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Reflexive responses to digital bullying & self-harm not helpful

Readers, as new information has emerged in the UK’s recent teen suicide case, I felt it might be useful to you if I pull together several years’ worth of insights, wisdom and context on “digital self-harm.” So here’s Part 2 (Part 1 is here)…. If what executives reportedly said about the hate messages on […]

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Teens & social media: Parents’ other job

An interesting myth about social media is the one about tension between teen privacy and teen safety. Because of all the scary messaging about the Internet that has been in circulation for almost two decades, many parents seem to believe it’s their job to monitor their children’s Net use closely. The assumption is that privacy […]

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Ways to reduce the chances of being spied on by the NSA or anyone else

We live in a world where people rightfully worry about whether their electronic communications are being tracked by the government, by companies or by criminals.  Recent revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have certainly demonstrated that the government has the capability of knowing who you’re calling and how long you’re speaking.  Other leaks indicate the […]

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Here’s a tech risk: TVs falling on children

When we think of the “dangers” of TV and children, we’re reminded of studies about kids watching too much TV or TV shows that encourage violence, overeating, or bad habits. And while there is some controversy about those issues, there is little doubt that TV becomes a real danger to kids if a set falls […]

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Are you being stalked via cell phone?

At the National Network to End Domestic Violence Technology Summit 2013 in San Jose,Erica Olsen, senior technology safety specialist for the organization talked about what to look for if you’re concerned that someone has planted software on your mobile device to track, spy or stalk you. Of course, some of these can be associated with other issues […]

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Media siege mentality: Antidote for parents

Over the 15-or-so years I’ve been covering family technology, I’ve noticed a kind of siege mentality that developed among parents about kids’ use of digital media. Then, a few years ago, when sociology professor David Finkelhor at the University of New Hampshire gave his milestone talk, “The Internet, Youth Deviance & the Problem of Juvenoia,” […]

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10 rules for safe family cell phone use

1. Have a conversation about when it’s OK and not OK to use the phone for talking, texting, apps and other functions. This should include both time and place. Talk about rules for cell phone use during dinner, at social events and in public places like movie theaters and restaurants. 2. Consider having a centralized […]

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Safe searching with Google and YouTube

Google engineer Matthias Heiler blogged about A few easy tools the whole family will love, to remind parents about how to lock in “safe” (i.e. filtered) searches on Google and YouTube. He points out that parents can go to Google’s search settings page to filter out sexually explicit content from search results and then lock in that setting  for […]

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For families: Connecting mindfully vs ‘digital detox’

It takes a lot more than “digital sabbaths” to become grounded, but it sounds like the creators of Camp Grounded in northern California get that. I think. As described by writer Matt Haber in the New York Times, the three days were as gluten-free as they were tech-free and packed with activities aimed at human […]

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Instagram Video: What parents need to know + illustrated guide

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app used by more than 130 million people now lets you shoot and share video. On June 20th, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, demonstrated the new features at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, saying that the Instagram video offers “everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves.” That pretty […]

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