suicide game text with a blue whale

Blue Whale Challenge: What Every Parent Needs To Know

The game that has got parents worried in Brazil is called Baleia Azul, a direct translation of the original Russian name, Siniy Kit, or Blue Whale. The name apparently comes from a song by the Russian rock band, Lumen. Its opening lines are, “Why scream when no one hears what we’re talking about?” Believed to have started in Russia, and now migrating to other regions of the world, Blue Whale is a social media challenge that encourages teens and tweens to perform specific tasks over the course of 50 days. The game administrators specifically target 10-14 year-olds and the only way […]

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phone hacking image

Smartphone Hacking and Cyberbullying: One Family On The Run

Disturbing indeed. Cyberbullying has jumped to the next level. Yesterday, I heard a story about a family from a small town in Massachusetts. Two siblings and their parents were victims of cyberbullying via hacking, and the perpetrators? They were two middle school kids. What they did is shocking. These tech-savvy tweens hacked into each mobile device and laptop owned by this family of 4. The hackers, again, middle school kids, got control of the families smartphones and laptops and were then able to access the cameras on each of those devices. They took pictures of the victims without them knowing […]

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phhhoto

Is PHHHOTO App Safe For Your Child?

A mom and a 13-year-old girl came to my office last week for help sorting through a cyberbullying situation that was causing extreme emotional pain to the family. The young teen posted pictures and videos of herself on a popular app called Phhhoto. She thought the images were only being shared with two of her friends from school, but after she saw a group of boys watching her inappropriate sexual dance routine on their smartphones, laughing and making fun of her, she knew that wasn’t the case. She is a sweet, smart, and very overweight 13-year-old with intense self-esteem issues. […]

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kid reaching for smartphone

Does Your Child Have Nomophobia? Take The Quiz To Find Out

Smartphone addiction is a serious problem. If you have ever had to take away your child’s phone, the signs of addiction are evidenced by their reaction. Every human being who has and uses a smartphone can attest to how easy it is to overuse their phone, and many admit that the addiction is one that is unbreakable. Thanks to a study conducted at Iowa State University, there is now a scientific way to measure your smartphone addiction. Nomophobia (no mobile phone phobia) refers to the fear and anxiety triggered by not being able to communicate or access information on our […]

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girl taking candy from a stranger

Spying Vs. Alerts: What Parents Need to Understand

What parent has the time or the inclination to go through their tween or teens every post, chat, email, photo or text message on their mobile device? Not many, especially in today’s busier than ever society. When it comes to parenting in cyberspace, there is plenty of debate around invading your child’s privacy and spying, but the experts have weighed in. Yes, parents should know what is happening in the space where their kids spend about 10 hours a day. “It’s like a loaded gun,” said Pamela Casey, a district attorney in Blount County, Ala., during an interview last month […]

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teen girl crying

Is It A Crime To Encourage Someone To Commit Suicide Through Text Messages?

Is it a crime to encourage suicide through text messaging? A Massachusetts Judge decided last week, that yes, in fact, it is. Michelle Carter, of Plainville, MA was 17 when police say she encouraged her friend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy, of Mattapoisett, to commit suicide. Roy, who had a history of mental illness, was found dead in his car behind a K-Mart in the next town over, about 60 miles south of Boston. On July 13, 2014, Roy used a generator to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. At one point, while waiting for his moment of death, he got out […]

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Mastermind Behind Blue Wale Suicide Game Arrested

In early June, the alleged mastermind behind a sick teen suicide game was finally caught and arrested by police. Postman Ilya Sidorov, 26, allegedly told investigators he had developed an elaborate online game involving 50 tasks, the last of which required the young players to kill themselves. After a string of suicides, parents across Russia and Europe were warned about an online game called Blue Whale. Another alleged suicide game “administrator” Philipp Budeikin, 21, is also being held by the Russians on charges of inciting at least 16 schoolgirls to kill themselves by taking part in his social media Blue […]

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dad talking to son

Being The Cool Parent; Cool or Uncool?

Being the cool parent is not cool at all. Parents who allow their teenage children to drink in their own home, blow my mind. I’ve heard all of the reasons, and the most common one is that “they are going to do it anyway. While I understand where they are coming from, it is never a good idea to provide a place for underage drinking, or the means to use drugs and alcohol. And yes, it might be true that your child will do it anyway, but adolescent experimentation with drugs and alcohol should not be condoned by parents. Allowing […]

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you dont know my password go away

Your Child Refuses To Give You Their Smartphone Passwords, Now What?

Your tween or teen refuses to give up their smartphone passwords, now what? So, parents, there is no one size fits all solution to this problem, but here are 7 things you need to keep in mind if your child refuses to give you their passwords on their smartphones or other internet devices. 1. It is important for you to know that not only do you pay for the phone, but you are responsible for the phone and whatever information it accesses, or stores online. Parents have every right and the responsibility to ensure safe and legal use of a […]

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kid with head in hands

Suspended From School For Smartphone Use? What Parents Need To Know

Many parents are unaware of their child’s school policies when it comes to suspensions. Every school has the basic offenses which can result in suspension in their handbook, but there are some things your child could be suspended for that may not be clearly written in the student handbook. Smartphones and social media have complicated this once, pretty black and white issue and parents, you need to be in the know. Did you know, for example, that if your child “likes” a certain social media post they could get a suspension? Last month, seventh grader Zachary Bowlin received a 10-day […]

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