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Parental Controls Screen time school holidays christmas

Buying a device for Christmas? Experts recommend 5 things to consider FIRST

This holiday season, many kids have only a single item on their wishlist: a new device. But buying a smartphone, tablet or laptop is a big decision for parents. How can you be sure you're making the right one?

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Parental Controls Screen time peer pressure sleepover

Smartphones and sleepovers: Why even nice kids can go feral, and what to do about it

When journalist Susan Maushart decided to impose a six-month digital detox on her three teenagers, their first reaction (once the shrieking died down) was “But what about our friends?”

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Parental Controls Screen time musical.ly tiktok

When "everybody" has the app - except your child

You’re in the car with your 9-year-old and her precociously tech-savvy friend.

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Parental Controls Screen time musical.ly tiktok

It's the world's most popular app. And you've probably never heard of it.

The lip-synching app TikTok has just surpassed Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat as the most downloaded app in the world, following a recent buy-out and re-brand. There are now 500 million more reasons for parents to worry.

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Parental Controls Screen time smartphones

A smartphone from Santa? The 6 things parents need to consider first

This holiday season, many kids have only a single item on their wishlist: a smartphone. It's a big decision for parents. How can you be sure you're making the right one?

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Parental Controls Screen time smartphones instagram

Is your child Insta-ready?

Mum Judi Ketteler admitted she’d caved.  Sustained pester-power from her 9-year-old son finally won the day, and she allowed him to get an Instagram account.

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Parental Controls Screen time smartphones online pornography

Child-on-child sexual assault on the rise

Child-on-child sexual assaults are on the rise “across all education sectors and demographics” in what experts are saying are copycat attacks - as kids re-enact the pornography they’ve viewed online.

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Parental Controls Screen time app reviews

How to choose great apps for your child

Do you worry about your kids’ screen-time? OK, that was a rhetorical question. Of course you do.

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Parental Controls Screen time distraction Fortnite

How can "free" games like Fortnite earn billions?

Sick of Fortnite yet? More than 125 million gamers worldwide beg to differ. The addictive battle game has been dominating the gaming world ever since its release in September last year - and shows no sign of surrender.

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Parental Controls Screen time distraction deception apps

Now you see it, now you don't

There are any number of very simple ways kids can throw the proverbial cloak of invisibility over their online life. Here are a few of them.

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Parental Controls Screen time privacy scam

WhatsFake, and other digital dirty tricks to watch out for

Digital dirty tricks are easy to pull off - and getting easier every day.

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Parental Controls Screen time school holidays kids games

There's no such thing as a free app

They may not come with an upfront cost, but those “free” games may be profiting from your child’s personal data, selling it to the highest bidder in an increasingly cut-throat digital marketplace.

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Parental Controls Screen time school holidays

Your school holidays screen-time contract

For kids and parents alike, school holiday time is all about freedom. Freedom from rules and routines. Freedom the tyranny of the clock and the uniform and the packed school lunch.

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Parental Controls Screen time distraction hazard apps

If you're the parent of a teen, here are the 5 apps you need to know about right now

It can be a full-time job keeping up with the latest teen apps. Here's a cheat sheet on what's hot - and worrying - right now. 

 

VORA



“Got [a] new app, Vora,” enthuses a pro-ana Instagram post alongside a screenshot of six consecutive days of 15-hour-fasts. (“Pro-ana”? That's shorthand for “promoting anorexia.”)  

Vora is a fasting app that’s currently flavour-of-the-month for teen girls with eating disorders, and those who glamourise the life-threatening practice of “water fasting” — a fad diet in which followers consume nothing but water.

The app’s tagline - “Track Your Fasts with Friends” - pretty much says it all. A tracker plus social platform, Vora connects users to a community that celebrates and promotes “intermittent fasting” and eating disorders, cheering teens on to fast longer and to ever-more-dangerous extremes.

Vora isn’t the only “health and fitness app” young people are abusing. Others include MyFitnessPal, Eating Thin, Toilet Tracker, CalorieKing, Plant Nanny, Chronometer, and Carrot Fit (an app that verbally abuses dieters and “motivates” them by electrocuting an obese avatar when they fail to meet goals).

Age: 4+ (that’s not a typo)

Cost: Free

Family Zone Rating: UNSAFE

 

After School



After School is an app aimed at high school kids, which encourages users to post “confessions and compliments” anonymously. What could possibly go wrong?

CEO and co-creator Michael Callaghan insists the app was developed as a network “that teens could use to express themselves, to reach out to others and to ask for and offer help to fellow teens in distress.”

Somehow or other, it failed to achieve that lofty goal. In fact, far from easing distress, the app has become notorious for causing it.

After School is essentially a school-specific message board that lets users post text and photos anonymously. Shortly after its release, the app was removed from the App Store after complaints from school administrators about bullying.  It has since been updated with moderation and tighter age-verification but concerns remain.

One problem with language moderation is that teen lingo is constantly shifting, and phrases and acronyms take on new meaning -  for example, ‘KMS’, which stands for ‘kill myself,” and is now used sarcastically.

The good news is that app is not yet connected to Australian schools, although it is available for download. The bad news is soon will be. Watch out!

Age: 17+

Cost: Free

Family Zone Rating: BE CAREFUL

Secret Calculator


 

It’s a horror movie staple: the ordinary-looking bookcase that swings open to reveal a dank and scary dungeon. Well, sophisticated deception apps like Secret Calculator are the digital equivalent for many of today’s teens.

Secret Calculator looks for all the world like a standard-brand calculator. In a pinch, it can even function as one. But it’s real purpose is as a portal to a secret stash of x-rated photos, gifs, videos and urls. “In addition to hiding your sexts in any kind of media,” the developers explain,  “the app offers the option to lock individual photos and albums.”

A passcode is required to open the vault - but parents beware. The user can set a decoy password which opens a 'guest' vault which can have decoy images - for the express purpose of reassuring mums and dads. The app can also be armed with pattern locks and touch IDs for maximum security.

Age: 4+

Cost: $2.99

Rating: BE CAREFUL

 

Discord

Described as “Skype for gamers,” Discord has become the hip way for gamers to chat about - what else? - gaming. And with 19 million daily users, it’s suddenly surging faster than Uber fares on a rainy night.

The Discord app - available for PCs, Macs and mobile devices - offers text messaging and voice and video chat. This allows gamers to confer live, mid-game, and has proved a boon for fans of team-based games like Fortnite Battle Royale, Overwatch and League of Legends.

But that functionality also brings dangers for younger users. Profanity and abusive language are standard on many Discord gaming servers.

What’s more, many players are discussing “mature” games - think sex, violence and drugs - and these themes will often feature in conversations.

Why? Because Discord is not an app that’s aimed at kids. Although anyone over 12 - or anyone who claims to be over 12 - can download it for free, first and foremost, Discord is a social networking tool that is geared toward adults.

Age: 12+

Cost: Free

Rating: BE CAREFUL

For more about Discord, check out our recent blog post here.

 

TikTok

 

 With more downloads than Snapchat, Spotify and Gmail combined, the popular lip-synching app formerly known as Musical.ly is now TikTok, following a buy-out and re-brand earlier this year. There are now 300 million more reasons for parents to worry.

Existing Musical.ly users were migrated overnight to their new TikTok accounts, which retains the core features of the original - basically, providing a platform for users to view, create and share their own 60-second music videos, lip-synching along to a wide variety of popular music styles.

With so much user-generated content being uploaded on a daily basis, TikTok is riddled with the same issues of quality control as YouTube. But unlike YouTube, there is no option for “SafeSearch” on this platform.

As a result, TikTok is rife with porn, images of self-harm and “attention-seeking ‘dares’ by kids putting themselves at risk to get likes and acceptance,” notes Family Zone cyber expert Martine Oglethorpe of The Modern Parent.

Age: 12+

Cost: Free

Rating: BE CAREFUL

For more about TikTok, check out our recent blog post here.

 

If your child is using one or more of these potentially risky apps, don’t panic. Remember, most of them can be used safely with the right limits and supervision. Talk to your child to find out how he or she is using it, and why.

And remember: intelligent use of parental controls can help every member of your family stay safe, happy and balanced in an online world. Get started today with a Family Zone plan that works for you.



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Parental Controls Screen time classroom management smartphones

Is it time to ban phones from our schools?

Some 90 percent of Australian students admit to using devices in class, and research shows kids get better marks in personal-tech-free zones. So should schools ban phones outright?

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Parental Controls Fortnite online gaming Screen time

Discord: What parents need to know

If your child is obsessed with Fortnite, chances are good he’s also obsessed with DISCORD. Should you be concerned?

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Parental Controls digital parenting online gaming online addiction

Video game addiction: A 60 Minutes fact-check

Video game addiction can have serious consequences. But killing brain cells? Really, guys??

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Parental Controls Fathers Day digital parenting dads

Digital dad jokes - so bad they're good :)


Everybody loves a good - and by “good” we mean “bad” - dad joke. And what better time to celebrate this timeless genre than Father’s Day?

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Parental Controls online gaming Screen time twitch

Twitch: Should you worry?

What exactly is Twitch? What do parents need to know about how it works, why their kids watch it, and whether to worry?

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Parental Controls online gaming Screen time sleep

Family Zone: Now blocking Roblox with a single click

One of today's most popular online games - Roblox -  is also one of the most risky. Family Zone can help you manage those risks by setting boundaries, or blocking the app completely, without affecting other games.

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Parental Controls online gaming Screen time sleep

Family Zone: Now managing Minecraft with a single click

Kids are passionate about Minecraft. And so too are many parents. Some rate it as the most creative  and genuinely educational game a child can play. Others seem equally convinced Minecraft is the devil incarnate.

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Parental Controls Screen time digital parenting teens on social media

The ultimate threat

Two-thirds of parents say their “ultimate threat” is taking away their child’s devices. But does it work?

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Parental Controls Screen time sleep computer vision syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome: blink and you might miss it

Does your child regularly spend more than three consecutive hours in front of a screen?

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Parental Controls Fortnite online gaming Screen time

Family Zone: Now blocking Fortnite with a single click.

If you’ve been fighting a losing battle to lure your child away from Fortnite, you’re in good company.

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Parental Controls dark web hazard apps TOR

What parents need to know about the Dark Web

Disappointing mock exam results sent a 16-year-old schoolgirl to a suicide chatroom on the Dark Web. The next morning, she was found dead.

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Parental Controls smartphone digital parenting online chat

Paying attention to screen-time and ADHD

If your teen is constantly online, it may simply be a sign of the times. But it might also be a red flag for deeper issues.

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Parental Controls smartphone digital parenting online chat

Monkey see, monkey doN'T!

A new video chat app invites kids to send 15-second videos to strangers. What could possibly go wrong?

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Parental Controls smartphone digital parenting FOMO

Looking for an antidote to FOMO? Say hello to JOMO

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is so five minutes ago. Today, the cool kids are all excited about JOMO.

Recently popularised by - of all people - the CEO of Google, JOMO is shorthand for the Joy of Missing Out.

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cyberbullying bullying school filtering screens in school

Cyberbullying: Practical tips for parents

As Mark Twain famously observed, everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

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cyberbullying bullying school filtering screens in school

The real cost of bullying in schools

Sure, bullying is nasty. But what about its cost in real terms?

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smartphone Screen time text neck sway back

Back to basics: Kids, screens and back pain

From head to toe, technology is wreaking havoc on our children’s physical wellbeing. But there are ways to minimise the risk, and get them off to the right start.

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smartphone screens in school

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg leads investigation in to proposed smartphone ban in NSW schools

As one of the biggest issues plaguing children at schools today, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes is launching an Australian-first review into phone use in classrooms across the state.

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smartphone Screen time text neck

Technology is affecting their hearts and minds. But how about their bodies?

And you thought your child’s device use was giving you  a pain in the neck? Imagine what it’s doing to theirs.

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cyberbullying screens in school

It's mean - but is it bullying?

We all want to make bullying history. But how?

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls teens on social media

Social media and depression: A relationship status update

Sometimes it seems there’s another distressing headline about social media every time you check your newsfeed.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls teens on social media

Worried about social media? Your child may be too

Does it sometimes seem like your child spends every waking moment online?  It could be because she is.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls literacy

How children learn: A tale of three media

Once upon a time, when the internet was just a twinkle in the eye of the US Department of Defense and a tablet was something you took for a headache, prophetic Canadian critic Marshall McLuhan announced that “the medium is the message.”

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls teen safety

Snapchat does it again. Now it's a porn channel inviting kids to "take your sex life to the next level"

A new X-rated channel that asks the question “Can we turn your phone into the best sex toy ever?” launched last week on social media app Snapchat - and it’s impossible for parents to turn it off.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls netflix

"13 Reasons Why, Season 2": 13 things to think about if your kids want to watch

It was last season’s teen TV phenomenon: a 13-part series exploring the fictional story-behind-the-story of a teenage suicide. Kids couldn’t get enough of it. Adults were outraged. In both cases, there were plenty of reasons why.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

Tech-savvy kid - or techno-brat? The warning signs parents need to watch for

Parents can be rightfully proud of their tech-savvy little ones, who have often learned to swipe before they can speak. But where’s the line between healthy and balanced digital kids - and full-blown techno-brats?

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls sexting

"Porn pressure" leading to sexting as early as Year 7

Kids are now sharing naked photos online as young as 11 and 12 - and so-called “porn pressure” is a likely reason why, say experts.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls unlimited data

Buying an unlimited data plan for your child? Get set for unlimited distraction

No-limits data plans may be a boon for Australian consumers. But the move could put students at risk, freeing them from reliance on protected school networks to go free-range on their own data.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Fortnite

Is your child hooked on Fortnite: Battle Royale? Here's what you need to know

It’s been called Hunger Games meets Call of Duty. So it’s little wonder that, upon its release as a free download in 2018, Fortnite: Battle Royale has blown away its competitors to become one of the most popular games on earth - praised and criticised in equal measure for its addictive qualities by both kids and adults.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Screen time digital parenting

Make Facebook safe again


A raft of recent scandals has called into question Facebook’s commitment to user privacy. But while the platform plays Whack-a-Mole with allegations of unethical data harvesting, what’s a user to do?

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Screen time digital parenting

Why Am I Sharing This?


With online privacy on everybody’s minds these days - thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg - what better time for parents to consider the consequences of what experts are calling “oversharenting”?

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Screen time Gaming

The good news about digital play

“Play is the work of the child,” observed famed educator Maria Montessori.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Screen time Social Media

Hit the 'dislike' button

It seems like just yesterday that Facebook was forced to fess up to a data breach involving 50 million US user accounts. (Actually, it was Sunday.) Today’s scandal hits closer to home. Like your back pocket.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Screen time online predators

Never smile at a crocodile

“As a former police officer of twenty-two years and undercover internet detective, as well as a father, I am uniquely qualified and passionate about informing parents of the online risks to their children. I’ve arrested over a thousand people for criminal offences. For most of my sixteen years as a detective, I investigated adult people who were looking to seriously harm or abuse children.”

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

Is handwriting obsolete?

Six-year-old Patrick sees an occupational therapist every week. His challenge?  To learn how to hold a pencil.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

How social media are swallowing your kids' games

Think cyberbullying is something that only happens on Snapchat and Instagram? Think again. According to a government report, 200,000 Aussie kids a year are being bullied while playing multiplayer online games.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls sexting

Two cheers for sexting?

If sexting “is consensual and both teens want it and are OK with it, you are not going to see negative psychological health.” Or so insists the co-author of a major sexting study published last month in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

Does this selfie make my nose look big?

Digital enhancement filters that plump lips and narrow noses are cheaper and a lot less risky than surgery or injectables. But there's now a weird synergy between the two phenomena, with social media driving the demand for physical  perfection among members of Generation Selfie.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

Your teen is NOT addicted to her phone

Imagine puffing on a cigarette 85 times a day. Or taking 85 swigs of wine. Picture yourself devouring 85 pieces of chocolate, or sipping 85 coffees -  as your average daily intake.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

New kids' game a playground for predators



Brett Lee knows the red flags for child exploitation better than almost anyone. As a former undercover internet detective, Lee spent countless hours profiling and exposing online predators. 

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Screen time

Struggling with Screen/Life Balance? Welcome to the club.

“Looking at this typical day, I wonder how other parents would judge me?”

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls snapchat

If your child has Snapchat, you need to read this right now

As a shooter rampaged through their school with a semi-automatic weapon, students hiding in lockdown were uploading Snapchat stories to an interactive map - allowing kids around the world to watch the atrocity live.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls teen safety

"It’s your right as a parent": digital parenting advice from an ex-undercover detective

Do teenagers deserve privacy online? A former cybercrimes detective shares his view.

Parents are often hesitant to monitor what their teens are doing online. "Isn't it like reading a private diary?" they wonder. "Not in the least," maintains cyber expert and ex-undercover detective Brett Lee. 

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Parental Controls digital parenting Cyber Safety

To ban, or not to ban? That is the question.

The national conversation around cyberbullying gathered intensity this week with calls for a total ban on smartphones in schools making front-page headlines across Australia.

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Parental Controls digital parenting Social Media

What did you do at school today, darling?

12-year-old Jacob plays trumpet and water polo and still loves to watch cartoons on a Saturday morning. He also messages girls on his sneaky Snapchat account during maths class, and searches for porn at recess - using the BYO device his school has mandated.

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Parental Controls digital parenting Social Media

Shooting the Messenger

Experts are hitting the Dislike button on the messenger app Facebook launched last month in a bid to capture the 6- to 12-year-old market. And yes, they insist, it is a market.

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Parental Controls digital parenting Social Media

Pornstar to parents: shame on you!

When a porn star complains she’s sick of teaching kids about sex, maybe it’s time to face the facts about pornography online.

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Parental Controls digital parenting Social Media

Saving lives through ... lunch?

As a new Year 7 at a prestigious private girls’ school, attractive, outgoing Natalie Hampton was super-keen to make friends. She expected it would be easy.

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Parental Controls cyberbullying sarahah Social Media

Sarahah ... honestly? A teen observer weighs in

“My 13-year-old sister uses this and she got a death threat aimed at our 2-year-old brother.”

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Parental Controls boredom creativity

Fun with boredom

“Mum – I’m booooooooored!”

If you’re a parent, and that doesn’t sound familiar at this point in the school holidays, you don’t need to read this post. You need a hearing test.  

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microphone WhatsApp privacy

Dad sued for reading daughter’s texts

Parents who read their children’s text messages are not breaching privacy laws, a Spanish court has found. Mothers and fathers not only have the legal right to monitor their kids’ activities. They have a legal responsibility to do so.

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Alphonso Honey quest microphone

Who the hell is Alphonso, and why is he eavesdropping on my kids?

Jumbo the Bear just loves to eat. And kids who play Honey Quest just love to feed him. In fact, that’s the whole object of the game: to feed Jumbo as many oranges, grapes and apples as his round little tummy can hold. Nawwwws!

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Parental Controls digital parenting Screen time family

The 12 days of [Screen-free] Christmas

Technology is awesome, and we wouldn’t want to live without it … but too much of a good thing can suck the fun right out of family life, especially at holiday time. To help keep things jolly and bright all season long, here are 12 left-of-centre ideas for taking the troops off-grid.

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Parental Controls Cyber Experts yellow

Who's watching your child on Yubo?

Yellow, a.k.a. “Tinder for Teens,” earned a reputation as a playground for predators and pedophiles when it was released in early 2017.

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Mobile Apps Parental Controls technology

What’s the right age for a smartphone?

How old is old enough for a smartphone? It’s one of the many questions today’s digital parents wrestle with - especially at gift-giving season - it wasn’t even a thing a generation ago.

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Mobile Apps Parental Controls technology

Is screen-time the new junk food?

Sedentariness, aka sitting around too much, is an unanticipated outcome of the “mobile revolution.” And its health effects are just beginning to bite.

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Mobile Apps Parental Controls technology

Pause before you post

Are your kids' thumbs working faster than their brains? This time-tested fix could help.
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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls

What's keeping them up at night?

Attack of the Sleep Vampires: How the blue light emitted by screens is keeping your family up at night - and what to do about it.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls

Gamer today, gambler tomorrow?

In Melbourne Cup week, the whole nation takes a punt. But that’s not the only high-stakes action around. 

Here’s the tip: New research is showing children who are gamers are more likely to become gamblers. What are the odds your son or daughter is at risk?

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls

Meet your child's Insta-Bully

Instagram now ranks as the number-one social networking site for cyber bullying.

#whatparentsneedtoknow

If uber-cool kids like Justin Bieber, Iggy Azalea, Emma Stone, and Miley Cyrus can become victims of cyberbullying - and yes, it’s happened to all of them -  it can happen to anybody. Your child very much included.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps exams Parental Controls

5 tips for parents on coping through exam stress

If your teens are heading into exams, the tension temperature in your household can go through the roof.

It starts with sleep deprivation - theirs and yours. Our study of over 1,000 parents and students has shown that 80% of teens lose between 2-4 hours of sleep each night, it’s no wonder parents may struggle to manage the stress fall-out.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Education mobile devices

Mobile devices at school: the key issues

Aside from the obvious distractions that mobile phones provide students in class, schools are now reporting even more alarming student behaviour associated with student’s personal devices.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls sexting

What parents need to know about sexting

Parents give their teens a smartphone so they can stay in contact with them. But, for teens it's the key to their social life. 

Majority of teens just use their smartphones for social media or watching YouTube on the go, but with a camera at the ready and someone they like asking for a nude photo  - it’s very easy for even the most sensible teens to get caught up in sexting.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls grooming

‘The patient, polite predator’: how some online predators groom victims, as told by ex cyber crimes detective Brett Lee

In an excerpt from former cybercrimes detective Brett Lee’s book; Screen Resolution, we learn from his real life experiences in the field.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls

What are our smartphones really costing us as parents?

When it comes to addictive behaviour around smartphones, does the apple really fall far from the tree?

Smartphones have put the world wide web literally into the palm of our hands, and that wealth of information, entertainment and connectivity has developed addictive behaviour in adults and kids alike.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls school holidays

5 ways teens are keeping busy these school holidays

With another two weeks of freedom fast approaching, teens will be looking for ways to entertain themselves during the school holidays.

And, what’s the quickest and most effective source of entertainment these days? The internet of course.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

5 Cyber Safety conversation starters for your family

These days, children are often introduced to devices well before they’re able to understand the concept of cyber safety.

But it’s vital to start these conversations as early as possible, so staying safe becomes second nature.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Devices in bedrooms: should they be banned?

Taking devices to bed is a very common habit which most adults are now guilty of in today’s digital age. But, when we let our kids take their devices to bed, what are the impacts?

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

VPN apps: what are they and why are teens now using them?

Tech savvy teens are now commonly using VPN technology for a variety of concerning reasons. So, what does VPN mean and how are teens using them illegally?

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Kik Messenger: a warning for parents

Popular messenger app Kik has increasingly come under fire recently due to widespread reports of child exploitation occurring via the app.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls grooming

‘The Five Stages a Predator Follows’: former Police Cyber Crimes detective shares the typical MO of an online predator

In a new excerpt from former cyber crimes detective Brett Lee’s book; Screen Resolution, he shares the process followed by online predators when they select and groom a victim. Based upon his experience.

Predators use techniques designed to break through the defences of even the best-trained children, and unfortunately, the nature of technology provides the perfect environment for them to achieve this.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

How to Google reverse image search

Here's how to check if images have been previously posted online.

It's the fastest way to check if yours or your kids' images have been stolen or republished without your consent. It's also the best way to determine if someone is pretending to be someone else online.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

YouTube how-tos for parents

YouTube contains a lot of inappropriate content. Here's how to check their viewing history.

Family Zone also enables parents to restrict YouTube access when you choose and we can also enforce Restricted Mode to ensure kids can’t just turn it off. Our team of  Cyber Experts are on hand to provide tailored control settings for your family and advice for parents in navigating cyber safety.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls youtube

How to stop your kid falling down the YouTube rabbit hole

With over 300 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s nearly impossible to get bored watching YouTube. 

It’s no wonder kids find watching YouTube so entertaining, new content is merely a click away. So what’s the problem?

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls

What is Sarahah? and how is it putting kids at risk?

A new app designed to provide businesses with an anonymous feedback platform for employees,  is now making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

We discuss with Cyber Experts Jordan Foster from ySafe, a Clinical Psychologist and Pete Brown, an IT Educator - why Sarahah is now being used by kids everywhere.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls instagram

Social Media: What is the right age to allow access?

One of the most common questions we receive at Family Zone is 'How old should my child be before I allow them to use Social Media?'

We sat down with three leading Cyber Experts who have all shared their opinions on what age they feel kids should be allowed access to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. 

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls instagram

30 seconds: the time it takes to find porn on Instagram

Among the millions of images uploaded to Instagram daily - there’s a huge variety of content including food, landscapes, products, people, inspirational quotes, memes - the list goes on. Instagram is safe for kids, right? Wrong.

Users are flooding Instagram with pornography. Amongst all the images of cute puppies, donuts, and holiday snaps, people can find endless pornographic images and links to find even more pornography on other platforms.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls grooming

‘The one we least expected’: a real life example of online grooming, as told by the detective who caught the predator

In an excerpt from former cybercrimes detective Brett Lee’s new book; Screen Resolution, we learn what it’s like to be groomed by an online predator.

‘Ernie was more aggressive than any predator I had encountered previously. The investigation started out just like any other. In the course of our normal online activities, we were contacted by a criminal.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls to the bone

Experts warn parents; new Netflix film may glorify anorexia

To the Bone is a new film distributed by Netflix which follows the story of 20-year-old Ellen and her battle with anorexia nervosa and subsequent treatment in a specialised group home.

Various mental health experts, including Headspace, have issued a warning for parents on the film’s portrayal of anorexia nervosa, suggesting that it glorifies the disorder.

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5 shocking things kids can learn on YouTube

YouTube provides millions of tutorial videos for adults on just about anything we could possibly want to learn. But what kind of things is it teaching our kids?

Unfortunately, YouTube tutorials aren’t always created with good intentions and there are many ‘How to’ videos explaining just how to do things that are not only dangerous, but also illegal.

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5 top tips to manage screen time these school holidays

Keeping the kids entertained during the school holidays without resorting to the iPad babysitter can be tough. 

With all the additional time on their hands, the urge to use devices is even stronger. During the school term, about 77% of kids said they find it difficult to wake up on school mornings, while 62% find it difficult to get to sleep on school nights, which means that poor sleep habits will be exacerbated during the school holidays if screen time is not managed. Our resident blogger and mum of two, Jess, shares her tips on managing screentime these school holidays.

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5 signs your child may be a victim of Cyber bullying

43% of young people under 17 have reported being bullied online. With numbers like that, there’s a chance your child may be part of this statistic.

How can parents tell if their child is being bullied online, if they won’t open up to them about it? Clinical Psychologist and Cyber Expert Jordan Foster from ySafe suggests that the signs may not always be so obvious to parents. 

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Snapchat update

The latest update of SnapChat now tracks your child's location, and marks their location on a map for other users to see.

Cyber Expert Jordan from ySafe alerted us to this change and recommends that you turn off this function.

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls teen safety

5 apps and websites every parent of a teen needs to know about

Protecting kids online sometimes includes protecting them from themselves. 

Popular apps and sites amongst teenagers can often include inappropriate content and a risk of cyberbullying and grooming. We've narrowed down some of the most popular apps and websites teenagers are using today.

 

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

3 sneaky tricks teens are using to keep secrets online

It's no secret that teens are tech savvy, but just how sneaky are they when it comes to keeping their parents in the dark?

At Family Zone, our mission is to help parents keep their children safe online. Part of the job of our Cyber Experts is to keep you up to date on the latest apps, sites and online trends amongst kids and teens.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

The impact of pornography on teenagers

Studies highlight men as young as 20 years old are reporting erectile dysfunction due to excessive pornography consumption as teenagers.

As teenagers reach puberty, physical changes occur that bring a new curiosity about sex and sexuality. Newfound urges and an interest in sex leads young people to seek information and education to provide both knowledge and gratification.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Study finds Aussie Teens are sleep deprived due to overuse of devices

Are your kids getting enough sleep? Probably not according to a new survey of 1,000 teenagers and parents.

The survey found Australia’s youth feel sleep deprived and are using electronic devices for over four hours every night.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

How to share family photos safely

There's quite a lot of conflicting advice floating around the internet about taking & posting photos of your kids online. 

How many are too many? Are we potentially breaching their privacy? Will they be embarrassed of all their baby photos posted online when they're older?

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A Parent's Guide to eSports

An insightful explanation of the online gaming world, for the parents of gamers

Gaming has always been a popular activity among young people. Today, however, online gaming is far increasing in popularity from the traditional offline games we once played.

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Specialists seek to ban 13 Reasons Why

'13 Reasons Why' is a recently launched Netflix series which deals with issues of teen rape, bullying and suicide.

The 13-part series follows main protagonist Clay as he listens to 13 audio tapes left behind by Hannah to explain her suicide.

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How to have the eSafety talk with your kids

Some might say the parents of today’s generation are facing a disadvantage when it comes to technology ...

For some, their children are already more advanced than them and for others, they’re tasked with introducing their child to something they don’t fully understand. Whilst the internet can be a scary place full of risks and dangers, it’s also a wonderful source of knowledge – so keeping kids safe online without hindering their learning can be a challenge.  

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

What parents should know about Catfishing

Aside from being an online predator, the term used for a person who poses online as someone else in order to manipulate victims is a “Catfish”.

Parents are already well aware that not everyone on the internet is who they say they are. Kids, however, are a little more naïve and, depending on their age, are incredibly trusting of people they’re speaking to online.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

How to avoid a nasty surprise on your iTunes bill

you'd never give your kids the password to your app store account, but what if they figure it out on their own?

Resident Mummy Blogger Jess shares her story of how a little girl obsessed with cat games managed to spend $600 on iTunes, all by herself.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

That awkward chat: how to talk to your kids about pornography

Research shows the average age a child is first exposed to Pornography is just 11yrs. exposure at some point is inevitable, so what can parents do about it?

Whether exposure was deliberate or accidental, kids will feel a mixture of confusion and curiosity – ‘What am I looking at? should I tell Mum and Dad? maybe I’ll get in trouble’. 

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

How are kids cyberbullying and what can parents do about it?

The internet provides our kids with a wealth of information, education and entertainment. but what about stress, anxiety and fear of going to school?

70% of teens have been exposed to cyberbullying. Cyber Expert and Psychologist Jordan Foster has identified the 4 most common methods kids are using to cyberbully each other and how parents can help stop this.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Yellow: The Tinder for Teens

A warning for parents on the dangers of popular teen app yellow

What is a teenager to do when they want to broaden their online friendship base, increase their Snapchat followers and possibly engage in some harmless young love? To the shock of parents everywhere - there’s an app for that.

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Minecraft: an addictive game for kids

one of today's most popular games for kids is also one of the most addictive.

The popular kids game; Minecraft, has held its place amongst children as one of their favourite online games for some time now. Whilst it's not as dangerous as Roblox, the game is very addictive which poses a greater risk of increased screen time.

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Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids

Keeping up with the latest in online gaming can be a multi-level challenge for parents - especially when what's ‘cool’ seems to change at the speed of a mouse-click.  One of today's most popular games is also one of the most dangerous.

Roblox has been called "the world's most popular game you've never heard of." In fact, this massive multiplayer online game has recently outstripped even Minecraft's user numbers.  While the game may seem like an innocent digital playground for children, there are some frightening issues with its online community.

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What happens when young love turns sour in the digital age?

so much has changed since we had our first crush. teenage romances can have alarming outcomes when things turn sour.

In her latest blog, our Education Manager and resident mummy blogger Jess shares her experiences from working at WA Police and the very frequent and numerous cases of Revenge Porn. If you'd like to keep up to date on cyber safety advice and app reviews, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter using the link (above right on desktop, below article on mobile). 

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

How you can help protect your kids from cyber bullies

There have always been bullies. but how has the typical bully changed since we were kids?

Long before technology became such a prevalent part of daily life, there were bullies. People who prey on those weaker than them to convey to their peer group that they’re stronger, smarter or better than others. They’re insecure within themselves and they feel the need to make someone else feel the way they do.  The psychology behind bullying hasn't really changed. The medium used to act out this behaviour has, and with this, the profile of a typical bully has also changed.

If you'd like to keep up to date on cyber safety advice and app reviews, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter using the link (above right on desktop, below article on mobile). 

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Back to School routines to keep everyone smiling

now The kids are back at school, here are some handy hints on settling them into a screen routine 

In her latest blog, our Education Manager and mother of two Jess shares her experiences on screen routines. If you'd like to keep up to date on cyber safety advice and app reviews, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter using the link (above right on desktop, below article on mobile). 

During the school holidays, my kids seemed to be staying up later and later, and with this came more screen time before bed. But now our little treasures have gone back to school it is time to ensure they are getting back into their good habits and routines.  This includes getting all their homework done, in bed on time and getting enough quality sleep.

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Cyber Safety Parental Controls Cyber Experts

Top 5 key cyber safety issues this school year

A back to school refresher for parents on the most common online risks faced by kids

As the new school year begins, along with reading, writing and arithmetic, these days it’s also important to have a refresher of prevalent cyber safety issues that impact our kids. In particular, for parents of a child entering high school for the first time. We’ve outlined the Top 5 cyber safety issues for parents to be mindful of.

Family Zone's experts make it their mission to review constantly changing apps and risks. Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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Kids under 8yo spend 65% of their online time on YouTube

the numbers are in for the Most frequently blocked platforms for 2016 by age group.

How much time does the average 14yo spend on Snapchat? Or an 8yo spend watching YouTube videos? We’ve reviewed our data to bring you the 2016 Connected Kids: Social Media Snapshot.

We took a look at the apps parents most commonly choose to block on Family Zone, listed in the table below. We then looked at during the times of day parents allow child access to these apps - for example, 'reward' hours - what proportion of online time kids spent on each. 

Family Zone's experts make it their mission to review constantly changing apps and risks. Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or below article on mobile).

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5 apps to kick start 2017 as a family

Got a New Year's resolution for your family? There's an app for that!

Keeping New Year’s resolutions for ourselves can be difficult, but keeping those we’ve made for our families is even tougher.  At Family Zone, we feel your pain so we’ve scoured the app store for the top apps we believe will help families keep some of their New Year’s resolutions in 2017 and evermore.

Family Zone's experts make it their mission to review constantly changing apps and risks. Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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10 tips for parents on dealing with "sexting"

Sexting might not have been part of your life growing up, but it is certainly part of your children’s.

It is usually just about them exploring, building relationships and having fun, however it can have serious consequences.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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How do we control Social Media use?

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Live.ly, Musical.ly, the list goes on.

With all the social media apps kids are using these days to chat and share photos and videos it’s hard to keep up with what each of them is used for - and more importantly what dangers each of them pose.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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Christmas Apps plus Elf on the Shelf

A little review on Santa's little helper in time for Christmas and the School Holidays

This week one of our resident Mums at Family Zone,  Jess,  has reviewed Elf on the Shelf and a few other super fun game apps for your kids to play during the Christmas break.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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6 Tips for Good iPad Habits

Is Santa putting an iPad in your kids' stockings this year?

I remember as a child waking up at 5am on Christmas morning and running to the tree to unwrap a brand new Atari. As technology has moved on, so has gaming and this year there will be many children waking up to unwrap the latest iPad, iPhone or other cool tech gifts.

If you are one of the thousands of parents about to step into the world of your child having their own mobile device, then now is the time to start thinking about routines and how you want your family using their devices. By setting clear guidelines early around how you want your kids to use their device, you can ensure a happier, healthier and safer household.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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The 5 Real Costs of Online Gaming

With Christmas Holidays approaching, you can safely bet the gamers in your family will be spending bulk time online.

Gaming has always been a popular activity among young people, today however, online gaming is far increasing in popularity than the traditional offline games we once played. The online gaming community once occupied by the diehard gamers of the world, is now viewed by young people as one they desperately want to be part of. Professional Gaming is now a highly lucrative career option, not unlike a sporting career where the exceptionally talented are given the opportunity to compete in global tournaments with prize pools of up to $20million.  The desire to be as good at any given game, as these pro gamers results in a variety of impacts to young people’s health and wellbeing.

After consulting with our Cyber Expert & Clinical Psychologist Jordan Foster from ySafe on the impacts of online gaming among young people, we’ve highlighted the 5 key issues of online gaming and their real costs to your children.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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Cyber Safety Mobile Apps Parental Controls Education

5 apps to make learning fun

Remember when computers were used for learning? Turns out they still are.

Tucked away among the Instagrams and Snapchats are a whole range of entertaining but educational apps designed to improve numeracy, literacy, memory and even broaden language capabilities.

The experts at Family Zone spend much of their time trawling the app stores for info on negative and potentially harmful apps to protect your children from – but we also like to keep our eyes peeled for apps which will enrich your child’s life and provide a positive and educational experience. Here are five of the best educational apps that make learning fun.

Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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5 risky apps children are using to chat and share videos

We know our kids are on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. But here are some other popular apps you might not know about

Trending apps amongst your kids change faster than you can say Pokemon Go. We've compiled what's trending with young people now, so you know which apps to watch out for. 

Family Zone's experts make it their mission to review constantly changing apps and risks. Want to stay ahead of what apps your kids are using? Subscribe to our FREE monthly cyber safety newsletter (see the link, top right on desktop or bottom of article on mobile).

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Cyber Insecurity: The harmful impact of 'vanity apps' on child self esteem

US study shows social media presents dangers to young women's health and wellbeing 

In this blog we research the Top 5 'vanity apps' parents need to be aware are feeding these dynamics and provide some background on the drivers of social media validation.

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Cyber Safety

App review - Whisper

Most people love a secret - but when it involves your children sharing them with strangers online would you feel differently?  

 

Whisper is a ‘secret-sharing’ app with 1.44 million active users where users can anonymously share personal secrets to other people, and is available to anyone aged over 15 years. You can write a secret either to voice their joys or concerns to the world, or just share random thoughts. Users can browse through an openly public stream of images with secrets laid over them and respond publicly or privately to another person. Whisper actively encourages people to share their location, which is revealed whenever you click on a user to see their post, or alternatively you can see all the secrets within a small radius of your own location.

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5 apps every parent of a teenager needs to know about

Sometimes kids just make bad choices... as their parents we're here to cushion their fall and help them learn from the experience.

However it’s incredibly difficult though to keep up with what your teens are doing online, and most of the time they know more than you do. We’ve narrowed it down to five of the riskiest apps that you need to watch out for.

 

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What parents need to know about live streaming apps

The danger of live streaming apps is something that parents can no longer afford to ignore. People are increasingly wanting to share their life and experiences in real time and they are rapidly gaining in popularity.

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Gamblification: the dangers of online gaming for kids

Gaming and gambling used to have clearly defined lines – you’d go to the local casino or RSL, maybe play the pokies, hopefully pick up a bit of extra cash if you were lucky and head home after a few hours. Or you might have spent half an hour a night playing solitaire on the computer to relax before bedtime. 

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Managing Your Child's Screen Times

Kids and screens – it’s an issue that becomes increasingly complicated as technology rapidly evolves.

We recently surveyed Australian families about internet use in their home and found the average family has around six internet enabled devices in their household. Our kids are constantly connected: through the TV, on their computers, on their phones and tablets.

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The Family Zone Cyber Safety Report

How young is too young to be online? What supervision should families have in place?

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About Cybersafety and Family Zone

The internet and mobile technology has given kids incredible opportunities, in education, social engagement and entertainment. Kids love using screens, and parents love the opportunity to have a precious, uninterrupted break!

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