Vivint Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service and Monitoring
  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Technology

Summary

Vivint is an often overlooked heavyweight in home security, offering high-tech gadgets and automation at premium prices.

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Home security is an important concern for most people, but there are so many options out there, it can be tough to figure out the best choice for your needs (and interests). Of course keeping your property safe is the primary concern, but for me – and many others – so is staying on the cutting edge of technology.

In looking for modern home security options, tech is certainly going to be a major player in the systems you use, but determining how high-tech you want to get is going to be a matter of how savvy you are… And how much you’re willing to spend.

If price is less of an issue for you, Vivint offers some serious technology that satisfies both the need for security and (sometimes unnecessary) desire for the coolest new toys.

Things to consider before signing up for Vivint service

Any time you’re considering installing new technology, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve, what parts of your home you’re planning to protect, and what kind of commitment you’ll have to make to operating the system(s) you choose.

Any home security system worth buying will include cameras, door and window sensors, and monitoring to protect against theft/invasion. The sophistication of these pieces, though, will depend on how much you want to spend and how robust you want the features to be.

The ideal Vivint customer will be looking for discreet security equipment that blends easily with interior and exterior decor. They will be tech-savvy and concerned with security, and won’t be afraid to fork over premium pricing for stylish, high quality products and services.

For those looking for a more traditional setups and monitoring, Vivint may not be the best option. In fact, the services offered go beyond many home security systems in look, features, and your ability to control the system, but all of that comes with a higher price point.

What is Vivint?

Vivint is all about “smart home technology” – meaning that they don’t exactly specialize in home security (even though many of their products fall into that category). It also means that all of this “smart technology” will be dependent on internet, wifi connections, and your smartphone for controls. Being comfortable with touchscreen displays (like the Vivint SkyControl Panel) is also a must for a potential Vivint customer.

Pros:

  • Simple design that blends easily with other home decor (indoor) and doesn’t draw attention or scare visitors (outdoor)
  • Customizable Packages
  • Smartphone control (in most cases)
  • Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Long contract (60 months vs. most company’s 36 months)
  • Hidden fees
  • One of the more expensive options
  • Mixed/negative reviews on customer service
  • Not every package includes the same SkyControl panel

Features & Benefits

Vivint services and products are generally bundled together in various packages (including customizable options). We will look at components first, and then the packages that bundle them together.

Cameras:

Ping Camera

The Ping Camera is a simple video camera and motion detector, accessible from from the Vivint Sky App. It can be placed on a shelf or countertop, and allows you to monitor any activity in your home remotely. You can also receive alerts to your smartphone if the Ping Camera detects motion in your home, access short clips on demand, and have the option to record continuous video footage. Like other Vivint cameras, the Ping Camera also has night vision – so you can see recordings of even the darkest rooms.

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Outdoor Camera

Similar to the Ping Camera, but designed for outdoor installation, Vivint’s Outdoor Camera shoots HD video, offers night vision, allows for monitoring via smartphone, can record continuous footage, and has instantly available 20-second video clips.

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Doorbell Camera

One of the most impressive pieces of technology in Vivint’s lineup, the Doorbell Camera is a small, wifi connected doorbell fitted with a speaker, microphone, motion sensor, and 180º video camera.

You can set notifications for when people approach your door, monitor activity happening in front of your house day or night (with night vision), and communicate with visitors through 2-way talk. Integration with Vivint Sky controls means you can lock and unlock doors with your smartphone or SkyControl Panel, and Smart Visitor Detection helps identify when people are actually approaching – so you don’t get a notification for every passerby.

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Security:

Burglary Detection

Sensors on doors and windows, including “Glass Break Detection” let you know if anyone is trying to break in, who’s coming and going, and allow you to set mobile notifications for any entry when you aren’t home. The sensors are all discreet and wireless.

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Smart Locks

Exactly what you might expect from the name, Smart Locks are wireless and digitally controlled, allowing you to lock and unlock doors remotely, either with the SkyControl Panel or your smartphone. The locks still use keys as well, and are also fitted with a keypad for code entry. Like the rest of these products, you can also receive notifications related to any activity with your door locks, attempted entry, and so on.

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Garage Door Control

This one is quite simple: the technology integrates with the SkyControl Panel and mobile app so you can open and close your garage door remotely. You can also receive alerts if you’ve left the garage door open.

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Controls:

Vivint Sky App

The Vivint Sky App is a way for you to control your home security through a smartphone. Of course, this is where you receive notifications from camera activity or door/window sensors, but it’s also where you can lock and unlock doors, monitor video feeds, arm and disarm alarms systems, open and close your garage door, change settings, manage preferences, and so on. It’s your mobile control panel. The Sky App requires the SkyControl Panel.

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SkyControl Panel

A wall-mounted, 7-inch touchscreen display, the SkyControl Panel is the primary control of your Vivint system. The panel is essentially an expanded version of the app on a dedicated device. You can control all of your cameras, monitor video, lock and unlock doors, manage system options, and so on.

Your SkyControl Panel is also connected to 24-hour support, where you can talk live with a monitoring professional in case of an emergency.

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Amazon Echo

Another futuristic feature of Vivint systems, the SkyControl Panel can easily pair with an Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled Bluetooth speaker. Pairing with Vivint Sky lets you control your security systems through voice commands.

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Smart Home Services:

The Smart Home Services are the wifi connected, app and SkyControl managed services that accompany some of Vivint’s devices. When signing up for various Vivint packages, you can choose which services you want to include.

The options are:

  • Doorbell video
  • HD video recording
  • Remote door access
  • Smart temperature control*
  • Garage door controller
  • Outdoor video

* Note: Vivint offers “smart thermostats” for remote temperature control and monitoring, but because it doesn’t really fall into their home security category, we haven’t included them in the list of devices and systems.

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Packages:

Vivint security systems are generally designed to work in conjunction with one another. While equipment can be purchased and installed individually, the packages seem to offer the best functionality, and create the most complete security systems. Most packages, including customizable options, include the SkyControl Panel.

Smart Complete

The most robust package available, the Smart Complete package includes the SkyControl Panel, 1 smoke detector, 3 door and window sensors, 1 motion detector, 1 yard sign, a 1- terabyte wireless cloud storage drive (for on-site storage of photo and video), Vivint’s 24×7 monitoring service, and your choice of 3 Smart Home services.

Smart Protect & Control

The “middle tier” package, Smart Protect & Control includes the SkyControl Panel, 3 door and window sensors, 1 motion detector, 1 smoke detector, 1 yard sign, 24×7 monitoring service, and your choice of 2 Smart Home services.

Smart Protect

What you could consider the “basic” option, the Smart Protect package includes the SkyControl Panel, 3 door and window sensors, 1 motion detector, 1 smoke detector, and 1 yard sign. The Smart Protect Package does not include any Smart Home services.

Add-Ons & Custom Packages

Vivint allows you to build custom packages of devices and services, as well as add extra cameras, services, sensors, storage, and the like. If something isn’t offered in the package that seems to best suit your needs, you can add it for an additional cost.

Smart thermostats and other smart home controls are available in some packages, and can be added on as well.

Vivint Online Reviews by Real Customers

“When I got the system installed yesterday, the only question I had was ‘why didn’t I get this sooner?’ Being able to monitor and lock and unlock my door from my cell phone is amazing.” – Stephanie

“I had camera, locks, glass break and smoke detector, and the doorbell included in Vivint’s service package that I purchased. Their sales rep was great and their installer was really good as well. However, my door lock gets stuck when I lock it, but other than that, everything has been okay.” – M

“Me and my husband have a new home we just bought and are expecting a baby boy soon, we thought it’ll be a good idea to get a security system. Had Vivint for less than 30 days and already experiencing problems. From lies, bad customer service, and security system not working. We received our services and two days later decided we didn’t want them because we got a better deal from another company (Guardian) Vivint then told us to try them for another week and see if we will just decide to stay, really what the rep did was hold us off until we are out of the cancellation window. 3 days to cancel, which she told us 30 days which was a lie. please save yourself the time and money. Our cameras jump off line all the time, we are lied to EVERY time we call in to have the cameras fixed and the customer service is horrible, the rep told me that if i won’t except some deal she had which meant me paying more to fix the service she can hang up in my face, and she did, please don’t do it.”

“‘Well I have to say their salesmen are good but the security cameras suck. My doorbell camera will pick up and detect every change in sunlight but won’t reliably detect people coming on and off the porch. My driveway camera detects me pulling in and out of the driveway but missed someone stealing a 300 pound air conditioning unit from right under the camera. Worst part is I signed a 60 month contract and now wish I hadn’t I could have installed better cameras for a fraction of the cost.”

Alternatives

In an effort to provide you with a comprehensive look at home security systems, we also checked out some of Vivint’s major competitors. Comparing features, service, and pricing, here are three alternative solutions:

ADT

ADT is one of the most recognizable names in home security. Their track record speaks for itself, and they have remained an industry leader for decades. Like Vivint, ADT offers full home installations by professional service technicians.

Monthly service fees for monitoring are comparable, but Vivint’s installation prices tend to be much higher than ADT, and actually increase as you move toward more basic packages.

  • Price: Plans are comparable, and equipment prices for ADT are hard to determine – as they offer consultations and home visits to build packages. Not seeing equipment price up front may be a turnoff for some customers. Vivint equipment is generally free with installation and contract signing.
  • Features: ADT features tend to be more basic, with less automation and control than Vivint’s technology. In short, Vivint has more features and ADT has more stability.
  • Warranty: ADT offers limited warranties; Vivint offers lifetime warranties
  • Contracts: ADT offers 36-month contracts, Vivint primarily offers 60-month contracts

Learn more about ADT here.

Frontpoint

Frontpoint is another relatively high tech home security solution, similar in design and control to Vivint. Like Vivint, Frontpoint also offers the option to upgrade packages and add devices. Frontpoint has a reputation for excellent customer service, a low-pressure sales teams, and offers many of the same features as Vivint.

  • Price: With Vivint, you pay for installation and the equipment is mostly free. With Frontpoint, it’s the opposite – installation is DIY (and therefore free), but you pay for the equipment.
  • Features: Many of the offered features are the same, but Frontpoint offers a wider selection of equipment to meet your exact needs. Both offer 24/7 monitoring, motion detectors, cameras, etc., as well as smartphone integration and a touchscreen control panel.
  • Warranty: Frontpoint offers a 3-year warranty, where Vivint offers a lifetime warranty.
  • Contracts: Frontpoint contracts are 36 months; Vivint contracts are typically 60 months.

Check out more Frontpoint information here.

Protect America

Protect America has garnered a reputation as one of the more affordable options in home security, immediately putting them at the opposite end of the spectrum from Vivint. Instead of a focus on technology and numerous features, Protect America focuses on simplicity and ease of use. Both companies offer free smartphone apps and free equipment with contract signup.

  • Price: With monthly plans as low as $19.99, Protect America is generally the more affordable option, though some of the more premium offers fall into a similar price range as Vivint packages.
  • Features: Vivint products offer more bells and whistles, including outdoor cameras and automation features – which must be installed by professionals. Protect America’s equipment is also filled with features, but requires a DIY installation and may not meet all of your concerns.
  • Warranty: Both companies offer a lifetime warranty, and Protect America offers a 2-week, free return policy. Vivint does not offer a return policy.
  • Contracts: Protect America offers 36-month contracts; Vivint offers 60-month contracts.

Find out more about Protect America here.

Conclusion

Vivint security systems are technologically advanced and full of features. The products and services available meet every potential home security need, from cameras to around-the-clock monitoring, motion detectors to remote locking, and many others. The devices are attractive and packages can be customized…

However, two major hangups become increasingly apparent as you dig into Vivint’s offerings. First, Vivint is a generally more expensive option than its competitors, perhaps without enough of an improvement in features to justify the cost. Second, the offers themselves can get confusing. The website advertises SkyControl panel for all packages, but in speaking to a customer service representative, I was told that some packages may come with an older model panel – which also means using the Vivint Classic App, not Vivint Sky App (which only works with the newer panel).

If you’re going to opt for one of the top-tier packages, and can afford it, Vivint seems like a fine option, and you can further customize the products you install to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system. If you are looking for a budget security system, plan on moving in the near future, or would be considering a smaller, custom package, Vivint is likely not the best choice – and may end up costing far more than anticipated.

Overall, Vivint is suited for tech-loving, automation seeking homeowners who are willing to pay extra for premium features, installation, and sleek looking gadgets.

 

ADT Home Security Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service And Monitoring
  • Equipment
  • Cost
  • Technology

Summary

With over 100 years experience, ADT is the most recognized name in home security. The company provides the latest in wireless home protection with ADT Pulse.  ADT offers remote monitoring via Smartphone apps, video streaming, smoke and fire monitoring, flood monitoring and even medical alerts. Despite receiving an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, ADT has garnered thousands of negative reviews on social media and security websites. Poor customer service and aggressive sales tactics are the main complaints.

The sea of blue ADT signs on lawns across my neighborhood may explain why there aren’t many break-ins, fires or other household disasters in the area. That’s why I decided to look into ADT to protect my home. After all, the company’s equipment and services are thorough and cutting-edge; and the mere presence of a security warning sign is enough to thwart some, but not all, intruders. A security system provides a needed blanket of protection for homes – and families - of all sizes.

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Things to Consider Before Choosing a Home Security Provider

A home security system is a necessity for people in neighborhoods with high crime rates, families with lots of valuables, or homeowners who travel a lot and leave the house vacant. If you own a home, townhouse, or condo, you’ll feel safer by purchasing a home monitoring (security) service.

A Rutgers University study says alarms are a deterrent to burglaries. An increase in neighborhood security reduced burglaries during a five-year time span, the research found.

When an alarm is triggered, it takes a security company an average of 15 to 60 seconds to respond. If security contacts the police or fire department, however, there’s no set response time. It all depends on your local emergency services

If the police arrive and find no break-in, you’ll be fined, so choosing an efficient home security company, one with good track record and satisfied customers, is essential.

Before committing to a home security company, here are some things to consider.

The good news – most home security services provide:

  • 24/7 monitoring services
  • Lets you control alarms and sensors from anywhere with an app by tablet, iPhone or Android
  • Smoke alarms, flood monitoring, temperature control, live streaming video and other extras on one or more featured plans

 And the bad news – watch out for these possible deal-breakers:

  • Long-term Contracts
  • Hidden or extra charges for warranties, installation, service calls or equipment
  • Maintenance (systems or components breaking done)
  • Wireless systems may suffer intermittent failure if you have insufficient or temperamental WiFi
  • Potential for false alarms

The biggest home security companies have in-house or outsourced monitoring by trained, reliable operators and equipment verified by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL). Today’s wireless home security systems have sensors placed near doors, windows, and other points in your home. Once an alarm or sensor is triggered, it sends a signal to your home’s control panel, and the monitoring service contacts you (if you’re not at home), the police, or other emergency personnel.

ADT Home Security: An Overview

ADT’s comprehensive home security system features traditional and live-streaming video surveillance (at extra charge), smoke and fire alarms, flood monitoring, remote and coded locks, and health alert monitoring.

ADT also offers security systems for businesses and rentals. If you’re renting a house or apartment, check with the owner before contacting ADT or any security company. You may already be covered by the owner’s security system.

ADT Security Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Latest technology
  • Medical alerts
  • In-house monitoring centers in US and Canada
  • Movers guarantee for customers in good standing

Cons

  • Pushy salespeople
  • Poor customer service
  • Local dealers’ competence varies
  • Monthly Warranty Fees

ADT is the largest security company in the United States and Canada with 65 million customers. It has one-quarter of the U.S. residential market and four monitoring stations in the U.S. with in-house staff. ADT has been in business since 1874 when it was known as American District Telegraph.

ADT is synonymous with the latest in security equipment and technology, with over a dozen security and safety features offered in their three home protection plans.

According to hundreds of online reviews, their name is also known for poor customer service and high-pressure sales tactics. In 2013 the FTC filed a complaint against ADT for false advertising when it was revealed the company paid experts to give ADT good reviews. This ZDNet article chronicles how hard it is to get out of an ADT contract.

ADT Security System Features

Depending on the type of system you get from ADT, there a wide variety of features you can use.

Mobile Phone Apps

Phone app for ADT Pulse (Video)

This video, from California Security Systems, demonstrates how to use the mobile app for ADT Pulse.

Download ADT Pulse apps for iPhones and iPads from iTunes and for Android from Google Play

Remote Arm and Disarm

Activate or deactivate your alarms with a Smartphone or tablet from any location. ADT Pulse will notify you of broken sensors and send alerts when your system hasn’t been armed (but should be). Are you the forgetful type when it comes to changing batteries? Your alarm has a back-up battery that lasts for a few hours, and you’ll be notified when that runs low.

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Burglary Protection

Place motion sensors in hallways and near doors and windows to detect unwanted intruders. When motion is detected, the alarm is triggered, and ADT’s monitoring center will contact emergency services. Press the fire or alarm button on the security panel touchpad and ADT dispatch will contact emergency services.

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Video Surveillance

With ADT Pulse, you can check in to make sure your home is safe using the app on your cell phone. This is a life-saver when you’re away unexpectedly and can’t get anyone to housesit, or when you have a sick or elderly family member at home. Store clips to review later. You’ll need to have domed security cameras, wireless security camera, wireless day/night camera with night vison, and digital video recorder to keep track of happenings in your home. All equipment must be paid for upfront.

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Fire and Smoke Monitoring

Included with ADT Pulse wireless plans, a smoke and fire sensor can be set to react the way you want – it can unlock doors or shut off AC to slow circulation of smoke when an alarm is triggered.

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Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Unlike carbon monoxide detectors you buy online, ADT’s detector contact the monitoring center when triggered. You can buy a second alarm, an indoor sounder to alert you know when the alarm has been activated.

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Garage Door Control

The Z-Wave Garage Door Opener and Controller closes and opens your garage door remotely and alerts you if it’s open too long. Many of the smaller security companies don’t include separate garage door controls.

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Video Doorbell

The Ring™ Video Doorbell  allows you to act as if you’re home and speak to the visitors or remain silent.

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Remote Locks

August Smart Lock enables you to lock and unlock your doors from a mobile app, so you can let housekeepers and repair techs (or you kids when they’ve forgotten their keys).  The Kwikset SmartCode Home Connect Z-Wave Deadbolt has an illuminated keypad and 128-bit wireless encryption for entering individual entry codes.

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Temperature Control 

Set temperature from the thermostat or mobile devices.  This comes in handy when you’re on vacation – keep heat or AC off when you’re away, and turn it on just before your return home. The Nest Learning Thermostat (worth $249 ) is included with ADT Pulse.

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Light Control

Schedule lights to turn on and off remotely, or set them to turn on when a sensor detects motion.  Use with the Z-Wave network – and an in-wall switch, dimmer switch or on/off lamp appliance module.

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Flood Monitoring 

Water sensor alarms are triggered when water rises in your basement, garage or wherever sensors are placed. ADT monitoring will contact you, ad alert authorities if necessary.

Health Alerts

Backed by ADT’s 24/7 monitoring, its medical alert system is comparable to Medical Guardian and other medical alert system specialists. It’s separate from home security plans and requires one-time fees for accessories. The Medical Alert Basic plan  starts at $27.99 per month, with a choice of wristband or pendant.

 

ADT offers three home security plans:

Traditional

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Six month money back guarantee if ADT can’t resolve your issues
  • QSP (Quality Service Plan) extended warranty protection for an extra fee
  • Optional Smoke & Fire, Flood, Carbon Monoxide Monitoring and Cellular Connection
  • $28.99 month

Remote (ADT Pulse)

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • QSP extended warranty protection (extra fee)
  • Six month money back guarantee if ADT can’t resolve your issues
  • Cellular Connection
  • Smoke and Fire Monitoring
  • Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
  • Flood and Temperature Monitoring
  • Remote Web and Smartphone Access
  • Email and Text Alerts
  • $49.99 month

Video (ADT Pulse)

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • QSP extended warranty protection (extra fee)
  • 6-month money back guarantee if ADT can’t resolve your issues
  • Cellular Connection
  • Smoke and Fire Monitoring
  • Carbon Monoxide Monitoring
  • Flood and Temperature Monitoring
  • Remote Web and Smartphone Access
  • Email and Text Alerts
  • Thermostat and Lighting Control
  • Garage Door Control
  • Remote Video
  • Remote Door Lock and Unlock
  • $55.99 month

All plans come with a 36-month contract with an early termination fee, and all monitoring is done in-house in six monitoring centers in the U.S.

Ease of Installation — 2 stars

Unlike Frontpoint, Scout, LinkInteractive and most other home security companies, you don’t have the choice to install sensors and control panels yourself, and there is an installation fee for the technician to do it.

Customer Service And Monitoring — 2 stars

Encounters with rude customer service reps and pushy salespeople make up the bulk of bad reviews. Some locations have glowing reviews, but there are few “in-between” customer service experiences. You may get lucky and live in one of the areas with efficient and polite local reps.

Equipment — 4 Stars

ADT offers choices for every conceivable safety and security feature. They offer Z-Wave wireless technology with ADT Pulse. You can pick and choose what equipment you want (even models not sold by ADT), but call and make sure it is compatible with ADT’s system.

Cost –  2 stars

It’s hard to gauge the final accost of your plan from the website, which lists only the basic monthly charge. ADT pulse advertised as $49.  There’s a 36-month monitoring contract with an extended warranty and early termination fees. Even if the product works fine, the contract and fees make it problematic.

Given ADT’s lack of transparency re price, it might be a good idea to research reviews from previous customers in your local area before signing a three-year contract.

Technology — 4 stars

ADT offers the latest technology with all the bells and whistles for safety beyond burglary and fire protection. The abundance of features may far outweigh the chance of encountering rude customer service reps for some people.

ADT Online Reviews

ADT attracts more customers than other home security companies, but they also have a high attrition rate (customer cancellations). Here are a few links to positive and negative reviews on the Internet and social media.

Positive Reviews –

On Consumer Affairs.net,  ADT received an overall satisfaction rating of 4 stars, based on 1,049 ratings out of 2,808 reviews. In a five-star review, Terry of Fort Worth, TX writes, “We have been protected by ADT for fifteen years. Every interaction that we have had with them, from the techs who have come our home, to those we have contacted by phone or online have been positive and helpful. We have never been disappointed in any way. They are great company to do business with.”

Yelp reviews for their Brisbane, CA dealer, contains a handful of 3, 4 and 5-star reviews while  most of the reviews are one star or two stars. “I canceled my account giving a 30-day notice, but was still charge for half a month even though I was told my balance was zero at the time”, writes Jeanie R. of San Francisco. 

ADT Alternatives 

If ADT doesn’t appeal to you, consider the following home security providers. They offer burglary protection, mobile apps, remote control access, and most of the features ADT provides, but with better customer service, pricing, or other qualities ADT lacks.

Alternative #1 – Frontpoint

Frontpoint has only been in business since 2008, but what they don’t have in longevity, they make up for in reliability and customer service. This customer-focused company receives high ratings  for its personalized security plans.  They offer the latest wireless technology, and you can use their system with VoIP or a cellular signal. (They don’t offer a landline option.)

They offer burglary and fire protection, home automation, remote video, light and thermostat control, carbon monoxide monitoring, plus Life Safety (medical emergency monitoring) on all plans. Crash and Smash Protection ensures the monitoring center will be notified, even if the control panel is damaged. DIY installation is available, and there’s a 30 day, no-risk guarantee and a 12-month contract option. Visit Frontpoint  to learn more.

Frontpoint

  • DIY Install
  • 30 Day No-Risk Guarantee
  • 12-Month Contract Option
  • Crash and Smash Protection
  • Excellent Customer Service

ADT

  • Pro Install Only
  • Three Year Contract
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee IF there is an equipment or tech failure they can’t resolve
  • Questionable Customer Service

Alternative #2 – Link Interactive

If you want an inexpensive, completely DIY security system, consider Link Interactive from Costco. Their basic Fire and Security package is $24.99 a month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There’s also a SmartComplete package with remote and Smartphone control, two-way voice, video and touch screen console for $42.99 month.   Link Interactive has a low complaint record with the Better Business Bureau and an A+ rating. Like ADT, it has a three-year contract, but there’s no activation or installation fee. You must pay for equipment upfront.

Link Interactive

  • DIY Install Only
  • 30 Day Guarantee (Full Refund)
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Lower Monthly Pricing than ADT
  • Features and Equipment Similar to ADT

ADT

  • Pro Install Only
  • 60-day money back guarantee IF there is an equipment or tech failure they can’t resolve
  • More expensive
  • Longer Track Record in Home Security

Alternative #3 – Protect America

Prefer to go with another proven name in home security? Protect America, founded in 1992, has protected over 500,000 families with their alarm, home automation, and life safety solutions. They offer five security packages, from Copper (three door window sensors and one motion detector, $19.99 month) to Platinum (14 door/window sensors and one motion detector, $42.99 a month). The average cost for a three-year Protect America contract is $720, compared to $1143 for ADT. Protect America has a 4 ½ star rating on Consumer Affairs.com based on 605 ratings and 2191 reviews. The company isn’t BBB accredited.

Protect America

  • Security packages and prices clearly explained on website
  • DIY install
  • No start-up costs
  • Lifetime equipment warranty
  • Monthly monitoring cost slightly cheaper

ADT

  • Surprise charges and fees (depending on dealer)
  • Pro install only
  • Charges for an extended equipment warranty
  • Installation fee

Conclusion

ADT Home Security offers you the cream of the crop as far as technology and equipment are concerned. The company has over a century of experience behind it, and protects over 6 million homes in the U.S. The customer service may be excellent or lacking, depending on the authorized dealer in your area, and you must contact a rep for a free quote; there’s no “one-size fits all” total price, including installation and fees.  Check out ADT’s main site for new customer specials and more details.

FrontPoint Security Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service And Monitoring
  • Equipment
  • Cost
  • Technology

Summary

Frontpoint has come a long way since it entered the home security business in 2007. It’s already gaining a good reputation for its cutting-edge wireless technology and excellent customer service. Features like patented Crash and Smash protection, DIY installation and Z- Wave compatible cameras make it one of the best choices for a home security system.

4.2
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How I Learned about Frontpoint 

After some bad experiences with no and low-price home security, my boyfriend and I decided to take the plunge and look for a serious security system. We were apprehensive about the cost, of course, but the horror stories about long-term contracts and equipment break-downs scared us even more.  That’s when I discovered Frontpoint after talking to a realtor friend of ours.

What Should I Look for in a Home Security Provider?

Making the decision to sign a home security contract shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you choose the wrong company, it can cost you a lot of money and leave you with more stress than you had before buying the system. A home monitoring system (security system) is

Today’s home security providers offer wireless home monitoring that works with Smartphones since most people prefer cell phones to landlines.  (A few companies still offer security systems through a traditional landline.) The wireless technology prevents intruders from cutting cables and disabling the system, and it gives you the chance to monitor your home via mobile phone apps.  If you travel a lot, lead a busy life and aren’t home much, or have valuables you want to protect, a home security system may be well worth the investment.

Before buying a home security system, think about the following points:

  • What is my budget? If there are additional fees for installation and extra equipment, can I afford it?
  • Do I own or rent? A personalized home security system is more cost-effective for homeowners, but security systems are available for renters.
  • Can I install the equipment myself, or do I need to pay for installation and wait all day for the tech to arrive?
  • How many cameras or sensors do I need? Think about the rooms, doors, and windows in your home most likely to be affected by a break-in, fire, flood or carbon monoxide.
  • Does the plan offer 24/7 home monitoring from a reputable monitoring center with well-trained employees?

Nearly 60% of burglars interviewed for a study said they would consider the presence of a home security system as a liability when choosing a target, with 40% of them saying they would probably choose another target if the initial one had home security. With this in mind, it’s probably a good idea to invest in some alarm or monitoring system for your home – even if it’s the old-fashioned DIY system of keeping doors and windows locked and your property well-lit.

Frontpoint Home Security: An Overview

Founded in 2007 in Vienna, VA, Frontpoint provides wireless and mobile applications for home security, home automation, medical alerts, and environmental monitoring. They offer DIY installation, but unlike many other DIY home security providers, their equipment and monitoring are grade-A. The company focuses on the customer’s needs, not high-pressure sales. Frontpoint consistently receives high ratings from customers and security experts. You can install their wireless sensors, alarms and video cameras in minutes, and a rep will test it out for you over the phone.

Their systems are 100% cellular, and even their basic home security plan includes water leak and carbon monoxide monitoring and medical alert monitoring. Frontpoint has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 90% positive review rating.

Frontpoint Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Top-notch customer service
  • DIY installation
  • Medical alerts, carbon monoxide, water, and fire Monitoring included with all plans
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Remote monitoring via iPhone, iPad, Andriod and other devices
  • Crash and Smash control panel technology
  • Redundant monitoring stations

Cons

  • DIY installation only – could be problem if you prefer pro installation
  • Three-year equipment warranty – some security companies offer a lifetime warranty
  • Upfront equipment cost could add up, depending on number of sensors/alarms you need  

Features and Benefits

Frontpoint offers all the features and benefits of ADT and other industry leaders with an emphasis on customer interaction. All wireless equipment uses Z-wave technology, and you don’t have to buy the equipment from Frontpoint. If you buy equipment on your own, contact them to make sure it’s compatible with your system.

All Frontpoint plans offer 24/7 monitoring from Rapid Response monitoring, a monitoring center approved by the Department of Defense, Factory Mutual, and the New York City Fire Department.

Touch Screen Control Panel

Frontpoint Touch Screen Review (Video)

This video, with security expert Rose Thibodeaux, explains how the Frontpoint video touch screen works.

The Qolsys IQ offers a 7? LCD panel and manages Frontpoint’s home security automation. It has a built-in camera and is a touch screen replacement for the Simon XT control panel.The Qolsys IQ can be attached to a tabletop or wall and is Z-Wave compatible. It comes with a 24-hour backup battery in case of power outage. If your parents or grandparents live with you, they may like the Qolsys IQ’s large icons, which make using it easy for people with poor eyesight.

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Environmental and Fire Protection

Frontpoint offers flood and carbon monoxide protection under the “Environmental Protection” banner. The water and flood sensor detects excess water levels in basements, laundry room or wherever you’ve placed wireless equipment. An alarm will sound alerting you, and you’ll receive an email or text alert if you’re not home. If the carbon monoxide detector is triggered when you’re not home, you’ll also receive an e-mail or text alert.  All you need to do is pick the right detectors for your home and install them. There aren’t any extra fees for this service.

Fire and smoke protection sensors detect when a room is getting too hot, so it can alert you to problems even before smoke appears. 24/7 monitoring is provided for environmental and fire protection, and Frontpoint will contact you when a sensor is triggered if you’re not home.

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Life Safety

Frontpoint offers 24/7 medical alert monitoring with all plans. You pay only for the equipment ( a water and shock resistant panic pendant). There’s no additional fee for the service. (ADT charges for a medical alert plan separately.)

Image and Motion Sensors

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Place image and/or motion sensors anywhere in your house to detect intruders. Prevent the kids or grandkids (or their friends) from accessing forbidden items by placing door and window sensors near gun and liquor cabinets . You can install up to 39 sensors on your own – each one with low-battery detection. Need to move a sensor to anther room? No problem. All sensors are lightweight, and you can attach them in another location easily with their “peel and stick” adhesive. Motion sensors are made to detect intruders of 40 pounds or more, so most pets won’t trigger them. You’ll receive email or text alerts about triggered sensors if you’re away from home

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Crash and Smash Protection 

Crash and Smash technology, developed by Alarm.com, ensures Frontpoint’s monitoring center will contact the police even if an intruder destroys the control panel. The patented system, unique to Frontpoint, keeps your system in a special status mode after a door opens. If the intruder disarms the system, monitors will know and contact the police.

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HD and Night Vision Capabilities

Frontpoint’s wireless outdoor camera has infrared night vision to detect intruders. Access video clips from indoor and outdoor cameras anytime through the mobile app or customer portal on the Frontpoint website.

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Automated Door Locks

When family members forget their keys, they can punch in a code on the automated door lock to get inside. Away from home? Lock or unlock your door with the Frontpoint app on your Smartphone.

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Remote Access and Control

Customize all your sensors, alarms and cameras from anywhere with remote access and control. Turn lights on and off remotely with the light control feature, and adjust your home’s temperature when you’re away with energy management controls.

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Live Streaming Video

Receive live video streamed to your mobile device from the wireless cameras inside or outside your home. When a motion sensor is activated, you’ll receive video clips to see what’s happening back at home. With the doorbell camera, you can choose to speak to visitors or ignore them.

Frontpoint offers three security plans:

Protection Plan

  • Wireless and cellular equipment/technology
  • Intrusion protection (tamper proof WiFi connection, no cables to cut)
  • Fire protection/fire monitoring service
  • Environmental protection, including monitoring for water leaks, flooding and carbon monoxide
  • Life safety/medical emergency monitoring
  • 24/7 Professional Monitoring
  • $34.99 month

Interactive Plan

  • Wireless and cellular equipment/technology
  • Intrusion protection (tamper proof WiFi connection, no cables to cut)
  • Fire protection/fire monitoring service
  • Environmental protection, including monitoring for water leaks, flooding and carbon monoxide
  • Life safety/medical emergency monitoring
  • 24/7 Professional Monitoring
  • Crash and Smash protection ensures the monitoring center will send help, even if the control panel is damaged
  • Email and text alerts if sensors are triggered
  • Remote access and control via mobile apps. Arm and disarm alarms and check visitor activity from wherever you are
  • Light control – control lights and appliances remotely
  • Image sensor – takes photos when motion is detected in your home. View on mobile apps or touch screen control panel
  • Geo location services – reminds you to arm your security system before leaving home
  • $44.99 month

Ultimate Plan

The Ultimate Plan includes every feature of the Interactive Plan, plus

  • Live Video Streaming (viewable on mobile app)
  • Motion Activated Video (receive video clips when motion sensors in your home are activated)
  • HD and Night Vision cameras – outdoor cameras capture clear pictures on the dark and send them to you via the mobile app
  • Automated door locks – lock and unlock doors remotely with your Smartphone
  • Energy management control – control thermostat remotely, to keep your house at the right temperature for your return
  • $49.99 month

All Frontpoint’s plans include medical alerts and water, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring.  ADT offers medical alerts separately, for an additional fee, and only offers environmental monitoring on its two higher-priced plans.

Plans come with a three-year contract, but if you pay more upfront, you can get a one-year contract.  All plans come with a 30-day guarantee. If you aren’t happy with your service, cancel within the first 30 days and get a full refund.

Sensors and controls panels are easy to install. Just peel and stick the adhesive backing close to doors, windows or on ceilings. There’s an interactive tool on the Frontpoint website to help you decide which locations in your home are best for security sensors/cameras.

The Interactive and Ultimate plans include free mobile apps for iPhones,  iPads, Androids, Blackberry phones, Apple watch, Kindles and Windows.

Our Frontpoint Ratings

Ease of Installation — 5 stars

All Frontpoint installation is DIY. There are no holes to drill or any superfluous hardware needed to install sensors, alarms or monitors – just “peel and stick” the lightweight equipment onto walls, ceilings or near doors. It’s easy to remove sensor or detectors and put them in a new location. Wireless cameras are small and lightweight and connect to your home’s WiFi.

Customer Service And Monitoring – 5 Stars

Frontpoint’s customer service is regarded as the best in the home security business. Reps listen to customers and genuinely try to solve problems instead of “passing the buck.” The company has a low-pressure approach to sales and gears any sales presentation on the customers’ needs

Equipment — 4 Stars

You can buy high-quality home security cameras, sensors, monitors or alarms from Frontpoint.  The equipment is Z-wave compatible and moderately priced. (The indoor wireless camera is $189.99, the water and flood sensor $44.99, although you may be able to get equipment for less when Frontpoint is running a promotion.)  And you can take the equipment with you when you move. They even provide a free mover’s kit.

Cost – 3 stars

Frontpoint lists plan and equipment prices on their website, and what you see is what you get. You’ll still need to verify the final price with a rep, but the company is pretty straightforward regarding costs. Frontpoint’s plans are a few dollars more a month than ADT, with comparable quality equipment.

Technology — 4 stars

Frontpoint offers cutting-edge technology, with wireless Z-wave cameras and small, unobtrusive sensors and monitors that you can place on a wall, ceiling, shelf or table. You can use their mobile app on just about any device, including ones not usually offered by other security companies, like the Apple Watch and Blackberry phone.

FrontPoint Reviews

Frontpoint receives mostly positive reviews on social media. (Even the negative ones often mention the company’s helpful customer service.)

On Consumer Affairs.com, Frontpoint has a 4 ½ star rating based on 2352 ratings out of a total of 5437 reviews

The Frontpoint Yelp listing (Washington, D.C. area) contains both positive and negative reviews. David S. of Fairfax VA writes in his 5-star review, “I have the full system. Super easy to use and simple to install…. Very nice staff in the support side if you call in. They have it together.” In a 2-star review, Leigh Z. of Austin, TX writes, “Sadly I am going to have to drop my rating down….because I am about over my sensors working sporatically (sic). .. I have had several sensors replaced and yet the problems persist. ”

What are Some FrontPoint Alternatives?

Alternative #1  LiveWatch

Live Watch and Frontpoint offer DIY installation and cellular-only service (no landlines). Live Watch (formerly SafeMart) offers a one-year contract, with plans starting at $19.99 a month. Frontpoint’s plans start at $34.99 a month. LiveWatch is cheaper and better for short-term security needs. If you don’t travel much or have a small family, LiveWatch  may be worth it. Upfront equipment costs range between $200-$300, and it comes with a two-year limited warranty. Visit LiveWatch here.

LiveWatch vs. Frontpoint Comparison

  • LiveWatch is cheaper, at $29.95 per month for a basic plan
  • Frontpoint has lower prices for equipment
  • Live Watch offers a 12-month contract vs. Frontpoint’s 36-month contract
  • LiveWatch has higher upfront costs

Alternative # 2 ADT

ADT is the industry leader in home security with 6 million homes covered in the U.S. and over a century of service. They offer the same wireless video surveillance, remote arm and disarm and water/fire monitoring as Frontpoint. If you want a proven name in home security instead of a relatively new company to provide your system or prefer to have a technician install your system, (ADT is pro-install only), consider ADT. They offer monitoring through your landline (many newer companies don’t), and a relocation guarantee.  Visit their website here. 

Adt Vs. Frontpoint Comparison

  • ADT offers equipment installation by a technician, and Frontponit is DIY. If you prefer profession installation, ADT may be the way to go.
  • Frontpoint was founded in 2007, and ADT has been around since 1847, so if you’re the type that only trusts long-standing businesses, ADT may be for you.
  • Both companies offer comparable equipment and three-year contracts.
  • You can cancel Frontpoint anytime within the first 30 days of service, with ADT you can cancel within 60 days if it’s a tech or hardware issue they can’t resolve.

Alternative #3

SimpliSafe offers DIY installation, with low monthly fees ($14.99-$24.99 per month) and a month-to-month contract. They offer equipment including smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, door/window and motion sensors, base control, keychain remote and a security camera add-on.  An easy-to-use and affordable system, it may be useful if you have limited security needs or are new to home security. Visit SimpliSafe to learn more.

SimpliSafe Vs. Frontpoint Comparison

  • SimpliSafe has a month-to-month contract; Frontpoint has a three-year contract
  • Both companies outsource monitoring to certified, reliable monitoring stations 24/7.
  • SimpliSafe has limited, generic equipment, Frontpoint has many wireless cameras, sensors, and alarms.
  • SimpliSafe provides no home automation features

Conclusion

Why You Should Consider Frontpoint

Frontpoint’s laidback sales approach and helpful customer service will attract many people to their security services, but their cutting-edge equipment and reliable monitoring will make them stay. Based on the number of different services provided for each monitoring plan and the quick DIY installation, Frontpoint offers a great value if you’re looking for a medium-priced home security system. Learn more about Frontpoint on their website.

 

Protection 1 Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service And Monitoring
  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Technology

Summary

Protection 1 offers a focus on professional monitoring and smart home integration, resulting in a high-tech home security solution tailored to your exact needs.

3.8
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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We value clarity, comprehensive support, and solid options in a home security setup at any level of pricing. It’s important to have that reassurance that your home, your possessions, and your loved ones are protected by a system that you pay monthly for.

If you’re aiming to install a home security system in your own home, you’ll want to focus on the features that matter to you most, at a price you can afford. While every major home security provider shares a few basic features, some companies offer additional components that put them ahead of others.

We’ve been in the same place you are, looking at the broad array of options out there and wondering what’s best. We want to help you decide if Protection 1 is the best bet for you and your family. This review is designed to give you the answers by covering the features, options, and reputation of this company so you can make an educated choice.

Things to consider before buying a home security system

No matter your living situation, you want to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your possessions, your home, and most importantly, your loved ones are safe and secure. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to protect your home as soon as possible after moving in. If you don’t already have a home security setup in your permanent residence, it’s probably a good time to consider it.

The ideal customer for Protection 1 is someone who is fairly comfortable using common technology, such as smartphones and computers, because the best benefits on offer will fully integrate with these devices for more comprehensive coverage. Still, the company offers professional installation only, so you won’t need to be an expert at technology and you won’t need to get the tools out to set everything up. They take care of it for you.

The company also has fully embraced home automation, which means that their hardware will integrate with any smart home devices you may already have. This allows for simpler and more comprehensive control of what goes on in your home.

What is Protection 1?

As of 2016, Protection 1 is the second largest home security company in the United States. Founded in 1988, the company has built a strong reputation over the years, growing in size and customer base all along. According to the Better Business Bureau, they enjoy an A+ reputation as well as 95.6% customer satisfaction rating, both hallmarks of a solid home security choice.

Protection 1 focuses on a simplified package system, centered on round the clock live monitoring, with additional elements added as they are desired by the homeowner. All plans share an impressive list of basic features, including a touchscreen control keypad, motion detector, intrusion detectors, keychain remote, and professional installation.

They bill their service as a comprehensive package, with home installation to ensure that everything is setup properly without any effort required on your part as the homeowner. The idea is that you give them a call and they come to you and take care of everything from there on out.

Here are a few pros and cons of the service:

Pros:

  • Great customer service record, including A+ accredited BBB rating.
  • Mobile app for interactive monitoring from anywhere.
  • Full-service professional installation
  • Two-way voice communication
  • Optional video monitoring

Cons:

  • Protection 1 website doesn’t offer much detailed information about their services, so you’ll have to call them for a personalized quote.
  • Standard package does not include remote control or video monitoring
  • Possibly high setup costs

Features & Benefits

Broad range of services:

With a standard $99 installation fee, service tiers bring the bulk of the cost into focus. These are as follows: Secure: $34.99, Secure+: $44.99, Smart Control: $49.99, and Video:$54.99. Each tier brings incremental additions to the scope of the service, allowing you to choose one tailored to the price level you’re most comfortable with. All levels cover basic intrusion protection, 24/7 monitoring, and integration with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, while the upper tiers add features like cellular communication, web and mobile remote control, and video surveillance.

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Remote Control:

While not available on the lowest-cost plan, Protection 1 offers remote monitoring and control via your computer or smartphone. This means that any function you perform with the keypad in your home can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. You’ll be able to monitor the sensors and cameras in your home, arm and deactivate the security system, and even use two-way voice communication to speak with anyone inside the home. The accompanying app is available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone devices.

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Around-the-clock monitoring:

As with any quality home security company, Protection 1 offers 24 hour, 7 day a week professional monitoring from a remote station. Their monitoring works with all devices integrated into the system, whether you have the basic motion and intrusion detectors, or a more thorough suite including video surveillance. They’ll monitor any integrated thermostat and keep tabs on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The high ratings on BBB and elsewhere on the web show that this, the backbone of their service, is reliable and trustworthy. This is perhaps a boring point to make, but it’s important to know that when you or your home are in trouble, they will be there to summon the proper help needed.

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Smart home integration:

Protection 1 is ready to fully integrate with your smart home devices, including Z-wave support that allows it to control thermostats, lights, and more. Combined with the remote monitoring and control via your smartphone or computer, you’ll be able to command the features of your home from anywhere on earth. As smart home technology becomes more commonplace, it’s important that your home security setup recognizes and works with it. That way, you don’t end up with two completely parallel sets of controls that need tending to while you’re at home or away.

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Protection 1 Reviews by Real Users

To supplement our own evaluation, we scoured the internet to find out what customers have been saying about Protection 1. We found abundant reviews from regular people who have dealt with the product and the company. Here are a few examples.

“It was great installing the Protection 1 device and the team at Protection 1 has all been fine. I haven’t had any problems or issues and they’ve been very responsive. It’s been a little over a year since having the device and it’s always nice to be able to go to bed and turn it on and know that I got someone keeping an eye on the house for me.” – Rebecca of Alexandria, VA

“In the ten years I have relied on Protection One, I have never been dissatisfied with either service or features. The monitoring service is good in that it is not overly intrusive, but still responsive when issues come up. I would like to see their pricing come down to a more comparable rate since there are less expensive options available.” – Andres A.

“I’ve been with Protection 1 for almost a year and it’s a great service.The installation process ran smoothly. It was pleasurable. My family members use their mobile controls to arm and disarm the system, and it’s convenient. Protection 1 team has always been knowledgeable, polite, acceptable, and just very courteous overall.” – Carol of Clarksville, TN

Alternatives

In our quest for thoroughness, we took at look at how SimpliSafe compares with its most well-known competitors in the home security industry. Here are the top three companies to consider:

Vivint

Vivint has a major focus on home automation, providing quality wireless home security technology. They offer a similarly comprehensive installation and setup process, with professional techs coming into your home to set the product up. They charge for this level of equipment and installation, resulting in a product aimed at those who want to avoid working directly with the technology.

  • Price: Plans start at $39.99 a month
  • Features: Vivint boasts similar features, including home automation
  • Benefits: 24/7 customer service, professional installation
  • Contract: Vivint contracts stand at 42 months

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Vivint right here.

ADT

You probably recognize ADT as the most popular name in home security solutions. The company has been around the longest and has an accordingly strong reputation. ADT is known for its attention to detail and thorough service, including full consultation and installation. This comes with a higher price.

  • Price: Plans run from $28.99 to $55.99 a month. The top tier plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
  • Features: Both companies offer similar features, but ADT includes video cameras standard with its plans
  • Benefits: Professional installation, remote locking, ADT branded warning signs.
  • Contract: 36 month contracts here

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out ADT right here.

Frontpoint

Frontpoint goes in a different direction, focusing on DIY installation, wireless security, and smartphone access to your home security setup. They’re known for quality customer service, all-cellular monitoring, and lower costs.

  • Price: $34.99 to $49.99 a month. All plans include 100% wireless and cellular system with 24/7 professional monitoring but do not include all equipment.
  • Features: Outdoor camera, remote app, and top plan offers video streaming, automated door locks, and advanced thermostat control.
  • Benefits: Simple DIY installation, pet-friendly motion detectors, Z-Wave compatible
  • Contract: 36 months, with a 30 day trial period

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Frontpoint right here.

Conclusion

Protection 1 is a comprehensive home security solution designed for those who want to protect their home with the latest technology, including remote monitoring and control via smartphone. Their smart home integration, cellular monitoring, and two-way communication allow for a level of control that stands above most offerings on the market. While not all levels of service offer all benefits, their overall selection is a solid bet for up-to-date home security.

 

SimpliSafe Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service And Monitoring
  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Technology

Summary

This uniquely contract-free home security solution is a solid bet with its focus on simplicity and low costs.

4.0
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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If you’re looking to install a home security system in your new home, you’re going to want to focus on the factors that matter to you most, with functional protection as a given. Of course, the system has to work properly to keep your home and your family safe, but once you’ve got that base covered, there are a surprising amount of options out there.

We are here to help you decide if SimpliSafe is the solution for you and your family. We’ve struggled with the same questions you have, balancing cost against features to find the best products out there. With this review, we will show you whether SimpliSafe is your best bet or not.

Things to consider before buying a home security system

There are dozens of factors to consider before buying any expensive product, but it’s especially important to weigh all options before dropping cash on something designed to keep you, your loved ones, and your possessions safe from harm.

First and foremost is the cost. This determines the level of service you receive and the amount of features your system boasts. While a higher price tag can often mean additional perks, a lower price does not necessarily mean a low quality product. Some companies cut costs by offering DIY installation, extended contracts, and more.

Another factor to consider is your level of comfort with operating the system. Some products are more user-friendly than others, and some companies offer better help than others.

In the case of SimpliSafe, we’re seeing a product that’s aimed at those who want to keep costs down, so long as they are capable of installing the electronics themselves. We found the trade-off refreshing, but your mileage may vary.

What is SecuriSafe?

SimpliSafe is a home security system that’s designed to protect your loved ones and your possessions at a lower cost than its similarly-equipped competitors. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are zero contract requirements. That means you will never be locked into a 2- or 3-year contract, and you’ll be free to move, replace your devices, or change services entirely without penalty.

On top of this, the company boasts a 60 day money back guarantee, adding to the initial value for a product that can often bring thousands of dollars in upfront costs.

But beyond the price, what sets SimpliSafe apart? For starters, the devices themselves operate wirelessly, which is a huge advantage in our increasingly electronics-cluttered homes. Secondly, it operates via cellular communication, ensuring security even if lines are cut. Third, the monthly rates for round-the-clock monitoring compare very favorably with those of its competitors.

Here are a few pros & cons of this product:

Pros:

  • Wireless, easy to install hardware
  • Company enjoys an A+ BBB rating
  • 3-year equipment warranty
  • Dedicated cellular monitoring at low cost
  • 60 day money back guarantee
  • No contract

Cons:

  • No smart home automation
  • No security cameras included
  • Upfront equipment costs can be high
  • Interactive access from a computer or smartphone increases price by $10 monthly and $100 for the initial fees
  • No contract means monitoring costs could increase in future

Features & Benefits

24/7 remote monitoring:

Any home security setup worth its salt will include around-the-clock monitoring. It’s the core promise that makes the product worth it in the long run. Without remote monitoring, your alarm system is simply a loud warning to thieves, a possible deterrent that will not have the authorities on their way. For SimpliSafe, the monitoring is done by cellular network, which means that even if intruders cut your phone or power lines, the alarm will still sound at the remote monitoring station. Batteries ensure that the devices run even when the power is out.

Interestingly, SimpliSafe offers a non-monitoring setup which means a total lack of monthly costs, but we don’t recommend it.

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Remote Control:

Available with SimpliSafe’s remote monitoring plan, a companion smartphone app allows you to instantly see what’s going on at home, no matter where you are. The system allows for the checking of an event log, which means peace of mind for parents wanting to know when their children arrive home. All alarm statuses can be monitored from your smartphone or computer, as well. Even better, if you spring for the optional video cameras, you can view live streaming video of your home.

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Wireless Setup:

SimpliSafe is designed to expand, allowing you to install up to 41 sensors throughout your home for total protection. The best part is that installation itself is incredibly easy. The company boasts that you’ll actually enjoy setup, because of the ease of use and professional look. Devices are mounted with an adhesive surface so that you won’t even have to drill holes in walls. This means that installation is a breeze and moving the devices is just as easy. Because the whole ecosystem is wireless, you won’t have to run or organize cords of any sort. However, fresh batteries must be maintained, so the system remains functional over a long period of time.

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Low Cost:

SimpliSafe boasts a remote monitoring program that costs $14.99 per month, with no hidden costs or fees. For $10 more, you get the interactive feature, which means smartphone and computer monitoring from anywhere on earth.

The biggest cost with SimpliSafe is in the equipment itself. While this makes for a high initial hardware cost, the savings can be felt over time, given the low monthly monitoring rate. Hardware packages range from a five-piece starter kit at $230 to a $540 ultimate package, with build-your-own kits filling out prices in between. While these numbers might seem high, they pale in comparison to the overall cost of a system from one of the bigger-name competitors.

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SimpliSafe reviews by Real Users

While we were confident in our own evaluation, we wanted to see what other people thought about SimpliSafe. We searched the internet to find reviews from regular people who have firsthand experience with the product. Here are a few examples.

“We absolutely love SimpliSafe. The service is excellent and the equipment is good. Today, I accidentally set the fire alarm off while cooking. I smoked the olive oil, and it made a mess. Within seconds, the fire alarm was ringing, and so was my phone. SimpliSafe had called to verify what was going on, and I told them the fire department wasn’t needed.” – Kevin S.

“Updating my review:  Alarm is installed and functioning.  It was a bit complicated determining which sensors to get and where to put them (I may make some changes).  I do have a rather large and odd shaped house, though.  I got several e mails from customer support asking how installation was going, and when I had questions, they emailed me right back.  Customer support is fantastic!  All components work.  No problems.” – Rita C.

“Great product for DIY that doesn’t want to be stuck in a contract. This took me about 30 minutes to setup and test. The app is the most basic of basics. You can turn on and off the alarm, and text alerts get a bit annoying. The web tools are great for setting your own customization and personalizing to your needs. Overall you can’t beat the price!” – A. Bagwell

Alternatives

In our quest for thoroughness, we took at look at how SimpliSafe compares with its most well-known competitors in the home security industry. Here are the top three companies to consider:

Vivint

Vivint is a big player because of its focus on home automation, providing quality wireless home security technology. Unlike SimpliSafe, Vivint offers a comprehensive installation and setup process in which techs come into your home to set the product up professionally. There are charges for equipment and installation, but this is a boon for anyone who wants to avoid working directly with the technology. If this sounds like you, it might be a better option, provided the costs are acceptable.

  • Price: Plans start at $39.99 a month
  • Features: Vivint boasts the same features, plus full home automation
  • Benefits: 24/7 customer service, professional installation
  • Contract: Vivint contracts stand at 42 months, while SimpliSafe requires no monthly contract

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Vivint right here.

ADT

ADT is the most popular name when it comes to home security in America. It’s been around for decades and has an according reputation. ADT’s standard service is known for its attention to detail, including full consultation and installation. This ease of use comes with a higher price.

  • Price: Plans run from $28.99 to $55.99 a month. The top tier plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
  • Features: Both companies offer remarkably similar features, but ADT includes video with its plans
  • Benefits: Professional installation, remote locking, ADT branded warning signs.
  • Contract: 36 month contracts here

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out ADT right here.

Frontpoint

Frontpoint offers a similar set of features, including DIY installation, wireless security, and smartphone access to your home security setup. Also similar to SimpliSafe, Frontpoint is known for its quality customer service, all-cellular monitoring, and lower costs.

  • Price: $34.99 to $49.99 a month. All plans include 100% wireless and cellular system with 24/7 professional monitoring but do not include all equipment.
  • Features: Outdoor camera, remote app, and top plan offers video streaming, automated door locks, and advanced thermostat control.
  • Benefits: Simple DIY installation, pet-friendly motion detectors, Z-Wave compatible
  • Contract: 36 months, with a 30 day trial period

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Frontpoint right here.

Conclusion

Let’s face it: home security solutions can be prohibitively costly. Of course, we all want to ensure the safety and security of our homes, our families, and our possessions, but we don’t want to spend more than we can afford to do so. The DIY approach and a la carte style hardware selection from SimpliSafe is meant to cut costs in an innovative way for those with the confidence to self-install.

If you’re looking for a system with one of the lowest monthly costs around, look no further. While there are a handful of drawbacks, including battery maintenance and optional video monitoring, SimpliSafe is one of the most price-conscious yet solidly equipped options available.

 

Link Interactive Review

  • Ease of Installation
  • Customer Service And Monitoring
  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Technology

Summary

Link Interactive is a competitive home security provider with a focus on DIY installation and accessible pricing.

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Link Interactive is a competitive home security provider with a focus on DIY installation and accessible pricing.

If you’re anything like me, you’re highly interested in getting the best deal possible, even when it comes to something as crucial as home security. You probably want to know that getting a great price doesn’t have to mean a low quality product. That’s what we’re looking into here: whether the benefits of self installation outweigh the costs.

While Link Interactive is by no means alone when it comes to self-installed home security products, they’ve made their name focusing exclusively on this part of the industry.

If you’re like me and you’ve got a little bit of tech savvy, you’ll be looking for a solution like this because the initial setup costs can skyrocket when you’ve got technicians coming into your home with loads of tools. This is where a company like Link Interactive becomes much more attractive.

Things to consider before buying Link Interactive

Home security is about a lot more than simply protecting your stuff. It’s about even more than protecting your loved ones. What it can truly bring you is peace of mind, day and night, week in and out. A good home security setup will take one of the biggest lifelong worries off your mind for as long as you keep it. That’s the ultimate criteria.

Beyond protecting your home from burglary and vandalism, a home security product can help you maintain control over many aspects of home life, from lighting to thermostats. This is a boon for anyone who’s ever worried if they’re wasting energy while out of town.

While Link Interactive aims to solve all home security conundrums, it certainly is aimed at some homeowners and not others. Those with more income and less technical know-how are probably better served by doing through a more traditional company, such as ADT or Vivint. They offer a standard professional installation and mostly hands-off operation. You pay up and they secure your home.

However, if you’re comfortable setting up and installing the suite of devices that comprise the Link Interactive security system, you might be able to save a lot of money while giving your home and your family the same level of safety and protection.

There are some broad qualities that every major player in the industry must bring to the table, the core of which is remote monitoring. This is what makes a home security system worth more than the sum of its parts. Your alarm goes off and a professional at another location will immediately notify the proper authorities. No matter which company you purchase from, you’ll want this fundamental part of the deal.

Thankfully, Link Interactive wraps its entire DIY process around this core feature. How does the rest of the package stack up?

What is Link Interactive?

Link Interactive has actually been around for more than sixty years, first as Mountain Alarm, a trusted home security provider that launched Link as its DIY offering just a few years ago. In the time since, Link has gained a reputation for solid customer service and competitive pricing.

Link originally began as a partnership with Costco, but has now grown into a formidable force in the home security industry. The total focus on DIY helps keep costs down and allows for a wider potential audience. While this focus limits the potential audience to those who feel comfortable with self installation, it broadens the available price range.

Another major focus for Link is in their communication, using Alarm.com as a host for your mobile control and monitoring of the home. This offers the advantage of simple, smartphone-based awareness and control, no matter where you are.

Compared to market leaders like ADT and Frontpoint, Link Interactive may appear more pared down and simple, but the tighter focus lends it a greater value for many people, depending on their budget, comfort with technology, and security needs.

Let’s look at some pros and cons of the product.

Pros:

  • Around-the-clock central station monitoring
  • 64 years of experience in the industry
  • Fire monitoring is included in every plan
  • Multiple contract options, including 12, 24, and 36-month plans
  • 30-day money back guarantee, a virtual trial period
  • A+ rating with the BBB

Cons:

  • DIY installation only, with no professional home visit option
  • Steep upfront costs for all equipment you may need
  • The sheer variety of equipment can be overwhelming for inexperienced security buyers

Features & Benefits

Now we can take a look at some of the key features of Link Interactive. Every home security company has its own distinct advantages, so it’s important to get a closer look and see what makes it tick.

Round-the-clock Monitoring:

Link Interactive boasts 24/7 cellular monitoring as the lynchpin of its entire system. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about a cut landline or access to high speed cable internet to secure your home. Their professionals monitor for intrusions and fire, but they also offer a unique feature. They call it crash and smash protection, and what it means is that even if an intruder were to destroy your equipment, an alarm signal will still make it out to the monitoring station, getting you the help that you need. This is a crucial positive no matter how you look at it.

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Price:

Prices for Link Interactive plans run on three simple tiers: $29.99, $34.99, and $39.99. With a simple graph they convey the levels of service available at each. Importantly, the most important features are included across the board. This means around-the-clock professional monitoring over a 100% cellular network, covering intrusion, fire, and crash and smash alarms. Additionally, for the lowest price you’ll also get integration with smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as extreme temperature monitoring.

As the price rises, they add features like two-way voice communication, email and text alerts, a supply of 10 sensors for doors and windows, and most importantly, smart apps for your phone or tablet that allow total control from anywhere on earth. The top tier, only $10 more a month than the basic one, even offers motion activated live video streaming and recording.

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Live Video:

Speaking of video recording, this is one of the biggest ways Link Interactive sets its service apart from the competition. While not available at all price levels, their video services go beyond what most other security companies offer. For starters, you’ll be able to see who’s at your front door via the main control panel or your smartphone. Even better, you can set up custom triggers to send live video to your smartphone, no matter where you are. In the event of an alarm, video will automatically begin recording and storing, so that you can rewind and check it out from anywhere with an internet connection.

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Home Automation:

As smart home technology becomes widespread and prices drop to affordable levels, you’re going to want a home security system that integrates with your smart devices. Link Interactive connects all of the smart devices in your home, giving you responsive automation and control from one single user interface. This means that you’ll be more aware and in command of every aspect of your home, from thermostats to lights, windows, and more. This means that the company is future-proofed in a way that many competitors are not.

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Link Interactive Reviews by Real Users

We wanted to learn what people thought about Link Interactive, so we scoured the internet to find reviews from regular people who have spent their hard-earned money on the product. What we found was refreshingly positive. Here are a few examples.

“If you are handy at all, this is the way to go. Same equipment as the big players, but at much better prices. The packages were customizable, so I was able to get all the options I wanted without anything I didn’t need. The ability to connect my garage door control, is very handy.” – Karl S.

“This is the best of all worlds – DIY installation with professional monitoring. I love, love, love how much I can configure everything. I love that the Control Panel is also a Z Wave Controller, so I now have the beginning of a smart home – starting with my connected thermostat.

I have installed window or door sensors, two interior cameras, one exterior camera, two additional motion detectors. I will add a few more things on later, but I can’t believe the features and functionality.” – Lesley A.

“I purchased the system directly through Link Interactive’s 800 number via their website.  I had an excellent sales experience and was able to use my existing sensors since my old security company used the same panel.  Installation wasn’t that difficult but I did have to read up on the panel a bit and make a couple of calls to Link Interactive tech support.  Each time I called they were very helpful.  They give you complete control of your system so you are free to expand it by buying affordable sensors.   I love the control and ability to expand the system myself.” – Joey E.

Alternatives

In making sure that we did a thorough job appraising Link Interactive, we researched their biggest competitors to compare the feature sets and pricing. These are the three most well-known alternative home security solutions around:

Vivint

Vivint is an important company when it comes to home automation, providing some of the best wireless home security technology available. Unlike Link Interactive, Vivint offers a more comprehensive installation and setup process, coming into your home to set the product up professionally. They charge for equipment and installation, of course, but if you’re not comfortable working with technology, it could be a better option, provided the higher costs aren’t prohibitive.

  • Price: Plans start at $39.99 a month
  • Features: Similar features but Vivint also offers full home automation
  • Benefits: 24/7 customer service, professional, foolproof installation
  • Contract: Vivint contracts stand at 42 months, while Link Interactive goes for 12, 24, or 36 months.

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Vivint right here.

ADT

ADT is the most well-known home security name in America, and has been for decades. Their standard service is known for its thorough attention to detail. The company sends people to your home, giving a full consultation and installation themselves. There’s no work required on your part, but it comes with a higher price.

  • Price: Plans run from $28.99 to $55.99 a month. The top plan includes remote secure video and smartphone control.
  • Features: Both companies offer remarkably similar features
  • Benefits: Professional installation, remote locking, ADT branded warning signs.
  • Contract: 36 month contracts.

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out ADT right here.

Frontpoint

Frontpoint offers a similar set of features, including DIY installation, wireless security, and smartphone access to your home security setup. They’re also known for offering top tier customer service, cellular monitoring, and a uniquely comprehensive approach to security.

  • Price: $34.99 to $49.99 a month. All plans include 100% wireless and cellular system with 24/7 professional monitoring but do not include all equipment.
  • Features: Outdoor camera, remote app, and top plan offers video streaming, automated door locks, and advanced thermostat control.
  • Benefits: Simple DIY installation, pet-friendly motion detectors, Z-Wave compatible
  • Contract: 36 months, with a 30 day trial period

If you’re curious about the full benefits, check out Frontpoint right here.

Conclusion

With a wealth of smart features, solid hardware design, and reliable cellular monitoring, this service is a serious contender for your best home security bet. The simple pricing and clear set of options make it especially attractive to anyone on a budget. If you’re comfortable installing electronics and working with light tools, Link Interactive should be on your short list of home security solutions.

Click here to check out Link Interactive.

 

Cyber Bullying: Helping the Bullied, Stopping the Bullies

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Introduction

Children and teens, who are just learning to navigate social relationships, often find themselves in social situations that are fraught with awkward exchanges. When the line between normal, even acceptable, playful teasing crosses into bullying, problems arise. It’s often difficult for them, and even adults, to discern when teasing becomes bullying, and when a laughing together becomes laughing at someone else’s expense.

Simply put, bullying can be boiled down to unwanted social attention. While it can be subtle or blatant; take place online, or in public; be physical or aggressive; there are a few characteristics that can help define bullying.

What Defines Bullying?

RIP is a good mnemonic to help remember the key elements of defining bullying behavior:

Repetition

Bullying is repetitive, especially after the bullied person has asked for it to stop; thus, the bully is aware that s/he is causing the bullied person(s) physical/emotional discomfort, and furthering the power dynamic. Additionally, bullying is often focused, repeatedly, on the same person, or groups of people.

Power

Bullying is done with the intent of hurting others. This can be physically, or emotionally. A bully is fully aware that they are hurting their targets, and do it anyway.

Intent

In general, a bully (or group of bullies) is in a position of social, or physical, power over the person(s) s/he is bullying. The misconception about bullying is that it’s done only by (a) physically strong person(s), or a popular person(s).

For more on the definition of bullying, see the American Psychological Association, Stop Bullying.Gov, or the National Bullying Prevention Center.

What are Typical Behaviors of Bullies?

Bullying behaviors can range from anything to excluding others from social groups, to physical aggression. It is a wide range that includes verbal, social and physical behaviors. For example, verbal, physical and social behaviors are all included in the definition of bullying.

Physical Bullying

Physical Bullying can range from intimidation, threats, and assault. Bullies can resort to any form of violence, such as pushing, kicking, punching or other such examples.

Childhood Example: A child pushes another child down, and steals his toy, or swing, at the playground.

Teen Example: One teen accidentally-on-purpose bumps into another in the hallway, between classes, spilling his books and papers.

Daven, who was bullied as a child, tells Parents and Teens Against Bullying.org, that the constant physical abuse that he endured from his bully, such as flicking, punching, and even having his bully’s snot wiped on him, was humiliating. He describes the effect of this time as isolating, and full of self-doubt, and that like most victims of bullies, he regrets not involving an adult. Daven lived to tell his tale, and recognize that, in his words, “bullying is the weak choice,” but, according to a Yale University study, bullied victims are up to 9% more likely to consider suicide; and, in the UK, some studies have linked up to half of youth suicides to bullying.

 Verbal/Social Bullying/Relational Bullying

Verbal bullying includes harassment in the form of teasing and taunting, such as name calling, manipulation, and spreading false rumors. According to StopBullying.gov, this is meant to destroy the victim’s reputation. Perhaps, most painful, relational and social bullying is also about socially isolating a victim, and making him/her feel like they don’t belong to their peer group.

Childhood Example: You are a poopie pants! You can’t play with us because you smell bad! We don’t play with poopie pants!

Teen Example: A group of girls stops talking as soon as Jennifer approaches. Jennifer, until a few weeks ago, considered those girls her best friends. She asks what their plans are for the weekend, and the girls exchange glances with one another, snicker, and one girl replies, “um, nothing you’d want to do.” The rest of the girls laugh. Jennifer walks away, and the girls immediately start talking and laughing again.

An Anonymous girl shares that her social isolation lead to her eventual need to be home-schooled, via a cyber-program. She says that it all started with a group of girls and a rumor that spread like wildfire; the anonymous victim lost all of her friends, and became increasingly isolated by her bullies. Still, she was not at peace, because her bullies created false social media accounts to leave cruel and taunting messages and comments on her social media pages. She wasn’t safe from their isolation, even in isolation. Ultimately, when she returned to school, her bullies weren’t finished with her. She tried to stand up for herself, but to no avail. Not unlike many bullying situations, this one doesn’t simply end; it trails on and on, highlighting administrative need for no-contact and knock-it-off policies.

Online Bullying

Online bullying consists of harassing a victim through social media, text message, email and other messaging systems. It also includes using a school’s online resources, or false online accounts to destroy a person’s online reputation.

Childhood Example: Depends on the social media access a child has.

Teen Example: Nice bathing suit. Ever hear of a diet? Or the gym?

There is almost no end to the examples of online bulling stories in the media these days. For example, Hannah Smith, was taunted mercilessly regarding her weight, skin condition, and even a death in her family, on the messaging site Ask.fm, for weeks leading up to her suicide in 2013. Or, there is the story of Grace K. McComas, who was cyberbullied for months leading up to her suicide in 2012.

Online Bullying – Sexually Explicit Subcategory

Online bullying may have a sexual component, such as blackmail, as the bully may have access to compromising information or explicit content. The misconception is that the teen always sends the compromising material to the bully themselves. This isn’t always the case; and even if it were, it doesn’t, or shouldn’t matter. For example, in the case of Erin Andrews, the TV Sportscaster and personality who was famously involved in the “peephole” video and subsequent cyberbullying saga, she was videotaped, in the nude, in her hotel rooms, as she traveled for work, without her knowledge over the course of several years. Her life and career was nearly destroyed by a bully, and she continues to endure cyberbullies who tweet and message her regularly about the incident. Often, teens have photos (or videos) taken of them in bathrooms, through windows, or when they are unconscious. The very real pain at the loss of reputation, coupled with the mockery from peers, can be devastating.

Take the suicide of Jessica (Jesse) Logan, a typical, otherwise happy high school senior from Ohio, who sexted a nude to her boyfriend. They broke up, and he cruelly sent the photo to everyone at their school. She tried to soldier on, but her grades dropped, she started skipping school, and to make it through the day, she’d hide in the bathroom to avoid the students who were calling her a slut, and a whore. She even tried to make the best of a bad situation, going on a local news program as a victim’s advocate for cyberbullying, hoping to prevent something similar from happening to someone else. But, after attending the funeral for someone else, another suicide, Jesse came home and hung herself in her closet.

Who are Most Targeted for Bullying

Bullying can seem random, sometimes; but current research shows that nearly a quarter of students report being bullied. There is some data to suggest that certain types of students are at more risk for bullies than others, and certain personalities are more at risk for being bullies than others.

Students who are more likely to be bullied are generally perceived as “different” than their peers. LGBT youth, and those with disabilities, are especially at risk. However, these, and others, are protected under the law, from such provocation. For example, race, religion ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and disability are all protected classes, under national law. Schools should all be versed on law, and have policies in place to protect these students, should conflicts arise.

Aside from the general idea of those who are less popular than the “in crowd,” students who simply don’t get along well with others, appear anxious, or are unable to defend themselves against provocation are easy targets for bullies. Of course, those who look different than others are always targets for bullies as well; this means that those who are overweight, or who dress differently, or wear their hair in a different fashion. None of the above list will necessarily guarantee that someone will be harassed, but it will certainly not help, if a bully is out to get them.

Often, educators focus on the victims of bullying, and fail to identify the types of students who can become bullies, and therefore don’t intervene before there’s a potential problem. But, it’s equally important to help the bully; according to the Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, 60 percent of boys who were bullies in middle school had a criminal conviction by 24. Shockingly, 40 percent had three or more convictions.

Bullies are born from students who are not only overly-concerned with social status, but also with dominance over their weaker peers to bolster, or mask, their own self-esteem issues. Bullies that turn to physical aggression, not surprisingly, often have issues with violent behavior, and with following rules and standards, and often “hang” with the wrong crowd. Perhaps most importantly, according to a University of Washington and Indiana University Study, administrators may be able to spot them early and intervene, by noting that bullies are far more likely to come from troubled and violent homes.

Cyber Bullying

Definition of Cyberbullying:

The same qualities of repeated, intentional, and social/psychological power plays are involved with cyberbullying. The only difference is that the bullying takes place via electronic mediums such as cell phones, computers or other electronic devices. Cyberbullying can be threatening text messages, e-mails; or, it can even rumors or information posted on public, social media sites or message boards. It can take place exclusively online; or, bullies can combine cyberbullying with traditional bullying.

Cyberstalking

It’s easy to confuse cyberbullying with cyberstalking, especially because we often hear these words used interchangeably, sometimes. It’s especially easy to become confused because cyberbullying has an element of stalking to it: the relentless messaging, the social media pages, and the ability to track the victim, online.

However, cyberstalking is a bit different. Cyberstalking is a repetitive, malicious vendetta often with no legitimate purpose, ironically against a very personal target, carried out with premeditation and obsessive zeal. Cyberstalkers disregard all warnings to stop their illegal activity, and reasonable reasons to stop (like that they are causing distress to another human being).

How is Cyberbullying Different?

Cyberbullying is, in many ways, different than “typical” bullying. Cyberbullying is primarily psychological, as it’s perpetrated through social manipulation and intimidation via messaging and interference with one’s social status through message boards and groups. The primary, and most important, difference between cyberbullying, and traditional bullying, is that it can, and often does, occur 24-hours a day. Cyberbullying takes the “repetition part of bullying to the extreme.

Victims have no respite, or safe place, from their bullies. If they are being bullied on their cell phones, their message beep can go off, even in the safety of their bedroom, even when they are asleep. If they are gaming, involved in a safe community of peer players, it can quickly be infiltrated by bullies who attack them with brutal messages, or ostracization.

Another major difference with cyberbullying is that the “power” may not be the same typical social or physical imbalance that a typical bully has over their victim. Instead, a cyberbully may have access to virtual information, such as an “incriminating,” message, e-mail, or photograph that the victim doesn’t want anyone else to see. This is still an imbalance of power, but not in the traditional sense. It changes the power dynamic, and makes power somewhat of a grey area in the bully/victim relationship, as the bully may have access to this information because they were formerly close, or even intimate, with their victim.

Cyberbullying and Sex

Worst of all, much of cyber bullying, especially among older students, is sometimes sexually motivated, or sexually graphic. Even if untrue, cyber bullying can spread false rumors, ruining reputations through social groups. While the CDC reports that sexual promiscuity among teens is down, with an average of less than 30% of teens having engaged in sexual activity in the previous three months, 21% of those surveyed had been drinking or doing drugs, prior to sexual activity. With inhibitions lowered, photos, texts and videos are a problem.

The subjects of the new Netflix document documentary, Audrie and Daisy (2016), are teenage girls who both admit to drinking more than they normally would one night. These girls learn the hard way that the boys they thought they trusted to care for them at their worst are only lying in wait for their weakest moments, snapping photos of them as they disrobe them, probe their nude bodies, and then spreading videos, texts or rumors around their respective schools. Audrie’s will doesn’t withstand the torturous rigor of the texts, emails and constant shaming she feels at the loss of her reputation; she commits suicide. Daisy attempts to kill herself several times, especially when she learns that her perpetrators will not face sexual assault charges, and she’s called a liar and a whore by her fellow students, former friends via text and message, relentelessly.

However, not all victims of cyberbullying find online contact distressing. In fact, according to the Second Youth Internet Safety Survey, 38% of students weren’t bothered by being harassed online. It was only when online harassment crossed into offline harassment as well, did they feel upset by e-bullying.

Importance of Cyberbullying

Estimates of victims of cyberbullying vary; some studies find as many as 40% of students have reported incidents of cyberbullying. According to the CDC, 15% of high school students have reported being electronically bullied, in the past year; and, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, 7% of students between grades 6-12 experienced cyber-bullying. Noting that cyberbullying appears to more than double, when restricted to high school students, but is reported early, begs intervention and knowledge regarding how students are engaging, and how to intervene as early as possible.

Cyberbullying.org conducted a study that made it especially clear to students what the definition of cyberbullying is. They told students that cyberbullying meant “repeatedly mak[ing] fun of another person online, or repeatedly pick[ing] on another person through email or text message; or when someone posts something online about another person that they don’t like.” With this definition, about 25% of 10,000 randomly selected 11-18 year olds reported that they’d been cyberbullied (over the past seven years); but only 12% in the past year (January 2014). 17% admitted to cyberbullying others in the past seven years; and only 4% admitted to bullying others in the past year.

This data tells us that while we may have been behind, figuring out this arena where students have been harassing their peers, programs and procedures that are designed to target and reduce it, are working. Therefore, we need to continue to both recognize and highlight cyberbullying as a problem, and we need to work toward positive and effective solutions to eliminate it.

Identifying Cyberbullying

Identifying cyberbullying starts by realizing that you need to look for both victims and bullies. Unlike traditional bullying, victims and bullies share some similar behaviors, such as hiding their phone screens from teachers, quickly minimizing computer browser windows from adults, or refuses to discuss their online activity with adults (or others). However, victims and bullies do behave differently in other ways.

 Identifying Cyberbullies

  • Seems to have multiple accounts, or access to others’ accounts
  • Uses electronic devices at all hours of the day, especially (and including) at night
  • Expresses inappropriate anger at limits on electronic device usage

 Identifying Cyberbully Victims

  • Generalized increase in anxiety, depression or frustration
  • Increased anger, frustration or depression after using electronic media
  • Refusal to talk with parents or teachers about online activities
  • Stops using electronic devices
  • Withdrawal from social, or even home, activity

In this video, despite some of the out dated technology, we see many the examples of a “typical,” cyberbully, and a “typical,” cyberbullying victim. The bully makes attempts to socially isolate the victim, makes him feel socially inferior, and is cruel. The victim withdraws at home, seems sad and refuses to discuss his problem with his mother, quickly hiding all evidence.

Identifying Cyberbullying Culture

According to recent data, students are less likely to report cyberbullying when their school promotes a climate with safe peer-to-peer relationships, and a generally safe environment. Currently, there is not enough research on this nebulous topic; but according to Cyberbyullying.org, students who agreed with statements such as, “feel[ing] safe at school,” feel[ing] that teachers at their school really try to help them succeed,” and “feel[ing] that teachers at their school care about them,” were less likely to report either being victims of cyberbullying, or being cyberbullies themselves. The good news, is that while incidents of cyberbullying are up more than 50 percent in the last five years, nearly 70 percent of students who felt harassed sought help from a trusted friend, parent, or other adult authority figure, leaving room for trusted practices to work.

If You See Something, Say Something

There’s no room for bystanders in bullying. With over 80% of teens using a cell phone, it’s difficult to catch; but, that’s why it’s important for adults to be engaged in the lives of young people and adolescents. Ask questions. Be involved. Notice when things are different. Quite simply: pay attention. And remember, bystanders are victims too. Bystanders report symptoms of anxiety, guilt and shame associated with incidents of bullying.

How to Help in a Cyber Bullying Situation

There’s a relatively simple list of items/ideas that can help in any cyberbullying situation:

Form Relationships

Be a friend to youth. Or, encourage your children to have an adult friend. It’s okay if your children feel more comfortable confiding in a coach, or teacher; just make sure they feel comfortable confiding in someone.

Talk it Out

Mediation can sometimes help resolve a bullying situation, if it’s a misunderstanding that has blown out of proportion. Attempt a talk-it-out situation carefully, if you engage a trained counselor as a mediator and you are confident that violence won’t escalate.

Go Online

Make sure you visit websites that your children frequent, with them, and learn the ins and outs of the pages. Get to know their online “friends,” and be aware of their online activity. Know when things change.

Teach Them Appropriate Responses

It’s never a good idea to add fuel to a fire; so, teach your children not to respond to cyberbullies. Don’t give them any information, respond to any messages, or let them know that they are bothering you. In many ways, this is not much different than traditional bullying; as emotional as it may seem, leaving it alone, may be the best answer.

Evidence

Despite the grey areas of the laws, cyberbullying and cyberstalking are against the law. While there is some potential shame and fear associated with cyberbullying, especially if it’s related to sexual activity, or rule-breaking such as underage drinking or drug use, it’s vital that kids and teens are instructed to never delete any harassing messages.

Report

All online services, such as Facebook, or even Craigslist, have reporting services to report unauthorized, or inappropriate usage, and cyberbullying. Without screenshots and evidence, it’s almost impossible to enforce their policies, however. Utilize their reporting services, and provide them with the evidence you’ve saved to quickly put an end to “small” incidents of cyberbullying.

Utilize Law Enforcement

Most schools have resource officers; engage them, and make sure they are aware of incidents of cyberbullying among the students in their purview. More importantly, make sure that they are aware of the laws that govern cyberbullying in their state, and how to enforce them. Resource officers are specially trained to deal with students and adolescents; sometimes, simply allowing the resource officer to intervene is enough to scare the cyberbully into stopping, rather than engaging criminal charges. However, if activity continues, or if harassment is especially malicious, engage the entire team and report activity to the local and state authorities.

Knock-it-Off Policy and No-Contact

If the bullying is especially pervasive or violent, and as such is affecting the learning environment, it is important to make sure that students are supervised and kept apart as much as possible, both to protect their safety, and to keep other students from being affected. It’s important to make sure that the situation is left to fizzle, rather than ignite. An adult can be provided to walk a student to class, to sit nearby, but not necessarily with the student, in the cafeteria, for example.

Appoint Staff at Every Level

An anti-bullying task manager or team manager should be assigned at the elementary through high school level to work with faculty, administrators, counselors and staff to be kept abreast of all new information in the field, and to have “boots on the ground,” as it were, with the students. Engage a staff member who cares about bullying, stopping it, and about student mental health.

Recognize Limits of “Zero-Tolerance” Programs

Zero-tolerance sounds good on paper, and it sounds good to parents; but, for kids it can sound scary and it can make them afraid to report bullying for fear of reprisal, perhaps even fearing that they may be disciplined themselves, as part of the bullying scenario. Zero tolerance policies have their merits, but it’s important to recognize their limits when dealing with complex bullying scenarios, adolescents and teens.

Engage Parents

Parents are a valuable resource. In many cases, they will be the ones who will be able to tell you if the student’s eating, sleeping, or behavior habits have drastically changed, which will help sound the alarm to a more serious situation. Additionally, parents are a great resource to help reinforce school policy; as administrators you want them on your team, so listen to their needs and be conscious of them. Their primary concern, and yours, is stopping their child’s hurt.

Engage the Community

Community leaders, especially city and county leaders such as mayors and city council members have taken strong roles in speaking out against anti-bullying. Take the time to engage them in speaking at your school, or in writing letters to your students. Engage your local sports teams, or other civic leaders to form a culture of anti-bullying at your school.

Environment

The best way to prevent bullying, of any kind, is to create an environment where bullying isn’t tolerated or condoned. In an ideal world, this is easy. All students love one another, and everyone gets along. There’s no gossip, everyone’s a star athlete, plays in the school band, and gets straight A’s. But, that’s not how it works. So, StompOutBullying, makes these Top 20 suggestions for “Stomping Out” Bullying in your school:

  1. Don’t laugh
  2. Don’t encourage the bully
  3. Stay at a safe distance, and help the target get away
  4. Don’t become an “audience” for the bully
  5. Reach out and become a friend to a bullying victim
  6. Help the victim in any way that you can
  7. Support the victim in private
  8. If you notice someone being isolated, invite them to join you
  9. Include the victim in some of your activities
  10. Tell an adult if you see bullying, or are being bullied
  11. Encourage your school to participate in bullying or cyberbullying prevention programs
  12. Start a peer mentoring program at school
  13. Raise awareness of bullying and cyberbullying prevention in your community
  14. Teach friends about being more tolerant of others, even if they are different
  15. Ask your school to set up a private box where kids who are bullied can report it, anonymously
  16. Get someone to sponsor a conflict resolution team
  17. Encourage school administrators to adopt Internet-use policies that address online hate, harassment and pornography
  18. Create events in your school and community to raise anti-bullying, and bullying prevention awareness.
  19. Create bullying prevention awareness posters for your school
  20. Stand up and do something when you hear someone making jokes or comments about: someone’s sexual identity, family member(s), weight, clothing, skin color, accent, or disability.

Stomping Out

Sit with Us

Consider allowing the use of smart phones, especially with apps like SitWithUs, an app designed especially for bullied kids, by a teenager, a victim of bullying herself. The app is designed for kids with no one to sit with in the school cafeteria; they can designate themselves as “alone,” and hope that someone else, an ambassador, will see their avatar and invite them to their table, or vice versa. So far, it’s being used in lunchrooms across the country, and even internationally. It prevents kids from being openly rejected, if they stroll up to a table, and try to make a new friend, while simultaneously being invited to be friends with new people. It means never having to eat alone, and never being rejected.

Cyberbullying and the Law

Currently, cyberbullying is covered at the state level. All states have laws covering cyberbullying, but there is a wide range of what is allowable, for prosecution, or what is considered legal, or protected, under the letter of the law. The Cyberbullying Research Center keeps an updated, interactive map of what states have what laws, including those proposed.

Importantly, laws must consider the fact that cyberbullying can occur both on and off campus. So, laws have to be proposed in such a way that educators have to make a determination whether cyberbullying that happens off campus is having a noticeable detrimental effect on the learning environment on campus. To understand the confusion, realize that states either have decided on criminal sanctions, school sanctions, school policy, or an off-campus policy (or a combination of these).

These terms can be confusing, because they all sound so similar.

Sanction

A threatened penalty for disobeying.

Criminal Sanctions

Because cyberbullying (and bullying) can be classified as a crime, it is subject to criminal punishments.

School Sanctions

Schools get to create and adopt their own disciplinary measures and policies.

School Policy

The bullying law requires all states, apart from Montana, to set an anti-bullying policy to both identify behaviors and disciplinary policies.

School Sanctions

In some states, the bullying law gives the school latitude to discipline students in certain appropriate ways.

Off-Campus

As mentioned above, schools are allowed to discipline students for off-campus behavior, if they’ve determined that it disrupts the on-campus learning environment.

California has a “Yes” in all four categories above, for example; as does New Jersey, Louisiana and Pennsylvania and Tennessee. However, states like Wyoming are only 50% yes and 50% no. There are wide variations from state-to-state.

In some cases, felony harassment charges can be brought against cyberbullies; but, there is currently no federal laws against cyberbullying, specifically. The only specific federal laws, are those that can be brought against protected classes, as mentioned in Section 1. Protected classes, such as those with disabilities, LGBT, or minorities should be versed in the following federal laws. School administrators and staff should obviously be equally aware.

Cyberbullying Education

Education and information is part of the answer to stopping cyberbullying. Teaching our kids how to respond to harassment properly, and teaching our kids how not to bully, is a big part of the solution. So, how soon is too soon to teach kids about cyberbullying?

Kid’s Health recommends framing discussions about bullying, in general, as early as Pre-K, in age-appropriate ways. Eyes On Bullying agrees, pointing out that, often, people overlook early childhood years in bullying prevention, because they underestimate both children’s intelligence, and their emotional maturity. Teach InCntrl promotes cyberbullying education for all students across all areas of the curriculum.

Bullying in very young children can look very different, however, with a strong tendency toward subtle bullying for girls and physical bullying for boys. In an example described in their book, Dr. Storey and Dr. Slaby describe a scenario in which a preschool girl, sitting at lunch begins a game in which she questions the children at her table, requiring them to raise their hands for affirmative responses with prompts like, “who likes X, Y, Z.” All of her prompts are things that all children would be sure to respond in the affirmative to, such as candy, movies and the like. But, when she gets to the end of her inquiries, she asks, “and who likes Madeline?” This is the beginning of social bullying.

hey suggest bullying education for children begin as early as preschool with social skills education, while they develop the language skills to express the feelings they are having. It’s important to catch bullying behaviors while they are happening and reappoint them into appropriate social interactions. Story time and circle, or morning meeting time, they suggest, is a good time to use examples and engagement to point out appropriate ways to interact with peers, and to define the line between teasing and taunting.

Additionally, they recommend the key life skills of empathy, problem solving and assertiveness to both address bullying, and to prevent becoming one. To learn empathy, they suggest that students learn to label their feelings and that they learn to compare themselves to others in a way that helps them appreciate their differences. Additionally, helping others to feel better teaches children to feel better about themselves, and helps reinforce the “golden rule.” Problem solving activities, such as team-work, and rudimentary what-if scenarios help preschoolers learn to deal with frustration in a safe environment to build their self-confidence. Assertion activities, such as teaching kids to keep their cool, and role-playing response scenarios, and learning when to ignore and when to get help are important tools for preschoolers to both build their self-esteem, and to understand the complexities of bullying scenarios.

Counseling and Resources for Victims

There are several, national anti-bullying resource centers set up to both provide information, and to direct victims, parents, and educators to required resources. For example, the Victims of Crime Resource Center Hotline is reachable at 1-800-Victims, and through their website. Additionally, The Cyberbullying Research Center provides links to not only report bullying on all major social media sites, but also information and resources to victims, nationwide. StopBullying.gov also provides access to both information and links to both national phone number databanks, and links to local counselors.

StompOutBullying is a national website with a 24-7 web-chat service for teens to find access to help for support about bullying. Trained counselors monitor the chat room to provide support and assistance to teens who are looking for advice. Additionally, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACP) website provides a clearinghouse of both information about bullying and cyberbullying, but also links to resources and links to counseling services in your child’s area.

 Cyberbullying on Social Media and  Popular Websites

New social media sites pop up seemingly every day. And, just as quickly fade away. Keeping up with what your tweens and tweens are doing online, and who they are doing it with, is important to helping them avoid both their being cyberbullied, or becoming one. For example, a newer(ish) social media site, Musical.ly has taken social media by storm, often outranking Snapchat and Instagram in the App Store. Musical.ly, a seemingly harmless video sharing site, where people can lip-sync to their favorite tunes, is no different than other social media sites, in terms of potential for cyberbullying or predatory danger. Privacy and user settings, and parental oversight can go a long way in preventing many dangerous, and harassment situations.

Facebook

While it seems, sometimes, that Facebook set the gold standard for social media, it seems that teens began migrating away from it sometime ago. Still, they have a bullying prevention hub, especially targeted at teens. In their hub is access to a PDF, which includes step-by-step instructions and conversation starter ideas for teens who have found themselves in harassment scenarios.

The first step, is always to unfriend someone who is bothering you, and block offensive people. Of course, if there are false accounts out there, this can become problematic, and like cutting the head off of a hydra, but start there. And, FB warns that blocking is reciprocal, so you won’t be able to see what they post about you anymore, which can make you feel antsy, wondering if, on their page, false information about you is spreading like wildfire, now that you can’t see it anymore. Still, FB warns that the best steps are to stay calm and not to retaliate. They suggest that if there is something you find particularly offensive, you can delete it from the areas of FB that you have access to, but warn to save things you may need as evidence, if required. Additionally, they provide scripts and prompts to start conversations with people about how to calmly approach online bullies.

Interestingly, the provide the opposite side of the scenario. They provide resources for the bully. They consider what it might be like to be approached by a victim, and be blindsided as a bully, perhaps not even aware that they’ve committed an offensive act. They provide advice for the bully and suggest the most appropriate behaviors if you have been told that you’ve done something offensive to another person. For example, they suggest that you take the other person’s feelings into account, before you get angry and offended, and that the first thing you should do is apologize.

Get access to the entire PDF here. There’s also an area with links and suggestions for parents.

YouTube

Block and Delete. The most common advice of any website is going to start with these simple instructions. If you are being bothered by “troll,” especially in an isolated incident, which, on a site like YouTube is the most likely scenario, the first place they advise starting is to delete offending comments, or to ask the user to do so, and block offensive users. YouTube does have specific polices against hate speech; for example, they do not allow violence or hate speech against anyone based on race or ethnic origin, relation, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity. They also have specific policies against setting up fake accounts, “Impersonation,” and any suspicion of such accounts should be reported immediately. YouTube also has very strict policies against Child Endangerment as it applies to depicting sex with minors, so sharing videos of underage children engaged in any sexual activity, is strictly prohibited and should absolutely be reported, especially as it pertains to cyberbullying situations. In these cases, being a bystander is against the law, not only against YouTube policy.

However, the rest of YouTube policy is a little greyer. For example, their policy regarding sexually explicit content is prohibitive when it comes to violent, humiliating or graphic fetish, but is inclusive when it comes to nudity when it is educational, documentary or artistic. Additionally, its graphic or violent content policy is essentially a free pass, so long as its journalistic, and especially if the title is descriptive and/or there is an especially clear warning to viewers.

Threats are taken seriously, and they caution that law enforcement should be engaged immediately; however. But, their policy on harmful or dangerous content, such as videos of drug use or of dangerous “challenges” such as the choking challenge, they deem allowable if the primary purpose is educational, documentary or scientific. Finally, they caution that the best way to avoid anything you don’t want to see is the block and delete button.

Instagram

Because of Instagram’s user settings, and communication settings, it’s particularly easy for cyberbullies to contact, and harass their victims, in various ways. For example, users can add cruel comments and hashtags to user’s photos, or create unflattering photos and attach them to a user’s photo/profile. Instagram has a reporting process for harassment and bullying.

Snapchat

Snapchat’s 10-second-and-it’s-gone makes it both easier, and more difficult for cyberbullies. It allows them to take incriminating photos, sometimes without the victim even realizing it, and send harassment without evidence lasting long enough to be traced. However, with quick knowledge of how to take a screenshot, a victim can track harassment, and there’s a way to stop the onslaught of constant messages. Snapchat has community guidelines, such as no pornography, and protecting someone’s privacy, such as not taking pics without someone else’s knowledge. And, Snapchat’s policy is no screenshots, despite their anti-bullying stance. It’s a nebulous arena. Still, they also have a reporting area; but also recommend a block first policy.

Snapchat does have policies to protect user’s privacy, and to prevent bullying. Primarily, to prevent cyberbullying, they do not allow for invasions of privacy, such as taking snaps of others without their knowledge. Additionally, they don’t allow for impersonation, much like YouTube, which means creating fake accounts, even to impersonate celebrities. Finally, they have a strict no-harassment policy, which means once someone has blocked you, you may not continue to harass them from another account, or from a new account. Their no-nudity policy, especially for those under 18 can contribute to a no-bullying environment by not allowing for embarrassing content, because it even prohibits sexually explicit drawings on otherwise benign snaps.

Twitter

According to both Buzzfeed News, and CIO, Twitter’s refusal to appropriately deal with cyberbullying and online abuse and harassment has drug the social media giant to near death. Twitter promises a revamp and an absolute focus on the issue. Their current advice starts with the same advice as the others: ignore, block and unfollow. They do have a reporting process on their website.

Skype

Skype’s online communities are a great way to meet and befriend all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons, with all kinds of interests; however, there are all kinds of ways to find trouble when the world is so big. Communities on Skype can often help police themselves, with members reporting to one another when they are having trouble, and using the block and ignore feature. But, like all other social media features, Skype also has a report feature, depending on which interface you are using.

Messenger or Other Forums

Messenger and other chat forums rely on a community standard of “knowing” who you are talking to, rather than primarily stranger interaction, such as YouTube. The best way to avoid harassment is to be engaged with friends and people you are comfortable with, not with strangers. However, like all teens and tweens, social groups change, and falling outs occur, which can spill over into an online community setting. Again, ignore, block and delete when there’s trouble. If there’s evidence, save it. If there’s serious trouble, report it.

Data and Statistics

Much can be drawn from the raw data provided by bullying surveys. The primary data-gatherers on this topic are the CDC, The National Center for Education Statistics, and The Cyberbullying Research Center. Each of these sources compiles and gathers separate, but equally important sets of data that give us vital information.

When looked at, over time, from 2007, through 2016, the rate of reported cyberbullying offenders has declined sharply from 19.1% to 12.0% of students reporting self-reporting; however, the rates also fluctuate significantly from year to year, sometimes as much as 5-7%. Cyberbullying.org compiles data from ten different studies to gather an average of roughly 15.8% students who reported cyberbullying others, across the 9-year study period, with a low of 11.5% reporting in 2009, with an especially low sample class size. Intriguingly, the study compilation shows a sharp decrease in bullies self-reporting in 2009, suggesting that cyber bullying education has been helpful, but then an uptick to outpace 2007 numbers in 2010, and nearly again in 2011. It’s baffling to educators to figure out what works, and what doesn’t, to prevent bullying, when numbers like this present themselves over long spaces of time.

Intriguingly, victimization rates are nearly double the self-reporting rates for bullies, which suggests that either bullies are bullying more than one victim, that victims feel victimized by actions that bullies don’t necessarily feel is bullying, or that bullies are under-reporting. And, unlike the chaotic rise and fall of the bully self-reporting, victimization rates seem on a steady climb since 2007, with the exception of two slight dips in 2010 and 2013. The average reporting rate for victims, compiled over ten studies from cyberbullying.org is 27.9% and includes cyber bullying in all forms, such as e-mail, in the classroom, and over other electronic media.

An interesting comparison to note is the difference between reported victimization rates between middle schoolers and lifetime victimization rates. The rate doubles (or even triples) in almost all cases. This suggest an almost “grace” period in middle school where educators might be able to reach students and target bullying education, before the problem erupts.

Cyber bullying does not appear to discriminate for gender. Unlike other types of bullying where, for example, physical aggression is more typically associated with males, and social aggression is more typically associated with females, cyber bullying is more equally distributed. Both genders appear to be equally associated with cyber bullying behaviors. The disassociated connection with screens makes it easier for both genders to engage with behaviors that they may not otherwise engage in, if they were faced with an individual, making it easier for both genders to engage in cyber bullying behaviors; it’s like it’s simultaneously happening to both a real, and a not-real person.

Subsequently, victims of cyberbullying are also, mostly, equally spread amongst gender. There’s a slightly larger number of reported lifetime female cyber bully victims, but in general, victims are equally spread between male and female, especially amongst the middle school population. This suggests, once again, that the magic moment to reach the student population with cyber bullying education is at the beginning of middle school.

According to cyberbullying.org, middle schoolers use the Internet for a wide variety of purposes, and in descending order, it’s first and foremost for online games and homework, and lastly for chat rooms. Having data like this helps educators fine-tune education programs and gear bullying messages for their students based on what they know their students will be using and where they might be encountering bullying messages.

 Conclusion and Recommendations

Cyber bullying is part of a complex puzzle that, if reduced, improves student performance and success. But, we cannot forget things like the value of parental involvement, drug and alcohol education, other education on other teen behaviors that can affect student life, like sex education. For example, according to the CDC, for example, 10% of teens (over the age of 12) have used illicit drugs in the past month. And, it’s easy to forget, but many students come to school without having eaten a decent meal; in states like Missouri, over 20% of homes have food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal comes from. Alas, cyber bullying is a very important part of a student’s success, but it’s not the only piece of their puzzle.

And, in fact, determining the other pieces, and addressing those, may help suss out the cyber bullying problem. If a student is being bullied for being so-called promiscuous, for example; or, if a student is being bullied because he wears second-hand clothes; or, if a student is being bullied for getting bad grades; it’s obvious that knowing students is helpful. Additionally, having the appropriate district, counseling, and support services is vital to student success in all cases. There is no “stop bullying,” or even “zero tolerance,” in most cases. It is not as simple as enforcing a consequence, or mending a fence; it requires support for the victim, and likely for the bully.

Additionally, based on evidence, bullying education in primary and middle school grades is vital in prevention. As we become more screen-dependent, our children will be versed earlier in technology. Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newly revised, and recently released, guidelines about screen time for young children, parents will continue to expose children to technology at younger ages, until they are practically programming satellites in the crib. If we are to expect our children to understand the limitless joy and knowledge that technology can bring, it is incumbent upon us to teach them the limitless responsibility that comes with it as well, including the responsibility they bear, as in all things, to not cause others pain.

 

 

Life Alert Medical Alert System Review

  • Reputation
  • Equipment Quality and Warranty
  • Technology
  • Pricing

Summary

Life Alert is a well-known company with most of the popular services. You might have to make sacrifices elsewhere though.

3.3
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When my grandfather passed away, my family faced a dilemma as my grandmother struggled to live by herself and maintain her independence. Although she still had her health, she wasn’t quite as capable as she had been in years past. Not to mention, her closest relative was thirty minutes away, so we couldn’t check in on her regularly. That’s when I started looking into medical alert systems, and Life Alert was one of the first companies that I looked into.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Medical Alert System:

Medical alert systems are capable of accomplishing many things for customers. They can allow you to maintain your independence, give your family members peace of mind while you are home alone, and provide you with the protection you never thought you needed.

If you are having any worries about staying home alone or leaving a loved one alone, like I was with my grandmother, then you should look into Life Alert or another medical alert option. After all, you never know when an accident is going to happen, and the longer you go without help, the worse your condition can get. A fall or another accident can even have lingering psychological effects if the victim doesn’t receive help fast enough.

However, you need to determine the amount of care you need before purchasing a medical alert system. If you need specialized care or are incapable of being on your own for long periods of time, you should consider alternatives because medical alert systems are for people who are still able to get around well on their own.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing Life Alert or another medical alert system: do you get out of your house a lot, do you have a condition where you might fall without notice, and do you have a spouse who needs to be monitored?

A Look At Life Alert:

Life Alert helped popularize medical alert systems with its “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” commercial, but this company is defined by its work and not a single commercial. Life Alert is a top of the line medical alert company that has been around since 1987, and they provide services that keep them on par with the other medical alert companies out there.

Pros:

  • A technician comes to every house to install the Life Alert system, so no need to worry about the system not working because it wasn’t plugged in correctly.
  • Life Alert has a smartphone app that will connect you with their call center, so you can have protection right from your cellphone. That’s convenient since most of us usually carry our cellphones around.
  • The mobile emergency button has a battery that lasts up to 10 years. Most other mobile emergency buttons need to be charged every few days.

Cons:

  • Life Alert does not offer a system test every week or month, so there is no way to ensure your system is working properly. Unless, you press the button of course.
  • You are committed to your three year contract unless you can provide proof that you are moving to a nursing home or you pass away.
  • You have to pay for the installation of the product. With many other companies, you install the system yourself.
  • This system does not come with a fall detection option. That might be something you want if you have fallen before or are worried about falling in the future.

At-Home Medical Emergency System:

With the at-home medical emergency system from Life Alert, you get a base station and an emergency button with 24/7 monitoring for whenever an accident might happen. This system works by pressing the emergency button which connects you with a care specialist through the base station. The care specialist will then send help if it is deemed necessary.

The emergency button for Life Alert comes as either a necklace or a wristband. It is also completely waterproof. You can use the emergency button up to 800 ft from the base station, which gives you quite a bit of range to move around. My grandmother used to get out on her front porch a lot, so this option would’ve allowed her the freedom to keep doing that.

The base station comes with two options. It can either be hooked up to a traditional landline, or you can get a base station that runs off of cellular service. Both base stations have two-way communication through a speaker and microphone.

The price for the at-home emergency system from Life Alert is $29.95 for the landline system and $39.95 for the cellular system.

Life Alert Mobile Medical Alert System:

The Life Alert mobile emergency button can be carried with you anywhere that there is service for a GSM cell phone. The button can be used to track your location through GPS technology, and it is small enough to go in a bag or around your neck. If you enjoying getting out of your house, this is a feature you will want to consider.

Alert App For Your Cellphone:

Life Alert allows you to download an app on your smartphone that connects you to the Life Alert Center. The Life Alert Center can then monitor your situation and get you help if you need it. Our cellphones are becoming more and more important in our daily lives, why not pass over this responsibility as well?

Spouse Monitoring:

You don’t need a separate system if you have a spouse that needs monitoring as well. Instead, you buy an extra emergency button and set it up with your current system. It will cost an extra $9.95 per month.

Technician Installation:

Life Alert sends out their own technician to install the equipment, so you don’t have to worry about any complications that might arise from installing the system yourself. I know my grandmother wasn’t tech savvy at all, so a technician can ease some of the stress that comes with adapting to a medical alert system. Also, since technicians are trained, you can be further assured that the medical alert system is functioning properly.

You have to pay a single installation fee, which averages around $100.00, so you will want to weigh your options. Most other companies have you set the system up yourself. They typically aren’t very difficult to install, but it’s always beneficial to have help.

Home Intrusion Protection:

You can use your emergency button to contact the Life Alert monitoring center if you are worried that someone is breaking into your house. They use the microphone on the base station to listen in, and they can send help if it is required.

Wall Buttons:

With Life Alert, you can purchase emergency wall buttons to place near areas where a fall or accident is likely to occur, such as near the bathtub or in a dark hallway. This will provide you with protection even if you forget your emergency button on the nightstand or kitchen table, which is easy to do if it is late at night and the bathroom comes calling.

Warranty:

This is a major downside with Life Alert. You are committed to a contract for three years. You can only cancel the contract if you show proof that you are being moved to a nursing home or other full-time care facility. Obviously, the contract ends upon death as well. That’s quite the commitment when other companies allow you to cancel at any time.

Testimonies:

I looked around the internet and found some people willing to share their first hand experience using Life Alert. Here is some of what I found:

Other Products To Consider:

Alert1

Alert1 is a long-standing medical monitoring company that is on par with any other business in the field. For that reason, you will want to consider Alert1 before making a final decision.

  • Alert1 offers fall detection for their emergency systems, but Life Alert does not seem to offer this feature, which is odd because fall detection is offered by most medical alert companies.

  • With Alert1, you have a 30 day money back guarantee. On the other hand, Life Alert does not offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. You also have to set up a contract with Life Alert.

  • Alert1 runs monthly test on your system to make sure that it is working properly. Life Alert does not test your system. However, Life Alert does send a technician out to install the system for you. Still, it would be comforting to know that the system is working each month.

LifeStation

LifeStation offers a range of options that stand up well against the competition. You will definitely want to check out LifeStation before deciding on what medical alert system works for you.

  • LifeStation will run a weekly test on your system, so you are rest assured it is working correctly. If choose Life Alert, they do not run a test on their systems at all.

  • LifeStation offers Activity Assurance, which monitors your activity by requiring you to check in once every 24 hrs. Life Alert does not offer a similar feature.

  • You have to sign a three year contract if you choose Life Alert, but you can cancel anytime with LifeStation as long as your return the equipment.

  • You can purchase fall detection with LifeStation, but Life Alert does not offer fall detection.

LifeFone

LifeFone has managed to keep up with other medical companies throughout the years. For that reason, this company deserves consideration when choosing a medical alert system.

  • LifeFone has an option to purchase a range extension, so the emergency button will reach up to 1,500 ft from the base station. This is much longer than the 800 ft range offered by Life Alert.

  • LifeFone offers free in-home monitoring for a second user, where you have to pay an additional $9.95 per month with Life Alert.

  • You can cancel your services anytime with LifeFone if you no longer need the medical alert system, but with Life Alert, you have to set up a three year contract. This prevents you from getting out of payments unless you or your loved one is transferred to a long term car facility.

  • LifeFone has a fall detection option for its products, while Life Alert does not offer any fall detection options.

Conclusion:

 Although there are a few things that Life Alert could upgrade, they are still a top of the line medical alert company. After all, Life Alert offers many great features. A technician will come and install the system for you, the can download a smartphone app that will connect you will the monitoring center, and you can get wall buttons for your bathroom and hallways. If these features appeal to you, then give Life Alert a look over. You can find more information here: http://www.lifealert.com/index.aspx