Tag Archives: Parents

MMGuardian and the Battle Against Cyber-Bullying

28 Jun
By Paul Grossinger

Half of all children experience cyber-bullying.

According to a study by the Prague Monitor, half of all school-aged kids will experience cyber-bullying in at least one of its many forms during their formative years.

So, globally, at least half a billion children experience cyber-bullying through their computer, mobile device, or, most prominently now, their smartphone.

The rising issue of mobile cyber-bullying is becoming a huge issue here in the US as well. 90% of US kids either see or experience cyber-bullying, according to ThinkProgress.org, which adds up to nearly 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims in American schools.

What can be done to stop this rising tide in its tracks?

Encouragingly, parents, educators, and technologists are all taking action to attack the rise in cyberbullying. Parents of teens who have committed suicide are travelling across the country, encouraging kids to stop bullying their peers. Educators and filmmakers like K.R. Shields are working together to promote anti-bullying films like Love is All You Need, which is meant to show kids the real consequences of bullying.

And technologists like ourselves at Pervasive Group are working on MMGuardian. MMGuardian’s Monitor, Call Block, and App Block features now work symbiotically to prevent bullying: Monitor allows parents to flag words and phrases of concern in text messages, Call Block enables parents to shut off certain bullying contacts’ access to their kids, and app blocker enables parents to shut off bullying via third-party apps like Oovoo and Facebook Messenger.

Cyber-bullying is a growing problem – but we can all be part of the solution.

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MMGuardian: How Technology Disconnects Parents From Their Kids

30 Mar

‘Technology connects us.” It’s a common refrain, perhaps explored most famously in Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, and it is clearly true in many instances. Yet, while technology brings us closer, it also splits us apart in ways we often barely realize. Nowhere is this clearer than in relationships between parents and their kids.

If you have ever watched That 70s Show, you know how technology has completely altered parents’ reality. Back when, parents did not always know what their kids were doing, a fact hilariously parodied in the show, but they interacted with them on a consistent, connected basis. The kids were often at home, they spoke over the dinner table, they hung out in the basement…and the parents were largely aware of their kids and connected to their existence in a very real, personal way.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

TV shows display arch-types, not reality – but clearly the technology age has turned that on its head. Smartphones may bring us closer than we have ever been to our relatives on other continents – face to face on skype and ‘just a click away’ – but they have driven us equally far away from those who actually populate our daily lives. Now, parents and kids may be sitting in the same room and ‘interacting’ but entirely missing one another – the kid busy on his phone or Xbox, the parent pecking away at their laptop; both apparently unaware that this sham of an interaction is exactly representative of the problem technology is rapidly creating in our society.

The question now is: how do we fix it?

MMGuardian: Shutting Down Mobile Bullying

23 Mar

MMGuardian’s Tactics for Parents

By Paul Grossinger 

If any phrase defines mobile tech, it’s “24/7 Connectivity.” But, 24/7 is also responsible for serious new problems arising from tech, especially bullying.

While I’m quite sure that, all the way back in 5,000 B.C., kids bullied one another with rocks and sticks, I’m equally certain that mobile technology has completed changes bullying’s dynamics from anything we’ve seen in the past – for the worse. Simply put, kids get no rest.

And parents are beginning to ask the toughest question: how can I shut down the cyber-bullying that is hurting my child? Luckily, while difficult, there are solutions.

First, communicate. Only 25% of children nationally tell a parent they are being bullied. If you make yourself a safe resource for your child and show them that you care about their problems, will not blame them, and will commit to being part of the solution, you can earn a spot in that coveted 25%.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

Second, reinforce communication. For that, MMGuardian can help.

MMGuardian enables parents to set up alerts on their children’s phones, so, if their child receives bullying messages, they instantly become aware of it.

For example, if a parent wants to know if their child receives messages containing potentially bullying words like “gay,” the parent can set that word up for an alert using MMGuardian’s system. If that word appears in their child’s texts, the parent is notified and can take action.

Out there, mobile bullying is only getting worse. But in your own family, you can make a positive difference. And MMGuardian can help.

MMGuardian: Distracted Driving is Now the No. 1 Killer of American Teens

22 Mar

What Should Parents Do?

By Paul Grossinger

Distracted driving now kills more American teens than any other danger, according to AOL

What should parents do to stop it?

First, what exactly is “distracted driving?” It seems like an ambiguous, all-inclusive term for such an unambiguous killer. It includes any activity that impairs the drivers’ ability to operate a vehicle. Can you guess the No. 1 contributor to distraction?

If you said “Texting While Driving,” you are correct. Luckily for parents, technology has caughtup and there are great solutions to texting a driving. In parents’ case, where teens are minors and guardians own and pay for the phone, parents benefit from a lack of legal ambiguity and can take whatever action they deem necessary to safeguard their teens’ health.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

That includes installing text and drive prevention technology. For that, MMGuardian can help.

MMGuardian’s feature set includes advanced text and drive prevention. Once you download the app as a parent and register it, simply go to the settings page and turn the ‘Safe Driving’ protection “ON.” When Safe Driving is on, MMGuardian will track if the phone and your teen are in a moving vehicle and, if so, shut down the phones’ functionality so it cannot distract your child from the road.

It’s that simple. Happy Driving!

MMGuardian: The Thin Red Line

15 Mar

MMGuardian Protects Your Child and Their Privacy

By Paul Grossinger

You know…but you don’t want know.

Who is your child texting? Who are they calling? What apps are they using?

You have a clear desire to know, to be aware, and to keep your child safe. Yet, you also know there is a thin red line between protecting your child and ruining their privacy, controlling every aspect of their lives in the process and facing rebellion every step of the way.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

Every parent wants safety – but no parent wants constant rebellion, antagonism, and lasting anger.

MMGuardian can help.

MMGuardian was designed with this potential dichotomy in mind and it is intended to provide safety, awareness, and control – without devolving into absolute control unless the parent deems it absolutely necessary.

Let’s delve into exactly what that means in real terms.

Text Monitor

Text Monitor

MMGuardian’s Monitor feature analyzes your child’s texts. With monitor, you choose the words and phrases that worry you, individually, and only receive alerts for texts that indicate problems you yourself have highlighted. That way, you don’t receive every one of your child’s texts – ruining your own time and their privacy – but you do know they are safe.

Application Control

Application Control

MMGuardian’s App Control feature blocks or restricts apps, providing you flexibility in how to handle your child’s applications. Some apps, like Snapchat, are truly dangerous and need blocking. But others, like Angry Birds, may simply require time restriction to reduce distraction. The mixed feature set lets you incorporate nuance into your decision-making.

In the end, it’s about wielding power with a chisel, not a hammer. With kids and teens, that’s often the story of life, isn’t it?

MMGuardian: Parental Control

11 Mar

Parental Control: It’s Now All About Mobile

By Paul Grossinger

Remember 2005?

In the mid-2000s, internet parental controls were all the rage. Parents were, rightfully, concerned by what their children were viewing online and bought parental control software left and right. Internet parental control became a multi-billion dollar industry.

PC Security is now a mountain we’ve climbed. We reached the summit and, for most parents, systems from McAfee, Norton, and other companies keep their kids away from virus and porn sites.

Fast forward to 2013 and parental control is fundamentally changing: now, it’s all about mobile.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

Mobile parental control isn’t a true buzzword yet in pop culture terms but it is on its way. 35% of children and teens own smartphones, according to Pew Research; similar numbers to PC penetration among teens in the early 2000s. Texting while driving, cyber-bullying, Snapchat, sexting…these problems are just beginning to enter the mainstream public discourse.

But, starting now, all of that is changing. Soon, “mobile” will be inseparable from parental control and parents will be focusing less on internet browsing and more on phone control. Is my child receiving bullying texts – or sending them? Is my child texting behind the wheel? Did my child send nude pictures? MMGuardian works to solve the problems posed by these questions. And it is those questions, now spoken mostly in the shadows, which speak to the problems that will come to dominate conversations about technology parenting.

Indeed, by 2016, when nearly 100% of teens own at least one smart device, how could they not?

MMGuardian: The Intersection of Communication and Technology

8 Mar

How MMGuardian Can Help Hold Your Teens Accountable

By Paul Grossinger

The old adage, which dates from practically the dawn of time, grows more relevant with each new advent of mobile technology.

In particular, as smartphones give teens more independence and increase their capacity for self-harm, parents must set up strong ties of communication between themselves and their kids.

Whether it is bullying, sexting, texting and driving, or something else, parents should set themselves up as a trusted source for their children to communicate their problems.

But, here is the elephant in the room: communication is great – but how do parents verify their children are being honest with them and hold them accountable when they are not?

That is where MMGuardian™ comes into play.

MMGuardian

MMGuardian

At its essence, MMGuardian is about providing accountability. Parents install MMGuardian so that they can set preventative safety measures; eliminating texting and driving and dangerous apps, alerting themselves to bullying, and giving themselves access controls for their child’s phone. In short, MMGuardian lets parents know the real story – clueing them in to whether their child’s phone and activities are safe.

Its leading with communication and trust and handicapping it with clear rules, controls, and accountability.

In the age of ever more capable smartphones, is there really another option?