Does sexting lead to sex?

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Cell phones allow children access to the Internet and each other with limited or no parental supervision. While some independence is good for children as they mature, it can also give them more opportunities to get into trouble. Children may use their cell phones to cyberbully each other and access age-inappropriate content. And then, there’s sexting. 

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NetSmartz Attends ISTE 2014

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Last week, the NetSmartz team was fortunate enough to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Atlanta. Each year, ISTE hosts tens of thousands of education technology professionals to share ideas and learn about new teaching tools. We were happy to show our work and discuss how to use NetSmartz in the classroom with all the teachers, tech coordinators, administrators, and media specialists who stopped by our booth.

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In-App Purchases: Play Time with Real Consequences

An anonymous guest blog told in gifs

When I was a kid, an allowance was a big deal. Whatever cash I got was carefully saved for the latest toy or confection creation. 

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I’ve had a different experience with my own children. Once again technology has complicated things. 

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5 Things Parents Should Do During Internet Safety Month

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June is Internet Safety Month! Kids are gearing up for summer vacation and they’ll be spending plenty of time online. This is a great opportunity to make sure you’re doing all you can to educate them about Internet safety.

Here are five things you can do this month to help protect them online.

  1. Review privacy settings and friends/followers – If your teens use sites or apps like Twitter, Snapchat, or Kik, find out who they’re talking to and who can see what they post. Remind them that nothing is ever really private online.

  2. Play games with them – The best way to learn about the games your kids are playing is to play with them. Explore the settings to see if there are safety or privacy features you can use. If they’re using voice chat to talk to other gamers, listen in to make sure it’s age-appropriate conversation.

  3. Encourage them to be upstanders, not bystanders – Cyberbullying doesn’t take a summer break. Talk to your kids about reporting cyberbullying when they see it and standing up for victims.

  4. Talk about sexting – Most teens aren’t sending or receiving sexual images, but those who do can be humiliated or get in serious trouble. Tell your teens to avoid these kinds of pictures – Don’t take them. Don’t ask for them. Don’t forward them.

  5. Learn how to report – Many sites and apps have ways to report cyberbullies and potential predators. Find out where the report features are and show your kids so they know what to do if they have a problem. You can also make a report to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.CyberTipline.com.

School is out soon, but we’ll be around all summer. Stick around for more online safety tips and resources. Have a safe and fun summer!

Kids With Something to Say: Congratulations to the Texas PSA Winners

Recently our Texas office held a PSA contest for both middle and high school students. The contest theme was “I don’t stand by.” Students from across the state submitted videos highlighting the importance of bystanders in instances of cyberbullying. Check out the first place winners’ inspiring submissions.

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Time Crunch

A guest post from NCMEC’s Take 25 Team

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Parents and teachers have a million and one things on their minds. Are the kids ready for testing? Will they get in to a good college? Have I met their new best friend? Are they being bullied? When was the last time we talked about not smoking? With so much on their plates, it can be difficult to find time to do it all.

Time—it’s really the most precious thing we can give kids. Time to review homework. Time to watch soccer games. Time to teach them something new. And perhaps the most important—time to talk to them about safety. But safety encompasses so much. What do you talk about? When do you talk about it? Where do you even begin? With the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Take 25 campaign, it’s easier than you think.

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Neknominating: When drinking meets social media

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Fads come and go, but the latest social media fad, “neknominating,” has some people worried. This trend ups the ante by encouraging each participant to be more reckless than the last.

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Express Your Selfie

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If you’re a parent, educator, youth leader or really anyone who has spent time around teens, this scene is probably familiar: a teen with cell phone in hand, arm extended to take a self-portrait a.k.a. the “selfie.”

This action has become so universal that the Oxford dictionary declared selfie its word of the year in 2013. Yet despite their presence everywhere from Twitter and Snapchat to the Oscars, we remain fascinated by selfies and what they mean for the teens who are taking them.

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Safety Education for Special Needs Children

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. If you have or work with special needs children, consider using these resources from NetSmartz Workshop to help them learn about online and personal safety in a developmentally-appropriate way.

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A NetSmartz Exclusive First Look

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Your favorite Internet safety team – Clicky, Nettie, and Webster – will be back soon with a brand new adventure! Our studio has been working hard on the latest NetSmartzKids animation. The video is the next installment of the Webville Outlaws series, this time with Wanta-Know Wally at the helm.

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