Tag Archives: Safety

Signs of Cyberbullying

You may very well remember bullies from the playgrounds–they would use unwarranted verbal and/or physical attacks on other students. But these days, there’s a new kind of bullying–cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is the “new bullying.” Since this generation of children are much more in-tuned with technology when it comes to communicating, it makes perfect sense that bullies would utilize technological devices such as computers and cell phones to threaten other teenagers and children. Just like the classic form of bullying, cyberbullying is intended to hurt, target, or harass another person, just through the means of instant messages, cell phone text messages, emails, social media posts, or any of the other technological means of communication.

The problem continues to grow as children and teens are using technology as their main form of communication. In fact, according to a research by the Cyberbullying Research Center in 2010, 1 out of 5 children and teens have been victimized by cyberbullying. As technology continues to become more accessible for the younger generation, it doesn’t take much to figure out that this form of bullying will continue to become a problem for children and teenagers.

But how do you know if your child is a victim of cyberbullying?

* If your child has always been interested in using the computer for games, research, and socialization, and suddenly shows a lack of interest in using the computer or unexpectedly stops utilizing it altogether, this is a red flag that something has occurred.

* Watch for signs of your child becoming angry or withdrawn after using the computer.

* Pay attention to the reaction of your child when an incoming instant message or email comes in. If they appear uncomfortable or nervous when this occurs, they may be expecting a message from someone who is cyberbullying them.

* Ask your child often what they are doing on the computer. You should already be consistently aware of their computer habits, anyway, but if you haven’t been, now is the time to start. If they avoid talking to you about what they are doing, or you find them constantly closing screens and programs when you walk by or approach, they may be hiding something from you.

* Be aware of how your child acts when getting ready to go to school. If they seem very nervous or uneasy about going to school every day, they may be a victim of cyberbullying. This avoidance of school, events, and other activities that your child used to find enjoyable could be a sign that something is going on.

* Check with teachers if there are issues concerning your child’s grades or behavior at home or school. Anger and outbursts can stem from the frustration they may feel and their need to protect themselves.

There can be long-term effects of cyberbullying, both for the bully themselves and for the victim. The victim could develop low self-esteem, high anxiety, and depression. In most severe cases, such as the student who was being harassed about coming out as a homosexual, some teenagers will turn to suicide as a “way out” from the constant harassment. The bully may have a lifetime of self-esteem issues and could take their cyberbullying to another level as an adult–to cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment. These actions, as adults, are illegal crimes and can result in jail time or fines.

Don’t Let Your Computer Be Pandora’s Box for Your T(w)een

Product Review: Is Your Computer Pandora’s Box for Your T(w)een?

As a parent, you want your children to have the best possible online experience available, however, you realize that you must take certain security precautions to keep your family safe from online predators or unsavory content.

PC Pandora, helps caregivers filter unwarranted content as well as monitor your t(w)eens usage. Some of you may be thinking, “doesn’t this really undermine the trust you have with your teen”. I too have mixed feelings when it comes to “secretly” monitoring my children’s on-line activity; yet it definitely plays a key role in providing my husband and I peace of mind in keeping our families safety protected on line.

PC Pandora works in the shadows (like a DVR) and is able to record everything that your teenager is searching for on the internet. It captures search queries from all of the major search engines (i.e. Google, etc) to let you know what your kiddos curiosity turns up. These days, teens are able to search the gamut on line; including topics, from how to make a homemade bomb to suicide. This product is able to warn you in advance of  any potentially harmful topic search’s and keep them safe from the unthinkable.

PC Pandora actually takes snapshots of your PC screen. Gone then are the days of aimlessly scrolling though lines of text and website URL’s. In the most recent version, PC Pandora also included a webcam recording feature so you can see exactly who is using the computer at any given time . Two other key components within the software are, you can block your teens chat activities, track file creation and deletion. For example, if your child decides to download a racy video from YouTube and then deletes it (in hopes of not getting caught); you’ll be able to see the indecent material that they downloaded to the desktop and be able to have that much needed online safety discussion with them.

Now for the cons, this program doesn’t provide parents the ability to restrict the actual time spent on line or allow them to block certain hours of the day where they don’t want their child to be online. For instance, surfing during homework time is a NO, NO in many houses. The other item that I found while reviewing the product, that the program didn’t offer is a per user control of blocked web-site categories. I would like to be able to allow access to each of my kids dependent on the age appropriateness of the the site. PC Pandora doesn’t offer this feature yet.

The Meat and Potatoes: If you want to secretly monitor every bit of what your kids are doing on the computer, PC Pandora will definitely help you keep a watchful eye.

The folks at PC Pandora are offering us one hot little give away this week to 6 of our lucky readers. How do you win? Well first you have to bribe me with chocolate (just kidding) and then you need to click through to comment. To enter, comment below or on our Facebook wall about how PC Pandora would be helpful in protecting you and your family and we’ll pick 6 winners on Monday at five o clock Eastern time. The “keys” can be used one time only and they have no time limit.

A couple of screen shots of the PC Pandora software:

The Viewer Application let’s you see everything that has been done on your computer. While the “snapshot” screen shows you what searches or queries have been done on your computer.

***FYI: I spoke with Ken Shallcross, a PC Pandora representative which stated, “the good news is, this summer, the next version will include this per user control as well as the timer function you mentioned… I’ll make sure that your contest winners get a free upgrade when that happens”.

Thanks Ken, we’ll look forward to the next version.