What Does Privacy Mean to You?

What does privacy mean to you when it comes to Social Media?


What does it mean to you when something is on Facebook or another social media website? Is anything truly private once it’s on the internet?

Have you ever run into someone in person who knew something about you because of what they read on social media? Did it feel strange that they knew about it? Sometimes when you post something, you expect that only certain people will see it, but you don’t know who laid eyes on what you put on the internet.

We try to keep our website secure and anonymous to protect your privacy so that you can share your experiences without worrying about who will see what you wrote. Also we got feedback from parents that privacy is VERY important to them and they have a lot of concerns about how to make sure they and their children’s information is kept safe. There might be other situations where you do want to publicly share your story too. But if you do make that decision, it should be your choice. For those situations when you want to protect your privacy – what have you done on social media to protect your personal information?

Tell us your experiences with social media and privacy and what that means to you?

New Years Resolutions

It may seem like the everyone around you is having a great time declaring their New Year’s Resolutions all over the internet. No matter where you look someone is posting about making it to the gym, studying every day, quitting smoking, on and on. It can be difficult to even think of something, let alone try to do it, when you have a mental health disorder. Maybe you’ve seen your own adolescent struggle with the “perfect” image that people post on the various social media websites. Maybe you struggle with it yourself.

Be Kind Quote

Fear not! New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be flashy or even publicly posted!  Last year my “resolution” was to “stop the glorification of busy.” Which for me meant slowing down, doing things that brought joyfulness into my life, and taking stock of the things that were bringing me “down.” It wasn’t not easy to show how I was being mindful on Instagram or Facebook, so I just stated my intention for the year instead. Which may be a great way to think about your “resolution,” make an intention.

What is your intention for the year? 

Is there a quote or reminder you could put on your bathroom mirror or in your planner that would bring you back to what you want your life to feel like? Does this seem less daunting than a resolution? What if you found a quote or reminder that you put up for your whole family to come back to through the month, or season. An intention can change and does not have to last the whole year!

One great resource I found for this year was finding some free worksheets for myself to do over the course of the month to help me get focused. No rush, just taking a pause to sit, think and reflect. If you don’t like the ones linked, just google “mindfulness worksheets” a ton will come up for you to print off for yourself!

Does this seem like a good idea? Tell us about what your intention for 2016 is! Are you sharing it on Social Media? Why or why not? 

Likes, Comments, & Shares -Social Currency

Photo Credit: Kasunit Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Kasunit Flickr via Compfight cc

Social media has connected the world unlike anything else ever has.  You can keep in contact with friends and family with ease as while as share individual experiences with the world.  Social media has undeniably changed how we all interact with one another, but can it also lead to negative outcomes? Continue reading Likes, Comments, & Shares -Social Currency

How to Block on Social Media

When people are spreading negativity to you or your adolescent online, sometimes the only solution is to block them. By blocking people, on most sites you will no longer be able to see their content and they won’t be able to see yours. In most cases, they also won’t be able to contact you on your feed or through direct message on the site. If someone is bothering you or your adolescent or saying things that spread negativity, it might be time to remove their profile from view. The following links are guides to blocking people: Continue reading How to Block on Social Media

Taking a Break from Social Media

Sometimes it can feel like your adolescent may live on their phone/tablet/computer. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, on and on! Everyone wants their attention!!

You give likes, you get likes, your phone buzzes, little red numbers come up on the apps letting you know about every interaction, every moment someone may notice you.

Are you giving yourself time to just be you? For them to just Be Them?

Photo Credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Compfight cc

There are some ways we can encourage our youth to take a break, to enjoy life outside the screens… 

There are lots of ways to take a break from social media without having to “disconnect” completely. One way is to take all “push” notifications off your phone – that way you have to actually open the app to see if anything is happening. This is especially useful if the notifications distract you from school work or other tasks.

Another option is only using the computer for social media. This means taking some or all of the apps off your phone. It makes it so that when you sit down at your computer you know whatever is happening on your social network doesn’t have to literally be with you all of the time.

Taking a break from social media does not have to be an All or Nothing situation. It can be a simplifying of what you engage in.

How do you take a break from social media? Have you ever done it on your own? Have you tried a day with out checking your various accounts? How did it feel? Would doing a family day without screens be useful? Tell us about your experiences with social media and adolescents.  

Giving your Profile an Update

Maybe you’ve already noticed that some folks have images beside their nicknames here on the wiseSOVA website. We want everyone to be able to have a photo there! Remember something that will not identify who you are because of the continental nature of our study!

On the left hand side of this page there is a box that says:


Below that it says: Update Your Profile (or you can just click this link!)

Now you can just upload a picture to the avatar section!

Having a personalized space is great on social media, because you can craft an image of yourself. Sometimes people make their life seem perfect on facebook, twitter, or instagram, but it’s important to remember that…

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Wendy Mass

Sometimes our children may have issues with what they see on social media versus what may be happening in real life. How do you talk to your adolescent about social media and how people portray themselves?

Social Media and Distraction

Time management is not easy. It is even more tough to teach your child how to manage their time. Kids are so busy these days – AND can easily get distracted by their technology.

Photo Credit: Celestine Chua via Compfight cc


You can help them set limits in a couple of ways.

Access Times

Help your child think through what times of the day they could limit using social media. Is it right after school? Is there an hour when they have to put away their phone and only focus on homework? A good time to put away technology is dinner time. Having a regular family meal is a great way to say healthy. It can promote communication between the family, and be a way families can spend quality time together, including thinking about what you are eating instead of mindlessly scarfing something down. This can be tough for busy families – but try it at least a couple of times per week.

Computer Websites/Apps

If you or your child need some help limiting your use, there are some great online apps available to help.  There are different apps with slightly different abilities, so here’s a guide that will help you pick your best option:

  • Leechblock- a free online app that allows you to block certain websites for a desired amount of time.  Learn more and download Leechblock here. (Only supported by Firefox web browser)
  • KeepMeOut- also free, this app helps you create customized bookmarks to use instead of standard links, and will alert you when you visit a site a certain number of times in a set amount of time. Get started here.
  • StayFocusd- an easily modifiable app for Chrome users, this free tool allows you to modify which sites you are allowed to visit and when.  Learn more and start staying focused here. (Only available to Chrome users)
  • Cold Turkey- another great tool to block distracting websites.  Basic functions are available for free, and you can upgrade for higher functioning.  Go cold turkey using this link. (Only supported by Windows)
  • SelfControl- similar to Cold Turkey, this site allows you to block sites for a set amount of time on a Mac.  Click here to learn more and download the app.
  • Tomato Timer- if you aren’t quite ready to go cold turkey and you think maybe you can control yourself and stay focused with just a little help and a few breaks, this is the right tool for you.  It uses something called the Pomodoro Technique to help keep you productive.  Click here to start!

Phone Apps

You can stop yourself from accidentally logging onto Facebook on your computer, but what happens when your friend posts a photo and you get a notification on your phone?  It’s not easy to ignore, and phone providers make it difficult to limit access to certain sites from your smart phone.  Because of this, there aren’t as many tools for your phone to limit distractions.  However, there is an app called Forest that works really well to encourage you not to be on your phone, instead focused on the task at hand.  You enter the app and can “plant a seed,” which takes 30 minutes to grow into a tree.  If you leave the app at any time to check another app (*cough* like social media) the tree will die, and you’ll have to start over.  Eventually, your hard work will grow into your own personal forest in your phone.  Interested?  Click here to learn more.

Do you have any tips or tricks for limiting your own or your child’s social media use?  Let us know in the comments below!

Social media: how to unfollow

Do you sometimes get annoyed by what you see on social media? You wish you just didn’t have to see someone’s post about something?

Photo Credit: Alexander Smolianitski via Compfight cc

Some social media sites are picking up on this and making changes so we can customize our social media experience.

Take a look at this article on how to customize your Facebook newsfeed. 

Continue reading Social media: how to unfollow

Your child’s health and the internet

When you have questions about your health, where do you go first? Many of us go to the internet. We know there are all kinds of things we could find there – good and bad. But there are ways to figure out what information you can trust and what is not trustworthy.

Who Needs a Librarian Sign by The Daring Librarian CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Continue reading Your child’s health and the internet

Dangers of sharing your location via social media

Social media is highly used among adolescents and teens.  While there are many perks to social media, it also has it’s dangers.  For example, some social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., will share your location without you even knowing. This could be troublesome for your privacy as well as your safety.

What are some of the dangers of sharing your location online?  And how can you prevent sharing too much information?

Continue reading Dangers of sharing your location via social media