Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teen are hiding their texts from their parents

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's Protecting Your Cyberturf segment featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda

We have talked to you before about setting ground rules for the teens in your life that have cell phones.  Rules such as “Digital is Forever”, “Don’t talk to strangers”, and  “Would your Grandmom be okay with that?” Many of you also like to check your kids’ cell phones and / or have worked with the cell phone companies to install monitoring plans.  Well guess what?  It looks like kids have found a way around that.  

There are several new apps on the market that allow you to hide texts and even phone calls.  Some are free or low cost and scary easy to use.  Some of the app names will give it away but others like, “Brightkite” or “Blacklist” might not be so obvious.  Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains what these apps do and what you can do about it at home.

The statistics of how teens get into trouble on their phones is astounding.  According to a Pew Internet study:

Almost 1 in 5 teens have used their cell phone to send sexually-suggestive images of themselves

Older teens are much more likely to send and receive “sexts”

1.  NO DIGITAL ZONE:  Have your teens turn in their devices before they head to bed.  They are more likely to get wrapped up in a texting session if they are alone in their room.

2.  CELL PHONE REVIEW:  Occasionally have your kids show you their phone and ask them to log into the apps that you aren’t sure what they are.  

3.  TALK, TALK, TALK:  The number one best rule to have is to talk to your kids!  Remind them that digital is forever and that they should not text inappropriate messages or photos - under any circumstances.

BIOSwimmer:  This is a new security project underway to help the U.S. better protect its underwater vulnerabilities.  Using a technique called biomimetics, it will look somewhat like a tuna and the robot will be able to swim and maneuver like a tuna while using it’s own computer for navigation.  It will use the digital world to communicate back a security report back to its home base reporting any suspicious activities.


Pew Research Center Study:

There are too many of these apps that hide texts or calls to list them all here.  

You can see these types of apps here:

Here's a short list that you may want to look for on your kids’ phones are:

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