I am seeing a lot of posts on Facebook concerning the Facebook Messenger app becoming mandatory in the near future. With this news comes the realization of what the app can access: our smart phone camera, record audio on our microphone, change the state of our network connectivity, send SMS messages, call phone numbers without our intervention…the list of things goes on and on. It’s important to note that Android users have no control over the amount of Facebook’s access vs iPhone users that do. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“On iPhones, users agree to the permissions when they come up during the normal use of the app. For instance, if an iPhone user never makes a voice call with Facebook Messenger, the app might never ask for permission to use the phone’s microphone.
While Android app users must agree to all permissions before using the app, iPhone users can decline to give permission to the app for some features, like access to the address book and microphone, but still use the app to send messages. Due to this, the iPhone version of the app is superior for particularly privacy-conscious users.”
Nick Russo of The Bull 100.3 explains how horribly invasive it is for Facebook Messenger to access so much data from our phones. I agree 150%. But the fact is, we allow this same access on many other apps, we just don’t take the time read the terms & conditions. We just check the box so our new app will quickly download.
Snopes can be hit or miss with their facts, but there is an interesting article posted today about the Facebook Messenger app in comparison with the other myriad of apps we so quickly approve on our phones. Snopes refers to an informative article in the Washington Post about the comparison to other apps that I think you’ll find interesting.
Bottom line, our blind-trust and lack of knowledge (and lack of time to read every word of the terms & conditions) is allowing apps to swoop in and have more control over our phones than we would ever imagine. Will apps like Facebook Messenger really “spy” on us and watch us go about our daily business in an inappropriate manner? Probably not. But can they if they want to? Most definitely yes.
We can not begin to understand the amount of spying that goes on around us (unless your job is in Cyber Security or you work the CIA). We would be a paranoid mess if we actually knew. For now, we need to continue our efforts to learn as much as we can about what we put on our phones and heed warnings like the one associated with Facebook Messenger. Then decide if we want an app like that on our phone.
What are your thoughts? Will you delete Facebook Messenger?
Good morning CyberForward Moms (and dads). I am a firm believer in sharing a good thing when I find it. This past weekend, I found something that is not just a good thing, but an AMAZING thing…
I found this little gem nestled in a small, quiet town in DuQuoin, Illinois. It had everything: beauty, clarity, sparkle and most importantly perfection. No, I’m not talking about a precious stone. I’m talking about over 70 precious limb-different “gems” that came from all over the U.S. to participate in the NubAbility Sports Camp.
Our 8-year-old, a congenital amputee on his left arm, had the opportunity to participate in the 3-day camp. I have to admit, I went to the camp with more hesitations than excitement. I thought, “I’m heading out on a 13 hour drive with my husband and son to some small town we had never heard of to participate in a camp that our son probably didn’t need since he does most anything already”. But something deep down kept telling me to try it out. So I did.
It didn’t take long to figure out why we were supposed to be in DuQuoin. Our son was surrounded by kids and coaches just like him. Sure, some kids had more limb-differences than our son, and some had less. However, everyone was the same. Suddenly, no one was defined by their differences. They were celebrated for being remarkable. Our kids were able to enter a world that was made just for them, mentored by coaches that were made just like them. Guards were down, confidence was up and spirits were raised all while giving God the glory…thanks to the founders Sam Kuhnert and his mom Jana.
Our son came away with a better attitude and a sense of pride. He definitely grew during the weekend, and looks forward to next year already!
If you have ever considered supporting a non-profit organization, please consider NubAbility Athletics. It’s a class-act camp that’s one big standing ovation for kids that deserve one every day of their life!
Happy Summer to you all! As you can tell, I have taken a break from my website to enjoy some sun and fun with my family. I hope you are doing the same!
While I have taken a short break from my website, I have still been keeping up with the cyber world and it’s impact on our kids…more importantly MY kids! The younger two love watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, which requires my constant attention. The teen inevitably has a post or two that requires my attention. If it’s not the summer bikini pictures, it’s something else. Granted, it only encompasses about 10% of our summer, but it’s still social media issues to address. Has it been this way for you with the kids home for summer?
Along with summertime activities, I was recently asked to join a local panel discussing social media and the effects it’s having on our children. I have to honestly confess to you that simply having a
blog website (I hate the word blog) about social media isn’t my end goal. Using my website as a stepping stone to other educational outlets is my goal. To see it playing out is a blessing and privilege.
While I was compiling a list of resources for our next meeting, I came upon this article by Tony Anscombe from AVG Blogs. I have shared his work with your before, and today will do so again…because his articles are just that good! In this article posted on July 4, 2014, he speaks to the basic disconnect we face with today’s generation of youth vs. the generation that is parenting and teaching them. He writes:
“I remember when my son reached an age where I had to begin thinking about having those awkward father-son conversations. Older parents will recognize some of them, but parents with young kids will also know that some awkward topics are still just emerging. One of these is Internet safety and how we can keep children safe as they explore the web.
As I mused over how to raise the issue of Internet safety with my son, I discovered that many other parents were hoping that the school system would handle this for them, just like they did with sexual-education. After all it’s a team effort, right?”
Leave me a comment below. I have had so many new user registrations this summer, and would like nothing more than to hear from you even if it’s just a simple “HI” to let me know you’re out there! I’ll go first…”HI!”. Now it’s your turn…
As I was getting ready for the day I overheard a conversation on the Today Show about a current online character called “Slender Man”. This horror character was the motivation for young two girls in Wisconsin to stab their friend 19 times. Luckily, the victim is still alive.
The original site for Slender Man is www.creepypasta.com, although he is now on many sites online. You can read the full statement from Creepypasta explaining their reaction to the stabbing, as well as an in-depth discussion about the site and it’s intent. They even addressed parents with young kids. Creepypasta understands many parents are not as technology-adept as their kids. They suggested 2 sites for parents to visit to help with keeping kids safe online or on smart phones: @digitaltrends and @PCWorld. They also quoted Russell Jack, the police chief from Waukasha: ““Parents should not be allowing their children to have unrestricted or unmonitored internet usage –whether it be on their computer on their smart phone on their PlayStation. All of those accesses to the outside world,”.
Unfortunately, parents are learning about certain online dangers because we see tragic situations play out like the one in Wisconsin. These type of online “fads” are going to be thrown at our kids all the time, and since we can’t keep up with it, we can at least teach our kids the difference between online and real world.
Take a few minutes to watch this morning’s segment from the Today Show.
***Update: When I was at lunch with my boys today (the 7 & 8 year olds), I asked if they had ever heard of “Slender Man”. The 7-year-old chimed in with “Oh yeah. That’s Slendy!” I think my heart dropped to my stomach. He informs me that Slender Man is on the app they have on my iPhone. I had him show me the app, and much to my relief, it’s an innocent app where you take care of the character by feeding it and such. The creators just happened to make the character in a Slender-Man-style. After looking for Splendy on the web, I did see other apps for the real Slender Man. Luckily, my boys didn’t know about the real one, only the cartoon.
I don’t know… I guess it’s all fine, but it is an example of how easy it is for our kids to have access to things that could potentially be a bad influence for them and we are clueless. Do your kids play the app Slendy?
So…what do you think about the new Make-Over!?!
Personally, I am giddy with excitement about the new look! I even tweaked the name a bit to “Cyber Forward Moms” as a THANK YOU to ALL the moms that are enjoying this site. You deserve the best while taking the time to care about your adolescent treasures in that great big Cyber World.
Thank you for all of your support with this site. I can see progress occurring already in just 7 months of being online. It’s exciting stuff!
It seems these days just about anything goes when it comes to what is and isn’t appropriate for teens. So when I read an article about Abercrombie & Fitch losing steam due to inappropriate advertising and overall message to teens, I had to share it with you!
It seems the CEO, Mike Jeffries, of Abercrombie & Fitch is back peddling on his advertising platform of abs and only-cool-kids-can-shop-here approach due to a 77% drop in profit. In an article at AOL.com, he was quoted in 2013 saying, “We go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” Gusty move that obviously didn’t pay off. (Read the full article here.)
Honestly, I didn’t shop at A&F for my teen because, for starters, I couldn’t get past the inappropriate shopping bag with sexual suggestions between the guys and girls. I haven’t shopped there for so long I don’t even know if they still have the same type of bags. Luckily, my daughter never caught on to the over-priced clothing fad. While I had issues with the teen guys and their abs, I was more irritated by the advertising with guys and girls together in a sexual nature. It suggested a lifestyle I didn’t want my teen to find common place. I voiced my disdain for the advertising to her when she was in middle school. While writing this post, I searched for some images to go along with my point about the shopping bags. Holy Moly! I see they haven’t changed and only got worse. Yikes:
It was encouraging to read that the profit margin has dropped to the point of forcing Mr. Jeffries to change his advertising tactics. The young models will cover up (but there will still be some abs), stores will turn down the club-like pounding music, turn the lights up so you can actually see what you are buying, and stores will tone down the over-whelming cologne smell.
If a backlash caused Abercrombie & Fitch to cover up their models, perhaps we can pray for the same fate to strike Victoria’s Secret and their nearly naked young models telling our teen girls to be sexy and half-dressed.
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath either.
Here’s one more look at those abs before they say Bye-Bye…
What are your thoughts? Does your teen shop at A&F? Do you have a problem with the advertising and the message the store sends teens? The beauty about an opinion is that everyone can have one, so what’s yours?
Have you seen this video on YouTube? If not, PLEASE take a few minutes to watch and share with your kids.
Leave a comment and let us know what moved you most after watching this video.
Then turn off your computer and put down your phone. Go make a lunch date. Call up an old friend. Call your mom. Pray. Do something that doesn’t require a screen.
Check out this great article by Sue Scheff at the Huff Post Screen Sense:
Smile, Snap, Click and Post (or Not): Graduation and Prom Party Digital Drama Footprints
Yes, it is that time of the year when our teens will be out celebrating. Proms and graduation parties will soon be underway, and many kids are ready to let loose and enjoy the relief that school is nearly over and summer is almost here. Everyone is entitled to a good time and let’s face it, they are also entitled to have memories of it.
However, does the world need to remember it?
Many parents have ‘the talk’ about drinking and driving with their kids, and teens also need to know that buzzed driving kills, just like drunk driving. But in today’s digital world, are you having ‘the talk’ about what they are posting and saying on their social networking sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter? As we inch up to the sizzling times of proms and graduation parties, exactly what will we find online? Your son in a compromising position over the toilet? Your daughter maybe smoking something she shouldn’t be?
And maybe a college recruiter reviewing these social media pages as they’re scouting out their applicants.
Drunk driving literally ends lives. But digital drama can potentially end a bright future for your child and their dreams. As with traveling on spring break and documenting their virtual footprints, which may not be so flattering to the Ivy League school they are applying to, teens need to take the same precautions digitally with their graduation and prom festivities. On the flip side, your child could become the victim of a vicious sexting ploy. Pictures of her/him could be taken out of context and go viral.
What can you do?
No, you can’t hide your kid under a rock, but you can read the full article here!
Now that your kids are older, do you still keep up with Easter traditions? My kids have a huge age gap, so along with the teen we have the 8 and 6 year old. The teen can do without the hype of traditions at her age, but the boys soak it all in. Don’t get me wrong, she still wants her Easter basket!
This Easter I wanted to step up my typically mediocre holiday game so I tried the ever popular Pinterest favorite =Resurrection Rolls. I laid out all the ingredients and the boys and I began the new tradition. The boys joyfully “clothed Jesus” (aka a jumbo marshmallow) in butter and cinnamon sugar then laid Him in a tomb of crescent rolls…and repeated the ritual five times. I had to call to the teen to come downstairs so she, too, could bury her own white, puffy Savior. Funny, she didn’t have the same innocent joy as the boys. But that’s okay. The memory is there and that’s all that matters.
Speaking of memories, my kids will get to giggle when sharing their memories of this year’s Easter with their own kids. You see, with today’s Resurrection Rolls, “Jesus” didn’t want to disappear and give the illusion that he arose from the grave. No, He decided to ooze all over the baking sheet. Another Pinterest fail for the books. But that’s okay. I also made a memory. It’s one they will laugh at when they are adults, but it’s a memory.
What were your traditions when your kids were little? Did you still do them today?