Sarahah: Four things you should know about popular app

Pumped to be headed to Dallas to speak at Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Crimes Against Children Conference, and changing things up to include a conversation around an app I’ve been hearing a lot about lately, #Sarahah. Like many apps, I believe this was created with all good intentions – initially, it was created as a way for employees to get honest, anonymous feedback. It’s a free app for people 17+, but as you can probably guess, has become extremely popular (currently Apple’s top downloaded app 😬) amongst teens and tweens. It allows users to link their Snapchat accounts, and is a platform where people you know *and don’t know* can leave ANONYMOUS messages for you. You can gather comments from other known and unknown users, take screenshots and share them on Snapchat. This site and these comments are not moderated, and many users are reporting a ton of glitches.
With all this information, and given the fact many parents have been asking me about this lately, its an app that I’m adding to the DO NOT ALLOW list. I hate this list, as I’d rather try to find ways to make apps safer as opposed to banning them all together. Talk to your kids about the potential pitfalls of this app and be on the lookout for it on their devices. #parenting

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Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

I went to this Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center conference about 10 years ago and it truly changed my life and career path. Now 10 years later, I have the absolute honor of returning as a Crimes Against Children Conference presenter, alongside some of the smartest, most dedicated people in this business of keeping kids safe. For those of you attending, my workshop is on Thursday at 8:30AM, Lonestar C2. Can’t wait! #DallasCAC

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Little League removes softball team from World Series over social media post

While there’s major debate on whether or not this punishment fits the “crime,” it’s done and it happened so let’s discuss. A team of 12-14 year old softball players has been disqualified from the Little League World Series due to a Snapchat picture someone posted, some girls giving the middle finger in the image.
While I personally think the punishment is super harsh, let this be a teachable moment for us to pass along to our kids and discuss: 1. Just because you put something on Snapchat, doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear forever. 2. Own what you put out there; what may seem funny or cute at the time may not be so entertaining to others or in the future.

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Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

This is such a thought-provoking (and science-based) article, I wish it would somehow be required reading for ALL parents. I could discuss this issue of smartphone/tablet obsession and what it’s doing to us for HOURS on end, and tell parents daily that while technology is incredible, we HAVE to do more to limit it. I see so many kids getting their own devices in 4th grade (or younger!) with no rules, limits, or expectations – and here we are. Most of us will admit we should be limiting screen time more, but here is scientific proof that our kids’ happiness may depend on it. Here are a few takeaways I wanted to highlight from this fantastic The Atlantic article.
-The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.
-The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.
-Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent, while those who play sports, go to religious services, or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk significantly.
-The correlations between depression and smartphone use are strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone.

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Scary Mommy

First, please pardon the French in this article – but perhaps not the strong message. As a parent of two little ones, I laughed pretty hard reading – and relating to – many of the points in this article. While her suggested “intervention” to stop her kids from acting, umm, like little *devils, she limited screen time for her WHOLE family and saw a drastic change. Now, as someone who doesn’t allow phone or screen time for my own kids I can ASSURE you it’s not the SOLE cause of this ungrateful behavior (I literally just got finished this conversation with my kids tonight because I hear the phrase “it’s not fair” in every sentence) but I hear so much from parents about observed and delightful behavior changes when screen time is limited or taken away. Consistency is key here, and it ain’t as easy as it seems because it has to be regulated on the family level, not just for the kids. That said, something worth considering.
*words changed so as not to offend.

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