Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sue Scheff: SAFE EYES - Online Protection for Your Kids

Safe Eyes 5.0 Parental Control Software Receives Parents’ Choice Award

Safe Eyes™ 5.0, the latest edition of Internet parental control software from InternetSafety.com, has earned a 2008 Parents’ Choice Approved award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation. The award is the latest in a series of honors for the parental monitoring software, including two consecutive Editors’ Choice awards from PC Magazine.

“If you think your family’s safety requires Internet filtering and monitoring, whatever level, this program provides an array of options to get it done,” said the Parents’ Choice Foundation in its recognition of the Safe Eyes product. The 30-year-old foundation is the nation’s oldest non-profit program created to recognize quality children’s media, including books, toys, music and storytelling, software, videogames, television and websites.

“This commendation from the Parents’ Choice Foundation reflects the growing concern that parents have over their children’s Internet use as well as the wide range of control choices that Safe Eyes offers,” said Forrest Collier, CEO of InternetSafety.com. “Every child and every family is different, so flexibility is essential. The product lets parents decide how their children use the Internet.”

Safe Eyes is a comprehensive program that enables parents to easily block objectionable websites, control Internet use by length of time as well as time of day and day of the week, block or record instant messenger chats, and block peer-to-peer file sharing programs that may expose children to dangerous material. It also allows parents to limit email use to certain addresses, and receive alerts when children post inappropriate or personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

The software provides broader controls than any other filtering product, including the ability to define which websites will be blocked by category, URL and keyword; receive instant alerts about inappropriate online behavior by email, text message or phone call; and remotely change program settings or view reports from any Internet-enabled computer.

Safe Eyes is also the only program of its kind that can be used in mixed Mac/PC households. A single $49.95 annual subscription covers up to three Mac and/or PC computers with the ability to customize settings for each child and enforce them on any machine. The product’s website blacklist is updated automatically every day, eliminating the need for manual updates. Safe Eyes can be downloaded at http://www.internetsafety.com/affiliate/default.php?id=1044&p=/safe-eyes/.

All Parents’ Choice Awards winners are posted to the Parents’ Choice Foundation website (http://www.parents-choice.org/).

About InternetSafety.com
Established in 1999, InternetSafety.com specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Internet Safety and Your Children


This Press Release is posted with the permission of InternetSafety.com - Visit Internet Safety for more vital information to protect your children online.


10 Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe On Social Networks

ATLANTA, GA — May 28, 2008 — June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teens—and adults—around the world using social networking sites, there’s no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children.

InternetSafety.com, the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:

Show Interest — Ask questions about how your child’s preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking site—a great way to visit your child’s page and see what’s been posted there.


Encourage Instinctive Responses — Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they “feel funny about.” Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.


Know Your Kids’ Passwords — If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, that’s trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accounts—then keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.


Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks — Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.


Be Aware of Alternate Access Points — Kids don’t have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends’ houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with what’s happening on your child’s social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.


Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise — There’s a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You don’t have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the right—and the obligation—to see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.


Check for Photos — By clicking on the Windows “Start” button, you’ll find the “Search” tool. Click on “Pictures, Music or Video,” the box next to “Pictures and Photos,” and finally “Search”. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.


Install Filtering Software — PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit email use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable Web sites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.
Watch for CyberBullying — Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullying—or to remain silent when they know others are being harassed.


Visit StopCyberBullying.org or StopBullyingNow.hrsa.gov for excellent tips and information.


Don’t Lecture — Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, don’t browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their child’s behavior—and nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.


“Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their child’s social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts,” said Shane Kenny, President and COO of InternetSafety.com. “Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.”


About InternetSafety.com
Established in 1999, InternetSafety.com specializes in providing Internet safety solutions. Its flagship software, Safe Eyes, is the two-time recipient of the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award and was rated as the #1 parental control solution by America’s leading consumer advocacy publication. The company’s Safe Eyes and EtherShield products are providing online protection for PCs and Macs in homes, businesses and schools across more than 125 countries.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Keeping your kids safe online


On Tuesday, June 17th Dr. Paul featured Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation Defender. If you are a parent of a child that surfs online - this is an important Podcast for your to listen to.



Michael Fertik is a repeat Internet entrepreneur and CEO with experience in technology and law. After law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Danny J. Boggs of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. His company, Reputation Defender, helps parents to know what is online about their children, and provides services to find and eliminate potentially dangerous or damaging content.




On this call, Michael discusses some important information and resources to help parents become more proactive about knowing what is out there about their family, and doing something about it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sue Scheff: Bullies in Cyberspace


By http://www.education.com/

Everyone remembers the school bully in their lives. Maybe they stole your bike, or bloodied your nose, or spread a nasty rumor that had you hiding out in the bathroom. Whatever they did, they made life miserable. But as bad as they were, you could identify them, predict their behavior and try to steer clear.

Unfortunately for your kids, that may no longer be the case. That’s because bullies can still be on the school grounds, but they can also be in cyberspace, lurking where no one can see them.

Cyberbullying is on the rise, and the bad guys are not always who you think. A bully can be a girl spreading rumors about a former friend, or a student trying to get revenge on a teacher who gave them a bad grade, or a group of kids playing a prank on an unsuspecting schoolmate. Cyberbullying is a complex beast. Often it starts with otherwise nice kids from nice families who go online to “have a little fun” at someone else’s expense. But it can get out of hand very quickly.

Bullies are resourceful. With all the high-tech tools out there, they can take their pick from cell phones, pagers, websites, blogs, chat rooms, IMs, or emails. They can go on a site and invite other people in to help bully their victim – by asking them to comment on their picture. They can create a webpage that looks like it belongs to the person being bullied, but is malicious. They can enter an email address and have their victim spammed with messages from websites they’ve never visited. They can put up embarrassing pictures, or even use a tool like Photoshop to adjust a picture and make it look different.

Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Bullies_Cyberspace_2/

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Hand in Hand Parenting


Hand in Hand (formerly Parents Leadership Institute) helps parents acquire the skills they need to build and rebuild close connections with their children. We also encourage parents to build close connections with other parents, so they are able to learn and share with others, and work together to build a healthier community.

Visit www.handinhandparenting.com

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sue Scheff: Shoulder to Shoulder, Raising Teens Together



Is your teen pushing your buttons?Not sure how to handle it?


We're here to help you make the most of your relationship, stay ahead of the game and find common ground with your teenager. Shoulder to Shoulder is dedicated to making your job easier by connecting parents and caregivers and sharing the insights of those who have been there before. From written resources and a Blog for parents of teens to relevant research and parenting tips, we hope you find our resources useful as you navigate the teen years with your child.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Internet Predators Target Teens with Depression


By Johanna Curtis


Internet Predators Target Teens with Depression, Acne and Mental Illness

Bipolar, Acne, Depression, Chronic Illness? Your Teen May be More Vulnerable

Net predators mostly target vulnerable teens. Find out which teens are most vulnerable and how to protect them. Acne, depression, bipolar put teens at risk.

It’s not our youngest children, but our teens that are most at risk from internet predators. So say Janis Wolak, JD, David Finkelhor, PhD, Kimberly Mitchell, PhD and Michele Ybarra, PhD, at the Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire. In a study entitled “Online Predators and Their Victims: Myths, Realties and Implications” published in the February/March 2008 issue of American Psychologist, the researchers reveal that it’s vulnerable teens rather than younger children who are the targets of predatory adults. The journal is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

In opposition to popular opinion, adult predators are not posing as teens to attract very young children and they don’t generally abduct or rape children. Instead the study showed that most predators didn’t hide their adult status, only their motivations, and that teens in particular are their intended victims.

In these scenarios they attempted to gain the trust of a vulnerable teen and then seduced them into sexually motivated relationships or meetings.

A considerable amount of time may be spent courting these teens who are often from difficult family backgrounds or vulnerable circumstances. Any teen might be vulnerable but teens with chronic illness, teenage acne, physical disability, bipolar disorder, depression, body image concerns and eating disorders are at particular risk.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of teens who may easily be lured into the web of an online predator. Since the predator may grow to know the teen very well and spend plenty of time talking to them, the teen is often a willing participant in the sexual encounter, seeing it as a blur of romance, acceptance or sexual awakening.

Often the teens have been victims of sexual or physical abuse, marital discord and health problems. Teens also tend to be prone to risk taking in both real life and virtual settings.

One teen was lured into an encounter when he identified with the predator’s fabricated struggle to find the best treatment for adult acne. In this case the teen was looking for advice on treating acne and he found it in this particular online predator.

This endeared the man to him and set the stage for a later sexual encounter. Thus it is possible that your teen starts out sharing a home recipe for back acne treatment and ends up in a scary situation!

In short- teens with low self esteem, body image, emotional and family problems that enjoy the thrill of taking risks are exactly they type of child that an online predator is hoping to find.

Three surveys were conducted by the researchers-two took the form of telephone interviews with 3000 internet users aged ten to seventeen (200o and 2005) and in the other 612 interviews were held with federal, state and local law enforcement officials in the United States (October 2001- July 2002).

The researchers emphasized the importance of the study: “To prevent these crimes, we need accurate information about their true dynamics," said Janis Wolak.

“The things that we hear and fear and the things that actually occur may not be the same. The newness of the environment makes it hard to see where the danger is."

Also important was the finding that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace did not aggravate predator abuse. Instead teens who spent time talking online to strangers particularly about sexual topics were placed in the highest risk categories. "Most Internet-initiated sex crimes involve adult men who are open about their interest in sex," Wolak said. "The offenders use instant messages, e-mail and chat rooms to meet and develop intimate relationships with their victims. In most of the cases, the victims are aware that they are talking online with adults." "A majority of the offenders are charged with crimes such as statutory rape, that involve non-forcible sexual activity with adolescent victims who are too young to consent to sexual intercourse with adults," she said.

When children are discouraged from sharing personal details and being deceived online it does little to deter these problems the study revealed. Adults keeping constant tabs on internet activities did not prove to be the answer either.

Instead it is suggested by the researchers that parents should spend time teaching teens about the risks associated with certain types of behavior.

This means that parents should be having open and honest discussions about romantic or sexual relationships/encounters with an adult. The risks and patterns inherent in online relationships should be pointed out to the teen without making him/her feel judged. Unfortunately this is often easier said than done.

These families often have considerable communication difficulties already and the teens may not feel respectful or trusting towards their parent or caregiver. In this case other sources could be found that could help provide information to the teen.

The study also revealed that adults do not pretend to be teens very often (5% of crimes committed involved an adult impersonating a teen). Seventy-five percent of victims who met a predator did so on more than a single occasion.

Predators are not usually violent and do not generally force their victims into sexual behavior, instead they attempt to court them into making the decision for themselves. In the mind of the predator this relieves them of some of the responsbility for their crimes. He/she does not seem to consider the naivete or inexperience of the average teen.

It also appears that teens who have been involved in risky online activities reveal that they have received sexual offers over the internet. Risky activities might take the form of spending time talking to or e-mailing strangers, talking about sex with strangers or being antagonistic or nasty to people online.

Homosexual teen boys are at special risk say researchers. This is because they are unsure of their sexuality. One quarter of crimes committed involved boys who were gay or questioning their sexuality.

The best thing parents can do is maintain consistent open communication with their teens about their online activities. If a teen seems secretive about his/her online activities then investigate by searching their computer for any e-mails, chats, instant messages or other risky online activities.

Do not feel as though you are breaching your teen’s privacy. Young boys and girls do deserve some private time and activities, but in this case some well-timed “snooping” might save a life so if you feel at all uneasy don’t hesitate to try to uncover your teens internet habits.

The entire article may be found at: http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/amp632111.pdf

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sue Scheff: Teens and Internet Safety


By Education.com

Introduction: Teens Navigating Cyberspace

If you believe e-mail, blogs, and instant messaging are a completely harmless way for teens to communicate, think again! Many teens have Internet access--often private communication in the form of blogs, chat rooms, and forums. These online communication aids are not themselves a problem. But the ever-present threat of being sexually solicited or bullied while on the Internet is a big problem.

While online, teens may be persuaded to do things or share private/confidential information, to be sexually solicited, and/or to experience public humiliation. Recent testimony on child protection before Congress, alerted the public to online sexual solicitation of teens. However, parents and youth workers may be less aware of "cyber-bullying" in which peers viciously attack one another. This article will define online sexual solicitation and cyber-bullying, explain the risk factors and negative effects of these communications, and outline ways to protect youth from harm.

Online Sexual Solicitation

Online sexual solicitation is a form of sexual harassment that occurs over the internet. Incidents of online sexual solicitation include: exposure to pornography; being asked to discuss sex online and/or do something sexual; or requests to disclose personal information. This can start when an adult or peer initiates an online nonsexual relationship with a child or adolescent, builds trust, and seduces him or her into sexual acts. Several studies have found that:

30% of teen girls who used the Internet frequently had been sexually harassed while they were in a chat room.


37% of teens (male and female) received links to sexually explicit content online.


30% of teens have talked about meeting someone they met online.


19% knew a friend who was harassed or asked about sex online by a stranger.


33% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys had been asked about sexual topics online. (Dewey, 2002; Polly Klaas Foundation, 2006)

Read entire article here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Teens_Internet/


www.education.com

www.helpyourteens.com

www.witsendbook.com

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sue Scheff: Internet Gossip by Connect with Kids




After chat rooms, instant messaging, and social forums became popular, a new word entered our vocabulary: cyber-bullying. It's been a problem almost since the Internet was invented but studies now show that online harassment and bullying has increased over 50 percent since 2000.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sue Scheff: Getting Your Teen To Talk

By ParentingMyTeen.com

Visit - http://www.parentingmyteen.com/

Depending upon your relationship, getting your teen to talk to you could be an agonizing or enjoyable exchange. If your teen is not communicative or willing to discuss issues, then it is up to you to find ways to get your teen to open up. How? Here are some suggestions.Oftentimes, teens are afraid to discuss a problem head on. Therefore, living in a home that is filled with love and understanding is crucial. While one teen may find it easier to talk to Mom and another feels more comfortable talking with Dad, the conditions in the home are critical to the teen being able to talk about anything at anytime. This process begins at birth. Having conversations with each other is one way to instill a sense of openness in the home. Moms and dads who constantly talk to each other and their children, whether at the dinner table or during bedtime, allow the child to feel good about discussing any topic with one or both parents. Consequently, your child will grow up in an atmosphere where freedom of expression is not only expected but encouraged.

Teenagers come with their own set of problems and issues. It’s the natural course of events for teens. This does not mean, however, they must sit in their rooms contemplating situations which they are neither ready for, nor can handle. Keeping the lines of communication open may be difficult at times, especially if all you get out of your teenager is a grunt of acknowledgement. Don’t give up, no matter how difficult the situation becomes. Whether your teen will admit it or not, having you there allows them to feel safe and secure, even though they don’t show it.

You can be assured, however, when the time is right and when the teen feels there are no other options available, he or she will open up. This is the point at which you should listen carefully to what is being offered. While your teen may not be asking your advice, the ability to be able to say what is on his or her mind may be enough to get out of the funk he or she is in.

However, if you feel your teen has become so distant that nothing seems to work, it may be time to seek help. In the meantime, without being invasive, keep an eye on your teen, ensure he or she is eating and sleeping, and communicating with friends. Every teen is different in how they approach life’s ups and downs. Think back to when you were a teen. Were you as open with your parents as you’d like your teen to be? If not, perhaps the inability to talk openly amongst family members began then.

As parents, we have a lot to deal with in our own lives. Sometimes even we shut down due to the pressure. Getting your teen to talk to you may be just as hard as getting your spouse to talk to you. It is in talking that we let out our innermost thoughts and feelings. Perhaps by learning how to talk to each other, you will instill confidence in your teen to follow your lead.


www.helpyourteens.com
www.witsendbook.com