As an educator, you don’t need x-ray vision to figure out that you and your students aren’t always on the same page.
In the classroom - as in life generally - technology giveth, and technology taketh away. This year, make sure your school is getting the very best out of edtech, while minimizing the downside.
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.
Family Zone has partnered with incredible individuals across the US to teach digital citizenship, cyber safety, and help avoid disastrous consequences like online gaming, porn addiction and teen depression linked to FOMO. They're all parents and professionals from different trades, who, for many, have decided to drop their previous professional life to help youth and adults take back control of their lives by consuming digital content with moderation and a critical eye.
What CIPA requires
The protection measures must block or filter Internet access to pictures that are:(a) obscene;(b) child pornography;(c) harmful to minors - for computers that are accessed by minors. Before adopting this Internet safety policy, schools and libraries must provide reasonable notice and hold at least one public hearing or meeting to address the proposal.
Schools following CIPA have two additional certification requirements:1) their Internet safety policies must include monitoring the online activities of minors;2) as required by the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, they must provide for educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.
Schools and libraries subject to CIPA are required to adopt and implement an Internet safety policy addressing:
Access by minors to inappropriate matter on the Internet;
The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms and other forms of direct electronic communications;
Unauthorized access, including so-called “hacking,” and other unlawful activities by minors online;
Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors; Measures restricting minors' access to materials harmful to them.
How to know if your devices at school are not exposing students to unhealthy content? Through March 31, 2018, we're offering a free school cyber safety audit to the first ten respondents:
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.
It seems everyday brings another incident involving kids and so-called "smart phones" in schools. Recently, a 10-year old girl in Aurora, Co, committed suicide after being filmed fighting an alleged bully by another student using the Musical.ly app.The Cherry Creek School District said it turned the video over to police, noting that the fight did not take place during school hours.
Are social media, the Internet and smartphones addictive by design, much like cigarettes? That's what a group of Silicon Valley "geeks" who were early employees at Facebook and Google are saying and acting upon, alarmed over the ill effects of digital devices, networking tools and apps.
Danish police have taken a hard line on inappropriate content, namely child pornography, shared on social media, charging over 1,000 young people with "distribution of child pornography" after video content of two 15 year olds was circulated online, predominantly on Facebook and Messenger. “It may sound very dramatic that we’re charging with child pornography,” said Flemming Kjaerside, a police superintendent. “Many had no intention to distribute child pornography, but objectively speaking, that’s what they’ve done.”
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.
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!
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.
Bill and Melinda were adamant about setting boundaries for their children. But many argue that withholding mobile devices until kids are well into their teenage years is simply impractical today. “Young children owning smartphones is the new normal” is the conclusion of the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital, following an Australian Child Health poll that found two-thirds of primary school kids and more than a third of pre-schoolers own their own mobile device.
The same study also found almost half of Aussie kids are using their devices at bedtime, while one in four children report sleep problems. Coincidence? We think not.
According to a 2016 Roy Morgan Young Australians Survey, by the time Aussie kids are 10, one in every five will own a smartphone. As for Australian teens - if yours tells you “everyone else” has one, turns out that may literally be true. Only nine percent of Aussie children aged 14-17 do not have a smartphone, the Roy Morgan survey found.
Here’s another fascinating stat. Only 22% of teens with smartphones foot their own bills. Parents pay for 78%. Hmmmm. You’d think that would give us more control.
So what is the right age for a child to have a smartphone? We asked Family Zone cyber expert Dr. Kristy Goodwin for a simple answer.
Turns out there isn’t one. Damn!
“It’s difficult to prescribe a precise chronological age when it’s safe and/or appropriate to give a child a phone,” says Dr. Kristy. “I recommend delaying the decision until you feel your child is emotionally mature and responsible. Remember, your child may be tech savvy but they make lack the social and emotional skills required to safely use the device.
“Do they understand the permanent consequences of posting a photo online, or sending a message?”
Many parents have not even thought this through, let alone their children.
“Giving your child a smartphone is giving them a powerful communication tool that does so much more than make and receive phone calls,” Dr. Kristy explains. With a phone, they can also create and receive text messages, images, and videos - “and these can be easily and quickly distributed online, screenshot or uploaded onto other websites.
“You’re also giving them a device that can access the Internet anywhere, anytime (unless you install tools like the Family Zone which can restrict what kids can access and when devices are used).
“When you give a child a smartphone they can potentially post, or distribute embarrassing or incriminating photos/videos/messages. Kids’ online mistakes or errors in judgement now have digital DNA attached.”
Making the call
1. Consider their emotional responsibility before buying them a phone. You’re giving them a powerful tool that can do much more than take and receive phone calls.
2. Is a dumbphone a better option? If they need to be in touch or if the phone is purely for safety reasons this may be a better option.
3. Are they responsible with their other belongings? Establish consequences if their phone is lost.
4. Can they adhere to rules and boundaries? For example, do they know about online etiquette (eg. permission to post pictures of other people)
5. Set up firm rules about how, what, when and where the phone can be used. Use a cloud service like the Family Zone to actively monitor their usage and enforce limits and controls.
6. Set up parental controls and Family Sharing to ensure your child’s safety.
It’s not easy being a digital parent. The good news is, you're not in it alone. If you decide to go ahead with buying a first smartphone for your child, Family Zone’s team of Cyber Experts can help you sort out what apps and content are appropriate, and provide you with the tools and expertise to help you protect your children online.
Here’s another reason to limit screen-time: sitting.
“Blue light” sounds almost magical. But the effect of blue light exposure, emitted by LED-lit smartphones, tablets and flat screen TVs, is anything but. Study after study has found that this short-wave, high-energy illumination is a virtual sleep vampire, draining both the quality and quantity of our children’s rest.
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?
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.
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.
A Perth school has recently had to place a school wide ban on students placing meal delivery orders from suppliers like UberEATS and Deliveroo. Many issues like this are frequently being reported to our Education Team, including;
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.
'During investigations, detectives came across a concerning website called BoyChat that provided them with a clear insight into the mindset of adult men who prefer teenage boys, or younger, for sex. They refer to themselves, as do the police, as ‘boy lovers’ and are a very distinctive type of criminal. They appear to be far more committed than other child sex offenders, more focused, and harder to catch. They express their anger regularly as they harbour a grudge from knowing how society perceives them. Before stumbling on their website, detectives knew these individuals existed on the internet, but it was extremely difficult to establish their identities. BoyChat gave them an online forum in which to connect, network, empower each other, and normalise their behaviour. Their motto is ‘You are not alone’, and their constant themes include reassuring each other that it is okay to be a predator and encouraging each other to embrace their feelings. The site encourages them to act on their desires rather than seek help for their illness.
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.
And, what’s the quickest and most effective source of entertainment these days? The internet of course.
But it’s vital to start these conversations as early as possible, so staying safe becomes second nature.
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.
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.
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 Expertsare on hand to provide tailored control settings for your family and advice for parents in navigating cyber safety.
It’s no wonder kids find watching YouTube so entertaining, new content is merely a click away. So what’s the problem?
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At Family Zone, we often hear feedback from parents saying that they’re apprehensive to monitor what their teenager is doing online as they fear it’s a breach of their child's right to privacy. After discussing this feedback with Cyber Expert and ex QLD police officer Brett Lee from Internet Safe Education, he has a much different opinion.
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.
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.
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.
The survey found Australia’s youth feel sleep deprived and are using electronic devices for over four hours every night.
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?
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.
The 13-part series follows main protagonist Clay as he listens to 13 audio tapes left behind by Hannah to explain her suicide.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.