends at school showed them something does not make it a valid source. Another consideration is their lack of social maturity and reasoning skills when using smartphones. They could easily find themselves in a dangerous situation.  Before you encounter a problem you should consider the results of a recent survey by McAfee. They questioned parents about their knowledge on smartphone safety.

Survey results:

  1. Over 66% of parents did not set any controls on their teenager’s smartphones. This includes texting, geo-tagging, phishing, and security.
  2. Over 88% of parents did not know the password to their teenager’s smartphone.

  

      Zip. Nada. Nothing. Do not wait until it is too late. Take steps today to become an informed parent. Begin to protect your child by adding security software for their phone, discussing topics with your provider, and starting a discussion with your son or daughter about smartphone safety.