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How Teens are Hiding Photos with 'Ghost Apps'

Adopted from www.today.com

teen on phoneGhost apps or vault apps, are applications that look harmless but are designed to hide photos or other information. On TODAY Monday, experts explained how one app looks like a calculator, but when a password is entered, secret photos are revealed.

“Ghost apps, hidden apps, they’re everywhere and the kids know about them,” child Internet sex crimes investigator Mike Harris told TODAY. But many parents don’t.

In 2012, a study found that more than 70 percent of teens have hidden online activity from their parents. So what do experts recommend parents do to better monitor their kid’s activity?

  • Check out new apps, especially those that have access to the phone’s camera.
  • Look for redundancy, like two calculators on a phone.
  • Use parental controls, so you know what is being downloaded onto the phone.
  • Have a conversation with your teens and tweens about sexting.

TODAY has an associated video with additional information on this story.

How Teens are Hiding Photos with ‘Ghost Apps’

Adopted from www.today.com

teen on phoneGhost apps or vault apps, are applications that look harmless but are designed to hide photos or other information. On TODAY Monday, experts explained how one app looks like a calculator, but when a password is entered, secret photos are revealed.

“Ghost apps, hidden apps, they’re everywhere and the kids know about them,” child Internet sex crimes investigator Mike Harris told TODAY. But many parents don’t.

In 2012, a study found that more than 70 percent of teens have hidden online activity from their parents. So what do experts recommend parents do to better monitor their kid’s activity?

  • Check out new apps, especially those that have access to the phone’s camera.
  • Look for redundancy, like two calculators on a phone.
  • Use parental controls, so you know what is being downloaded onto the phone.
  • Have a conversation with your teens and tweens about sexting.

TODAY has an associated video with additional information on this story.

Teens and Social Media

Recently, new studies have been released regarding the impact of social media use on teens.  You may find the results surprising:

Compulsive Texting Linked to Poor School Performance in Adolescent Girls

Adolescent girls who text compulsively are more likely than their male peers to do poorly in school, according to new research by the American Psychological Association. The study is the first to identify compulsive texting as significantly related to poor academic adjustment.

Impact of Tweeting and Instagramming on Teen Mental Healthteens-phones-text-technology

Adolescents are already at a time of great stress and social pressure, and social media usage may only be making it worse, according to several recent studies drawing a connection between social media use and depression.

Teens’ Night-Time Use of Social Media Risks Harming Mental Health

Researcher says ‘digital sunset’ might improve sleep quality.

Share your thoughts and suggestions around teens’ use of social media with us – healthykidstoday@wphf.org

Saving Tips for Teens

Teens savingWhen kids enter their teen years, they go through a lot of changes.  One many encounter is having a part time job and earning their own money.  With having their own money comes the responsibility and learning experience of how to spend and save.  Teaching our kids at an early age the importance of saving can help them for their entire life.  But for many people, saving isn’t an easy thing and trying to teach someone else can be even harder.  We’ve taken tips from TheMint.org to enable us to help our teens learn to save.  If you have other saving tips, leave them in the comment section below.

 

  • Set up multiple accounts – It can be hard to divide your money when you only have one account.  Since it might not be feasible for a teen to have multiple checking accounts, one thing you can do is set up different saving jars.  Label them for the different types of actions you want your teen to do with his/her money.  It can be save, spend, invest and give.  That way they can decide how much goes in each jar and how to spend their own money.
  • Set savings goals – Without some type of goal it is hard to achieve anything.  Saving is no different.  If you’re trying to save for a new bike, car or college, setting a savings goal will allow your teen to gage how they’re doing.  If the goal is $4,000 for a car, and he/she knows they can save $200 a month, then your teen will be able to figure out that it will take 20 months for them to reach their goal.
  • Save FIRST not last – When your teen gets his/her paycheck, the first thing he/she needs to do is put the money they plan on saving into the bank.  You can only spend money once and sometimes the temptation to spend what you are supposed to be saving can be overwhelming.  By saving first, you’ll ensure that your teen meets his/her savings goal.
  • Cut your expenses – What are you spending your money on?  You might be surprised.  Track what you spend your money one for one pay period.  You might realize that you eat out more then you thought and could saving money by cooking your own food or making your own lunch.  Maybe you get a coffee more often then you originally thought.  Little expenses like these can add up.  By tracking what you spend your money on, you can prioritize what is most important and cut out excess expenditures.
  • Shop smart – When you spend your money, you want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.  Check the sale racks, use coupons and compare prices from store to store.  Don’t just buy things on impulse.  Take your time and consider the benefit of making a purchase.

Talking With Your Teen – 3 Mistakes To Avoid

Parent Listening to Child 1Talking to your teenager can be an uphill battle.  Whether it is just to ask him/her how their day was or to have a serious talk, getting your teenager to talk with you can be hard.  Dr. Atilla Ceranoglu, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, uses a great metaphor to describe child development.  Infants and toddlers are like puppies. You can cuddle them all you want, kiss them, and hug them endlessly — they cannot get enough of you. But teenagers are like cats: They tend to avoid you most of the time, and once in a blue moon they will seek out your attention. The moment you try to touch them, however, they run away.

As parents it is important of us to figure out how to not make our kids run away from us when we are trying to talk to them.  Just like you know not to run head first at a skittish cat, there are wrong ways to approach teens.  Our friends at Great Schools came up with three things to avoid doing when trying to talk to your teens.

  • Waiting for a crisis.  When tensions are high, your child is not going to be in a position to open up to you. Engage early and often, before there is a problem. This way you will develop a rapport with your child that will be very important when an actual crisis arises. “Remember, it’s impossible to build a bridge in the middle of a quake, but a bridge built earlier may be flexible and sturdy enough to ward off a quake when it comes,” says Ceranoglu. “A relationship is just like that. Its foundation and flexible nature are important ingredients of happiness.”
  • Taking the too-direct approach.  You’re probably not going to get a lot out of your child if you say, “Let’s sit down and talk.” Instead, do something together your child likes and let the conversation happen. Spending more time with him now will help build the bridges you’ll need later. “Your consistent presence in your child’s life will help your child feel comfortable with talking to you if something bothers him,” says Ceranoglu.
  • Letting the opportunity pass.  Your child may seem to be always pushing you away, but that doesn’t mean he really wants you to disappear! Be vigilant about observing his mood, and approach him when you see a chance to talk or do something together.

Even if you avoid all of these mistakes, your teen might not be much into talking.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Don’t try to force them to have a sit down talk.  What is most important is that you let them know you are there to talk or just listen whenever they need you.