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Teen technology support -- know of any sites that offer a subscription service?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'd like to try to find the lazy mamas solution for staying up on Internet, cell phone, and technology issues facing teens today. Like so many adult parents I often feel a bit out of the loop in terms of what sorts of things took out for. Even the articles I've read seem to leave a lot of the new stuff out. 


I don't watch shows like "The Today Show" or wherever everyone else hears about things like "Snapchat" to give a recent example.  


Does anyone know of a good Facebook page or organization that is offering a service where they send members updates about current trends and things to look out for in terms of technology safety?  


Thanks in advance! 

post #2 of 12

I'm not sure that "current trends" really tells you much about how your child and her circle of social-media friends will be using the internet, so I don't think that following overall trends is really a shortcut. Any social media can be used inappropriately, and a kid or group of kids who are motivated to do so will find ways around whatever supposed safeguards exist. And things change really quickly: especially when it comes to hacks and security breaches, they can turn on a dime. I think the best way to keep abreast of what may be putting your child at risk is to communicate with your kid directly. If she's subscribing to a new service, ask her about it, and ask what she thinks the risks are, and remind her of considerations she should take into account. Ask her how her friends are using it, and whether she or they are seeing problems with behaviour or security. Ask her to do some research. Consider getting your own account to check the service out. And keep checking in to monitor things, not like a police officer, but like a mentor. "How's it going? Any problems? How are things on snapchat? How are your friends behaving?" 


I'm the mom to a 10-year-old who blogs, shares photos publicly on Facebook and Flickr and has a Snapchat account. She's mature and savvy about risks on the internet. She's doing a 365 in 2014 photo challenge with a bunch of awesome adults who are teaching her so much about photography and uses FB and Snapchat to communicate with her older sister at college as well as a few music friends she's met at summer programs. These connections are rich and valuable for her, yet if I'd gone by 'trends' I would have been terrified to let her venture in such directions. As it stands everyone's behaviour has been above reproach, her social connections are stronger than they would have been without the virtual element (we're very rural, so she doesn't see these friends often) and she loves what she's able to do. 



post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Oh, gosh. I will admit that this sounds like quite a lot, Miranda. I'm a touch of a Luddite at heart. My DC has a lot of my same tendencies when it comes to technology. Dabbles a bit but hasn't yet really delved into things. Perhaps this personality type requires a focus on being "up on trends" more if only because casual use may create some unintended carelessness. I don't know. 


With technology I often feel like it's not so much a lack of communication but just not knowing what to look out for. I could probably make a good long list of things I wasn't aware of needing to consider. 

post #4 of 12

That's fine, then, see ... you can learn along with your kid. If she gets interested in a social media platform that her friends are using, she'll do so one little bit at a time, and you can learn about that one little bit as she ventures into it with you alongside. If you were a Luddite by nature and she was already an enthusiastic Tweeter and Vine user, you'd have a problem. I've honestly found that the quality of the friendships and the integrity of the friends is a far better predictor of safety in social media than anything.


Rule of thumb 1: don't share any personal info with anyone you don't know and trust in real life. Rule of thumb 2: if there's inappropriate social media use in evidence somewhere, recognize it for what it is and get out.


Maybe someone else will have something to suggest. Generally I've found "internet safety guides" for parents of tweens and teens to be hopelessly out of date and unrealistically conservative. 



post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Maybe someone else will have something to suggest. Generally I've found "internet safety guides" for parents of tweens and teens to be hopelessly out of date and unrealistically conservative.  


Me too!  If I ruled the internet all articles would have a date. One of  the most frustrating things about researching up to date tech stuff is that articles always imply that they're bringing you the latest and greatest info....but one can't tell when the thing was written!  


A general search for articles on teen media stuff brings little helpful information either -- even if it is new. 


I agree that sharing personal information is a no-no... but one of the things I wonder about and would like to give my teen good advice about is when we give any. For  information, we can open ourselves up for being more personal than we intended. For instance, for right now my DC's email address is her first name@first/middle name.com  She may even have a first email account with her first and last name. She is the only person with that first/last name combination in the world that I know of. So...  "not giving personal information" is tough if she were to ever use her firstname/last name email (which I will remind her not to do). For all she knows her name is in some publication somewhere (news from a field trip, a teacher's blog, from friends or family and has information about where she lives or goes to school). You know, maybe she used her email account somewhere and somewhere else used her last name. Boom! First name, last name. That's all it would take for my DC to be identified. 


I'm not so worried about some predator being able to find her so much as I'm worried about her having a trail of information that starts now and is traceable for the rest of her life that for some reason that I can't think of right now she may come to regret. 


If anyone is following along and has similar worries or needs I did find two sites that look like they have potential.


The first is Common Sense Media. I have a feeling they are pretty conservative but I have gone to that site in the past to check reviews for movies when we had younger children as guests in our home and I wanted to stay on the safe side of what to allow them to watch. They seem mainly to be a movie/video game content site but have picked up on the need for guidance with the internet and social media. 


The other is NetSmartz Network. I'm not familiar with this one but I'm giving it a shot on my FB newsfeed.  


I'll try to remember it post here if either turn out to be the solution I'm looking for. 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 



And just out of curiosity, I just Googled my DC's first and last name. Her Google+ account, which is from he email account that ONLY has her first/middle name shows as first name/last name. Additionally, there is a news article in our city paper identifying where she goes to school currently and also an article on her previous school's newsletter. 


AND, her Google+ account shows a list of her friends. I'm not sure if that shows for everyone or just me (since I'm her friend). 


You are quite right about using whatever your kid use...but neither of us really use Google +. I certainly don't but I do like Gmail and other Google services (calendar and etc.)  Honestly, I hardly even know what Google + is.  


Hum... more to think about. 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

So, I just went over some background stuff for her and explained that when she used her last name for her Gmail account, and then added a Google+ account her default name was her first/last name. I told her that I think she should avoid using her first/last name where possible. 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

I talked to my DC this weekend about some of these things. Turns out she had already Googled herself but she did it w/o quotes (something I hadn't thought to do). Because she has an unusual first and last name, there are hits for her this way as well. 


She has a domain name, for instance, and the registration of that domain name has our address on pubic file. Wow!  There are also a few hits where her aunt (same last name as my DC) used her last name and my DC's first name so my DC can be ID'd that way as well. 


This is something that may well be life for kids but I'm glad I looked into it. 


I think I'll talk to my DH about whether the domain name thing can be made private or edited somehow. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Also, I want to say that this is really less about internet security than just helping my DC be a savvy internet user. I know LOTS of really smart adults who are pretty darned gullible online. I am only FB friends with adults, for instance, and I can't tell you how many people on my page forward silly chain-letters, silly FB "privacy notices", articles that are so obviously BS yet they don't bother to check Snopes and the like.... all sorts of things like this. 


My DC already knows about how to just block spam-email and etc. there are occasional things that get even me (and I consider myself to be pretty skeptical online).  There are some pretty good ticks out there!  Oh, and things like when your friends get a virus and they send you phishing links. I suppose I should just show DC when things like that happen on my computer. 

post #10 of 12

this very topic is why I registered on mothering.com tonight.  My DD is hitting a new phase and wanting to explore social media, blogging, etc and this is all new territory for her and for me as a parent.   I am concerned about privacy, data mining, inappropriate behavior of her & friends, bullying, the whole sha-bang. 


this mommy is turning a new corner in the parenting maze and I'm looking for help.




post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi, RT


Since posting this I've noticed that DC isn't really using media. I have a feeling that this phase may be one that we kind of freak out over, adjust, and then have some mellow time...to be followed by a repeat when the next thing comes along. 


Just today, for instance my DC  asked me about adding her birth date and school to her Google + account (which she hardly uses).  I told her not to because I don't know how Google + works. It appears to hold a lot of public information. 


She also asked me again about Instagram and Facebook. I use FB so I'll be happy when my DC uses that (over Goggle +) because at least I understand it. 


Common Sense media has had some good articles, FYI. 



post #12 of 12
I hope this helps anyone.
I heard that it is able to help you monitor your child's technology example :phones and pc: in hopes of keeping them safe from unsolicited things that they are too young to see when discovering things within the world of the internet .
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