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Blog, Cyberbullying, Internet Safety Advice for Parents

As fatal casualties of Cyberbullying increase, what can parents do to protect their children?

A 13 year old Scottish school boy, Ben McKenzie took his own life as a result of being bullied online it was reported this week. MP Paul Masterson described the young man’s experience online, as a campaign of cruel online abuse. On the 1st of October 2018, Ben was found dead at home, a victim and one of growing number of young people who have suffered as a direct result of their interactions with others online.Parents are left with the question, what can they do?

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WhatsApp identified as a source of Cyberbullying. Parents can monitor their children’s accounts

Recently WhatsApp was identified as a platform children use, both directly and indirectly to cyberbully other children. The results of the survey of 2000 parents, carried out by Internet Matters a UK based online child safety organisation, revealed 8 out of every 10 parents expressed concern regarding closed messaging groups. These group chats are sometimes used to share images, or content about others. Many parents may not be aware you can link a WhatsApp mobile account to a PC

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Cork parents in uproar over teen’s sexualized images on VSCO

Parents in Cork expressed outrage, following the discovery a young Cork girl is sharing images of herself on a platform called VSCO. The self-generated, or user-generated content was described as inappropriate by those who viewed the imagery. VSCO is an image sharing site. It is frequently used by professional photographers, as it offers superior methods of photo and video editing for their content.

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Beware “Cyber Flashers” are using AirDrop to send sexualised images to unsuspecting iPhone users – including children

Walking with your family through the crowded streets this December, you are all taking in the incredible festive atmosphere of Christmas, the shops and markets, enjoying the beautiful aroma of freshly cooked food for sale, the glow of the lights and smile on people’s faces passing by. You might all pause to laugh, as your child’s device suddenly starts to play “Here comes Santa Clause” the chosen festive notification alert.

Suddenly your attention is drawn to the look of horror on your child face, as they unlock their phone only to discover someone has Air Dropped an image of a naked man with an erect penis to their phone.Fear and anger quickly envelops you as you look around at the many faces passing. The dark realisation that somebody in this festive crowd, has just exposed themselves to your child and is probably looking at you right now, to see your reaction and that of your child’s. The child has just become a victim of "Cyber Flashing"

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We just hit 20,000 Followers on Facebook. Time to say “Thank You”

    It is incredible to see how Children of the Digital Age has developed and transformed over the last three years. When we started out in 2015, the issues both children and parents faced online, were limited almost to a few Apps and Social Media Platforms. Now there are so many other avenues of… Continue reading We just hit 20,000 Followers on Facebook. Time to say “Thank You”

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A young 24 year old Dublin woman being charged with the Defilement of a Child is a wake up call Parents

It will have come as a shock to many this week, to see a young 24-year-old Dublin woman charged with the defilement of a child, a teenage boy. This is something we have not really seen in Ireland up to now. A very young woman, who if convicted of the alleged offence, will be registered Sex Offender. The reported allegations involve a student from the school she worked in, who was under 17.

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A warning to parents from Silicone Valley – “I am convinced the Devil lives in our phones and is wreaking havoc on our children.”

“I’m convinced the devil lives in our phones”. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was the ranting of a technophobe, however the harsh reality is the comments were made by Athena Chavarria, who worked as an executive assistant at Facebook and is now at Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This is a woman who works at the forefront of the emerging technology our children are accessing, yet she lives by the mantra that the last child in the class to get a phone wins

This is a message which parents should heed. When the people who make these devises are so upfront about their efforts to protect their own children from device addiction and harmful content, from a consumer point of view the manufacturer is telling us, these devices are bad for your children also. For a long time, we have watched the endless parade of people spouting the familiar tale of the educational benefits of the devices. A rational minded person looking at children using devices, will quickly notice the content being absorbed everything but educational.

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What happens when beauty is no longer in the eye of the beholder ?

A recent Tweet by Irish Cyberpsychologist, Dr. Mary Aiken caught our attention. For some time now, Dr Aiken has been highlighting how technology has infiltrated our lives and impacted us on a psychological level, right down to an individual’s level of self-perception. AI or Artificial Intelligence has many different levels. It is used in some of popular Apps, to improve or alter images, you can digitally improve your own image before sharing it with others online.

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Spotify Phishing scam targets Apple users Log In credentials

Apple users are at risk of having their accounts compromised in a new Spotify Phishing attack. Emails purporting to originate from Spotify are advising the recipient, they have purchased a year’s Premium Streaming service and are asking to verify the subscription by logging in to the users Apple account. The link when opened appears as a very authentic looking, branded Apple site, however the address at the top of the screen is clearly not an authentic address. Some people may not recognise that this is not an authentic address and enter their Apple ID and Password. It is also likely some of those who receive the email will be curious and log in, as they will not have subscribed for the Spotify premium service.

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Just like the Titanic, your online life is far from Unsinkable

One issue, which is becoming more obvious while speaking to children, teens and parents, is how ignorant everyone appears to be, in relation to their level of vulnerability online. We frequently see tremendous over confidence, in the amount faith people have placed in how protected secure their online data is. Most have actually put all of their data eggs in the one basket, without realising the dangers.

It is almost like watching a re-run of the Titanic story, so many people mistakenly believing that their online lives, are also unsinkable. Here at #COTDAge, we have found that the use of the Titanic as a learning aid is an excellent example for helping people to understand their level of online vulnerability. So this is why, we have decided to share it with you in today’s blog.