Posts Tagged ‘texting’

A Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook, and Social Media

The Internet isn’t just prevalent in our lives, it is our lives. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, over 93% percent of teens ages 12 to 17 go online, 75% of them own a cell phone, 66% say they text, and  72% of teens have a social networking profile (eg. Facebook).

With the growing popularity of these social networking sites and mobile cell phones, the neighborhood playground now spans the globe.  Teens, as well as adults, now have access to and are exposed to more people than ever before.  Unfortunately the world has always known evil people to find new opportunity and the Internet is no exception.  The ubiquity and popularity of the Internet is just their fertile place to lurk and be mischievous if not downright hostile.

What follows are seventeen of the most shocking statistics I’ve read about a growing epidemic of online harassment and cyberbullying.  It’s a wake-up call for parents, teens, educators, politicians – just about everyone who uses the Internet or mobile phones. It is also a dramatic statement that the role of adults is to help our youth learn to use the Internet safely, not forbid its use. Because accessing the Internet is no longer a luxury or discretionary choice.  I’ll repeat my opening statement: The Internet…..is our lives.  (Keep reading too because at the end of this article, I have 2 important recommendations for parents on how to help their children use the Internet and mobile technologies safely.

  1. About half of all teenagers have experienced some form of online harassment and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly (Cyberbullying Research Center).
  2. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet (i-SAFE).
  3. Over half of bullying and cyberbully attacks go unreported to parents, educators, or authorities.
  4. On a daily average, 160,000 children miss school because they fear they will be bullied if they attend classes.
  5. Every 7 minutes, a child is bullied on a school playground, with over 85 percent of those instances occurring without any intervention.
  6. 100,000 children carry guns to school in 2009 as a result of being bullied.
  7. As a result of being bullied, 19,000 children are attempting suicide over the course of one year.
  8. Once every half hour a child commits suicide as a direct result of being bullied (online and offline).
  9. At the end of 2010, over 30 children had taken their own lives after being cyberbullied.
  10. 64 percent of all teens say they do things online they don’t want their parents to know about (Lenhart, Made, and Rainie, 2006).
  11. 71 percent of teens receive message online from strangers (National Center for Minind and Exploited Children).
  12. 51 percent of teens have been asked for personal information online (MCAfee, Inc.).
  13. 42 percent of youths ages 10 to 17 have seen porn in the past year.Two-thirds of these exposures are unwanted (University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center).
  14. 26 percent of teens have been harassed by their cell phones either by voice or text (Pew Research: Lenhart, 2010).
  15. Size doesn’t matter – cyberbullies don’t have to be “tough” or big.
  16. 72 percent of parents say they can see their child’s full profile on social networking sites.
  17. Most victims have not set up privacy and security settings.

What can a parent do?

First, take the time to learn what Facebook is. Even if you don’t have to time yourself to use it, you need to understand it. Whether it’s Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any other social networking site, these sites are part of mainstream communication today.

Next, take some time and set up privacy and security settings. I can count on one hand out of the thousands of people I’ve met in workshops, seminars, and classrooms who have even glanced at the privacy settings in Facebook, the most popular of all the social networking sites.  Admittedly Facebook might be doing some squirrely things with our data but to their credit they do offer the most robust and sophisticated system of privacy settings of any social site.  Unfortunately their mission is for all people to be more social so the personal default settings are often a lot less restricted than most people might realize.  To help both adults and teens protect their privacy when using Facebook, I’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to “Network Safely When Using Facebook.”  It’s available now for only $5 by clicking here.

Third, it’s important that parents prepare not only their teens, but themselves as well, to combat this serious topic. The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World by Shawn Edgington guides parents and teens to developing an open communication on the dangers of the internet and bullying. It’s important that both parents and teens recognize symptoms and causes of bullying and are able to report it to an adult. Learn more about The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media and order Shawn’s book.

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Press Release: Cyberbullying Prevention Expert Reveals What Parents Should

As cyberbullying has become more frequent and increasingly vicious, the importance of educating parents about how to protect their kids is of paramount importance, says social media expert Ira S Wolfe. This epidemic of online bullying is what got Wolfe, managing partner/founder of Social Media Architects of Delmarva, involved with National Cyber Safety Awareness Day on May 17.

After listening to a recent radio interview about the threat and consequences of cyberbullying, Wolfe picked up the phone and called the radio guest, Shawn Edgington, America’s leading cyberbullying prevention expert.  The timing was perfect because Wolfe was about to give a presentation to local high school students and their parents about the threats and risks of cyberbullying.  Edgington shared with him her just released book, The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media: Understanding the Benefits and Dangers of Parenting in a Digital World.  “I immediately became immersed in the book, Wolfe said. “I rarely sit down and read a book but Shawn’s research and statistics were startling.”

Wolfe immediately agreed to help promote National Cyber Safety Awareness Day which coincided with a book drive for The Megan Meier Foundation.  On that day (May 17), donations of 1,000 copies of Edgington’s book are being sought to help the foundation’s founder,Tina Meier,educate parents about how to prevent cyberbullying. Meier created the foundation after her 13-year-old daughter committed suicide because she had been cyberbullied on a social network by a neighbor. This tragedy has been the impetus for Meier’s drive to warn parents of the hazards kids face growing up in a digitally connected world.

Wolfe hopes to have more opportunities to speak with parents about how to use social media safely.  “I’ve been helping hundreds of business people who attend workshops and classes at local Chambers of Commerce and Wor-Wic Community College understand how to use social media effectively and safely. Most of the participants are also parents and grandparents which makes what I teach in class touch them personally too. Helping children navigate online safely is also a great way to give back to the community.”

Book donations are 100% tax deductible and any individual or organization that donates a case of  books or more will be thanked in Edgington’s next printing of her book.  Books can be purchased  at:  https://secure4.planetlink.com/shawn_edgington.

About Ira S Wolfe: Ira Wolfe is the managing partner/founder of Social Media Architects of Delmarva (www.socialmediaarchitectsofdelmarva.com).  Wolfe has been described as a “Gen Y operating in a Baby Boomer body,” a name aptly given to him after writing his book, “Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization.”  Wolfe is also president of Success Performance Solutions (www.super-solutions.com),  a pre-employment and leadership consulting firm as well as the author of several books including “The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0” and “Understanding Business Values and Motivators.” He has also been recognized by several human resources organizations as one of the most influential bloggers and is a sought after speaker at many CEO, business, and human resources association meetings.

About Shawn Edgington: Shawn Edgington is America’s leading textpert and cyberbullying prevention expert, and the author of the newly released The Parent’s Guide to Texting, Facebook and Social Media and Read Between the Lines: A Humorous Guide to Texting with Simplicity and Style. She is also the founder of The Cyber Safety Academy. Her mission is to raise public awareness about textual harassment, online predators, sexting, and cyberbullying prevention. Edgington has been featured in the upcoming documentary Submit:The Reality of Cyberbullying, and by Fox Business, Imus in the Morning, ABC-7′s View from the Bay in San Francisco,KRON4News in SanFrancisco, CNN Radio, the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Diego Union-Tribune, CBS Radio, ESPN Radio, NPR, andThe Leslie Marshall Showamong others.

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A Senior’s Guide to Texting: BTW, JK & LOL

Texting has gone mainstream and popular abbreviations like  JK,  LOL, BTW, BFF, L8R, and CYA are now part of our everyday vocabulary. 

For those of you who still require an interpreter:

BTW = By The Way

JK = Just Kidding

LOL = Laugh Out Loud

BFF = Best Friend Forever

L8R = Later

CYA = See Ya

More and more seniors are texting, tweeting, and “Facebooking,” especially if they expect to communicate with the kids and grandkids. Not to be outdone by the digital natives (Generation Y), seniors (aka older Baby Boomers and the Veteran generation) have developed a texting code of their own. As you will soon read, this has created some confusion depending on the generation doing the writing and reading. For instance: when a 20-something writes LOL, he or she is “laughing out loud.”  But a senior might read “living on Lipitor.”  Or the teen who might write nonchalantly add BTW, meaning “by the way,”  a senior might read it as “bring the wheelchair.”  Of course, this code is all in jest…so far!  But just in case you do receive a text message from a senior, here’s a short list of senior texting codes (not to be confused with sexting!)  Enjoy the read.

ATD = At The Doctor’s
BFF = Best Friend Farted
BTW = Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT = Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM = Covered By Medicare
CUATSC = See You At The Senior Center
DWI = Driving While Incontinent
FWB = Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW = Forgot Where I Was
FYI = Found Your Insulin
GGPBL = Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA = Got Heartburn Again
HGBM = Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO = Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO = Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL = Living On Lipitor
LWO = Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR = On My Massage Recliner
OMSG = Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL…CGU = Rolling On The Floor Laughing… And Can’t Get Up
SGGP = Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TTYL = Talk To You Louder
WAITT = Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA = Wet The Furniture Again
WTP = Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO = Walker Wheels Need Oil
LMGA= Lost My Glasses Again
GLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In)

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Isn’t text messaging today just Morse Code v2.0?

When Samuel Morse sent the first electronic message from the U.S. Capitol to his partner in Baltimore nearly 170 years ago, he typed “What hath God wrought?”  I believe nearly every parent of a teenager today might be muttering the same words.

We are in the midst of four distinct generations of Americans trying to communicate with one another using different media.  Communication gaps between parents and kids or managers and employees are nothing new. It’s been the subject of thousands of books.  Experts have made millions and millions of dollars prescribing remedies to bridge the gaps and mend fences. But they’ve seen nothing like the gaps occurring today between the Veterans (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (1965-79), and Millennials (born 1980-1999)… or have they?  Has anything really changed over the past 170 years?

Take the phone for example: According to Nielsen Mobile, in the first quarter of 2009, the average U.S. teen made and received an average of 191 phone calls and sent or received 2,899 text messages per month. By the third quarter, the number of texts had jumped to a whopping 3,146 messages per month, which equals more than 10 texts per every waking non-school hour.  Just for the sake of comparison, at the beginning of 2007, those numbers were 255 phone calls and 435 text messages.

It’s hard to believe that little handheld device we used to call a phone is quickly joining the transitor radio and 8-track cassette in flea markets and garage sales.  Don’t believe me? Just try calling anyone born during the 90s or later.  Good luck on getting a real person on the other end to answer it. Voice mail? Good luck on getting a listen before it’s deleted. Email? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s old school, baby.

That makes the term “phone” almost obsolete. Using that mobile device to call someone is just a vestige of old technology. The older Millennials, also referred to as the iGeneration because these young people have been raised on the iPod and the Wii, rarely if ever use their “phone” to call someone. They communicate almost exclusively by instant messaging and Facebook. (I intentionally excluded Twitter because contrary to popular belief, young people “don’t get Twitter.”)

This explosion of text messages, tweets, and updates of non-verbal communication is stunning.  It has many peoples’ shorts tied up in a bunch. “How will kids today ever learn how to communicate?,” is often the cry heard from multi-generational training audiences.  And the spelling and grammar? “Well…it’s horrific,” parents and teachers proclaim. But historians might see this revolution in communication as just another lesson in history repeating itself. 

Isn’t instant messaging today just Morse Code v2.0?  What’s changed since Morse tapped in that first message? Upon brief reflection, it seems eerily familiar. One person taps a bunch of keys on an electronic device which transmits a message to another party. Only this time the code, all those texting abbreviations that drive grammar and spelling cops crazy, is translated on the spot by the recipient. 

Ironically even Morse’s first message reverberates loudly with today’s texting dissidents — “What hath God wrought?”  It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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