Tag Archives: Family

Teaching the Next Two-Billion Smart Users How to “Drive” on the Internet

When you got behind the wheel of a car for the first time, you probably underestimated the power of the vehicle in your hands. Most likely, you had someone teach you how to drive and educated you on the good and bad that can come of it, preaching that your chances of having a safe and enjoyable experience are best if you know the rules of the road and learn how to practice a little defensive driving.

It’s really no different when teaching kids how to navigate the Internet.

According to recent findings out of Common Sense Media, online media use is at an all-time high and when we give our children access to the Internet; be it through a smartphone, tablet, PC or any other connected device, we are really giving them access to a powerful vehicle. It’s the job of parents, educators and other influencers to teach safe and responsible Internet use.

Last year I first introduced the Smart User initiative in which AVG vowed to make meaningful strides in educating Internet users from its dangers with the right content at the right time. One year and multiple partnerships later, the Smart User mission is well on its way. While it’s everyone’s job to keep kids and those new to the Internet informed, here are some things you can do as a parent to help your child successfully and safely use the Internet.

  1. Have your child sit in the passenger’s seat while you drive
    If you think your kids are ready for the Internet, next time you’re using it, have them sit and watch how you safely navigate. Make sure to point out signs of danger and things to avoid clicking. Describe what you’re doing, and why.
  1. Have your child lean over and grab the wheel
    Now that they’ve seen firsthand how the Internet works, have your child lean over your shoulder and do a bit of safe clicking.
  1. Switch seats; it’s time for them to take the driver’s seat
    With you at a safe distance but not hovering over them, let your child use their connected device. If they run into trouble they can always rely on you to be nearby.

Finally, don’t forget to continue your education on the Internet’s latest threats and risks by visiting our blog regularly at now.avg.com. For more information on #SmartUser, visit smartuser.com.

Top 10 Phishing Emails to look out for this Holiday Shopping Season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge shopping occasions, not only in the US but across the world. Last year it was reported that the US spending over Thanksgiving reached an all time high with $89 billion being spent online.

Email campaigns offering deals and discounts are commonplace these days and every week retailers try to tempt me with discounts in an attempt to generate online sales. This dynamic method of communicating means that offers can be targeted based on my purchase history and the preferences I may have shared with the retailer.

On my shopping list this year are things I’ve been holding back purchasing in anticipation of discounts and offers that will surely land in my inbox, or that I might able to find online. One of them is a new laptop for my son.

But there’s also a dark side to some email that arrives in inboxes. Cybercriminals know that we get excited by deals and offers, or need to maintain our online payment methods, and they use this knowledge in an attempt to scam us. Most of us think of this as spam and just delete it, but sometimes it is difficult to identify the real emails from the fake ones.

Recently, I asked our research team which organizations in the US are being impersonated the most in emails. Specifically the ones used in “phishing” emails that attempt to gain access to your accounts, or trick you into providing your credentials so they can steal your hard earned cash.

The list below is compiled by AVG’s Web Threats Team from anonymous data from more than 200 million users and our own spam honeypot system.

  1. American Express
  2. Apple
  3. Bank of America
  4. Chase Bank
  5. Ebay
  6. FedEx, UPS, DHL
  7. Intuit (Taxes)
  8. Paypal
  9. Wells Fargo
  10. Westpac Bank

If you live outside the US then your list will look fairly similar with local banks from your country taking the place of the US banks in this list.

Checking my inbox from last week I count six emails that look like they are from Paypal, inspecting the emails closely I find that two of them are fraudulent phishing emails, both trying to get my login and password.


PayPal scam


The email looks and feels as though it came from Paypal, but there are some clues that point to its true nature.


  • If your email provider or security product, such AVG Internet Security, marked the email as Junk or Spam, then there is a very high probability that it is.
  • Look at the email address that sent the email, does it look correct? The address may include other parts for example [email protected] would be a legitimate address but if the address is [email protected], then this would be incorrect as it needs to be paypal.com on the last part of the address.
  • In the example you can see its asking for incomplete account details to be submitted, I know my account is up to date so why are they asking such questions.
  • Has the email got the mandatory elements that companies need to use, registered office details, unsubscribe options, etc.
  • If you have clicked on it, and you shouldn’t if any of the above are true, then check the URL in the address bar, is the address https://www.paypal.com, is the padlock there and does part of the address go green to show that the site has a valid digital certificate. If no to any of these then close the browser.

If at any point you think the email is spam and fraudulent then do not open or click on any links, just delete the email. Opening the email will download the content which the cybercriminals mark so that they know the email was opened and that your email account is active, they will send you more!

If you did click the link and you have up to date anti-virus software, such as AVG AntiVirus FREE, or AVG AntiVirus FREE for Android, then you should see a detection screen like the one below or your browser may also show a warning screen.

phishing warning

phishing detected

What do you do if you think the email was real and have not clicked or opened it, that’s an easy one. Open your browser and go to paypal.com and login. I am sure if there is important account information they need they will ask for it when you login.

It’s important to have updated Anti-Virus software, as these types of attacks use websites that change and disappear in minutes to try and hide from detection. Having up to date security software gives you the best possible chance of being protected.

All this should not put you off finding that great deal or bargain online, but I hope these tips help you check what you click on or open and visually check it looks real. I know I will be looking for that deal this week and will be delighted if I find it online so I don’t need to join the crowds in store.


Talking toys bring connected Christmas closer

Many parents will have noticed the invasion of talking, AI-enabled toys hitting the shelves this holiday season. Once inanimate, mute objects on which we had to project personalities, movement and more, the latest high-tech toys are increasingly learning to think for themselves – with sometimes worrying consequences.

One of the most talked about recent examples of such a toy is Barbie. The beloved companion of many, Barbie recently became more interactive than ever with the launch of a Wi-Fi connected version that listens, replies and learns over time. As anyone who has heard Barbie’s suggestion to hold a “pizza party!” will well know, the power of speech isn’t new to the doll – the latest release however is branching out considerably further, combining Wi-Fi and ‘machine learning’ to be able to have entire conversations with playmates.

Much like Siri or Cortana, Hello Barbie is mic’d up and connected to a server in the Cloud which analyzes what is said to the doll and then selects an appropriate response. Learning as she goes along, Barbie mimics a real life friend by remembering details that she can drop into future replies.

While this might be every kid’s dream, it’s likely to be a real cause for concern for the more privacy and security conscious parents among us.

Much of the technology we use on a daily basis is now equipped to ‘listen’ to us in a similar manner in order to facilitate easier, more human interaction. As already mentioned, the most obvious example of this are personal assistants like Siri and Cortana which sit on our mobile devices and activate at our command. An easy enough use case to understand. What can be alarming however, is when technology not traditionally designed to listen to us is enabled to. Smart TVs, for example, have been in the press recently due to their ability to listen to conversations, capture the data and relay it to third parties. Even connected baby monitors have been called out due to their susceptibility to hacking.

As with any connected device, the debated risk is that Hello Barbie could offer an easier in for hackers attempting to intercept your Wi-Fi network. While ToyTalk which manages the toy’s cloud connection emphasizes the security measures it has taken, it also admits that ‘no device is 100% secure.’ On top of their security concerns, parents might also wonder what is happening to the data being captured as their child chats away to Barbie. Is it being stored anywhere? Yes. Is anyone listening to it? Yes. Will that child end up being bombarded with advertising for other talking toys?  Hopefully not – according to ToyTalk, it does share recordings with third-party vendors, but only to improve their products. In any case, it sounds like any secret told to Barbie in confidence won’t stay that way for long!

Whether you like it or not, talking toys could be here to stay. This year, Elemental Path launched CogniToys – talking and listening dinosaurs enabled by IBM’s Watson, the famous artificially intelligent computer able to ‘understand’ human language. Another example is Ubooly, a cuddly bear described as the ‘Learning Toy that Listens’, becoming interactive once connected to a smartphone or tablet. Though only two examples, it’s just a matter of time before more of these toys hit the shelves.

So how do you feel about toys that listen? Will you be letting Barbie say hello to your child? With Christmas just around the corner, it’s worth considering the security implications of the latest high-tech toys available this season, and how connected you want your child to be.

Preparing Us and Our Kids for Digital Playgrounds

Recent research of parents in the United States, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of AVG, shows the ubiquitous rise in the number of kids with mobile devices while exploring important issues in our digital family dynamics.

We found 51% of connected kids receive a device before the fifth grade.  With that level of smartphone, tablet and Internet access reaching into lower age groups, it’s clear that today’s schoolyards and playgrounds now extend to the online world.

As a new parent working in tech, I think a lot about the ever-increasing use of connected devices and social media in our families and its effects on us as parents. We are on the frontline of this new issue where the security and privacy of our kids is a major cause of concern. In the real world you can see who is bullying whom but online that’s not always clear.

Of course, it’s not just cyberbullying that we (parents and non-parents) need to be concerned about; but access to a lot of PG-rated and above material that is just one click away. As our new research indicates; unfortunately, many parents don’t monitor their kids’ online activities closely. Only half of parents of children aged 3-17 (51 percent) said they check their child’s activity weekly, one in five check it less than once a month or not at all (nearly two in ten) and just over half (56 percent) say they know the password to their child’s device.

Interestingly enough and coinciding with our research, another report surfaced last week on ABC’s Good Morning America about kids installing secret mobile apps that let them hide their online activities, like photos and texts. Yahoo Tech’s editor Dan Tynan, who was interviewed on the topic, gave this simple advice: turn off the ability to install apps without parental approval.

(Currently, our research suggests only four in ten parents have installed a parental block on their kids’ devices.)

Tynan’s recommendation echoes that of my colleague, AVG’s Sr. Security Evangelist Tony Anscombe, who offered his own sage advice to parents of school age children in a Back to School Tips column last week. Tony is also the author of the book “One Parent to Another,” an excellent resource which is available here.

My baby is less than one-year-old, so I’m a long way off from having to deal with many of these issues but I know my day is coming. I was particularly struck by a recent Parents Magazine article on the topic of “Parenting in a Fakebook World” that chronicled many of the pressures that start at an early age in raising a family in our Instagram-happy, Pinterest-perfect culture. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Securing every family member online is a major focus for us at AVG and we will continue to devote a lot of time to understanding the dynamics and needs of digital families, as well as offering tools for help make the online world a safer one for our kids.

So, stay tuned for more here on www.now.avg.com.

The future of work-life balance and tech

Many of us question the impact of technology on work-life balance, as our lives play out in the always on, always connected 24×7 workplace.

Now, in the heat of the late summer, the topic has become a hot one in the tech industry itself – from a controversial new New York Times expose that examines Amazon’s purported workplace culture to the highly-reported news of increased parental leave programs by key companies and, finally, a release of some annual  “top” ranked company lists.

First, a look at the expanded parental leave offerings unveiled this summer:

  • Netflix announced it is offering a year’s paid maternity or paternity leave to its employees.  Specifically, Netflix has put in place “an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allow them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.”
  • Microsoft said it would offer 20 weeks of paid leave to new mothers, up from its current 12 weeks paid and eight weeks of unpaid leave. New fathers will get 12 paid weeks, instead of four paid and eight unpaid.
  • Adobe said it would offer parents who are the primary caregivers 16 weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child – in addition to 10 weeks of paid medical leave following childbirth. That means a new mother could take a total of 26 weeks off — up from the current nine weeks.

Among offerings of other tech giants already in place: Google raised its paid maternity leave from 12 to 18 weeks in 2007. Facebook’s new parents receive four months of paid leave, as well as $4,000 in “baby cash.”

Analysts say the underlying goal of the newly updated parental leave programs is not totally altruistic,but are efforts for the companies to stay competitive in the super competitive Silicon Valley tech job market. They also expect that outside of the tech sector, little will change… particularly for startups and smaller businesses that cannot afford to provide equally rich programs.

While the new parental-leave policies of tech powerhouses are innovative, the U.S. is still playing catch-up when it comes to other nations. For example, the U.S. is the only developed country that does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers. (See Pew research on the topic from 2013 here.)  BTW, in most countries that offer paid time for mothers (a median of 5-6 months), their government picks up the tab and paternity leave is more limited (offered by only 25 of the 38 nations).

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut are pushing for a new law that would provide 12 weeks, but not unlimited leave, in the U.S. under their bill, employees and employers would make small contributions and pool them so that workers can draw a significant portion of their pay while caring for a newborn or for other serious personal or family illness.

To be sure, advances that are taking place toward work/life balance in the U.S. aren’t only in the domain of Silicon Valley. In its examination of the 25 companies that have “the best” work/life balance in the U.S, Forbes Magazine cited more exemplary non-tech companies than tech examples.  Forbes’ criteria went beyond time-off to other considerations.

According to the Forbes list, the best company for work/life balance for the third year in a row, is non-tech giant Colgate/Palmolive. Among tech companies to rank on the list were Google, Nokia, Philips, Motorola, and Intel… You can access the list here. (The Forbes survey, conducted in concert with the job search engine Indeed, ranked companies with least 100 employees which hire primarily full-time workers. The list does not include government or military organizations, colleges and universities, nonprofits, or staffing agencies.)

The Forbes survey also notes that in 2015 work/life balance, flexibility is fast rising up the ranks in importance. Though the number one consideration for people is still pay, number two is location and number three is flexibility – even ahead of benefits.

In the end, though it may be a culprit when it comes to taking away from our work/life balance, technology is also a driving factor in helping make the balance possible…

And there lies a conundrum that we in the tech industry and all companies must all continue to work on.

Will your kids ever have privacy?

A study carried out by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), involved over 29 privacy enforcement authorities in 21 countries. It found that only a third of websites had effective control of the information collected on our kids.

Understanding what happens to the personal information of your children needs to be high on the agenda of all parents. I’m not sure it’s understood due to the covert way that the data is being collected. Have you ever tried reading the privacy policy that accompanies websites and apps? if you haven’t then I am fairly certain your kids haven’t.

Imagine someone knocking on your door and asking for your child’s email address and access to their friends contact details. You would be shocked at the audacity of the request and send them away with nothing. When our kids go online or use apps, this very information is being given up without thought about what happens to it.

When something is free, such as an app or web service, it’s not because the company developing it is just being nice. Companies need to make money so that they can fund innovation that will keep us functional and entertained. One of the ways they can do that is by using our data. As consumers, especially when it’s our kids, we need to understand the trade off between free and acceptable data collection and use.

In a recent BBC article about the GPEN findings, Mr Adam Stevens, head of the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “The most common concern domestically was a lack of information being provided about how their information would be used.”

The study identified concerns with 41% of the websites examined and that a minority of sites had an accessible way to allow families to delete data.

It’s important that we engage with our kids and teach them the value of their data. They need to understand how apps and services they’re accessing are using their personal data, and we need to guide them on what is acceptable usage.

Data breaches are now common place, and with vast amounts of personal data being collected and stored the consequences for our kids could be significant.

While I would not encourage kids to tell untruths, I might encourage them to have a modified set of data for use online, for example: their place of birth could be anywhere and the day of their birth does not need to be the real one, however their year and month of birth should not differ from reality as the reputable websites and apps deliver content that is age appropriate.

I personally have multiple email addresses: one for my serious stuff like banking and family communication, and an account that I can burn if it becomes compromised or I start getting too much spam. While this maybe a complicated thing for our kids to do, the principal behind this is something worth educating kids about.

Follow me on Twitter @TonyatAVG

Back to school: Are you prepared?

Parents everywhere have been preparing for the back to school rush. It’s a ritual of making sure that the children are equipped with new backpacks, new binders, sports gear and uniforms and so on. For some parents, there is the complexity of purchasing a new laptop or tablet and having to decide which one to buy.

If you are still in the depths of deciding which device to purchase, my earlier blog may help you and can be found here:  7 tips for picking the right back to school device.

I sent my son off to school with the same laptop he had last year. If you’re doing the same, I recommend you take the time to ensure it’s working as expected and in a clean state – just like you would with the backpacks and other gear.

As part of being a responsible parent, it’s important to have visibility to what our kids are doing on those laptops and tablets, especially on hand-held devices such as a smartphone.  While we don’t want to be intrusive, we do want to ensure our kids are being safe online and are using these connected devices in a responsible and mature way.

I feel that what kids do online is ultimately the parent’s responsibility. Just like children are taught to cross the road safely, guidance is needed in the online world.  Some schools have even supported this notion by requiring parents to sign school acceptable usage policy, which makes them responsible. See my previous blog on this:  Parents, have you signed a school digital policy?

AVG recently commissioned a Harris Poll which asked parents in the United States about their monitoring habits. First, 85% of parents said that their 3-17 year old does indeed have their own device – and most of them got that device by the 7th grade (or age 11)! I’d be willing to bet that the remaining 15% are in the younger age group because when we’re talking about older children, I believe it’s really closer to 100%.

Are parents looking and monitoring those gadgets? 88% of U.S. parents say they do check their child’s activity online with more than 60% checking at least once a week.  However, about 1 in 10 never check their child’s text messages, emails, social media, etc. Some say because they believe it’s an invasion of privacy. When my son was younger, he always used devices in a public setting in the home like the living room or the kitchen and as a minor; we didn’t consider his online use needing to be private.  Now that he’s older, I give him a lot more space.

More than half don’t know the password of their kid’s device. I think in reality though, parents may think they know the password but when placing the device in front of them and asked to unlock it, many probably couldn’t.

In my family environment we encourage dialogue about being online and it is understood to be a privilege to have devices. And its understood that if I want to have a look then I can. We also have other rules that mean no devices after 9pm, not in bedrooms and never at the meal table. Every family will have different rules but keeping some family time without devices is a good thing, especially if all the adults participate.

As your child heads of to school in the coming weeks remember that the devices the are carrying are a learning tool in the same way their text books and notebooks need to be in good order, so do their technology.  Making sure they are performing well and running securely is a parent’s responsibility, we have some free software that will assist you – AVG Antivirus FREE & AVG Antivirus for Android will do a quick cleanup.  To keep those devices working at their optimum, download a trial of AVG PC TuneUp and run the recommended maintenance items.

Good luck with the new school year.

Follow me on Twitter @TonyatAVG

Camp Google: Inspiring Kids to go Outside

Do you remember your mother or grandmother saying, “It’s a beautiful summer day…what are you doing inside?” Well, online giant Google has heard that message, and wants young children to get offline too, with the help of its Camp Google.

Are the young children in your life starting to act a little restless as we enter the dog days of summer? Although school seems to start earlier than ever, we all know that feeling when waning summer days seem to stretch out longer and longer…Just in time, Google has launched its online summer camp (on July 13), starting with a bevy of science and tech themed adventures. The first was called Ocean Week. This week at camp is Space Week.

I know we’ve written a lot on the topic of kids online, and most of us are worried about the next generation being too connected—and mobile devices turning them into bigger couch potatoes than the previous generation. While it may sound counter-intuitive, Camp Google seems like a great strategy to get that generation (ages 7-10) excited about life and get them out of doors.

The camp explores the outdoors, science, and technology. You don’t even need a Google account to sign up. As Google says, “Camp Google is designed to get kids outside exploring and experimenting with fun science activities.”

And did I mention the camp is free? Sign me up!

There are activities that even sound fun to me: Creating a magnifying glass to explore your backyard? Building crystals? Making a constellation for your bedroom? A levitation device for Space Week?

For budding chefs out there, the current Google Camp Space Week also allows them to participate in a cook off between two junior chefs competing to create a signature dish for astronauts in space. Kids will get a front row seat for all the fun and learn about how space food is made and what’s needed to survive in space.

Exploring a volcano? Google’s got that too, coming July 29t, and with an online escort by a National Park Ranger. Miss a week of camp for a real vacation? Content is there for you to experience the camp after the designated week.

The engineers at Google worked with prestigious educational organizations like Khan Academy and with content experts such as National Geographic Kids, NASA and the National Park Service to develop the excellent content that will get kids to see the potential science has.

The directions and lessons are fun, simple to understand and motivating.

All activities list supplies required (usually basic household items) and also specify when parental supervision that is required as well. With this camp, there are even completion badges too.

To me it seems like the perfect mix of technology and outside awareness with content and interactive engagement really designed to inspire the next generation to pursue science and technology.

I also would like to point out that it seems like a great way to encourage young girls to learn about and explore science and technology in a non-threatening and fun way.

Empowerment, engagement, and exercise…Good job Google!

7 tips for picking the right back to school device

When I was young, I remember watching episodes of Dr. Who and Star Trek and marveling at the flat screen monitors, tablets and wireless connectivity they portrayed.

I recently watched one of the original Star Trek movies and noticed how dated the technology looked. It seems that not only has technology delivered what was the vision of film makers but surpassed it. Our kids are growing up in a world that I never dreamed would be a reality.

The interesting part of this is that this hyper-connected is entirely normal for them. We as adults view it as connected, digital, devices and make it sound like a special part of life but to our kids it’s just life.

I often see questions such as ‘what age do I give my child a smartphone?’ Realistically, there can be no wrong answer as every child matures differently and every parent has differing views and boundaries. There are indicators though that should allow us to make a reasonable decision on the right age for children to have smartphones. Generally, they look at responsibility, respect and maturity. Giving a phone to a child is a big responsibility for both the parent and child, after all the actions of the child are the responsibility of the parent.

There are obviously lots of reasons for a child to have a smartphone, but also lots of reasons for them not to. It’s important that we encourage our kids to spend more time outside, play with their friends, learn social skills and interact directly with other people will stand them in good stead for adult life. A consideration on how the device fits in to school life and will it hinder and or enable learning needs to be a part of the decision, again something that differs for every child.

My son had access to a flip phone from the age of 10. This was a family device and then at 13 he was then allowed a full smartphone on the grounds that it was a privilege and not a right. At 15, he is now a young man and the dynamic and guidance become very different. Just yesterday, we had a chat about disabling ‘auto retrieve’ to mitigate the risk of the StageFright vulnerability.

Another frequent question at this time of year is what laptop or tablet should I be buying to enable learning at school, here are some key questions that might help aid the decision process on this.


Key considerations for back to school tech purchases

What is the purpose of the device?

Is it for productivity or for consumption? If you think about how we use the devices in our lives tablets are typically used to browse, watch and consume content where a laptop is used to create and produce, while there is some crossover this is a reasonable question to start the process of which is better.

School equipment

Does the school provide any equipment as learning aids? Knowing which devices kids have access to at school might help you decide to buy a device that the school does not already use.

Device specifics

Different devices have different uses. Tablets can be great for apps while laptops are of course great for browsing the web and certain types of gaming.

There is then the question of device choice, size of laptop or tablet, this one is personal and engaging your child on this is a good idea. After all, they will be the user of the device.


One top tip our own AVG IT department gave me when I purchased a laptop for my device was that I should buy the accidental damage insurance offered as kids drop or damage stuff in ways we don’t. This advice proved extremely useful and has saved me money!

Responsible Use

Okay, so you’ve decided on the right device and appropriate age, but the job isn’t done yet. Just like crossing the road, it’s up to us as parents to show our kids how to use the web responsibly and respect others when they communicate Remember that kids are not fully developed from a maturity perspective and they need our guidance (despite the fact that as teenagers think they know everything.)

School policy

Read the schools policy on Internet use and communication and enforce the same principles out of school, with the right education and guidance your kids might amaze you on their ability to behave in a mature way.

If in doubt, discuss

If necessary, then monitoring what they do may help you understand and guide them better, I personally find just talking to them about what they are up to works well and is much less intrusive. I know my parents never knew everything I got up to when I was a child so having a little freedom, unless its abused, is a positive growing up experience.


Make sure your kids understand one core principal – ‘if you wouldn’t say it offline then don’t say it online’


Digital Diaries: Teens are Photoshopping their images before sharing

Our latest  Digital Diaries research shows that more than two in ten children said they had edited photos of themselves before posting them online. Photoshopping at age 11 -13? Twenty-two percent of kids surveyed reported they had. Why?

Globally, thirty percent of the kids who altered their photos said they did so to make them look better.  Thirty four percent (34%) said they edited to make the photo look like more fun. And girls (21%) were more prone to do the editing than boys.

In the age of Facebook and Instagram, this definitely ties into the pressures we place on kids as a society to look perfect – and unrealistic beauty standards perpetuated by models and movie stars (many of whom are often Photoshopped).

Here in the U.S., did you know that one of the options now offered for school photos is to Photoshop your kid’s photo? You can take care of any imperfections like braces, blemishes and teeth whitening that might make the photos appear less than perfect.

In 2010, when The New York Times reported on the emergence of the phenomena, some of the leading school portrait photography companies reported up to 10% of elementary school photos were being altered. What kind of message does this photo altering send to kids?

“If we encourage kids to want to erase their imperfections when they’re very young, how will they ever be able to handle acne…or wrinkles?” wrote a young blogger who has written about the negative effects of Photoshopping on young people—specifically girls on social media.

Which brings us back to digital parenting…There’s a lot here for us to continue to ponder as we and our families live more and more of our lives always on and online.

It’s important for parents to show their children that what they see online or in the movies isn’t always real. The digital doctoring of images in the pursuit of ‘perfection’ can have damaging consequences for the self-image and confidence of young girls and boys.

The digital world holds a host of opportunity and excitement for our children, but as parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, it’s our job to guide them and educate them in the pro’s, con’s and deceptions that it can bring with it.