According to researchers at Penn State, when it comes to privacy management, adults and teens think very differently. While most adults think first and then ask questions, teens tend to take the risk and then seek help. Unfortunately, the privacy settings on many apps are initially set at the most lenient level. While teens prefer to download and go, making them slow down and change the privacy settings in the beginning can limit problems in the future. This is certainly true with ooVoo.
ooVoo is a messaging app like Kik. It has been around for a while but recently it has been popping on my twitter feed and news alerts. Teens are moving to this app because unlike other services, teens can chat with their Apple friends as easily as their Android buddies or even their laptop friend. While ooVoo is ideal for hosting a study group session, parents and teens should take care. If teens do not lock down their settings, they may see a lot more than a smiling face.
I remember going to the park for the first time with my oldest daughter. I was so excited about our first social outing. I imagined spending most of the afternoon at the park while she played on the slide and made new friends. All of this ended, when she decided to pick up a pile and bark and throw it at another child. How quickly my excitement turned to mortification. Instead of banning the park, we tried it again. On the way to the park, we talked about taking turns on the slide and asking a child to play. For a while, I hovered around ready to step in and help her make the right decisions. Slowly, my hovering transitioned to casually observing her from the park bench. Today, she walks on her own to the local park with friends.
Parents need to approach “the online playground” in the same way. We need to start talking to children about how to behave online from a young age. As soon as they can hold a device, we sit beside them teaching them how the online world works. As they grow, we create age appropriate rules that protect them, while allowing them opportunities to explore. Technology is a powerful tool. If used correctly offers amazing benefits for our kids.
Parents can start by integrating digital parenting into the lessons they are already teaching. Behavior online and behavior offline is the same. For example, rules for communication do not change with 140 characters. Kids should be respectful, kind and thoughtful in all their correspondence. These attributes are even more important in the digital realm. In the absence of tone and expression, kid must be extra careful and thoughtful in their choice of words.
This year has been a busy year. Thankfully, I have a full calendar of presentations at middle schools and elementary schools. I love sharing stories with parents about raising kids in a digital world. I always come back from these nights full of energy and new ideas. Last night, I promised to post several articles and links to a few digital parenting sites. As promised —
If you are putting off having the sexting talk with your child, the new study by The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in partnership with Microsoft may be the kick you need. Released yesterday, this new study exclusively looked at content that appeared self-generated by kids under 20 and featured themselves in the video or pictures. While the study does not tell us how many kids are sexting, it does offer a snapshot of what type of content is out there, how it is produced and how it is spread. Ultimately, it highlights the need for parents to talk earlier about sexting and healthy relationships both offline and online.
Moms with Apps asked parents what they considered the most important quality when choosing an app for their child. The number one quality “extremely important” to parents was does the app protect their child’s personal information. Protecting personal information ranked above both educational and age appropriate. How can you tell if the app your child wants protects their information?
It is not easy. In 2012, the FTC investigated mobile apps aimed at kids. After reviewing hundreds of apps for kids the FTC found little, if any, information about the data collection and sharing practices of these apps. In fact, one of the recommendations the FTC made was for companies to provide this information through simple and short disclosures or icons that are easy to find and understand. The website, PrivacyGrade, is trying to do just that.
PrivacyGrade launched in November. Here, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have analyzed over 100,000 apps and assigned each a privacy grade. An app receives a grade from A to D depending on how well it discloses its privacy practices. Like an online report card, parents can look up why an app received a “D” or “A” grade.