Man Accused of ‘Digitally Kidnapping’ 4-Year-Old on Facebook

This is a story of a mom who discovered her daughters picture being used by a random man on Facebook claiming that it was his daughter. It’s a interesting read that may make you think twice before posting your child’s picture on social media. In reality, trying to avoid positing your child’s picture on social media is a daunting and unrealistic task. You might be able to control what you post on social media, but chances are, if you are like me, you have family and friends who spend time with your child and take pictures with them and post on social media. Besides, you are proud of your child(ren) and you want to brag to your friends about their accomplishments and achievements.
My guidance on this is, use the settings available on social media to control who can see your posts. Talk to your friends and ask them not to post pictures of your child(ren) on social media and give them a reason for your request. Link them to this article. Educate yourself about wise posting because in a few short years, you will be entering the phase of your teen(s) running rampant with selfie’s and helping them with their own self-posting learning curve.
– Ryan

Snapchat Discover: An Example of How Free Apps Make Money

A question that comes up often during my trainings is, “How do free apps make money?” While I do not have the experience to give a perfect answer to this question, I can link you to this article that discusses Snapchat’s Discovery feature which is a pretty easy way to see why companies would pay to have their information posted on Snapchat. The Discovery feature is actually pretty cool and and hip way for young people to get a “Snap” of news and send it on to friends. I just snapped news to about four friends of my own today.
– Ryan

Cyberbullying and the Law

Parents and educators need to know what the law is related to cyberbulling. Policy and legislation surrounding “cyberharassment” and cyber crimes, in my eyes, will have to be an ever evolving entity due to rapidly changing technology. I’ve linked an article at the bottom that highlights 5 of the key components in a new law, Act  26, in Pennsylvania that gives law enforcement more grounds to work from when dealing with “cyberharassment”. What I like about this new law, from the outline I have seen in this article, is that prevention work and educating youth is stressed over immediate punishment.

Enjoy the article. Be sure to download the resource guide on this site. It has links to great organizations such as the Cyberbullying Research Center.

In closing I think of this quote*.
“If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to behave,  we…   ?
Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?”

+ Cyberbullying of Children Becomes a Punishable Offense in PA

– Ryan

*This quote has been linked to various names: Rob Horner, Rob Herner, Tom Herner and John Herner. I was unable to trace to it’s true original source. Thank you for whoever came up with this quote.

Connecting Through Text

One of the goals of Shape The Sky is to bridge the gap between wisdom gained from over a lifetime and knowledge of current technology and trends. Please check out Nancy Lublin’s Ted Talk entitled “Texting That Saves Lives.” Her talk reinforced my commitment to Shape The Sky’s goal of advancing education and mental health treatment through social media knowledge and wisdom.

+ Texting that Saves Lives

– Ryan



During my trainings, I discuss cyberbullying and try to have the audience think outside of text messages or Facebook posts. I discuss meme bullying,  fake chat logs and apps used to send anonymous texts to others. I found this article related to a different kind of cyberbulling that can occur primarily on Twitter. It’s referred to as subtweeting. I like this article because it gives you an understandable definition of subtweeting and suggestions for how what to do if this occurs to your child and and tips to help educate youth not to engage in subtweeting.
– Ryan

Parental Support on Social Media

During my trainings, I encourage parents to sign up for Facebook and Instagram at minimum to learn how they work. I discuss the parental benefits of understanding the platforms, so they can articulate to their children how to make safe and wise decisions when using them. Social media can also be a useful tool for parents who needs support being parents. Check out this article by the folks at Connect Safely.
– Ryan

Guide to Ask.FM

Ask.Fm is a popular site/app for young people. It offers a space for exploration via anonymous question and answer posts. I discuss it at all of my training’s. The site has been topic for discussion in more than one of my therapy sessions as a counselor with teens as well. Often parents and professionals will ask, “Why do kids use this platform?”  I keep it simple and tell them that it feeds a youth’s need for curiosity in a relevant from, technology. For more information about how this app/site works, check out this guide.~ Ryan

Resource Guide