tiktok path to purchase

TikTok Algorithm

The TikTok Algorithm In 2022?

tiktok path to purchase

As a platform with high engagement and growth potential, TikTok is a favorable app for businesses that want to get their solutions in front of more people.

According to TikTok, 49% of users (over 490 million people) seek and discover something new on the app each month. TikTok’s highly personalized algorithm delivers relevant content to users through the For You feed, keeping users engaged.

Here’s what brands need to know about TikTok’s algorithm and the unique path to purchase on the app.

TikTok is revamping the outdated linear sales process and is focusing on driving growth at scale. The smoother and more seamless customer experience from their unique path to purchase is described as an “infinite loop.” Rather than a sales funnel with a defined start and endpoint, TikTok users enter, exit, and re-enter the buyer’s journey at the stage that best matches their needs and wants.

TikTok’s massive success is due to following its user’s lead, building around their behavior, and providing them with the right content based on which stage they are at in the customer journey.

Why Brands Need to Be on TikTok in 2022

Let’s be honest. Putting together a whole strategy for each social platform, monitoring the results, and optimizing performance is a lot of work. And brands have been hesitant to adopt TikTok into their existing social strategy.

Whether this is because of limited internal bandwidth, it being considered a “Gen Z” app, or nobody in the office wanting to be behind the camera — there is no denying the potential of TikTok when you look at the numbers.

Let’s dive into the top TikTok statistics brands need to know:

  • TikTok monthly active users: There are 1 billion monthly active users on TikTok.
  • Number of App Installs: TikTok has been downloaded 3 billion times and had the most non-game app installs for 6 months in 2021, achieving 383 million downloads from January to June 2021.
  • Surpassing competition: In 2021, TikTok was the 7th ranked social media app. Surpassing Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit for monthly active users is impressive considering it was only launched in 2016.
  • Engagement Rate: With a session duration of 10.85 minutes, TikTok has been recognized as the top social media platform for engagement. This is twice Pinterest at rank #2 with 5.06 minutes.
  • Growth rate: In the U.S., TikTok had a 787.86% user growth rate and a 1157.76% increase in its user base worldwide.
  • Influencer earnings: TikTok influencers and creators can earn up to $5 million a year if they have up to 100 million followers. The most popular categories for influencer content are beauty, fitness, dance, pranks, and entertainment.

This rapidly growing social media app’s innovative and unique algorithm allows users to reach more people based on how they interact with your content.

TikTok’s key differentiator is the sense of community on the app. TikTok’s niche communities provide a place for everyone to connect, and new communities are continually emerging as more people join the app.

If you’re new to TikTok, check out #BusinessTok or #BrandTok. These niche communities provide content for marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners on tips, real-life experiences, and live streams of their networking events.

Gina Nacnac, manager of brand partnerships at HireInfluence, shared with us the importance of TikTok marketing for brands in 2022:

In 2022, we’re going to see a rise in Content Creators on TikTok that create content specifically for the brand’s owned channel appearing as the face of the brand for a contracted period of time, like quarterly or every six months. This is going to provide more opportunities for smaller creators to monetize and will provide ways for brands to connect with consumers authentically through relatable creator content.

TikTok’s Unique Path to Purchase

TikTok transforms how brands connect with their audiences, drive purchases and find success. The platform recently conducted a global research study to understand TikTok’s role in and perceptions across the retail consumer journey. Here is what they found:

  • People on TikTok are 1.5x more likely to instantly purchase something they discovered on the platform than other platforms’ users.
  • TikTok is 1.7x more likely to be the source for product discovery compared to other social platforms.
  • TikTokers are 1.4x more likely than the other platform users to research products/brands they find on the platform.
  • TikTok users are 1.5x more likely than other platform users to persuade friends or family to purchase a product or service they’ve come across on the app.
  • TikTok users are 2.4x more likely than other platform users to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product.
  • TikTok users are more than twice as likely to comment or D.M. a brand after purchasing a product compared to other platform users.

Brands that see massive success on TikTok aren’t just pushing products and creating content when it’s time to sell. Instead, they develop a consistent presence by using a TikTok scheduling tool and focusing on their brand’s role as a creator of entertainment. Successful brands leverage their TikTok Business Account to create a home on the platform, establish their unique brand voice, and build a community.

TikTok Algorithm: which social media platforms marketers plan to increase investments in

TikTok is revolutionizing the social media marketing landscape through its infinite loop buyer’s journey. Compared to other platforms, TikTok is leading the way at each stage of the customer journey — awareness, consideration, and decision.

How The TikTok Algorithm Works in 2022

One of the key ranking signals on the TikTok algorithm is video completion. Each time a user watches a video in full, that video will be more likely to be suggested to other users’ feeds.

Another major influence on the TikTok algorithm is hashtags and user-viewing habits. TikTok will take note of the type of videos you’re watching and which niche communities they are coming from. It will then suggest similar videos to you based on your content consumption.

For example, if you can’t get enough of DanceTok, good news — the algorithm will keep suggesting related videos. Brands looking to increase the reach of their videos should use trending songs, hashtags, and dances.

This is how TikTok has defined their For You page algorithm:

“This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user. Part of the magic of TikTok is that there’s no one For You feed – while different people may come upon some of the same standout videos, each person’s feed is unique and tailored to that specific individual.”

Key Components of the TikTok Algorithm:

  • Video Information: video information signals are based on the content you seek out on the Discover tab (i.e., captions, sounds, hashtags).
  • User Interactions: as mentioned above, the TikTok algorithm is influenced by a user’s content consumption and interactions on the app.
  • Device and Account Settings: although these do not have as strong of an influence on the TikTok algorithm, it’s still worth mentioning. These are settings (i.e., language, country, device type) a user chooses on their account that TikTok considers when optimizing content.

What Engagements Are Not Important to the TikTok Algorithm

As we covered, the TikTok algorithm considers a few key ranking signals when suggesting videos to your feed. But what are the least important metrics of engagement?

  • Content already viewed
  • Duplicated content
  • Potentially upsetting content (TikTok provides examples of “legal consumption of regulated goods” or “graphic medical procedures”)
  • Content that gets flagged as spam

And the best news yet? For new users or TikTokers with a low following, the TikTok algorithm doesn’t use follower count as a ranking signal. Meaning small accounts still have the potential for high reach.

Want to see what other businesses are doing on TikTok? Check out this roundup of TikTok marketing examples to inspire your brand.

Wrapping Up

Incorporating the latest platform trends into a brand’s marketing strategy can help them to more effectively engage, educate, and sustain their audience seamlessly into the TikTok community. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Check out the Trend Discovery Tool to uncover what’s trending in your vertical, what’s on consumers’ minds, and what’s viral on TikTok in real-time.

In 2022, businesses need to stay on top of new marketing techniques, trends, and rising platforms to drive key growth and better connect with their audience. One of them is TikTok, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. There is a huge opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the viral nature of the app and allow it to take their digital campaigns to the next level.

Blog - Content Mapping Template

 

 

A version of this article was first published on Hubspot

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10 Resolutions for Successful Email Marketing

10 Resolutions for Successful Email Marketing

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Email marketers are on a constant search for a silver bullet: the one trick that gives them better visibility in front of subscribers and gets their message opened. While no such solution exists, there is something that can help.

Brand Indicators for Message Identification—referred to as BIMI for short—is an emerging email standard that can help your brand stand out in the inbox.

Let’s dig in and see how it works.

What is BIMI?

Ever noticed how some brands have their logo displayed next to their message in the inbox? The logo that appears is known as a verified sender logo.

example showing brand with verified sender logo and brand without verified sender logo
Source: Litmus’ Getting Started with BIMI Guide

In short, BIMI allows you to display a sender logo alongside your messages in the inbox, when verified under a set of BIMI specifications.

  • According to BIMI Group, BIMI is an emerging email specification that enables the use of brand-controlled logos within supporting email clients.

Not only does BIMI help boost your brand’s visibility, but it also helps build brand recognition and trust. BIMI was created to help prevent fraudulent emails, and in a world where phishing and email scams are on the rise, as email marketers, it’s imperative we establish trust with our subscribers. One of the ways to do that is BIMI.

BIMI is a way to verify information about your brand. Like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF—three methods for verifying sender information—BIMI is a text record that lives on your servers. In fact, it works right alongside SPF, DMARC, and DKIM to signal to email clients that you are you. As such, BIMI aids in deliverability, too.

Getting Started with BIMI launch blog
Source: Litmus’ Getting Started with BIMI Guide

While a number of email clients already try to pull your logo into the inbox, you don’t currently have a lot of control over which logo or imagery they collect. With BIMI, however, you have direct control over what logo is displayed—allowing you to keep control over your brand and subscriber’s experience, creating trust in the process.

Different methods of verifying senders and using logos have been around for years, but the first formalized spec for BIMI was published in February 2019. The original creators have since formed the AuthIndicators Working Group to formalize and promote BIMI throughout the industry. Over the last couple of years, the working group has been joined by the likes of Fastmail, Google, Mailchimp, Proofpoint, Twilio SendGrid, Validity, Valimail, and Verizon Media (which owns Yahoo Mail).

Here’s a list of BIMI support by mailbox provider, as of March 2022:

3 column chart showing BIMI support
Source: BIMI Group

Get the latest BIMI requirements and news from the BIMI working group.

How does BIMI work?

Like other email authentication standards, BIMI is essentially a text file. That text file follows a specific format and lives on your sending servers.

When a message is delivered, the recipient’s email service looks up the BIMI text file—and where it’s hosted—to ensure that the message can be verified. Once verified, the BIMI file tells the email service where to find the sender’s logo, and the email service pulls that logo into the inbox.

Although the underlying concept of BIMI sounds simple, there are a few key things you’ll need to get BIMI set up:

  • Authentication of your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
  • Access to your domain name servers to set up a new BIMI DNS entry
  • An SVG file of your logo
  • A Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) optional but recommended

Although not all mailbox providers support BIMI currently, others will likely add BIMI support in the future, especially as privacy measures increase in email. It’s an emerging standard that is still in development, but setting it up now will help you privacy-proof your email program.

Like everything in email, BIMI support is likely to change over time. But, with major names like Google, Verizon Media, and Fastmail involved, it’s likely we’ll see more service providers joining the working group and pilot program over the coming years.

Successful email marketing is built on trust

The initial value of BIMI for email marketers should be obvious: You get your logo to display next to your messages in supported inboxes. But the real value is in establishing trust with your brand’s emails.

The underlying goal of BIMI is to make it easy for subscribers to identify trustworthy email senders so they can have confidence in the content in their inbox. When subscribers see your logo, they can immediately trust that it’s an actual email from you and not a dangerous phishing attempt. Sure, the brand awareness of constantly seeing logos is nice, but the trust that comes along with those logos is where the magic happens.

BIMI can be beneficial to your email deliverability, too. Since so much of modern-day deliverability is based on authentication and reputation—rather than email content itself—BIMI will provide yet another mechanism to improve your odds of making it to the inbox.

As we saw earlier, BIMI requires other authentication protocols to be properly set up. For brands not using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, the desire to use BIMI for getting their logos in front of subscribers will force them to follow authentication best practices. Combined, all of these authentication methods will make for more reliable deliverability and a better sender reputation overall.

While it’s still on you to build a relationship with your subscribers through providing value in your email campaigns, BIMI will allow you to build the foundational trust needed to hit the inbox.

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Social Media Trends

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Social media has evolved.

We’ve said goodbye to simple status updates
hello to selling and digital communities

So, what’s on the horizon for 2022?
From the staying power of short-form video to an emphasis on mental health,
we’re sharing the top social media trends to pay attention to this year.

1. The Creator Economy Will Boom

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The creator economy is now worth over $100 billion, and we predict it’s just getting started. Many platforms have started to heavily invest in creator marketplaces and creator tools – like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn.  These tools help make it easier for creators to connect with their audience and collaborate with brands.

As social media platforms move more into the e-commerce space, it makes sense to invest in creators who are driving engagement, growing engaged communities, and promoting products.

And if you thought the creator community was oversaturated, think again. There are thousands of creators who’ve seen huge growth within the span of a year or two –  they’ve simply found their niche and stuck to it.  Take @coffeebae97 who started her TikTok account in April 2020 and now has over 1.2M combined followers on TikTok and Instagram: Or Kat Norton who started her Instagram account in September 2020 and now has over 500K followers

2. More Streamlined Social Commerce 

Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce where everything happens on social media – product discovery, click-to-purchase, and post-purchase support. 

And it’s revolutionizing the way we shop:

Social media has become a virtual mall of sorts, right in the palm of our hands. We can browse products, find inspiration, and purchase within a few clicks.

As a result, platforms have begun to introduce new social commerce tools:

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In 2022, we predict a doubling-down on social commerce, as each platform vies to make their shopping features the best-in-class for both consumers and brands alike. 

Speaking of shopping on social media, with Later’s Linkin.bio tool, you can seamlessly drive clicks to your website or individual product pages. Learn more here:

3. Short-form Vertical Video is Here to Stay

Short-form vertical video has boomed, thanks to the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels

Not only is video content an engaging form of storytelling and a way to drive sales, it’s also a major growth hack

  • Videos on Instagram get more engagement than other formats

  • Tweets with videos generate 10x more engagement than those without

  • Pinterest reported a 240% increase YoY of organic video pins from 2020 to 2021

In the past year alone, we’ve seen brands and creators use video to connect with their audience on a deeper level, spotlight products, and raise awareness about causes they care about.

In 2022, we think we’ll see a lot of new trends and creative content pop up – whether it’s fun editing transitions or in-depth tutorials.

TIP:
Over 430M people in the world are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, and 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound.
So, we suggest using subtitles (or captions) on your videos to make them more accessible.

4. An Emphasis on Mental Health & Burnout Prevention 

According to a recent report by Vibely, 90% of creators have experienced burnout and 71% have considered quitting social media altogether.

Between ongoing lockdowns, more time spent online, and the pressure to consistently churn out content, the digital burnout is real.

In 2021, we noticed an uptick in creators and brands talking about self-care, setting digital boundaries, and taking breaks:

And in 2022, there’ll be more conversations surrounding our relationship with social media and how it affects us.

Even Instagram’s joined the fray, with their new “Take a Break” feature, which is being tested in the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand:

The feature allows users to “receive break reminders in-app”
after a duration of their choosing. 

Instagram says they’ll also provide expert-backed tips on what you can do during your break like listening to your favorite song or taking a few deep breaths. 

5. A Renewed Focus on Accountability & Diversity 

In 2020, we saw many brands speak out against racism, with promises to listen, learn, and do better. 

Now two years later, the question remains: what’s next? 

Judging from a recent report, which found that the pay gap between white influencers and BIPOC influencers is 29%, brands still have a ways to go.

While diversity and inclusion should never be a “social media trend” per se, we predict there will be an ongoing conversation about holding brands accountable to the promises they made to their followers. 

From influencer partnerships to event speaker lineups, we hope it becomes more of a standard moving forward.

In other words, no longer something to simply check off your list. 

To learn how to create a more inclusive marketing strategy, watch our workshop with strategist Sonia Thompson:

6. Memes, Memes, Memes

Everyone loves a good meme, right? In 2022, we predict memes (both static and video) are going to have an even bigger moment.

We’ve seen thousands of niche meme accounts pop up on the scene for everything from astrology to social media manager woes:

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And popular meme account Saint Hoax even partnered
with the Met Gala in 2021 as a “meme correspondent
to cover its biggest moment:
Memes are a great way for brands and creators to connect with their audience and join trending conversations. And the best part? They don’t need to be fancy.

In short?
Memes are here to stay, and the more creative or nimble you are
the better

7. Social Media Posts as a Form of Currency

Pay for a product with a social media post?

Yep,

it’s real and this social media trend is just getting started

The result?

Long lines and consistently
sold out products. 

Similarly, Bun Burgers let customers to pay for their food with “TikTok currency” for the month of November. This video alone got over 6M views

While TikTokers got free burgers, Bun Burgers gained brand awareness and free user-generated content

As the world opens up again and brands begin planning in-person events, these types of campaigns could take off. Watch this space.

8. Rise of the LinkedInfluencer

So what will we
see in 2022?

 LinkedIn and influencer:

two words you likely never thought would work together.

But in 2022, think again. “LinkedIn is an underrated platform,” says marketing strategist and LinkedIn creator Sara Lattanzio.

“They’ve started to invest more in creators. From the Creator Mode rollout to global creator programs, they’re making it easier to share content and grow an audience. It’s just the beginning.” LinkedIn even launched its first Creator Accelerator last year, with creator Jon Youshaei encouraging others not to sleep on the platform

But why LinkedIn’s sudden popularity?

“The shift to work from home culture made many people realize the importance of creating a memorable personal brand outside of the one you have with your company,” shares Marketer and Creator, Danica S. Nelson.  “LinkedIn is a great way to create visibility and showcase thought leadership within your broader network.” Not to mention, the engagement potential is bananas. Check out this post that has over 20K reactions:

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We predict more creators using the platform,
professionals growing their personal brands,
and CEOs positioning themselves as experts in their field

“What I hope we don’t see more of is the recycling of polls that ask whether internships should be paid or unpaid. Enough please,” adds Danica.

9. The “No Filter” Feed Takes Over 

Creators and brands alike are shifting away from the perfectly curated feed aesthetic, and choosing to share less filtered and more in-the-moment content.

Take @scienceoffoods whose simplistic posts look like they have no filters at all:

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Or fashion brand HARA, who often shares minimally edited content:

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This trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise of authenticity over recent years, which has seen a shift in the type of content posted on social media.

In 2022, we predict brands and creators will spend less time creating a picture-perfect perception, and more time fostering deeper relationships with their followers.

For the biggest photo editing trends, check out this post: The Biggest Photo Editing Trends on Instagram Right Now.

10. Brands Let Loose on TikTok 

TikTok was the cool kid on the block in 2021, and that won’t change in 2022.

With over 1B monthly active users, TikTok is a space for anyone and everyone – with a less filtered and curated vibe than Instagram. 

Brands who’ve pivoted to TikTok like The Washington Post or Starface, have been able to tap into the fun, zany, and bold side of the platform:

And with 60% of TikTok users being Gen Zers
(the ultimate trendsetters),
we predict more brands letting loose
and trying to tap into that market. 

Take Duolingo, whose TikTok content is so different from what it posts on other platforms:

They’ve nailed their TikTok strategy

by incorporating trending sounds with their oversized bird mascot –

it’s chaotic
(in a good way)

The result?

Millions of views and thousands of comments, on the regular. With TikTok, brands can be more casual and experimental. We’re looking forward to seeing how this trend evolves throughout the year. Like we said, social media is the wild west – it’s constantly evolving. And while it can be overwhelming when a new feature drops or a trend emerges, it allows you to experiment and see what works best for your specific audience and goals. 

So

whether it’s posting more meme content or

leveraging in-app shopping features,

we’re tapping these 10 social media trends as ones to watch. 

A version of this article was first published on later.com

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Tech rules for your tween

Tech Rules You Need For Your Tweens & Teens

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A version of this article was first published on parentingteensandtweens.com

Parenting Teens and Tweens is Hard.

BUT then you add in technology and it feels almost impossible.

First, there is the worry that keeps us up and night. We worry about what our teens might be seeing online, or what they might be doing or WHO they might be meeting.  And then there are just the daily battles of trying to get them to turn off the devices and plug into life.

There isn’t one easy answer when parents are tearing their hair out over tech, but there are tools we can use to make easier. One of the biggest is to set some ground rules.

When expectations are clear, at least on some basic principles, than our teens understand where we stand. It also gives a starting place for conversations on some pretty tough topics that we really need to be talking about with our teens.

Technology is NOT a Right

Our teens and tweens today sometimes have a hard time understanding the difference between what is a right and what is a privilege.

They have a right to shelter, food, an education, clothing and our love.

By food, we don’t mean that we’ll fund their daily before school Frappuccino habit. And by clothing, that doesn’t mean brand new $300 kicks every six months.

When it comes to tech, it’s true, our tweens and teens often do need some kind of access for their education. In some cases, as young as elementary school, our children are actually being provided with laptop computers and tablets to take home for their personal use.

And by high school, giving them some kind of mobile phone is almost inevitable. These technologies have become fundamental parts of our society and they need to learn how to use them responsibly and safely. That has become part of our job as parents.

But that doesn’t translate into a right to brand new expensive mobile phones with all the bells and whistles along with unrestricted access and unlimited amounts of time to spend on all these tech toys.

Technology is a privilege, one that they earn. And in some cases, one they pay for themselves. They need to show us in other areas of their lives that they have the maturity to handle some of the temptations and risks that come with technology.

Digital Citizenship

It’s amazing how the rules for interacting with other people online can be so different than in real life.

How many of us have seen someone post something on Facebook and thought, “Wow, this person would never say something like this to my face.”

The anonymity that the internet provides, emboldens some people to act before they think. When they don’t have to actually see the face of the person who is the target of their words and process the way it hurts or demeans them, it is so much easier to say hurtful and hateful things.

Teaching our children that they shouldn’t act any differently online than they would in the real world is an essential part of parenting this generation.

There Is No Such Thing As Delete On The Internet

Tell your children to imagine that they are 18 years old. They’ve just applied to the college of their dreams. They’ve got the grades, the amazing essay, top test scores. Getting in is now nothing more than a formality.

Then your child’s application comes across their admissions officer’s desk, the first thing they do is type their name into Google. What pops up?

Maybe nothing. But as more and more teenagers are finding out today, they’re leaving a photographic history of themselves online that doesn’t represent the best of who they are.

Sometimes it’s a stupid selfie they snapped at a party when they were a little drunk of them and some friends clinking together their beer bottles in an underage toast.  They stuck it on Snap-chat and an idiot friend grabbed as screen shot and posted it on Instagram. Ooops.

Or maybe they didn’t even know someone snapped a photo of them making a lewd gesture at a school pep rally and posted it on FB.

So many of these incidents are momentary youthful indiscretions that wouldn’t have mattered even a decade ago.

But that was then and this is now.  Our tweens and teens must know that their cyber-identities are made up of every single thing they write and post online, as well as every single photo other people take of them and post online. Hitting the delete key is often not enough to wipe these mistakes clean and they can have serious consequences for their future.


Relationships Matter

Looking someone in the eye, used to be something most people did naturally as part of interactions with other people. Now, not so much.

How often do we see kids hanging out and instead of talking to each other, their all sitting around staring down at their phones.

Does your child regularly get out of the car when you drop them off somewhere and sort of grunt a goodbye as they continue texting or watching a silly cat video.

Maybe you have a tween or teen who would rather spend hours playing a virtual game then spend time with his family playing a board game or just hanging out.

It can become so easy to allow technology to get in the way of having real conversations and making real connections.

Our teens and tweens must learn to set limits for themselves for healthy technology use and when and where it’s time to put away the phone and actually pay attention to the people around them.

Speak Up

We’re hearing too many tragic stories of tweens and teens taking their own lives because they’ve been harassed by their peers with technology being the main instrument of torment.  In many of these cases, others who were not involved were aware of what was happening and yet stayed silent.

Nobody wants to be a snitch or a tattle tale, but with online bullying as prevalent as it is today, there are times when our kids need to be willing to go to a trusted adult and tell them what is going on.

When we talk to our kids about cyber bullying, it often is out of our concern that they will be a victim. What we don’t always think about is coaching them on how to handle it if they know someone else is being bullied.

They need to know that speaking up takes courage and it is the right thing to do. As Dumbledore says in the Harry Potter books, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

We also need to reassure our children that if they speak up, they won’t be punished or suffer retribution.

A NO ZONE For Cell Phones

There are some places that a cell phone just doesn’t have any place. One of those is most definitely at the dinner table. Considering how busy our schedules are, most families rarely get to sit down and have a meal together anymore. On the rare occasions it does happen, technology shouldn’t be allowed to interfere.

Families that have uninterrupted dinners together have kids that generally do better in school, are less likely to be tempted to try drugs and overall benefit from better mental health. One of the main reasons for all of these positive outcomes is what happens at the dinner table. Parents get a chance to actually talk with their kids. They find out what is happening in their lives. They also get to observe their children and may be able to spot early signs of behavior changes or other indicators that things just aren’t quite right.

All of this stops happening when cell phones enter into the mix.

No No At Night

Another place that cell phones just don’t need to be is in rooms behind closes doors.  In general, this is a good rule 24/7 , because having tech in non-communal spaces opens up even good kids to unnecessary temptations and trouble. At the very least though, this should be enforced at night.

More and more studies show that when technology is allowed in kids bedrooms it interferes with them getting adequate sleep. Some will stay up too late doing homework, others are secretly texting friends until all hours. Even the blue light that many of these devices emit messes with the body’s natural circadian rhythms and can keep kids from getting quality rest.

Consider having a designated overnight charging parking lot where everyone in the family puts their phones before bed. It’s not just good for the tweens and teens, moms and dads can benefit from better shut eye as well. Plus, what a great way to role model good choices.

You Break It You Pay For It

There are many life lessons that come with the privilege of technology, and they aren’t all about how to use it correctly.  Computers, tablets, and iPhone are not cheap and keeping track of and tacking care of them properly is important.

Make sure your tweens and teens are aware of exactly how much is invested in their devices. Establish a policy from the beginning about their responsibility when it comes to repairs or replacement. Should they be lost, broken or have a Starbucks Latte spilled on them what is it going to cost them?

It also doesn’t hurt for them to have a little skin in the game up front. Perhaps a condition of them getting any of these devices in the first place is that they have to pay for part of it. Or maybe they will have to contribute towards the monthly bill. At the very least, encourage them to be proactive and purchase a sturdy case. 

Oh, and don’t forget to talk to them about Data and how much they’ll be into you for if they go over. 😉

Put First Things First

A great book for all teenagers to read is the
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
(or the original 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is good too) .

The most valuable habit of all, IMHO, is #3 “Put First Things First”.  So many adults struggle with this and that’s why the sooner we can help our tweens and teens put it into practice, the better off they will be. Consider it an early graduation gift.

Texting friends, playing the latest gaming app, checking social media, these are all activities that come behind. homework and chores. Well behind.

It’s not a bad idea to set designated “off” times for phones with your tweens. This way they have some time set aside already. As your kids get older, more freedom may be in order so they begin learning to manage their own schedule.

Either way, make sure there are proper consequences in place if grades are suffering or the trash isn’t getting taken out.

Technology Use Will Be Monitored

Yes, most of us trust our tweens and teens, but they are still kids. And even good kids can make bad choices. In fact, tweens and teens are kind of wired to do dumb stuff, because their brains aren’t fully formed yet.

So, instead of equating trust with blind faith and total freedom, why not trust them within the boundaries of their life experience and brain development.

We believe that technology usage should be monitored. Bark is the best tool that we have found currently on the market.

Truth: It’s practically impossible to read every one of your kid’s text messages per day — and don’t even get us started on going through their web history! But we want to share a tool that’s been incredibly useful for many families.

Technology is incredibly powerful and gives access to so many things our kids have never seen or dealt with before in their lives. Many of us as adults have a hard time with it all.

Think about the way social media can make us feel sometimes.

It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap and start feeling bad about ourselves. Or how often do you want to just tell someone off who is posting stuff you don’t agree with, but you stop yourself at the last minute and delete it.

Now think about our teenagers in the same position.  Everything is magnified 10x in the teenage mind. And self control…. yeah, that’s not exactly a teenager’s strong suit either.

Oh, and there’s a whole embarrassment factor going on here as well. Sexting, porn, naked selfies – these aren’t topics our teens are dying to talk with us about. If they can avoid the discussions they will, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t seeing this stuff.

Parenting is just as important in the virtual world as it is in the real world.  Our teens and tweens need our supervision and our guidance. We have to help them gain the skills and the discernment that are required to navigate online safely and responsibly.

This is why monitoring their internet and cell phone activity is the right thing to do. Be up front about it, let them know you will be watching and checking and reading. If you’re not being secretive about it, then it’s not spying, it’s parenting.

No Texting While Driving

This one is a no brainer.

The statistics are frightening.  8 deaths and 1,161 injuries a day in the US, on average, are caused by distracted driving.

The best place for your child’s phone when they are driving is in the glove compartment.  There are also auto-responders on most phones that can be set to remove the temptation of answering texts while driving. Some teens have created their own system, where they buddy check each other and a passenger just takes the driver’s phone.

Before handing over the keys to any vehicle you should have all new teen drivers sign a no texting while driving contract.

And finally, actions speak louder than words, make sure you are setting an example for safe cell phone use while in the car.

We’ve created a downloadable version of these tech rules in our shop. It’s cute, would be great to hang on a fridge or bulletin board and can serve as a reminder for your kids and make it easier to review the rules when necessary.

Tween and Teen Tech Rules Printable

rpbzm14ncpixlex0vdtqYou may also found our Managing Teens and Technology Bundle helpful as it includes the tech rules printable as well as the cell phone contract general and for driving, social media contract and important tech topics to talk about with your teen.

Teen Technology Management Bundle

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Parenting Tweens and Teens is hard. Here are some popular technology posts that other parents found helpful to make it a little easier.

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We recommend @BarkTechnologies, a service that monitors your kid’s online activity for potential dangers, filters out websites you don’t want them visiting, and even helps you set healthy screen time limits to give them that all-too-important digital downtime! 🙌

It’s pretty dang hard to parent in the age of TikTok and Snapchat. But if you could use some help keeping your child safe online, we suggest giving Bark a try. we’ve got you covered for 7 days for free here

For more information or to sign up, please visit here.

 
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Shop safely online

Tips on how to shop safely online

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Online shopping is a quick and convenient way to buy any product you can imagine. Although there are several risks of shopping this way,
if you know how to identify a secure online store and know how to protect yourself you should be able to shop with confidence.

Here are 6 tips to help you shop safely online:

1. Ask for recommendations

Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues that have used the same online shop before. Reading online reviews to see what other customers have experienced may also help you make sound judgment and save you from the worst.

2. Look for a lock/SSL certificate

Lookout for a padlock on your address bar when online shopping, this is commonly seen in the payment stage of an online store. This means the website is using an HTTPS connection, which makes it safe to shop knowing that your information is kept private and secure.

3. Keep your computer and browser up to date and use antivirus software.

Security software notifications, like your antivirus, are very helpful, they are a good reminder to keep everything in check, and alert you before entering insecure sites. Do regular app updates to lessen the risks of vulnerabilities that can be exploited, this is an essential line of defense.

4. Check your bank statement

Regularly checking your bank statement will help you identify any unauthorized debit transactions on your account. You can request your bank to alert you for purchases over a certain amount.

5. Be aware of email scams

Email scammers can send out viruses and malware in a gift or special offer. Don’t open emails or attachments from someone you don’t know, or a site you haven’t visited before. If you’re tempted by an offer, do some research before clicking on any unreliable links.

6. Create a unique username and password

Having a unique username and password is essential for protecting your identity and ensuring your data is secured, if your password is easy to crack, it puts your accounts at risk of being hacked.

Send us your thoughts and share some of the tips you know of in the comments section or on any of our social media platforms. How to be safe when shopping online

2022 security broadband avoid getting hacked data breach

How to avoid getting hacked​

How to avoid getting hacked

2022 security broadband avoid getting hacked data breach
It is imperative to take preventative measures to avoid being hacked and having your data compromised. Any device with internet access, such as your router, computer or mobile device is susceptible to being hacked.
If you get hacked, that means that someone with unauthorized access has infiltrated your private and confidential information, and your files can then be shared, viewed or copied without your permission.
Getting hacked can happen to anyone, from a home individual user to a large-scale corporation. Cyber-criminals always look for ways to exploit data protection systems.

There are various types of attacks used by hackers

  • Brute Force Attack: An automation software or malicious person that tries different combinations of login details, passwords and encryption keys until it hopefully matches yours and gains access.
  • Phishing Attacks: Cyber criminals will try to trick, persuade and pressure you into revealing your passwords and personal information, by creating fake websites, fake emails and clickbait which may result in you giving your sensitive information.
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: An attacker intercepts communication between two parties and secretly alters and relays the traffic between the parties. They lead the victims to believe they are communicating with each other and steals information.
  • Denial-of-Service Attack (DoS Attack): The aim of a denial-of-service attack is to deny a user access to a machine or network temporarily or indefinitely causing a disruption to services. This is generally achieved by flooding the network with traffic from various sources, triggering a network crash

Signs you may have been hacked

 

If you notice anything odd happening on your computer, you may have been hacked. Things to look out for:

  • Random popup messages.
  • Unwanted software installs.
  • Get ransomware or antivirus messages.
  • Internet searches are redirected to an alternative page.
  • Your passwords are no longer working.
  • Your mouse moves sporadically and makes odd selections.
  • Your friends receive social media invitations from you that you didn’t send.
  • Strange network traffic patterns.
 

Your personal data can be protected by adhering to some security measures and using Antivirus or Malware software.

How to avoid being hacked

 
Strong Password

Ensure you use a strong and secure password. Data should be encrypted, including online login details as well as personal and work laptops that have sensitive data.

Secure Password. 

If you would like to know more about Password Security please read our Help Centre article for more detail.

Change Admin Credentials
 

Your router is pre-configured with default log in details, this is the standard for all routers which means anyone aware of the default log in details can access your router. When you get a new router, it is advisable to change these default log in details.

Change your router admin details. 

If you would like to know more about How to secure your WiFi router please read our Help Centre article for more detail.

Keep Devices Updated

Be sure to keep all your devices up-to-date with any new firmware available with security patches to keep your devices secure.

Anti-virus and Firewall

Install a reputable anti-virus and firewall software to protect your data. An Antivirus is used to scan, detect, prevent and delete viruses from your computer and a firewall is either hardware and/or software that protects your network by filtering and blocking traffic from gaining access to your private data without permission.

Scan your computer for viruses and malware
 

Ensure that all your tech devices have an up-to-date antivirus or malware application installed, keep it updated by turning on auto-updates and run a full system scan at least once a month.

Access Control
 

Do not leave your devices open and/or unlocked and do not share any passwords. Encrypt any sensitive documents to makes them unreadable by hackers.

Be Vigilant
 

Cyber-criminals use various malicious methods to obtain your data, this may include fake financial websites, emails aimed at obtaining your passwords or viruses that infect your mail server to promote unwanted content. Never click on strange links, open suspicious emails or visit untrustworthy websites. Ensure that websites that require you to submit your personal information have an SSL certificate installed. e.g: https:// or a padlock in front of the URL.

 

Understanding SSL certificates. 

If you would like to Understand SSL certificates, please read our Help Centre article for easy to follow steps.

Back-up

 
Ensure you back up all your data and files regularly. If something does happen to your files you still have a copy. There are various means of backups made easy by current technology, cloud backup and offline backups.

Cloud backup – A remote online storage facility that you can use to safely backup your data on a server, which can be accessed from any computing device and in any location.

There are various platforms you can use for cloud backup i.e: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and iCloud etc.

Offline Backup – A traditional method of a backup system where the data is stored on a physical storage device such as a portable USB dive or an external hard drive and kept in a safe place.

 

REMEMBER! 

Be sure to schedule and automate your backups to keep your data updated.

 

The best protection from being hacked is to be proactive and take steps to protect yourself and your data, then to be reactive and need to block your accounts, change passwords and reinstall your back up data.

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