The first of July marked a good step forward with the effort to protect our kids online. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) had several new amendments come into effect on July 1, 2013. Rest assured the MamaBear App remains compliant with these new adjustments to COPPA with full parental consent upon account registration.
We’re grateful for the groundbreaking measures that this important piece of law instituted to help the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protect kids online. Since becoming effective in 2000, COPPA has become an essential tool that protects our childrens’ private information online. COPPA sets strict limits on what information can be gathered online without parental consent. All those “Are you 13 years or older?” prompts you see when you join a new website, service or forum online is a great example of COPPA protection at work.
The new additions to COPPA, added in 2012, expand and modify some of the existing child privacy protections as well as codifying new technologies into the law’s language. These new additions to the law address the major increase of data collection technology, behavior related marketing and the use of mobile devices by a growing number of young users. The additions also protect geotag related information as well as photos and recordings a child may have online. This proactive approach from the FTC should help many parents rest easier.
As an extensive family monitoring and communication tool, we understand the importance of these legal boundaries and are still completely in line with existing and new COPPA regulations. After receiving parental consent during account registration, MamaBear communicates gathered information directly to the parent. Your children’s personal information is never given to third party sources. We’re on a mission to provide parents with a wealth of valuable information while still respecting a family’s right to privacy online and out in the real world.
Instagram went online in 2010 and rapidly exploded into the 130 million user social media juggernaut that it is today. The popular photo app works on both Android and iOS platforms. The allure of easy photo sharing, liking photos, tagging and the unique filters and editing options make the app an endless source of social entertainment. The thought of our kids sharing/viewing photos and now videos with and from 130 million people could be source of anxiety for many parents. Other social video apps like Vine already have a following, and the switch can be a hassle for established users. This leaves a large community of young users that may not migrate, until of course their friends aren’t there anymore.
Instagram video allows for uploads of a 15 second video and joins the same stream as photos.
This addition to the stream doesn’t introduce new risk, maybe just some surprise when anticipating a photo to instead see a video. However, the explore tab of Instagram has been and continues to be unsettling. Search anything you’d like and be presented with that category of photos and now videos. Preying adults and curious kids can easily cross paths by exploring Instagram.
As recommended prior to the introduction of video, be sure your child’s account is set to private.
Talk to your kids about talking to strangers. Stranger danger rules apply online the same as in person. They should not follow anyone they don’t know. And if your kids are going to post videos, talk to them about what’s appropriate. Keep in mind revealing location, school name and other personal information can be a lot easier in a video than in a photo so they need to be extra careful to avoid potentially very dangerous situations.
MamaBear Instagram notifications can inform parents when a child is tagged in a photo or video, as well as when they add a follower or are contacted by a restricted follower. In addition parents can build a restricted word list to be notified when those words are used on their child’s Instagram feed. We’ll do our part to continue to monitor Instagram video to ensure parents are up to date with new features. Parents, we rely on you to teach your kids proper use of social media.
Summer is such a great time to spend time together as a family! There are so many options for new experiences and memories as we loosen up boundaries with our children. With today’s technology more parents are looking for a little helping hand to relieve some parental anxiety during the freedom of summer. Here are a few practical scenarios the MamaBear App or similar technology can help with worry-free summer travel.
The Beach and Boardwalk
Large beaches, particularly the beaches at vacation destinations usually come complete with boardwalks or other tourist oriented attractions. Not only do we want time to relax, our kids want some freedom to safely explore the surrounding entertainment. Location apps like MamaBear can help you set boundaries and get alerted should your children leave a designated area. Talk to your kids about safety and helpful check in and location features available through apps on their phone.
The Amusement Park
Amusement park trips are one of the most common summer travel destination for large families. The variety that amusement parks can offer families means there is usually something for everyone. Something for everyone can also mean splitting up to fit it all in. MamaBear location features help parents watch a child move in near real time. This means a child can enjoy several rides, games and attractions without having to drag the whole family along. In sprawling amusement parks, MamaBear can even help with something as simple as sending the kids to the nearest restroom and back, but giving the kids reassurance they can tap the “come get me” button if they get turned around.
One of the most memorable events from any summer travel experience is going to see a major sporting event. While many families are lucky enough to live in a city with a pro-team, other families take a day or weekend trip to experience their favorite team first hand. A day at the ball field or stadium is a great time, but sometimes boisterous crowds, tailgaters and huge crushes of people can get a bit nerve-racking for families. MamaBear can help parents find kids and help kids find parents in all of these instances.
MamaBear is one of the best options available to help parents, and children, enjoy the experiences of a summer vacation to the fullest. MamaBear can support the freedom to develop family memories as well individual experiences for memories that will last a lifetime.
It’s Summertime!When most of us were kids there was no holding us back from summer fun and extra time for discovery and exploration. Even in a world that’s way more complex than ours was, every year summer still means more free time for millions of kids.
Here are our top summer safety tips for and ways MamaBear can help you be in the know and keep the family safe.
1. Water Safety
Teaching your kids how to swim is number one. Then all of the water safety precautions will follow – wear sunscreen, no wrestling in the water, know where the lifeguards or parents are, look out for each other.
2. Camping Safety
Parent chaperones are always best. Nonetheless being prepared with a first aid kit, bug spray and sunscreen are good ideas. Location devices can also be very useful when camping. Installing MamaBear on a camper’s iPhone or Android Smartphone can give kids quick access to parents in case of emergencies while offering parents and chaperones up to date location information about the kids.
3. Safe Road Trips
The freedom of summer usually means some form of travel. This can mean single day trips to local destinations for some, or longer road trips for others. MamaBear’s sound advice is to make sure your kids have a smartphone, a car charger for it and a regular charger. Smartphones are one of the best tools to help kids stay safe on the road – but NO texting and driving. Kids can use a smartphone for directions, travel tips, taking pictures and certainly checking in with mom. MamaBear can let parents monitor trip progress and driving speed, as well as offer children an easy to use option to contact parents if there is an emergency on the road.
These favorite summer activities will give our kids such wonderful experiences. We encourage loosening up the boundaries with the help of technology to ease our minds! MamaBear can help parents with summer safety for kids and provide a variety of ways to keep tabs on our children’s whereabouts and activities. Location monitoring, social media monitoring and driving speed alerts means kids can explore and parents can still work. Let us help you keep track of the kids this summer by downloading MamaBear from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.