Facebook hits new milestone

Friday, February 5, 2010

For those of you who aren’t a “techy” type like me and keep up with the news, Facebook just celebrated it’s 6th birthday. Along with that birthday came a new milestone as the popular social networking site just hit its 4 million member mark.


Mashable, a top social media news site, reports:

Two months ago the social network hit 350 million, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reminds us that number was less than half of today’s 400 million mark a year ago. It took the site about three months to climb from 300 to 350 million users and only about two months to gain another 50 million, indicating Facebook’s explosive growth is actually still accelerating.

As great as this is for Facebook, this only ups the ante for internet predators to interact with kids and teens. This is why it is so important to incorporate McGruff Safeguard into an everyday habit. Parents can feel more at ease knowing their conversations are monitored to inform them of any suspicious activity. However, its not just about catching internet predators, it’s also about keeping kids and teens safe from themselves. In other words, if there is any sign of depression or suicidal thoughts, we inform the parents strait away. If we notice any suspicion of drug use, or sexual abuse, we let parents know.

Facebook has been a huge communication platform for people of all ages and it started with the Gen Y’ers. There have been many posts that cause concern, and some lives have been saved because of this social network. A few months back, I posted about how my friend had noticed her nephew’s posts were getting more and more disturbing to him. She ended up reaching out to him because of these posts. It ended up being a pivotal moment because he was sad and was contemplating suicide. He is doing much better now since his aunt reached out.

We’ve had parents share stories with us. We’ve heard stories of success, of deeper communication, and also stories where parents were just grateful to know a little better about what their kids were up to, good, bad and ugly.

As popular social sites grow, so does the need for more monitoring and more concern over who is on these site. Download McGruff Safeguard today. Join the force that is dedicated to knowing their children better.

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posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 3:03 PM Link to this Article  0 Comments

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Recent stats in the news

Monday, December 21, 2009

McGruff Safeguard has been writing about the online habits of our teens for the past five months or so. We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on new research, new predators caught, and have mentioned folks who have been monumental in the capture of online sexual predators. But that’s not all. We’ve really been attempting to open up the eyes of parents and talking about what kids/teenagers are doing and/or struggling with.


The online habits and phone habits of teens is becoming quite the talk. There have been multiple stories out this week on this subject. What are kids into these days? The popular online social media guide site, Mashable, just reported that “Porn” was among the top search for kids. Here is the actual table provided in the article:

AOL last week wrote a story about one girl’s battle with cyber bullying, which was spawned over a Facebook comment being left about the popular “Twilight” novels. Here is an interesting piece which came from the article.


According to a new study by Nielsen Mobile, the average cell-phone-carrying teen
in the United States now sends 2,899 text messages every month. That's up 566
percent from just two years ago. Another recent survey by The Associated Press
and MTV found that one-third of teens and young adults age 14 to 24 engaged in
"sexting," the practice of sending sexually explicit messages or pictures via
text message. And a poll conducted by Common Sense Media found that nearly a
quarter of all teens who belong to Facebook check their page more than 10 times
each day. "This generation is consumed by technology from birth," said Larry
Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez
Hills, and the author of "Me, MySpace, and I: Parenting the Net Generation."


Speaking of sexting, Mashable also had some statistics:


According to the study, 4 percent of teens 12-17 who own cell phones have sent
nude or nearly nude photos of themselves to others via text, and 15 percent
admit that they have received these scandalous snaps. And in a country in which
58 percent of 12-year-olds and 83 percent of 17-year-olds own cell phones —
that’s a lot of flesh flashing across iPhone screens.


When I think about these articles, it leads me to believe two things.


1. Teens and pre-teens are not thinking about the consequences of their actions and the long-term effects they could have.


2. Parents are not having the right kind of conversations with their kids.


I'd like to hear from you. What are some of the conversations you have?

Do you talk to your teens about nude photos, porn, and sexting?

Granted, these are certainly not easy subjects to broach, and kids may not be as receptive as we may hope. But if you've had some success with reaching out, please let us know.

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posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 5:04 AM Link to this Article  1 Comments

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Stolen Passwords

Friday, November 13, 2009

When Sarah Palin was running for President in 2008, her password to her Gmail (email) account was stolen. According to the Huffington Post, the hacker that hacked into Palin’s account “guessed that she met her husband in high school and knew Palin's date of birth and home Zip code. Using those details, the hacker tricked Yahoo Inc.'s service into assigning a new password, "popcorn," for Palin's e-mail account, according to a chronology of the crime published on the Web site where the hacking was first revealed.”

In October of this year, AOL News reported the popular free email, Hotmail, had to advise its users to change their passwords after thousands of email account details were posted online in a massive security breach.

The popular social media platform, Twitter, has had multiple scams (these are called “phishing” scams). Accounts can be hacked or “phished” if you click on a link that is supposedly from one of your “friends.” The message from them could say something like “Check out what your IQ is!” It would then have a link to click. Mashable.com, reported last month that a new worm and phishing scam is spreading on Twitter. The message could come from the hacked accounts of "friends you trust" with a short message ("rofl this you on here?") and a URL leading to a replicated Twitter login page, asking for your account info. If you enter your username and password on this page, you will be infected, and your account used to pass on the worm. Now, if this happens, you go in and change your password.

Most people’s passwords are dates or names that mean something to them. Often times, we use the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker were to find out one, the probability is there that he could hack into other accounts as well. It can be that easy, and there are lessons to be learned all around. How safe are our accounts online? How safe are our children’s passwords online?

This subject is something I would encourage you to speak about with your children and teens, but also keep in mind for yourself. The Internet allows so many positive aspects as far as accessibility and convenience and social interaction. At the same time, we have to be eduacted, safe, and smart when it comes to our personal accounts.

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posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 8:01 AM Link to this Article  0 Comments

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