How to Keep Teens Safe Online: BGCA #CyberSafe Website & CyberTribe

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for BGCA Cyber Safe Initiative. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”Boys and Girls Club How to Keep Teens Safe Online: BGCA #CyberSafe Website & CyberTribeBeing a mom to a middle schooler means I’m keenly aware of the dangers that can lurk online. When I was my daughter’s age my mom only had to worry about me talking on the phone (corded no less!) too much. Now I have to monitor my daughter’s screen time on her iPhone and discuss with her online etiquette with regard to social media.

Did you know that Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a fantastic online resource to educate and inform teens on cyber safety issues? BGCA’s Cyber Safe Futures annual initiative in support of Internet Safety Awareness month in Junes has a fun new twist this year that makes it even more relevant to teens. Each week the website spotlights a teen CyberTribe Q&A in partnership with Sprint. This four-member team features teens from various parts of the country ready to respond to questions about growing up as a teen in the digital age.

BGCA CyberTribe Cyber Safety Panel How to Keep Teens Safe Online: BGCA #CyberSafe Website & CyberTribe

The BGCA CyberTribe is the perfect go to team to ask questions regarding cyberbullying, online privacy, social media, and other relevant issues plugged-in teens grapple with. And, let’s face it, teens are going to be much more comfortable approaching other teens for guidance than adults, particularly their parents! Everyone (parent or teen) who submits a question to the CyberTribe via the simple online form is entered into a raffle to win either an iPad and $500 to the Club of your choice. So, go ahead and submit your question about #cybersafety!

In addition to peer resources for teens, the website features a great resources section on subjects such as cyberbullying, mobile technologies, social networks and online privacy. Even if you don’t yet have a teen, it’s a fantastic go to website for topics you’ll need to brush up on because before you know it, your child will be digital savvy.

What questions would you ask the BGCA CyberTribe?

Cyber Safety Tips from Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

With my older daughter now officially a middle schooler (be still my heart), I’m facing more and more new parenting issues as her peers get their own smart phones and social media accounts. We’re a digital family, with me being a blogger and a social media strategist for a digital marketing agency, and my husband owning his own tech company. How do we help our daughters make wise choices when it comes to cyber safety?

My 11-year-old has friends with Facebook AND Instagram accounts and she and her younger sister share a smart phone. As much as we embrace technology at our house, we have thus far not allowed her to open her own accounts. I was surprised to learn that 5 million of Facebook’s users are 10 and younger. From cyber bullying to learning safe ways to share information online, there are so many new things kids are faced with daily. I want to make sure we’re teaching our daughters smart ways to use technology.

Facebook Cyber Safety Tips from Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Being a responsible parent today means teaching your kids how to practice safe cyber useage. Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has always focused on child safety and is committed to ensuring the safe futures of youth, including providing tips and tools to safely navigate an ever-expanding online world. They’ve partnered with Sprint to educate young people and parents on important media safety issues and arming parents and guardians with resources needed to have an open dialogue on tough safety topics. It’s the goal of Boys & Girls Clubs of America for every young person to have a cyber safe future.

Check out their great website, Cyber Safe Futures, where you can take an eye-opening quiz that will help you determine whether or not you’re a cyber safe parent and find fantastic cyber safety tips.

Need help talking to your kids about #cybersafety issues like bullying? Don’t know where to start? The new Cyber Safe Futures website features great videos (like the one above), as well as parenting tips and discussion points to help you and your kids navigate the new technology that’s literally at their fingertips.

I love these tips for cell phone use from the Cyber Safe Futures website, especially the technology free times and zones.

Four Tips for Parents on Cell Phone and Mobile Technology Use

  • Talk with your child about proper cell phone etiquette. Talk about places where it is appropriate to use cell phones. If she has a smart phone or game device that has Internet access, remind her that the Internet safety rules in your family apply to her mobile device as well.
  • Model good cell phone behaviors for your child. Your child watches you while you use the phone.
  • Establish technology free times and zones. For example, set a rule that cell phones and mobile technology are not used at the family dining table or during homework time. And then make sure you follow the rules yourself!
  • Establish with your child that you will periodically check his cell phone.
  • Check the monthly statement for unusual charges or activity. Talk with your child if anything in the bill raises questions.

How do you talk to your kids about #cybersafety? What issues are facing them?


Stop Madware In Its Track with the Free Norton Spot App

I’ve had an Android phone for more than two years now and my girls, who are 7 and 10, LOVE to download apps to it, primarily games. Although they are fairly savvy when it comes to technology, thanks to having a blogger for a mom and a tech entrepreneur for a dad, you never know when a seemingly harmless game download can become madware. They’re into downloading games that look fun and engaging, not worried about what potential threat may lie behind it for mom’s phone!

I’ve got enough on my plate as a busy working mom so anything that makes my life easier is wonderful. Norton created a free Android App called Norton Spot to identify potentially threatening madware before it becomes a full-fledged problem. Available in the Google Play app store, Norton Spot took just seconds to download to my phone and immediately identified apps that display ads, collect location coordianates, and mobile network info. I was surprised that not all these apps were ones my kids had downloaded. In fact, several were free apps that I’d chosen and downloaded, such as Words With Friends and The Weather Channel!

 Screen Shot Norton Madware App Stop Madware In Its Track with the Free Norton Spot App

Madware can link itself to popular apps such as Angry Birds (and who doesn’t have Angry Birds on their phone?) and Flashlight and gains access to your personal information, location, settings, and frequently delivers advertising inappropriately. These are not only annoying but slow your phone down.

Here’s an interesting infographic from Norton illustrating some eye-opening (and alarming) statistics about madware. In the past nine months, apps that include madware grew by 210%. 210%!! That’s a pretty incredible statistic! Norton Spot evaluates the madware risks of all your apps and tells you which ones can harm your phone. You then decide whether or not to delete them or not. And remember, madware only affects Android phones.

Norton Spot Madware Infographic Stop Madware In Its Track with the Free Norton Spot App


Have you ever been the victim of madware on your Android phone?

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Norton. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.