Technology Tuesday: What Parents Need to Know About Minecraft

Rarely does a day, much less a week go by, that I don’t hear something about Minecraft from a boy in my office.  Minecraft is incredibly popular amongst many young kids in this day and age.  Here’s a quick and useful for guide for parents in understanding the world of Minecraft from the great folks at Common Sense Media. 

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Technology Tuesday: 9 App Alerts!

We recently came across an article that outlined some of the scariest apps out there for kids today.  We’ve talked about a few of these on past Technology Tuesday’s.  But we think the information merits repeating.  

Here’s the skinny on these apps and some great conversation starters around them, from our friends at crosswalk.com.

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App Alert: Flinch

Remember how fun it was to have staring contests with your friends when you were growing up?  The staring contests are back…but this time the friends aren’t really friends—they’re strangers from all over the world who are playing a host of apps that set up staring contests.  These apps used advanced facial recognition software that detects emotions, dictating who wins the game.  Flinch and Don’t Blink are just a few that kids are downloading and playing at the lunch table at school.

A high school senior told me about it just last week.  “It’s the new thing.  Everyone is playing.  But, now that I think about it, why would you have a staring contest with a random person when there are so many better things to do?”  And that is the question, isn’t it?  Continue Reading

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Technology Tuesday: The Inside Scoop on Instagram

Just last week, I taught a parenting class on Raising Girls.  As is typically the case now, many of the questions at the end of the class were about social media.  Social Media has become many teen, tween, and even younger girls’ primary method of communication—with girls and other boys.  One girl recently said that snapchat has become the more casual way to approach someone.  She literally said that texting was too intimate.  Wow.  The world has changed drastically from when a boy had to call and ask a girl’s parent if he could speak to their daughter.  It has changed…and continues to daily.  And, as we say in almost every Technology Tuesday, we need to keep up.  They need us to keep up.

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Technology Tuesday: mSpy

If you’re worried about the photos your child is “anonymously” sending or receiving, app developers are doing their best to keep up. 

A new software called mSpy is one you download on your child’s phone, and then sends you photos, texts, emails, and even keeps track of where they are.  It might be a great answer to our previous Technology Tuesday on SnapChat and Swipe, as well. Continue Reading

 

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Technology Tuesday- APP ALERT: Swipe

Here we go again…Swipe!

;)  That’s the logo for the new app my high school girls are talking about.  A wink.  You can already assume something is afoot by their logo alone. 

What is swipe?

It’s another app used to send photos and videos that is “ephemeral” like snapchat, where you only see photos once.  The problem is…well, those of us over the age of 22—or whenever we reach full thinking adulthood in a technological age, know what the problem is.  There are screen shots.  No picture is ever temporary when someone can use their phone to take a photo of that photo and keep it as long as their teenage hearts desire…and send it to whoever else might desire it, too. 

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Technology Tuesday: Kringl....A 'Won't Believe It 'til You See It' App This Christmas!

Okay…we’ll admit it.  Many of our Technology Tuesday’s are a little scary.  They’re filled with app alerts and statistics on all that your children are being exposed to.  They’re enough to make even Santa’s cheeks turn red.

But this one is different!  It’s one of our favorite Technology Tuesday’s to date!  We recently heard about an app called Kringl.  It’s free on the app store.  And it is one where you film your living room and this magical app sets Santa right in the middle of your video…

 

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Technology Tuesday: App Alert: Kik App

“150 million users love Kik. Kik is the first smartphone messenger with a built-in browser.  You can talk, browse and share with your friends.  What’s not to love?” boasts the Kik website.

Reviewers on Google Play and iTunes both have a list of things “not to love” about the kik app.  It’s one that kids themselves actually warn us about, as well.  For many, it has turned into the worst case scenario in social media behavior.  Sexting, fake identities, and predators lurk on the app to connect with unsuspecting kids. Continue Reading

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Technology Tuesday: GroupMe

“You need to make sure parents know that there are GroupMe’s just for nudes.”  Once again, I feel like I need a dictionary when I’m talking to teenagers about technology.

This high school girl was helping me prepare for a technology talk last week.  When she said these words, I had no idea what she meant. 

“What do you mean ‘nudes’?” 

I knew enough to know that GroupMe is an app that sets up group texts so that people who have iphones and other smart phones can group text each other.  But I didn’t have any idea what the rest of the sentence meant.

Sadly, I do now...Continue Reading

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Technology Tuesday: APP ALERT: Pou

A Friendly Reminder to Check Your Child’s Games (and Apps) Regularly

A friend of ours recently posted this on Facebook:

Pornography on the game/app - Pou - My 9 yo son brought it to my attention, which makes me sad and happy all at the same time. The app is Pou. It is an game with an E for Everyone rating. I have parental controls on their tablets. It is a little alien pet that you feed and bath and play with. There are games you can play that earn points to buy food and accessories, etc. It is a truly (mindless) harmless game. However, there are scoreboards for the games and 2 repulsive individuals have chosen to use pornography for their avatars (profile pics)... READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: Yik Yak

App Alert:  Anonymity Apps…and the danger of being anonymous

Yik Yak…maybe the name comes from the Coaster’s song of the 50’s (Remember…  “Yackety yak, don’t talk back”).  Whatever the origin, those of us who care about kids are wishing we could “talk back” to these anonymity apps and their creators. 

Just in Williamson County in Tennessee alone this spring, a host of hurtful statements spread throughout our community on various anonymous twitter accounts.  And, as these tech folks do, they saw the trend and answered what they felt like was a need.  It wasn’t.  Now, there are dozens of anonymity apps popping up all over the social media landscape.  “Promising a place where you can be more honest,” these apps allow people to post whatever they would like to online-anonymously.  You can imagine where this is going.  Not only are these apps a hotbed for online bullying, but there have even been reports of bomb and shooting threats taking place. READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: App Alerts

App Alert with 7 dangerous apps…and a few more NOT to let your kids grow on.

Kristin Peaks has written a fantastic article called 7 Dangerous Apps That Parents Need To Know About warning you of some of the newest and most concerning apps for kids…actually, correction—apps that are appealing to kids and concerning to parents.  As counselors, we’re not often black and white on issues.  But we are on a few when it comes to technology.

Read this article and watch out for these apps!  Check your child’s phone for them today.  If they have any installed, have a conversation about why they chose to download them and why they believe it is important to have them on their phone.  And we really mean a conversation…ask them questions and use the conversation as a learning opportunity for both of you.  If your child is an older teenager, make a decision together about whether that particular app has any value for your child’s emotional or social growth.  If he or she is a younger teenager or pre-teen, we can already tell you…there is none.  It is never helpful for a child to have an opportunity to rate someone else. READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: Does your child have a secret Instagram account?

I spoke recently with a parent whose 10 year-old had learned about cutting from Instagram.  In the past several months, I have heard of this happening several times.  Parents, be warned.  Your child may have an alternative Instragram, Twitter or Tumblr account.  They create them under different names and post pictures that you never see if you’re only following them from your own phone or computer.  You need to have your child’s password and be checking for alternative accounts, as well.  They have accounts where they show literal photos of their cuts, or swap ideas about eating disorders or obtaining alcohol. 

When your child signs up for any of these social media sites, they need you to help them learn what it means to be responsible. READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: App Alert - Snapbox

We talked in a recent blog about snapchat, where your child can send pictures that are available for the recipient to see from 1 to 10 seconds after the picture is opened.  Obviously, it lends itself to plenty of concerns for parents and plenty of temptations for teens (or even younger children).  We would recommend being very aware of the apps your child downloads.  You can either check their phone or tablet regularly or have them download through your own itunes account.  Or both. 

A new app that I just heard about is called Snapbox.  It is described as “a snaphack for snapchat... READ MORE

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