How to Keep Your Teen Safe Online

Steven Toporoff, who is one of The Federal Trade Commission’s attorneys, stated in a New York Times article that in 2012 more than 22,000 identity theft complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerned minors. Toporoff also added that child identity theft is a persistent problem. However, it is difficult to assess the magnitude of this problem because parents are usually unaware that anything is wrong until their child becomes a young adult.

A report conducted by Hart Research Associates shows that 51 percent of the teens surveyed are extremely concerned about someone stealing their identity using information they have posted online. Parents can learn how to protect their children from identity theft and what to do if their child’s identity is stolen at the FTC’s website.

Create Rules for Internet Use

  1. Your family’s attitude about Internet safety must be clear and concise. It should never waiver.
  2. Inform your teen which sites she can visit and which she cannot. She also needs to know what apps and social media sites are OK to use.
  3. Be sure to set privacy settings on her social media sites to monitor whom she is communicating with in her digital world.
  4. Regulate the amount of time she spends online by setting log off times.
  5. Protect her identity by locking her credit report.
  6. Use monitoring software like Spytech SpyAgent ($70), AVG Family Safety ($50/year) or Spectorsoft Spector Pro ($100) to deter negative behavior.
  7. Remind her to think before she posts because once she posts it, she cannot take it back.
  8. Have her set her social media privacy settings to “friends only.”
  9. Do not use location-based services online.
  10. Avoid providing optional information.

Technology is continually changing so you must be able to recognize the current trends and possible dangers. Identity theft prevention is possible but you need to know the warning signs for other online and mobile dangers, such as cyber-bullying, Teen Safety Onlinesexting and sexual solicitation. Your teen might be at risk if she:

  • obsesses over the Internet
  • gets angry when she is unable to get online
  • is secretive about her online activities
  • receives phone calls or gifts from strangers
  • engages in unhealthy relationships
  • withdraws from friends and loved ones
  • injures herself
  • seems depressed
  • starts abusing substances
  • shows signs of an eating disorder (binging and purging)

3 Extremely Popular but Dangerous Apps

1. Vine by Twitter: Popular with teens, this video sharing app allows users to make and share looping videos. The problem is that once your teen obtains this app she will be able to access videos that may contain sexually explicit content. Viewing videos is only a portion of the problem as your teen may decide to create and then share mature content of her own. Because Vine allows for finding users nearby, it is essentially a predator’s playground.

2. Tinder: This is a dating app that functions like a game. This app is about hooking up, and the age restriction is a mere 12 years old. Once the app is installed, it invites your teen to post a photo of herself. The app requests access to her location. Once completed, she can browse the profiles of people in her area to see if she likes anyone. If she does, she taps the green heart. If he likes her back, she will receive a notification and a chat feature opens up so they can communicate with one another.

This app has several red flags:

  • It accesses your teen’s location to help her find someone to meet up with in real life.
  • Anyone can like her, which can lead to temptation.
  • This app is the perfect tool for pedophiles and predators to find their victims.

3. Snapchat: This messaging service allows users to send photos with text to other Snapchat members. These photos and messages vanish within 10 seconds of receipt. However, if the recipient has downloaded Snap Hack, he can save any photo he receives through Snapchat to his camera roll. With Snap Hack, he can view and edit the photo any way he wishes.

Amy Sanborn

With three school-aged children, Amy knows a thing or two about parenting. She loves teaching her kids to appreciate the outdoors.

NOTE: Guest Posts do not reflect the opinion of Mobile Commerce Press nor do we endorse any products or technology.

What Google Glass Needs to do to Succeed

Google Glass is an incredible concept –

the promise of true augmented reality that can be worn seamlessly on our faces and that will then provide us with live, updated information of the world around us as and when we need it. The way the device works is simple – it picks up information about the world around you using a built-in-camera, and then displays this information on a tiny screen suspended just in the periphery so that we can see it when necessary. At the same time the device will be listening for voice commands as well as gesture controls at the side of the device. This way it can then display directions to help us get to wherever we need to be, it can bring up the results of a quick Google Search, and it record footage of whatever the wearer is seeing.

The possible applications are almost endless, and the implications are truly exciting. But then there’s no guarantee that Google Glass will take off and prove to be the hit we all want it to be. The Oculus Rift (a VR headset) was recently released to developers and has quickly generated a huge buzz as well as a lot of exciting software. On the other hand though, the Leap Motion controller which was initially announced to mass enthusiasm has ended up being something of a disappointment as developer support just failed to emerge and firmware bugs rendered it not quite the amazing device it could have been.

So the question is, how can Google make sure that their glass project becomes a hit in the vain of the Oculus rather than a disappointment?

Get the Developers on BoardGoogle glass - augmented reality glasses

For starters, Google need to make sure that developers are behind their product from day one. The smartphone industry has shown us just what a huge difference this can make – with mobile ecosystems living and dying on the number of apps they have.

There’s no way that Google can envisage every possible use for their device, but put it in the hands of developers and pretty soon you will begin to see creative uses springing up and that all-important ‘killer app’ will be only a matter of time.

How do Google ensure developer support? First it means supporting those developers – by providing the best possible SDK and instructions with regular updates and lots of communication. At the same time it means rewarding development – currently all apps on Glass are free downloads which does little to entice creative who want to earn a little money. It also means making sure not to implement too many restrictions – allowing developers to access as much of the device as possible to really get every possible use out of it.

Have a Smart Strategy

For many, the idea of Google Glass is going to be a hard sell. Glass has obvious appeal to early adopters, but the average Joe is hardly going to want to wear something so borg-looking in public and risk being the subject of ridicule.

Thus Google are going to need to have a smart marketing campaign and strategy in place in order to see mass adoption. This might mean targeting those early adopter types and those developers in a very direct way to make sure that there’s an elite ‘core’ of users with the devices. This will instantly make Glass more desirable and fashionable, and you will start to see more people wearing them as a result until they become commonplace.

At the same time Google should do everything they can to try and promote the core ideas behind Glass so that people know what they’re seeing and start to get used to it.

Make it Practical

There are a few practical challenges that Google need to overcome if they want to make Glass ‘must have’. For one, battery life could be a deal breaker so that’s something that should be increased as soon as possible. At the same time it’s also important that Google find a way to give Glass its own connection soon rather than relying on wireless tethering – something that not everyone is familiar or comfortable with and that is as such always going to be restrictive.

These are just some of the challenges that Google need to face if they’re going to make a hit of Google Glass. Let’s just hope they manage it, because the promise for something spectacular is definitely there…

Author Bio

The author of this post, Nancy Baker, is a freelance blogger who is currently writing for Papersavers, providers of leading shredder services in Toronto. An audiophile, Nancy likes to listen to artists and music from different genres. You can also follow her on Twitter @Nancy Baker.