The Five Greatest Internet
Dangers Teenagers Face

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Prevent Sexting

Apr 2nd, 2012 by David Kent Jones | 0

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs by mobile phone or over the Internet. Teenagers wanting to be accepted by their boyfriend or girlfriend may send him or her a suggestive or even pornographic image. The problem is this image usually gets shared with others and once it has spread online, it can be impossible to delete. Reputation are damaged, emotional trauma can result and even criminal charges can be made against the adolescent that took a picture of herself or himself.

A recent study done with 23,000 high school students found a strong correlation between sexting and suicide. “Overall, 10 percent of the students said they had sent a sext message in the past year and 5 percent said someone else had sent a sexually suggestive photo of themselves. Those involved in sexting were not only more likely to report a suicide attempt, they also had twice the odds of reporting depressive symptoms as students who weren’t involved in sexting.” -

Teen Sexting Linked to Psychological Distress
, Christina Caron, ABC News, Nov. 10, 2011.

That means if you have a high school aged child, there is a 1 out of 10 chance they have sent a naked picture of themselves to someone else! Just google “sexting and suicide” and you will see news articles of several teenagers killing themselves as a result of sexting in just the last 3 years.

Talk with your teenager about the dangers of sexting. Spot check the photo and text histories on their phone. Use Computer Parenting to monitor their online activities. Prevent the problem before it happens if possible. Don’t let your teenager deal with the consequences alone if the problem already exists, especially if it has turned into a cyberbullying situation.

Who Would You Let into Your Child’s Room?

Jan 31st, 2010 by David Kent Jones | 0

Would you let just anyone that showed up at your front door into your son’s room?  Dangerous criminals?  Prostitutes?  This French Internet safety video shows that by allowing your children free access to the Internet, you are doing just this.

Imagine if a pedophile showed up at your front door and told your young daughter that she had a pretty stuffed bunny.  Would you let him walk off with her?  Protect your children online with tools like Computer Parenting.

Cyberbullying Hurts

Aug 2nd, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

The following commercial by the Ad Council shows how much cyberbullying can hurt.

It’s amazing what teenagers will type online that they would never say in person.

Be the Cyber Czar of Your Homeland Security

May 29th, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

President Obama’s announcement today of planning to appoint a new head of White House cyber security, should make us think about how secure the networks are in our homes.  Obama said, “Cyberspace is real, and so is the risk that comes with it.”

Here are a few quick tips to protect your homes from cyber threats:

1- Make sure you have a router.  It does not have to be a wireless router, but you need something between your computer and the wild, wild Internet.

2- Make sure your wireless network is password protected.  If you don’t, your will lose more than bandwidth to your neighbors and hackers driving through the neighborhood.  You are leaving your computers exposed.

3- Get anti-virus software.  No excuses.  Avast offers a free home version.

4- Turn on automatic updates for your operating system and install them as they are released.

5- Do not install freeware or any other program off the Internet unless it comes from a company you trust.  Never install file-sharing programs.  (How can you trust a program that’s made to break the law to start with?)  Many of these harvest information off your hard drives for identity thieves.

6- Back up your files, otherwise, you will suffer the “agony of delete”.  It just takes a couple minutes a week to throw your My Documents and email folders on a CD or DVD and toss it in a box or drawer somewhere.

Don’t wait for hacker attack that could cost you your identity and your data.

A Cell Phone with Internet Is Like a Loaded Gun

Feb 23rd, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

Giving a teenager a cell phone with Internet is very dangerous.  It is like a loaded gun.  They can access the Internet any time from any where without any supervision to view pornography, order drugs, order weapons, view scenes of explicit real-life violence and be targeted by predators.  As a parent you will be out of the loop.  Your child has the potential to be out of control.

Most cell phone providers will let you block Internet on your children’s phones even if they are Internet capable, but if the phone is “wi-fi” capable like the iPhone, they’ll access the Internet anyway from public Internet connections.  The best solution is to give them a phone that is not Internet capable.  Sell their current phone on ebay if you have to.

If you chose to allow them to access the Internet from the cell phone, at least check the history.  Many phones, like the iPhone, will keep the history and only allow you to delete all of the history, not selected entries.  Make an entry in their Internet history and make sure it is still there when you check the history.  If the history gets too long, delete it all and make another reference history entry.  If the reference entry disappears, so should your child’s cell phone.

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Feb 14th, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

What dangers are there in borrowing a wireless Internet connection?

Network cables are becoming a thing of the past.  Nearly every laptop that is sold now has wi-fi capabilities built in.  Almost everywhere you go, you can see wireless connections available from your laptop’s wireless utility.  Maybe you even borrow your neighbor’s wi-fi signal.  All this free Internet is not without risk.

When you set up your own wireless network at home, normally it is secured with a password so no one else can use it.  This protects your computers from being hacked by others on the same wireless connection.  Everyone that is accessing the Internet, must pass through the firewall in your wireless router in order to access your computers.  A firewall keeps your computers safe like being within the walls of a castle.

When you connect to a wireless connection at a wi-fi café, hotel or from your neighbor, you expose your computer to hackers that may be on the same connection.  Your computer is vulnerable.  Hackers could access your computer, stealing personal files like financial aid applications, credit applications, tax returns or financial records that could be used to get fraudulent credit in your name.  They could also upload viruses or spyware.

To protect yourself, only connect to public wi-fi if necessary.  Make sure you have firewall software running on  your computer.  Use your operating system’s built in protections, for example Windows Vista will prompt you to indicate if the connection is at home or public.  Take precautions or you could receive a credit card bill on a card you didn’t apply for with purchases you didn’t make.

The Five Second Rule

Jan 30th, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

After moving from California to Utah a couple of years ago, I noticed two differences in how Utahans drive in general compared to Californians.  First of all, more people in Utah wave with just one finger.  I suppose Californians would do the same if they weren’t afraid of being shot.

Second, there is an unofficial (and illegal) rule in Utah that I call the five second rule:  If a traffic light has been red for less than 5 seconds, it’s still ok to drive through the intersection.  This rule can be exciting if you are used to moving out into an intersection the second a light turns green.

Different places have different rules and behaviors.  When your children visit their friends, do you know what the computer rules are in their friends’ homes?  Do their parents allow them to have computers in their bedrooms?  Is the computer usage monitored directly or with monitoring software like Computer Parenting?

Know your children’s friends parents.  Encourage them to follow safe computer practices.  Help them understand the dangers of the Internet by referring them to books like Online Teen Dangers.

Even if your home computers are safe, when your child visits a friend, they could still get run over on the Information Super Highway.

Computer Inauguration

Jan 14th, 2009 by David Kent Jones | 0

The computer elections are completed.  Many computer parties, Dell, Toshiba, HP, Apple, all campaigned for your vote.  In the end you picked the perfect combination of gigabytes and gigahertz to meet your needs at that holiday or post-holiday sale.  Now you are opening the box of your computer-elect, what should you do?  Have a computer inauguration!

If you could find an outlet, you could do these five inaugural steps on the west steps of the US Capitol, but your living room will work just fine:

1- Make Restoration Disks:  In the old days when dinosaurs ruled the earth, computers came with disks that could be used to restore your computer if the hard disk ever died.  Now they usually just come with utilities for creating these disks.  Make the disks and keep them in a safe place that you will be able to find later.

2- Remove the Fluff:  Computers these days come with about 50 free 30-day trials, half of which are already installed and running on your computer, slowing it down and clogging your desktop.  For Windows computers, click on Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features (Vista) or Add or Remove Programs (XP) and start uninstalling programs you don’t need.  If you don’t know what a particular program is for, it is better to leave it.  It might be important.

3- Add Security:  You don’t need to pay for good virus protection.  Download the home version of Avast from avast.com for free.  Make sure windows update is enabled and have it update your operating system.  If you have a home wireless network, make sure it requires a password to connect to it so your computer won’t get hacked.

4- Add Your Old Files:  If you shop around, you can find an external USB hard drive for less than 20 cents a Gig.  This is easier than loading up your USB stick fifty times and you can use it for doing backups later.  Alternatively, you can just copy the files over your home network into a shared directory.  Virus check your old computer before copying files.  Don’t copy program directories, these need to be reinstalled.  Besides your document directories, make sure you grab your Favorites links, and email files/rules.  These can be buried deep in application data directories.  Don’t delete your old files until you are sure they made it to your new hard drive.  Also, before you sell that old computer on eBay or give it to charity, remember that data lives on forever, even after the files have been deleted or drives have been reformatted.  You can use special software to sanitize your hard drive, or do like me, remove the hard drive and keep it.

5- Install Monitoring Software:  If you have kids, installing monitoring software will help protect them from the dangers of the Internet.  If you’re married, it will eliminate the temptation for cyber betrayal.  If you live by your lonesome, it will help you remember passwords and the cool websites that you visit.

Now your computer is ready to take office, or at least sit in your home office, even if it isn’t oval.

File Sharing Lawsuits, Truth or Urban Legend?

Dec 27th, 2008 by David Kent Jones | 0

The lawsuits are real enough.  Just ask the Tenenbaums, a family in Rhode Island that have been fighting a million dollar lawsuit with Capitol Records for years.  Six other companies have also sued them, all for seven songs that their teenage son allegedly downloaded.  The Tenenbaums were recently interviewed in the Rhode Island News.  According to the article, there are 30,000 other families that are being sued.

Even if you feel like this is extortion on the part of copyright owners, is it worth the fight?  Make sure your kids are not downloading music for their iPODs, MP3 players or cell phones.  Even if they just got them for Christmas, and they’re dying to fill up all that space with their favorite songs.  It’s not worth the risk.

Recession Vigilance

Dec 21st, 2008 by David Kent Jones | 0

Everyone seems concerned about the economy.  The focus is on stock market losses, bailouts and housing slumps.  It is easy during these financially stressful times to become distracted and let our guard down when it comes to protecting our children online.

When parents fight over money, struggle with unemployment and agonize over lost investments, children are affected.  Stressful home situations can drive children to find comfort from online “friends”.  Online sexual predators take advantage of every situation they can to find and groom their victims.

During these financially challenging times, let us remember what is truly important.  Losing a child is much more devastating than losing an investment.