Family Tech Roundup: Online child exploitation, ‘sharenting’, tech role model, affluence affects Internet use, quick links


Family Tech Roundup

Welcome to this week’s roundup of family-related technology news. This week we look at articles about the threat of child exploitation via social media and messaging apps, the problem of parents oversharing details about their kids, how to be a balanced tech role model, and the effect of affluence on Internet use.

Jump to a story using the link below or just scroll down to read the whole article:

Child exploitation real threat with new messaging apps

The Globe and Mail has published an in-depth article exploring some of the issues surrounding a new wave of online chat applications, such as Kik and Snapchat, and how child exploitation and pornography may be spread by them.

Many of these services attract predators looking to groom and abuse children, because they provide a greater level of anonymity; some messages are intentionally short-lived, expiring and disappearing after just a few seconds; and it’s where many kids and teens socialise online.

The article discusses the problems many social networks and applications face, and the solutions they’re using in an attempt to crack down on misuse of their systems.

The biggest threats include revenge porn, live sex shows, grooming and sharing of indecent images and videos – all often involve teenagers.

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Kids embarrassed by oversharing parents

A new survey highlights the issue of ‘sharenting’ – the parental act of oversharing information about their children on social media.

I’m sure we’ve all seen it, even if we’re not guilty of the practice ourselves. Parents who willingly share all manner of photos, information, locations and embarrassing stories about their kids – sometimes for an extremely wide audience.

Three out of four parents who took part in the survey suggested they knew another parent who shared too much information about a child on social media. Over half said it was potentially embarrassing information.

There are obvious benefits to using Facebook, online forums and blogs to discuss parenting and health issues. Half of mothers and one-third of fathers said they discussed these issues and it made them feel less alone in their parenting journey.

It’s also a great way to share photos and life updates with family and friends, particularly those who are geographically far apart and cannot physically meet up on a regular basis.

The downside to sharing is the possibility of putting a child at risk through divulging sensitive and personally identifiable information about them.


Related: Developing an Online Safety Strategy for Adopted Children


It’s also important to think about their future. Many young children are having this information shared about them well before they have any control or personal presence on social media. How will they deal with the potentially embarrassing and highly personal details their parents posted about them, when they are teens and adults with their own peer groups?

Original articles at USA Today and Tech Times

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Being a balanced tech role model

The Daily Herald has posted an article with five tips for being a good technology role model for your kids.

The increasingly “always on, always connected” nature of our tech means we’re in danger of being consumed and disengaged from the physical here-and-now for most of the time.

We need to learn to switch off (perhaps literally), engage with our families without using tech, and to set a good example with appropriate boundaries for our children.

The tips include starting the good habits early, using media together, removing tech distractions particularly during important family times, and trying to keep a healthy work-home balance.


Related: Making the most of mealtimes, and the art of conversation


Read the article here: Be a role model: balance family, technology

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Affluence and Internet use

A new US-based study suggests that the more affluent a child is, the more likely they are to use the Internet for ‘getting ahead’ – through academia, making social connections, ultimately finding work.

Poorer children in the US generally still have access to the Internet via computers/smartphones, but they are more likely to use the Internet “mindlessly”.

Robert Putnam’s new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, says that the fault is with neither the technology nor the kids.

“Compared to their poorer counterparts, young people from upper-class backgrounds (and their parents) are more likely to use the Internet for jobs, education, political and social engagement, health and newsgathering, and less for entertainment and recreation,” Putnam writes. “Affluent Americans use the Internet in ways that are mobility-enhancing, whereas poorer, less educated Americans typically use it in ways that are not.”

A major contributory factor for this could be the more numerous and diverse social connections more affluent families have.

Not only this, but stereotypically, more affluent families have attained their increased wealth due to a higher level of education, passing these opportunities on to their children.

Read the whole article on MarketWatch: Rich kids use the Internet to get ahead, and poor kids use it ‘mindlessly’

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Quick Links

Other interesting stories around the web:

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