Fascinating infographic just released by Common Sense Media summarizing their most recent study. The most interesting thing, to me personally, is the rapid and measurable change in their use from 2011 to 2013. Visit the Common Sense Media website for additional details or to read the full report.
A must-watch video on technology use, from the perspective of a 14-year-old. Contains fabulous insights and helpful tips for teachers and parents. A great way to introduce Digital Citizenship Week to parents and faculty.
"Common Sense Media has created a new blog where parents can share ideas, ask questions, and get answers. Visit Making Sense: Parenting, media, and everything in between to get a daily dose of fresh perspective from Common Sense Media editors and guest experts, get the scoop on the latest events and trends that your kids already know about, and so much more."
Reposted from Common Sense Media
Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see. (Description from the iTunes Store)
Sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong!
While the 6-second looping videos are easy to make and fun to watch, there are few privacy controls on the app. Hashtags such as #teddybearpicnic, #magic, or #pets seem innocent enough, but are often posted by people who are intentionally exposing undesirable images to users who are searching for non-pornographic content.
In a recent article "Is Vine Dangerous for Kids?" social media blogger and mom Brandi Jeter writes: "Everybody's talking about Twitter's new app Vine, but parents need to know that it may be risky for kids" She continues on with 5 things parents need to know about the Vine app. (Read her complete post for descriptions of each point below.)
A description of apps rated 17+ in the iTunes Store :
Common Sense Media rates the Vine app NOT FOR KIDS due to the ease of accessing inappropriate content on the app. They say:
Parents need to know that Vine is a social media app that lets you post and watch looping six-second video clips. The Twitter-owned service has taken the online world by storm, but parents need to be aware that it is full of inappropriate content for children. With a little creative searching, kids can find nudity, sex, drug use, offensive language, and more. While there are plenty of cute, fun videos, even adults might be shocked at some of the things they find. In iTunes, the app is listed for 17+, and users must confirm that they are 17 or older before installing (this is as simple as tapping "OK" -- there is no verification).
It Takes a Village to Understand an App called Vine
Instagram, Vine and Porn: What Parents Should Know
Resources to Help Parents Set Privacy Restrictions on iOS Devices:
iOS: Understanding Restrictions (Parental Controls)
iPhone 101: How to Set-up Parental Controls on your iPhone
Mobicip: Set Parental Controls on iPhone & iPod Touch
YouTube is a popular place to learn more about a topic, view how-to videos, share information, or just have a laugh. (It is quickly replacing Google as teens search engine of choice. Why read how to do something when you can watch a video to learn how?)
While the site is becoming a common destination for internet users, parents must remember that it remains a public forum whose target audience is diverse and whose content is not always appropriate for children. According to the YouTube Terms of Service, children are supposed to be 13 or older to use the site independently.
For those unfamiliar with the side, Common Sense Media provides a Parent Guide to YouTube as well as Advice for Parents: YouTube and Your Kids. The parent guide includes the following tips:
Control Your YouTube Content
Register for an Account
The best way to control what content your kids watch is to register for your own account (channel). On your channel, you can add videos to a playlist, mark "favorites, and subscribe to channels you like. When you are logged in, visit your Video Manager to see videos you have selected. TIP: Bookmark the Video Manager page on your computer to bypass the YouTube homepage altogether.
Check Viewing History
If logged in, YouTube captures your account's viewing history. This can show parents what videos children have been watching. Use this list as a conversation starter. It can provide fabulous insight into your child's interests.
Turn on Safety Mode
Familiarize yourself with the YouTube Safety Center. Among the tools available for parents is Safe View. To enable safe view, scroll to the bottom of any YouTube page, click on the "Safety" drop down, and enable Safety Mode. If you are logged in to your YouTube Account, you will have the additional option to permanently lock the browser into Safety Mode.
Other Tools to use with YouTube
SafeShare.tv makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the "related videos" or video comments. To use SafeShare.tv simply copy the url of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare.tv. This is a wonderful tool if you would like younger children to watch a video you found on youtube without the associated risks of additional content.
Turn Off the Lights
Turn Off the Lights is a browser extension that blacks out all content surrounding the video. "It provides focus to a video you are watching and makes everything around the video go dark. It works for all video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo,... and also on the social networking sites." This is another tool that parents might use to show children a video on YouTube without displaying additional content. Note that this is not a safety setting, merely a way to play videos. Parental supervision is advised.
YouTube Options is another browser extension that blocks out all content surrounding the video. "It gives the user the option to hide everything except the video, block in-video ads and annotations, create download links to all available video resolutions, and much more." This is yet another tool that parents might use to show children a video on YouTube without displaying additional content. Note that this is not a safety setting, merely a way to play videos. Parental supervision is advised.
Timer for YouTube
If your child views YouTube on an iPad, there is a Timer for YouTube app to limit the time they are allowed to spend watching videos on the site.
A few things to remember:
Ask.fm has been around since June 2010, but has recently gained popularity among teens and tweens as a place to gossip, tease, and even harass others. This website allows people to create accounts then ask (often controversial) questions about themselves or another person. Users may then respond anonymously via written or video reply. All questions and replies are posted publicly, for anyone to see, on their profile page. Also, the site has no type of monitoring in place. There is not a moderator to filter out inappropriate content.
We know that some of our Village School students have active accounts on Ask.fm, many of whom connected through their Instagram account. The Ask.fm Terms of Service state that account holders must be at least 13 years of age. Even for teens who are over 13, we strongly discourage their use of Ask.fm.
Doug Fodeman, co-director of ChildrenOnline.org, shares:
"Unlike its predecessor Formspring.me, Ask.fm is particularly nasty because its anonymous format and lack of ability to report abuse make it perfectly suited for cyber-bullying. The owner of the site is in Latvia and the site is registered in Micronesia, thus no legal recourse is available. And the owner acknowledges in a recent interview that Ask.fm is used primarily by teens and bullying occurs but seems to show no concern whatsoever for the kids using his site."
The Irish website WebWise provides the following information:
What are the Risks for Children Using Ask.fm?
Advice for Parents About Ask.fm
What Parents Can Do
Please use this as an opportunity to open a dialogue with your child. Even if they are not aware of the site, this would be an excellent time to reinforce the Digital Citizenship and Responsibility lessons we teach at school. It is also an opportunity to reinforce our Village Values: Respect, Responsibility, Trust, Fairness, Caring, and Courage.
Some basic guidelines for online safety:
This would also be a good time to discuss your family values, house rules on computer use, and what types of safety measures you have in place. All computers with internet connection should be in a public place in your home. Parents should know the usernames and passwords for their child(ren)’s accounts. Rules for internet usage should be understood by all family members and, preferably, posted near the computer. Some suggested computer/internet contracts, as well as other helpful information, can be found on our Village School Digital Families website.
Related Articles from the Daily Mail (UK):
Is Your Child Using the Sinister Website that Pits Friend Against Friend?
Pupils and Parents Warned Over Social Networking Website Linked to Teen Abuse
As a follow up to our previous post about Instagram and Snapchat, a recently posted article reveals that Snap Chat photos are not actually deleted after each post. Images are stored on the phone on which they were taken. While it is difficult to find these files, they are there.
[In December,] Snapchat's [co-founder and CEO Evan] Spiegel told BuzzFeed Snapchat users "embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products — but that spoils the fun!”
This is yet another opportunity to talk with your children about the permanence of online postings. No matter how "private" your account - once you post something online, you make that information/image/video available for others to view, forward, or share.
Snapchat has emailed the following response to Business Insider.
The Snapchat Generation Gap - Common Sense Media
What Parents Should Know about SnapChat App
Photo sharing apps, such as Instagram and SnapChat, are being used by pre-teens, teens, and tweens to share events from their daily lives. While these companies' terms of service state that users must be over the age of 13, we have been informed that some Village School students have accounts and are using personal devices and home computers to share photos with others.
Instead of re-writing already good information, we encourage parents to read/view the following:
At an elementary school age, children and pre-teens are still developing their decision making skills. Things they find funny or appropriate to share with others may not reflect their true character or your family's values. Parents need to monitor, provide guidance, and have frequent conversations about expectations for their child(ren)'s use of technology.
In addition, every online account or service is governed by that company's Terms of Service. All specify that children under the age of 13 are not permitted on their service. For children over the age of 13, great care and consideration should be given prior to allowing accounts to be created. The same caution should be used with any social media tools including Facebook, Kleek, Vine, and others.
"What is the normal age for the kids to get their own email account?"
This is an excellent question. Unfortunately, it has no perfect answer. There are a lot of variables – With whom will they be corresponding? What type of email will it be (google has an age restriction of 13+)? Will it be monitored and by whom? Are their other features of the account that you don’t want the child using (for example google chat)?
If only emailing with grandparents or family members, there are students as young as 1st grade who I know of having email addresses.
If opening it up to friends, I would advise waiting until 5th grade. Children at that age seem to grasp what is “appropriate” and what isn’t....not to say they always DO what is appropriate...but at least they can identify the category! ;-)
Whenever you decide it is "the right time," set expectations, have conversations, and practice, practice, practice. Since the motivation behind sending an email is communication, children should be taught proper communication skills. Emails should have a salutation and closing and always include their best age-appropriate spelling. Children should get in the habit of re-reading what they wrote and signing their name before pressing send. I guarantee, the novelty of sending emails quickly fades when all of these elements need to be included!
Another good rule is, "All media that leaves our house must be approved by a parent." Children often want to take and send photos or videos to friends and family. A parent should be asked each time any media is going to be shared. Sometimes the photo is harmless (the family pet) but the background might be something you don't necessarily want shared (mom in her pajamas on Saturday morning). Sometimes there is no real purpose for the media being sent - "Tell me does your friend want to see a recording of Taking Tom singing a song?" Sometimes silly is ok, other times it is not. These are great opportunities for conversations about purpose and audience.
In my family, both of my children (ages 7 and 10) have email addresses set up that we use for signing up for online accounts, apple IDs for their ipod, etc. They do not know their passwords, though. Those I am keeping until I allow them to login and use their email accounts themselves.
A few months ago, my oldest (5th grade/age 10) was allowed to begin using email. The account is set up so that all emails are cc'd into my email account - we see every email that comes in. We also have frequent conversations about the content and quality of emails sent and received.
That said, before giving a child an email address I strongly recommend having a conversation about your family expectations with regard to technology. I would also encourage you to write up and post in a prominent location, a list of rules/guidelines/agreements for your family.
Visit theonlinemom.com or commonsensemedia.org and look through their articles for more information about children and email accounts.