Digital Smarts Blog

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30
Jan

The Real Cost of Cybercrime

In all the hype over cybercrime and our rush to spend millions to prevent it, many people and businesses are failing to educate themselves on the basics. Just how easy is cybercrime? What is the payoff? And what are the real costs to consumers? Those are questions that somehow seem to get lost in the hustle of preventing it from happening. To understand more about what cybercrime is all about, take a look at “The real cost of cyber crime” written by Benjamin Dean, a Fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, to understand why some of the best solutions may be the simplest. He suggests that basic encryption of sensitive data and two-factor authentication (a system that confirms the identity of a user by sending a code to another device that the account holder will have immediate access to, such as a phone) might be some of the most efficient solutions.

30
Jan

The Real Cost of Cybercrime

In all the hype over cybercrime and our rush to spend millions to prevent it, many people and businesses are failing to educate themselves on the basics. Just how easy is cybercrime? What is the payoff? And what are the real costs to consumers? Those are questions that somehow seem to get lost in the hustle of preventing it from happening. To understand more about what cybercrime is all about, take a look at “The real cost of cyber crime” written by Benjamin Dean, a Fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, to understand why some of the best solutions may be the simplest. He suggests that basic encryption of sensitive data and two-factor authentication (a system that confirms the identity of a user by sending a code to another device that the account holder will have immediate access to, such as a phone) might be some of the most efficient solutions.

29
Jan

Law in Illinois Allows Schools to Demand Students’ Facebook Passwords

Privacy concerns have been raised when a new Illinois state law went into effect on January 1 that can force students to hand over their social media login credentials to their school if school and state officials believe it can help prevent hostile online behavior. Privacy advocates say it is one thing for students to have to show their social media page, but quite another to hand over access to personal information. Some districts have even hired companies to monitor the social media presence of their students. While this new law is sure to be tested in the courts, it does signal the no- nonsense approach that many lawmakers have on cyberbullying and it will be interesting to see if other states follow. It will also be interesting to see how it all plays out when Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities section 4.8 reads: "You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

29
Jan

Law in Illinois Allows Schools to Demand Students’ Facebook Passwords

Privacy concerns have been raised when a new Illinois state law went into effect on January 1 that can force students to hand over their social media login credentials to their school if school and state officials believe it can help prevent hostile online behavior. Privacy advocates say it is one thing for students to have to show their social media page, but quite another to hand over access to personal information. Some districts have even hired companies to monitor the social media presence of their students. While this new law is sure to be tested in the courts, it does signal the no- nonsense approach that many lawmakers have on cyberbullying and it will be interesting to see if other states follow. It will also be interesting to see how it all plays out when Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities section 4.8 reads: "You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

28
Jan

The Home-School Connection: Now Via Facebook?

Being on Facebook certainly has its pros and cons for students and parents alike. While many schools have strict policies against Facebook use at school and for teachers, some are moving towards using it as tool for school-to- home communication. Matt Renwick, an elementary school principal in Wisconsin, shares his perspective on the using the social network as a communication tool. In his post entitled “Is Facebook the New School Web Page? “, he examines it from the perspective of teachers, administrators and parents, making an interesting case that Facebook can have a place in the arsenal of tools schools can use to communicate with parents.

28
Jan

The Home-School Connection: Now Via Facebook?

Being on Facebook certainly has its pros and cons for students and parents alike. While many schools have strict policies against Facebook use at school and for teachers, some are moving towards using it as tool for school-to- home communication. Matt Renwick, an elementary school principal in Wisconsin, shares his perspective on the using the social network as a communication tool. In his post entitled “Is Facebook the New School Web Page? “, he examines it from the perspective of teachers, administrators and parents, making an interesting case that Facebook can have a place in the arsenal of tools schools can use to communicate with parents.

27
Jan

Lizzie Bennet and Classic Characters on YouTube Revive Required Reading

The digital reimagining of classic literature -- such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" told through a YouTube Web series -- is piquing teenagers' interest in required reading. The YouTube series "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries," has attracted a young audience with characters interacting outside the series on other social media platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Teachers are using these series to introduce and supplement required reading and lessons. Other classic novels receiving the same treatment include Emma, Sanditon, Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter Pan and Little Women among others. These web series are good to keep in mind if one of these classic works is of interest to your teen, or if they need some incentive to read.

27
Jan

Lizzie Bennet and Classic Characters on YouTube Revive Required Reading

The digital reimagining of classic literature -- such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" told through a YouTube Web series -- is piquing teenagers' interest in required reading. The YouTube series "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries," has attracted a young audience with characters interacting outside the series on other social media platforms, including Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Teachers are using these series to introduce and supplement required reading and lessons. Other classic novels receiving the same treatment include Emma, Sanditon, Frankenstein, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter Pan and Little Women among others. These web series are good to keep in mind if one of these classic works is of interest to your teen, or if they need some incentive to read.

26
Jan

Seeking Approval Online – Subverting the Selfie

Common Sense Media recently posted an article about how posting pictures of themselves online is both building up and breaking down our kids’ self-image. It is well known that kids feel they can’t compete with the highly edited images of celebrities online and in the media, but as this post points out, the effects of social media are just beginning to be understood. The article also includes a list of popular apps and the specifics on how kids are sometimes using them in destructive ways. In addition, a new survey called Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image reconfirms that many teens, both male and female, fret about how they're perceived. The survey also includes an infographic with tips for parents on combating body image issues.

26
Jan

Seeking Approval Online – Subverting the Selfie

Common Sense Media recently posted an article about how posting pictures of themselves online is both building up and breaking down our kids’ self-image. It is well known that kids feel they can’t compete with the highly edited images of celebrities online and in the media, but as this post points out, the effects of social media are just beginning to be understood. The article also includes a list of popular apps and the specifics on how kids are sometimes using them in destructive ways. In addition, a new survey called Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image reconfirms that many teens, both male and female, fret about how they're perceived. The survey also includes an infographic with tips for parents on combating body image issues.

23
Jan

Does Facebook Know You Better Than Your Friends?

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University have found that Facebook (with enough “Like” data on the site from participants) is better at predicting a person’s personality than most of their close friends. 86,220 people on Facebook were asked to complete a 100-question personality survey that determined where they stand on the so-called Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The data was then analyzed and compared to an analysis of the Facebook Likes of each survey participant. On average, people on Facebook had 227 Likes, and this was enough information for the computer to be a better predictor of personality than an average human judge (in other words, a friend), and almost as good as a spouse. The more Likes, the better the computer was at predicting personality.

While not perfect, researchers are hoping this kind of computer modeling could be used to help with career planning, linking people and their personality traits to the right industries and the jobs and helping companies with recruitment.

23
Jan

Does Facebook Know You Better Than Your Friends?

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University have found that Facebook (with enough “Like” data on the site from participants) is better at predicting a person’s personality than most of their close friends. 86,220 people on Facebook were asked to complete a 100-question personality survey that determined where they stand on the so-called Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The data was then analyzed and compared to an analysis of the Facebook Likes of each survey participant. On average, people on Facebook had 227 Likes, and this was enough information for the computer to be a better predictor of personality than an average human judge (in other words, a friend), and almost as good as a spouse. The more Likes, the better the computer was at predicting personality.

While not perfect, researchers are hoping this kind of computer modeling could be used to help with career planning, linking people and their personality traits to the right industries and the jobs and helping companies with recruitment.

22
Jan

Is Stress in Contagious on Social Media?

According to a new Pew Research Center study, using online media (reading email on your phone, browsing Facebook, etc.) isn’t adding additional stress to your life. In fact, for women, using the internet and social media might actually lower stress. While frequent use of digital technology may not be the cause of stress, there are situations where it may increase the awareness of stressful events in the lives of others, and in turn, make you stressed. The study calls this “the cost of caring,” lending to the theory that stress is contagious.

While that may sound contradictory, researchers separate out the real world components. The physical act of using social media doesn’t appear to add to stress in a significant way, but the “social use” of digital technology, or its ability to connect you to other people’s problems, can result in stress. An exception to this finding occurs when negative events happen to mere acquaintances instead of friends and family. According to the study, when people are exposed to a negative life event in acquaintances’ lives, they seem to feel lower levels of stress. This isn’t to be confused with “schadenfreude,” or the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Instead, observing negativity far enough away in the digital sphere is actually a reminder that things could be much worse.

22
Jan

Is Stress in Contagious on Social Media?

According to a new Pew Research Center study, using online media (reading email on your phone, browsing Facebook, etc.) isn’t adding additional stress to your life. In fact, for women, using the internet and social media might actually lower stress. While frequent use of digital technology may not be the cause of stress, there are situations where it may increase the awareness of stressful events in the lives of others, and in turn, make you stressed. The study calls this “the cost of caring,” lending to the theory that stress is contagious.

While that may sound contradictory, researchers separate out the real world components. The physical act of using social media doesn’t appear to add to stress in a significant way, but the “social use” of digital technology, or its ability to connect you to other people’s problems, can result in stress. An exception to this finding occurs when negative events happen to mere acquaintances instead of friends and family. According to the study, when people are exposed to a negative life event in acquaintances’ lives, they seem to feel lower levels of stress. This isn’t to be confused with “schadenfreude,” or the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. Instead, observing negativity far enough away in the digital sphere is actually a reminder that things could be much worse.

21
Jan

iPhone Separation Causes Anxiety

A recent study has found some interesting data to bolster kids’ claims for needing their cell phones in school. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that iPhone users did better is solving a set of puzzles when they had their iPhones with them. When deprived of their iPhones, the study’s participants experienced significant physical changes — elevated heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety — alongside poorer cognitive performance. There is very little research so far on the effects of cell phone separation, but it does make an interesting case for giving in to the addiction rather than fighting it.

21
Jan

iPhone Separation Causes Anxiety

A recent study has found some interesting data to bolster kids’ claims for needing their cell phones in school. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that iPhone users did better is solving a set of puzzles when they had their iPhones with them. When deprived of their iPhones, the study’s participants experienced significant physical changes — elevated heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety — alongside poorer cognitive performance. There is very little research so far on the effects of cell phone separation, but it does make an interesting case for giving in to the addiction rather than fighting it.

20
Jan

President Announces Proposals to Improve Data Privacy for Consumers and Students

The President recently announced a fleet of proposals aimed at improving the data privacy of U.S. consumers and students. Several proposals are outlined, aiming at tackling identity theft, safeguarding student data, protecting customer information and improving consumer confidence online. Under the proposed Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, companies would be obligated to notify customers within 30 days of discovering a breach that exposed their personal information. While creating a national standard could certainly help some areas, privacy advocates have expressed concern that it might include language to overrule stronger state level regulations like those in California.

For students, the President has offered The Student Digital Privacy Act, modeled on a similar California statue that would prevent companies from selling student data to third party vendors for purposes unrelated to education, while still allowing research to help improve student learning outcomes. The Department of Education is also being tasked with creating teacher training assistance that will help ensure educational data is used appropriately and will target students who need added learning assistance. Many parents, however, are still concerned about what information is being collected about their children and how those details will be used to categorize or rank students. They want districts and companies to describe the different treatment students might receive based on those rankings or categorizations.

20
Jan

President Announces Proposals to Improve Data Privacy for Consumers and Students

The President recently announced a fleet of proposals aimed at improving the data privacy of U.S. consumers and students. Several proposals are outlined, aiming at tackling identity theft, safeguarding student data, protecting customer information and improving consumer confidence online. Under the proposed Personal Data Notification & Protection Act, companies would be obligated to notify customers within 30 days of discovering a breach that exposed their personal information. While creating a national standard could certainly help some areas, privacy advocates have expressed concern that it might include language to overrule stronger state level regulations like those in California.

For students, the President has offered The Student Digital Privacy Act, modeled on a similar California statue that would prevent companies from selling student data to third party vendors for purposes unrelated to education, while still allowing research to help improve student learning outcomes. The Department of Education is also being tasked with creating teacher training assistance that will help ensure educational data is used appropriately and will target students who need added learning assistance. Many parents, however, are still concerned about what information is being collected about their children and how those details will be used to categorize or rank students. They want districts and companies to describe the different treatment students might receive based on those rankings or categorizations.

19
Jan

Facebook Isn’t Dying, But Getting ”Grayer”

A recent article in Adweek reviews social media usage across different age demographics, finding that more than half the U.S. population use social networks on a regular basis, with Facebook leading the pack. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr follow closely behind, and are continuing to grow in popularity. Also interesting to note is that Facebook appears to be the social network of choice for seniors (adults 65+).

19
Jan

Facebook Isn’t Dying, But Getting ”Grayer”

A recent article in Adweek reviews social media usage across different age demographics, finding that more than half the U.S. population use social networks on a regular basis, with Facebook leading the pack. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr follow closely behind, and are continuing to grow in popularity. Also interesting to note is that Facebook appears to be the social network of choice for seniors (adults 65+).

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