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In this age of social media you cannot inform yourself enough on the apps and dangers that are present. We will continue to update this site with current information, events & new apps that come out. Please check back frequently.

What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone?

NOT long ago, many parents wondered at what age they should give their child full access to the car keys. Nowadays, parents face a trickier question: At what age should a child own a smartphone?The smartphone, after all, is the key to unfettered access to the internet and the many benefits and dangers that come with it. But unlike driving a car, which is legal in some states starting at the age of 16, there is no legal guideline for a parent to determine when a child may be ready for a smartphone.The topic is being increasingly debated as children get smartphones at an ever younger age. On average, children are getting their first smartphones around age 10, according to the research firm Influence Central, down from age 12 in 2012. For...

It’s O.K., Liberal Parents, You Can Freak Out About Porn

When you, as a parent, open your child's phone and find porn, it's shocking. You feel alone. You feel you're the only parent in the world dealing with this. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Internet pornography is a serious issue, that, as any other issue facing parents, we must discuss openly. Parents must communicate! New York Times opinion writer Judith Shulevitz has her say: It’s O.K., Liberal Parents, You Can Freak Out About Porn Judith ShulevitzJudith Shulevitz JULY 16, 2016THE draft of the 2016 Republican platform released last week takes such conservative stands on sexual issues it begs to be made fun of. Particularly easy to lampoon is a plank calling pornography a “public-health crisis that is destroying the life of millions.”How, critics ask, can Republicans say they’re concerned about public health when their...

Parents Need to Communicate with One Another

In today's society, parents seem to be grouped into two groups: helicopter parents and parents who are not. And if parents are involved with their children's lives, know what they are doing, are aware of comings and goings and ask questions, they are labeled as helicopter parents. This should NOT be the case. This is NOT fair. It is a parent's right and responsibility to know what their children are doing and to guide their children through life until they feel they can let them go into the world to be productive citizens. An excerpt from A Mother's Reckoning: Living the Life in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold (mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the boys responsible for the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado) says, "Not knowing about Eric's...

Parents: Here’s how to stop the worst of social media

As the mom of two girls, ages 7 and 9, there are countless reasons why I'm freaking out about the teen years. But topping that list, at the moment, is the thought of parenting in the social media age. My kids won't be allowed to have smartphones until middle school at the earliest, but once the genie is out of the bottle, how will I possibly be able to keep tabs on everything they're doing on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and all the other yet-to-be created social networks? Short answer: I won't. But the findings of a new "CNN Special Report: #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens," shows why we parents should try to do a much better job of understanding what's happening online. ( The documentary, #Being13, airs at 9 p.m. ET...

Why some 13-year-olds check social media 100 times a day

(CNN)"I would rather not eat for a week than get my phone taken away. It's really bad," said Gia, a13-year-old. "I literally feel like I'm going to die." "When I get my phone taken away, I feel kind of naked," said Kyla, another 13-year-old. "I do feel kind of empty without my phone." Both participated in "#Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens," a first-of-its-kind CNN study on social media and teens. More than 200 eighth graders from across the country allowed their social media feeds to be studied by child development experts who partnered with CNN. This is the first large scale study to analyze what kids actually say to each other on social media and why it matters so deeply to them. "I think they're addicted to the peer connection and affirmation they're able...

U.S. Sexting Laws and Regulations

State  Laws  Overview

The severity of a child’s action in terms of sexting is not always fully understood by both the children involved or their parents, but all 50 states have some type of legal enforcement. While most parents understand that a child caught with sexually explicit images on their phone is criminal, the severity of the charges that could be assessed against the child can be sobering. For example, in states that have not specifically addressed sexting, it is very possible that the state will defer to its child pornography laws to address the action. As such, parents and their children need to begin to appreciate the following: Possession of a sexually explicit image of a minor is a crime in and of itself. Distribution (sending a...

Don’t Text While Parenting — It Will Make You Cranky

A new study from Boston Medical Center reveals that parents who get absorbed by email, games or other apps have more negative interactions with their children, making them feel like they're competing for attention with their parents' gadgets. It’s hard to avoid the lure of the smartphone — so many apps! — and if you’re a parent with rambunctious kids, you may not want to. But a fascinating study of the dynamic between parents, kids and smartphones paints a sobering picture of what the devices are doing to the parent-child relationship. Dr. Jenny Radesky, a fellow in developmental-and-behavioral pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, specializes in counseling parents about developmental and behavioral issues with their children. So she was naturally curious about how the ubiquity of smartphones, and their distracting allure, might affect the quality...

Teen tracking apps: Good parenting or risky?

A public service announcement used to run at the top of the evening news: "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?" Well, it's 2014, and with smartphone technology it's possible to track your children all the time. A number of parental tracking apps and services exist for monitoring teen activity on smartphones: MamaBear, Life360, Canary and My Mobile Watchdog, to name a few. Some parents say using these services is a sign of good parenting, yet psychologists and privacy experts warn that there are pros and cons, and parents should weigh them before signing up. One of those services, called TeenSafe, allows parents to monitor their children's location, social media activity, text messages and call log. There are more than 500,000 users, according to Ameeta Jain, a TeenSafe co-founder. "As...

Teens and Sexting – Who’s Business Is It Anyway?

A couple of weeks ago, local news stations reported that a group of middle school girls from a local town sent topless photos of themselves to another student who then sold the pictures and posted them online. It’s bad enough that schools get involved in these private matters but now the media? Do you remember Anthony Weiner, the congressman who became infamous because of his sexting scandal last year? His face, and ahem…naked parts, were plastered online and flashed on every news program in the country. I can remember feeling uncomfortable watching the news around that time with my daughters in the room. I mean, no teenage girl should have to see that, right? Thing is, they probably knew more about sexting that I did. We've since had a few discussions about...

Teens Sleeping with Cell Phones: A Clear and Present Danger

You may already know that many teens sleep with their cell phone on or near the bed. As an adult, you yourself may sleep with your cell phone and see no problem with this behavior. A closer look at the reasons that 4 out of 5 teens sleep with their phone, however, gives cause for concern. While for some teens, the night use of the phone is as a clock or alarm, for most the phone is on all night to connect with peers. This “on call” status can reflect obligation, anxious need, and even addiction. It jeopardizes physical, emotional and cognitive functioning and limits domains of influence and connection.

Obligation

The peer pressure “to be available” used to mean hanging out after school. It takes on different proportions when it means being available 24/7. Teens...

Tired teens need limits on electronics

It’s a fact that a good night’s sleep is essential to optimal performance, no matter the task. It is also a fact that America’s teens, generally speaking, don’t get enough sleep. Ergo, American teens, as a group, underperform in school. In consideration of the above, a movement has arisen to extend school start times to at least 8:30 a.m. I think the well-meaning folks behind this movement are missing the point. The problem, it seems to me, is not when the school day begins. The problem is teens whose parents let them stay up until all hours of the night playing video games, texting, talking on their cellphones, watching television, surfing the Internet and listening to music on headphones. These teens, as has been known for some time now, aren’t getting enough sleep. Bedtime...

To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love

Dear Gregory Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership. I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come. 1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the...

How to prevent teenagers from sexting and protect them from other teens who do

With the ubiquity of ever more powerful cell phones, sexting has become an increasing concern for the parents of teenagers and preteens. This article describes how you can protect your child from the dangers of sexting, an activity that has major implications for long-term internet reputation and electronic privacy. Sexting refers to sharing nude or near nude pictures, usually via a mobile phone. Most experts distinguish between sending naked photos, an activity with serious privacy, health and legal implications, and simply sending suggestive text messages, which is less harmful. Understand why teenagers engage in sexting According to two surveys conducted in 2005 and 2009, approximately one in ten American teenagers have sent sexts (sexual teext meassages), and approximately one in three have received them. Some of the major reasons teenagers send sexually explicit photos include the...

Stop underrating America’s youth

The news media like to characterize today's young people as risk averse, narcissistic, app-dependent, over-scheduled, entitled and "pornified." Among the culprits are too much praise, not enough challenge, helicopter parents, cellphones and, of course, the Internet. But by many measures, young people are actually showing virtues their elders lacked. They have brought levels of delinquency, truancy, promiscuity, alcohol abuse and suicide down to levels unseen in many cases since the 1950s. Rather than coming up with ever more old-fogey complaints, we should be toasting young people's good judgment and self-control - and extolling their parents and teachers. Here are some of the most impressive developments. You've probably heard that crime is down. But most of the remarkable facts about crime and delinquency among young people have not been trumpeted enough in a country just...

11 Facts about Sexting

Welcome to DoSomething.org, one of the largest orgs for young people and social change! After you've browsed the 11 facts (with citations at the bottom), take action and volunteer with our millions of members. Sign up for a campaign and make the world suck less. 1. Teenage girls have a few reasons for why they participate in sexting: 40 percent do it as a joke, 34 percent do it to feel sexy, and 12 percent feel pressured to do it.


2. Who will see your sext? 17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person.


3. While nearly 70% of teen boys and girls who sext do so with their girlfriend or boyfriend, 61% of all sexters who have sent nude images admit...

NetLingo List of Chat Acronyms & Text Shorthand

With hundreds of millions of people texting regularly, it's no wonder you've seen this cryptic looking code! Commonly used wherever people get online -- including IMing, SMSing, cell phones, Blackberries, PDAs, Web sites, games, newsgroup postings, in chat rooms, on blogs, or on social media -- these abbreviations are used by people around the world to communicate with each other. NetLingo is also tracking a global list of worldwide text terms and international online jargon! Acronyms have always been an integral part of computer culture, and they have since spawned a new language on the Internet. Commonly thought of as a series of letters that make up a 'word' there is a distinction between acronyms and shorthand.

Read the full list here ...

1,291 acronyms and abbreviations related to Texting

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A3 - Anytime, Anywhere, Anyplace 1174  - Invited to a wild party 143 or 459  - I Love You 182  - I Hate You BCNU - Be Seeing You 4/20  - Marijuana 478  - Drop Dead D4W - Down for Whatever EMG - Emergency HWT - Half Way There IAAB - Its all a blur ICAIW - I Can And I Will ISFB - I'm So Frigging Bored KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless LET - Leaving Early Today MP - my place MUT - Mother MYT - Meet You There NIFOTC - Nude In Front Of The Camera NRC - Nobody Really Cares NSA - No Strings Attached OTS - Over The Shoulder PAL - Parents Are Listening PM - Private Messaging POS - Parent Over Shoulder PSNM - Parent Sitting Next to Me PTY - Party RKT - Wrecked RSN - Real Soon Now RU/18 - Are You over 18? SMOS - Send...

Teenage Brain Development

In adults, various parts of the brain work together to evaluate choices, make decisions and act accordingly in each situation. The teenage brain doesn't appear to work like this. For comparison's sake, think of the teenage brain as an entertainment center that hasn't been fully hooked up. There are loose wires, so that the speaker system isn't working with the DVD player, which in turn hasn't been formatted to work with the television yet. And to top it all off, the remote control hasn't even arrived! The brain's remote control is the prefrontal cortex, a section of the brain that weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions. This section of the brain also helps people understand one another. If you were to walk into a sports bar full of Lakers fans...

Why Parents Can’t Be Dumb About Social Media

Today many in the Tampa Bay area will be remembering Rebecca Sedwick through vigils, classroom and home discussions, and of course, news reports on teens and bullying. One year ago today, Rebecca committed suicide after reportedly being bullied both on and offline for more than a year. These stories seem to be far too common these days and I am often asked how parents can help prevent bullying, especially online. Walking the fine line of respecting your child's online privacy while looking out for their well-being is a challenge that our parents didn't exactly have. I always use the analogy that letting your child "play" unsupervised online is the equivalent of letting them loose in Grand Central Station and encouraging them to talk with anyone they see and hop on any train that strikes their...