Internet Safety

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Digital Tools for Annotations

Many people feel that one of the advantages of using physical books over digital is the ability to make notes in margins, whether it be study notes in a textbook, recipe modifications in a cook book, or highlighting favorite lines in a novel. Now there are tools to make relevant comments or ask questions digitally in textbooks and non-fiction and fiction books for students, and even include web annotations of relevant resources, writes educator Matthew Farber on the Edutopia site. In his blog post, he shares several such resources that he believes help foster reading comprehension. Look for examples of specific resources and how they are used in the post and pass the information on to your school.

Advertisers Spending A Billion on Digital Kid-Centric Advertising

According to Adweek, advertisers will be putting more than $1 billion in the global market for child-centric ads. Privacy concerns have been voiced because of the data collected on the youngest users, even with laws on the books against such collection. Video-on-demand platforms like YouTube Kids and social media are big draws for media buyers targeting digitally-savvy children.

YouTube Using a Questionable “Work Around” For Their Algorithm Problem

What is YouTube doing about the recently revealed research that found that YouTube’s algorithms could potentially be jeopardizing the safety of children? To avoid limiting the volume of content uploaded to YouTube (which would happen if every video was manually reviewed), they’re opting instead to tighten parental controls on YouTube Kids—the only place under-13-year-olds are ever supposed to be. Their solution is to hand parents the reins, letting them go so far as disabling search and only displaying videos they’ve personally approved, which essentially means is all they have done is put the onus back on parents to protect the postings of their children.

Post First, Think Second

Keri Stephens, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, says that today’s students post first, think second. This is in contrast to older generations that are more careful about what they post. Stephens says this creates a disconnect between the generations: younger people often pop off in texts or other social media whatever they are thinking at the moment, but older generations tend to take what they read to heart since they put more thought into what they post. This can sometimes lead to issues in communication when young people are just letting off steam and older generations take it as a threat.

UNICEF Pleads For Action Against Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying victims are at greater risk of drug and alcohol use, poor school attendance and performance, low self-esteem, and suicide, UNICEF warns as it marked Safer Internet Day recently. A new UNESCO report confirms that violence and school bullying remain a global problem. The UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a press release “"We've heard from children and young people from around the globe and what they are saying is clear: the Internet has become a kindness desert."

Dealing with an Online Scam Involving An Old Password of Yours

A recent email hack includes information including an old password you might have once, making you believe they have information on you. These sorts of online extortion schemes — which try to guilt people into paying off hackers claiming to have compromising information — are nothing new. As for the inclusion of a real password, after years of database breaches from major sites and services like Yahoo, eBay, Sony PlayStation and dozens of other companies, varying amounts of people’s data are floating around the internet, often for sale on the black market. That data is now being integrated into traditional phishing scams.

According to the Krebs on Security blog, several recipients of this particular blackmail campaign observed that the password included in the message was old, some by about a decade, and not currently in use. For those who haven’t changed their passwords in years, the ruse could appear more realistic, and the hustle itself may become fine-tuned as the perpetrators weave in fresher bits of stolen user data.  Important to keep in mind for yourself, but also for discussing with your children who may fall prey to these schemes as well. Remembering to update your passwords frequently is a good security practice. You can also report phishing incidents on the F.B.I.’s Internet Crime Complaint Center site.

4 Reasons Your Child Might Want to Become a Hacker

Did you know that not all “hackers” are criminals? Many organizations are looking for white-hat hackers -- people who break down malicious code -- to help defend against cyberattacks, writes malware researcher Amanda Rousseau in a recent article in Teen Vogue. She offers four reasons why students, especially girls, should consider this career path, including the high demand for these jobs and the opportunity to positively affect the world and make a difference in people’s lives.

Online Predators – Get the Facts

Media stories about online predators make for sensationalized press, playing on parental fears, but how worried should you be? Overall statistics show that unwanted sexual solicitation is down but the most important thing is to arm yourself with facts about the issue and solutions if you suspect your child is, or could become, a victim. Common Sense Media recently took up the topic in an article entitled The Facts about Online Predators Every Parent Should Know. The article outlines the facts and strategies for handling your concerns about online predators.

Girl Scouts to Offer Cybersecurity Badges

Would you like a few strings of code with those cookies? Beginning in 2018, the Girl Scouts of the USA will offer 18 cybersecurity badges – including coding, principles of firewalls and even white hat hacking - available to girls in their programs who are in kindergarten through 12th grade. Girl Scout officials say the initiative seeks to encourage girls to pursue careers in the technology industry. The Girls Scouts currently have 1.8 million girls enrolled.

Your Cell Number – Are You Sharing It Too Freely?

Here’s a bad piece of news. Our cell phone numbers becoming a lot like Social Security numbers: they are the gateway to our identities, providing an entrance to personal data – your email address, physical address, even physical whereabouts—and all the personal information that is kept about you by nearly all corporations, financial institutions, and social media networks. Yet when we are asked for our cell numbers for whatever reason, we often give them out without even a second thought.  What can you do? Take a look at these tips and use common sense. If you are asked for your phone number, it never hurts to ask why.

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