Thursday, March 19, 2009

Elementary School Kids Using Facebook

A Tennessee elementary principal is warning parents that many children in his school are using Facebook, seemingly to attract a boyfriend or girlfriend. While this is not shocking, it should put internet safety for their kids as paramount in parents' minds.

Parents understand most children are still learning how to interact socially at that age, but yet the 20-30 hours a week the kids spend on social networking sites are mostly unsupervised. This is a recipe for trouble or worse. Internet predators prey on these unsuspecting and impressionable youngsters looking for attention. Cyber-bullies use social networks to threaten and scare them.

Parents need to protect their children from these unfortunate realities, and YouDiligence ( can help.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Boston Girl, 12, Duped by MySpace Predator into Thinking She was going to Hollywood to be a Movie Star

Chaulk one up for the MA State Police who were able to save a Boston girl, 12, who was lured to purchase a ticket to fly to Hollywood to become a movie star by someone posing as a 16 year old girl on MySpace.

Anyone who thinks that MySpace and Facebook are safe from creeps who prey on children needs to wake up. Parents need to protect their children and teach them about internet safety and using socal networks responsibly.

This story could have ended much worse. I am relieved for this girl and her parents that she is safe at home tonight.

YouDiligence helps parents protect their children from online predators and cyber-bullies.

BSOT = Be Safe Online Tonight

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Cyberbullying Story

I try to make it a habit of presenting YouDiligence to at least one school or church organization every week. Last week, I spoke to the PTO of Fairfield (outside of St. Albans). It seems like at every one of these presentations, I hear a cyberbullying story. In fact, one of my primary tasks at all of these meetings is to just listen. Kids' online activity raises a lot of uncertainty for parents.

It is hard enough dealing with uncertainty for just oneself. When one's kids are involved, worrying over uncertainty goes to a whole other level.

At the meeting, a woman said she had really wished that she had known about YouDiligence two months ago, and she related the story of how her daughter was recently cyberbullied. Her story had all the classic aspects of cyberbullying that I have heard repeatedly in different forms and shapes. The mother noticed that her daughter had been moody and uncommunicative for weeks and weeks, and knew something was up, but the daughter did not want to share. Finally, the cyber bullying episode reached a point where the daughter broke down, and realized she could not control the situation. This is when the mother got involved. The mother did not share the exact specifics, but she felt that much pain and suffering would have been spared if she could have stepped into the situation much earlier.

And that is a very important point. Kids in their tweens and early teens are struggling with issues of control and mastery. And parents want to encourage this mastery--we are proud of our kids' mastering skills and knowledge growth. But the truth of the matter is that young kids should 'be spotted', and in fact, they want to know that their parents are doing so. The tricky part of adolescence for both kids and parents is navigating this path from very dependent (under 10 years old, and wanting to be spotted) to ostensibly independent (hopefully by 18-19, and resentful if parents are still trying to spot them).

When considering kids' online activities in terms of this navigation path, it is entirely understandable why internet safety has become the number one concern for parents.

Posting On Social Networking Sites Creates a Permanent Record

Remember when you were in junior high and the principal used to scare you into believing that if you didn't behave that it would go down on some all powerful "permanent record"? Well now that permanent record actually exists -- and worse, it's a public forumn. Internet safety is something all parents should teach their kids from the very beginning of internet use.

Social Networking can be a great tool and a harmless way to interact with friends. But there are dangers, not the least of which is that everything you post, is now there for posterity as this article highlights.

Whether it's MySpace, Facebook, or any other site, if you post it, someone can find it, access it, and expose it.

YouDiligence ( helps protect kids futures, hopefully keeping their "permanent record" as clean as possible in the internet era.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Follow YouDiligence on Twitter

2 Purdue Fraternities & a Sorority Post Hazing Photos on Facebook & Get Suspended

I'm sure there are many stories out there about hazing incidents that have been posted on Facebook, but this one struck close to home -- 4 miles to be exact.

This is certainly not the first, nor will it be the last story about fraternity hazing. Aside from the obvious stupidity of the hazing activity itself (and I am a proud fraternity alum -- at Purdue no less), but what strikes me is the lack of concern by these students for their long-term reputations. If those photos made it to the Dean of Students' office, how hard will it be for a potential employer to find them at some point in the future?

Now that President O'Bama has opened the door, making it acceptable to review private Facebook and MySpace pages of applicants, parents of high school and college kids everywhere need to warn their children about the long-term consequences of posting what might seem like silly, fun, or innocuous things, as they can come back to haunt you. The Internet IS the "permanent record" that your junior high principal used threaten to put something down on to keep you in line.

All those "friends" they think they have -- yeah right. All it takes is to right-click-save and whatever mistakes might have been posted by a child on their page are now saved by someone that can use them later on. No one knows if another person will remain their friend for a week, a month, or ten years. However, once they allow access to their private social networking pages, they are exposing themselves to potential problems down the road.

The answer is educating our children about responsible social networking use, and yes, monitoring their activity to make sure they are following your rules and aren't getting into trouble. Trust but verify.

BSOT = Be Safe Online Tonight

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2,116 Convicted North Carolina Sexual Predators had MySpace Accounts

Parents in North Carolina can rest a little easier as their attorney general struck a blow for internet safety by identifying 2,116 sexual predators in NC that had MySpace accounts -- and MySpace shut them down.

In the last month there have been almost 100,000 sexual predators' accounts shut down on MySpace and Facebook combined. But that's out of nearly 400 million accounts -- uh, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this represents a very incomplete accounting for the likely actual number of predators on those sites. These were just the predators dumb enough to use their real names -- and finally someone decided to run a check comparing the MySpace and Facebook roster against the convicted sexual predator database. It's not just the names that need to be checked. It couldn't be more clear, for the safety of their kids, parents need to consider monitoring their kids' pages.

Studies show kids spend over 30 hours per week online, mostly unsupervised. How likely is it that they come into contact with a predator or are bullied by their peers? That's a question parents must ask themselves.

Fortunately parents now have help. YouDiligence ( email alerts to parents when questionable material is posted on their kids' sites -- providing some peace of mind.
Copyright 2009 YouDiligence - All Rights Reserved