Posts Tagged ‘Common Sense Media.’

Apps for Controlling Your Child’s Smartphone and Tablet Use

June 16, 2014


Parents may well consider getting these apps if they have exhausted all other methods of monitoring and reducing their kids’ phone and tablet usage:


Parents struggling to get their children away from smartphones and tablets for meals, homework, exercise and other activities can arm themselves with new apps to remotely block access to the devices.

Usage of smartphones and tablets among children has tripled since 2011, according to Common Sense Media, a San Francisco based non-profit that studies the effects of media and technology on young users.

A new app called DinnerTime Parental Control, for iPhone or Android smartphones, enables parents to restrict when children can use their smartphones and tablets.

With the free app, parents can pause activity on a child’s Android smartphone or tablet so that they can focus on things like homework, exercise and family time. Once a device has been paused, all functions on their device are blocked, including the ability to text and play with apps.

To use the app, parents install it on the child’s device and enter in their phone number to link the two devices. Parents can then set specific break times, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, when the device will be locked. A countdown screen displayed on the child’s device shows when they can use it again.


Click on the link to read Hilarious Video Showing the Reaction of Children to Old Computers

Click on the link to read New App Encourages Kids to Flush their Teacher Down the Toilet

Click on the link to read Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Facebook Doesn’t Seem to Care About Kids

June 5, 2012

It seems as though Facebook cares more about indoctrinating more young lemmings onto their database than protecting the safety and wellbeing of our children. I have stated before my firm belief that children under 13 do not have the maturity to warrant the privilege of having a Facebook page.

You may argue that many 13 year-olds defy that rule and go and get one anyway. This is unfortunate, and something their parents ought to take an interest in, but at least in this instance there are laws that are being broken. It would be decidedly worse if the age requirement rule was abandoned altogether.

A new proposal to allow children under the age of 13 to have legal access to Facebook is the first step in a concerted effort to rescinding these important regulations:

Facebook Inc. is developing technology that would allow children younger than 13 years old to use the social-networking site under parental supervision, a step that could help the company tap a new pool of users for revenue but also inflame privacy concerns.

Mechanisms being tested include connecting children’s accounts to their parents’ and controls that would allow parents to decide whom their kids can “friend” and what applications they can use, people who have spoken with Facebook executives about the technology said. The under-13 features could enable Facebook and its partners to charge parents for games and other entertainment accessed by their children, the people said.

Facebook currently bans users under 13. But many kids lie about their ages to get accounts, putting the company in an awkward position regarding a federal law that requires sites to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal data from children.

Any attempt to give younger kids access to the site would be extraordinarily sensitive, given regulators’ already heightened concerns about how Facebook protects user privacy. But Facebook, concerned that it faces reputational and regulatory risks from children already using the service despite its rules, believes it has little choice but to look into ways of establishing controls that could formalize their presence on the site, people familiar with the matter said.

The Impact of Social Media on Kids

May 13, 2012

I agree with many of Jim Steyer’s points in regard to the need to educate children about using the personal setting on Facebook, as well as the addiction issues relating to children and social media. I am a big fan of his suggested “erase” button, which would enable children to delete any uploaded information they regretted putting on their pages.

Facebook’s big stock offering on Wall Street must be followed by an intensive debate on Main Street about social media’s powerful impact on children, an expert on the topic says.

Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco think tank focusing on media and families, said the technology that Facebook represents is having “an enormous impact” on youngsters, families and schools worldwide.

“We need to have a big national, if not global conversation about the pros and cons of that,” Steyer, a father of four who is also a civil rights lawyer and Stanford University professor, told AFP in an interview.

While social media such as Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter offer “extraordinary possibilities” in such areas as education, he said, “there are also real downsides in a social, emotional and cogitative development way.”

Steyer was in Washington to promote his just-published book “Talking Back to Facebook: The Common Sense Guide to Raising Kids in the Digital Age,” which argues for greater parental involvement in their children’s online lives.

“Whether we like it or not, kids are now spending far more time with media and technology than they are with their families or in school,” – as much as eight hours a day on average in the United States alone, he wrote.

Children face the triple peril of what Steyer calls RAP – relationship issues, attention and addiction problems, and privacy issues – as well as cyberbullying, online pornography and, for girls, body image fears.

“There is an arms race for data, and to build things as fast as possible … but that’s not a great strategy when you’re talking about kids,” he said, accusing tech outfits for “not respecting the concept of privacy.”

Earlier this week, a Consumer Reports survey found nearly 13 million US Facebook users – out of 157 million, and 900 million worldwide – do not use, or are not aware of, the site’s privacy controls.

Girls are especially vulnerable, Steyer said, with studies indicating that many body-conscious teens are photoshopping images of themselves so as to look thinner and score more “likes” among their friends.

On a governmental level, Steyer suggested the United States follow Europe’s lead in privacy regulation and introduce an “eraser button” enabling users to wipe off anything they might have posted in the past.

“We need clear and simple rules (around privacy) for the tech companies, too, because right now they’ve dominated the debate and they’ve set the rules themselves,” he said.

But the immediate responsibility, he said, falls on moms and dads.

“It’s part of parenting 2.0 today, so you have to do your homework,” he said.

“You have to actually learn the rules of the road… and then you have to set clear and simple limits for kids, set clear rules of behaviour – and you have to be a role model.

“If you’re constantly addicted to your cellphone or your ‘CrackBerry’ then that’s not sending a very good message to your kids.”

Tips For Dealing With Cyber Bullies

May 24, 2011

Cyberbullying has never been more prevalent.  It is extremely important that parents, teachers and children are well versed with the symptoms and responses to cyberbullying:

Once relegated to schoolyard fist fights or cafeteria name-calling, bullying has taken on a new form in the digital age — it’s as simple as a hitting a few keyboard strokes or sending touch-screen texts.

But cyberbullying can have far more negative consequences than the schoolyard variety because it can be done anywhere and the damage can be widespread, said Merve Lapus, education program manager for Common Sense Media. The nonprofit is dedicated to providing information to families and schools for dealing with media and technology.

“On the schoolyard, when you’re being bullied to your face, you can leave and you can go home and be away from it,” he told a crowd of parents at Amador Valley High School on Thursday night. “When you have it on your mobile phone or online, it’s there all the time.”

The informational session was hosted by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, the Pleasanton school district and the Pleasanton PTA Council.

McNerney, who said he was hoping to provide parents with tools and techniques as well as to learn more himself, has fielded concerns from constituents about the subject.

“There certainly has been a lot of interest,” he said.

Many parents have also requested help from their parent-teacher associations about how to deal with cyberbullying and ensure their kids are safe online, said Jodie Vashistha.

“The kids know a lot more about this than we do,” she said.

“There’s a need for more parent (education).”

Cyberbullying occurs when an offender sends or posts harmful materials or engages in other forms of social cruelty by using the Internet or other technology, Lapus said .

He said cyberbullies often feel some anonymity because the person they are harassing is not in front of them. And others can easily make it more harmful by forwarding on messages.

“A lot of kids that are being bullied are being bullied by bystanders that don’t necessarily know what’s going on. They’re just jumping on the bandwagon,” he said.

The main thing parents can do is empower students to make better decisions and educate them on how to properly use sites like Facebook to make them “upstanders,” Lapus said.

In Pleasanton, the majority of cyberbullying cases occur between fifth through ninth grades, said Kevin Johnson, the district’s senior director of pupil services.

That comes as no surprise to parent Paul Faris, a dean at Fallon Middle School in Dublin, whose children attend Pleasanton schools.

“They have the ability to put the gas on, but they’re not able to apply the brake,” he said.

Like several of those present, Faris said responsibility ultimately lies with parents to ensure their children use technology appropriately.

School district staff members are currently addressing the issue by developing a social media policy that will be brought to the school board for adoption.

  • Give kids a code of conduct. Tell them if they wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, they shouldn’t text it, instant message it or post it.
  • Ask if they know someone who has been cyberbullied. Sometimes they will open up about other’s pain before admitting their own
  • Establish consequences for bullying behavior.
  • Monitor their media use.
  • Tell kids not to share passwords with friends.
  • Use privacy settings.
  • Remind them all private information can be made public.
  • Tell kids what to do if they’re harassed: Block bullies and inform parents or trusted adults. Save evidence in case it is needed for reporting.

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