Digital Smarts Blog

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20
Sep

Privacy Concerns Among Millenials Surface

Facebook users seem to be rethinking online privacy, with millennials proving to be more wary about giving up their personal information than older users. "Previously there had been a sort of undue trust in the magic of cloud services. People are starting to reconsider that," says Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Despite years of resistance, Facebook recently changed its default for new posts from “public” to “friends”, and introduced tools to  untag yourself in other people’s photos and change old posts from public to friends-only. When did you last check your privacy settings to make sure you are taking advantage of the new protections Facebook offers?

19
Sep

Want Get Paid for Your Data?

Your personal data is worth money to online data brokers who gather it from the searches you do online, your buying habits and even your marital status. Now several new services are asking why these data brokers should be the only ones making money off of your information. Several new services, such as Datacoup, Handshake and Meeco, are set to launch in the summer of 2015 and all share the same goal: to cut out the data-mining middleman. They each allow users to voluntarily share their personal information with companies — and get paid for it.  Each service uses a different model, for example, by paying you to fill out directed surveys or by using a private cloud to store your data and brand preferences in return for a discount at a retailer. Both options let you choose where your information ends up rather than with some unknown and unseen data broker. These new systems offer consumers a sense of empowerment while giving them the opportunity to earn or save some cash. Stay tuned for more on this effort to turn the tables on data brokers who operate with a fundamental lack of transparency.

19
Sep

Want Get Paid for Your Data?

Your personal data is worth money to online data brokers who gather it from the searches you do online, your buying habits and even your marital status. Now several new services are asking why these data brokers should be the only ones making money off of your information. Several new services, such as Datacoup, Handshake and Meeco, are set to launch in the summer of 2015 and all share the same goal: to cut out the data-mining middleman. They each allow users to voluntarily share their personal information with companies — and get paid for it.  Each service uses a different model, for example, by paying you to fill out directed surveys or by using a private cloud to store your data and brand preferences in return for a discount at a retailer. Both options let you choose where your information ends up rather than with some unknown and unseen data broker. These new systems offer consumers a sense of empowerment while giving them the opportunity to earn or save some cash. Stay tuned for more on this effort to turn the tables on data brokers who operate with a fundamental lack of transparency.

18
Sep

Headstrong Nation – Dyslexia is Not a Disease

If you have a child who has been recently diagnosed as dyslexic, or if you have been supporting a child with dyslexia though the pitfalls of your local school district, you may want to take a look at the resources for parents on the Headstrong Nation site. It is a site that stresses the empowerment of dyslexic students and adults through technology and other accommodations and reminds parents that they are not alone in trying to help their dyslexic children. Their catch phrase is “Dyslexia is not a disease. It’s a community.”

18
Sep

Headstrong Nation – Dyslexia is Not a Disease

If you have a child who has been recently diagnosed as dyslexic, or if you have been supporting a child with dyslexia though the pitfalls of your local school district, you may want to take a look at the resources for parents on the Headstrong Nation site. It is a site that stresses the empowerment of dyslexic students and adults through technology and other accommodations and reminds parents that they are not alone in trying to help their dyslexic children. Their catch phrase is “Dyslexia is not a disease. It’s a community.”

17
Sep

Millenials and Information on the Internet

Millenials’ lives revolve around technology, but results from a new survey by Pew Research surprisingly found they were more likely than their elders to say there actually is important information NOT available on the Internet. Approximately 98% of those under 30 use the Internet, and 90% of those Internet users say they use social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%). Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that. At the same time, 79% of Millennials believe that people without Internet access are at a real disadvantage.

17
Sep

Millenials and Information on the Internet

Millenials’ lives revolve around technology, but results from a new survey by Pew Research surprisingly found they were more likely than their elders to say there actually is important information NOT available on the Internet. Approximately 98% of those under 30 use the Internet, and 90% of those Internet users say they use social networking sites. Over three-quarters (77%) of younger Americans have a smartphone, and many also have a tablet (38%) or e-reader (24%). Despite their embrace of technology, 62% of Americans under age 30 agree there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet,” compared with 53% of older Americans who believe that. At the same time, 79% of Millennials believe that people without Internet access are at a real disadvantage.

16
Sep

The Push to Teach Coding Collides with Teacher Shortage

Digital job opportunities are expected to rapidly increase over the next decade, and coding skills are going to become more and more valuable to have. Many schools throughout the country are embracing the addition of computer coding programs to their curriculum, but this change has resulted in a unique challenge: There are not enough trained educators to teach the subject. Some schools have responded by offering in-house training, but this could potentially cause teachers to leave their positions for better paying jobs in the private sector. More and more school districts are being challenged to find teachers with in-demand coding skills.

16
Sep

The Push to Teach Coding Collides with Teacher Shortage

Digital job opportunities are expected to rapidly increase over the next decade, and coding skills are going to become more and more valuable to have. Many schools throughout the country are embracing the addition of computer coding programs to their curriculum, but this change has resulted in a unique challenge: There are not enough trained educators to teach the subject. Some schools have responded by offering in-house training, but this could potentially cause teachers to leave their positions for better paying jobs in the private sector. More and more school districts are being challenged to find teachers with in-demand coding skills.

15
Sep

Basic Manners for Social Media

Although written with a business audience in mind, this helpful infographic on Social Media Etiquette is a telling synopsis of the dos and don’ts of getting along with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linked In, and Pinterest. Bottom line for all these platforms seems to be 1) keep it simple and to the point, 2) don’t over post or hashtag and 3) give credit when using someone else’s post or material. That’s called a “hat tip” on Google Plus, and just like everywhere else in life, most people on these social networking sites want to be credited for their contributions.

15
Sep

Basic Manners for Social Media

Although written with a business audience in mind, this helpful infographic on Social Media Etiquette is a telling synopsis of the dos and don’ts of getting along with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linked In, and Pinterest. Bottom line for all these platforms seems to be 1) keep it simple and to the point, 2) don’t over post or hashtag and 3) give credit when using someone else’s post or material. That’s called a “hat tip” on Google Plus, and just like everywhere else in life, most people on these social networking sites want to be credited for their contributions.

12
Sep

How Safe Is the Cloud?

The recent incident of the posting of hacked celebrity photos after a iCloud software security breach, has many questioning whether the technology can ever be used safely. Proponents of the cloud counter that no technology or application is safe or unsafe in and of itself, and that taking the right precautions can greatly mitigate any vulnerabilities. Rajiv Gupta of Skyhigh Networks notes, "Look at the iCloud breach: The problem isn't that iCloud is any less safe, the problem is that someone's account credentials were stolen." This clearly shows that password vulnerability continues to be an enormous issue. What are you doing to keep your passwords safe?

12
Sep

How Safe Is the Cloud?

The recent incident of the posting of hacked celebrity photos after a iCloud software security breach, has many questioning whether the technology can ever be used safely. Proponents of the cloud counter that no technology or application is safe or unsafe in and of itself, and that taking the right precautions can greatly mitigate any vulnerabilities. Rajiv Gupta of Skyhigh Networks notes, "Look at the iCloud breach: The problem isn't that iCloud is any less safe, the problem is that someone's account credentials were stolen." This clearly shows that password vulnerability continues to be an enormous issue. What are you doing to keep your passwords safe?

11
Sep

Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher

Would you like to be more informed about what goes on in your child’s classroom, but unsure of how to phrase some of your concerns? Take a look at 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child's Teacher on the Parent Partnership section of the Edutopia site. If you are concerned about the technology used in school, the question “Is there technology you'd recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning?” is a non-confrontational way to ask about the kind of apps and online sites that exist and can support learning in the classroom.

11
Sep

Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher

Would you like to be more informed about what goes on in your child’s classroom, but unsure of how to phrase some of your concerns? Take a look at 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child's Teacher on the Parent Partnership section of the Edutopia site. If you are concerned about the technology used in school, the question “Is there technology you'd recommend that can help support my child in self-directed learning?” is a non-confrontational way to ask about the kind of apps and online sites that exist and can support learning in the classroom.

10
Sep

The Trolls Are Winning!

The ugly and often hurtful comments of trolls are increasing in number, according to the scholars who study online incivility. The ease of posting anonymous comments on blogs and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook allows trolls to have a larger presence on the Internet now more than ever. Scholars note that one of the primary motivations of trolling is to titillate other trolls. This sets up one of the central difficulties in confronting trolling: Shedding light on trolling may only encourage it.

What advice can you give your kids when they encounter these kinds of folks online? Ignore and disconnect for a while seems to be the only solution. Robin William’s daughter Zelda, who was recently hounded by trolls, tried to confront those tormenting her but found that only whipped the trolls into a bigger frenzy. Admitting defeat she decided to disconnect rather than worry about what she might find on her Twitter account next.

Dr. Whiney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online, notes “It’s not a question of whether or not we’re winning the war on trolling, but whether we’re winning the war on misogyny, or racism, and ableism and all this other stuff. Trolling is just a symptom of those bigger problems.”

10
Sep

The Trolls Are Winning!

The ugly and often hurtful comments of trolls are increasing in number, according to the scholars who study online incivility. The ease of posting anonymous comments on blogs and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook allows trolls to have a larger presence on the Internet now more than ever. Scholars note that one of the primary motivations of trolling is to titillate other trolls. This sets up one of the central difficulties in confronting trolling: Shedding light on trolling may only encourage it.

What advice can you give your kids when they encounter these kinds of folks online? Ignore and disconnect for a while seems to be the only solution. Robin William’s daughter Zelda, who was recently hounded by trolls, tried to confront those tormenting her but found that only whipped the trolls into a bigger frenzy. Admitting defeat she decided to disconnect rather than worry about what she might find on her Twitter account next.

Dr. Whiney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online, notes “It’s not a question of whether or not we’re winning the war on trolling, but whether we’re winning the war on misogyny, or racism, and ableism and all this other stuff. Trolling is just a symptom of those bigger problems.”

9
Sep

Digital Drama Trends for Back-to-School

Common Sense Media has an excellent article on the digital trends that every parent should be aware of this school year. Some of the biggest trends this year seem to be different types of impersonation - from creating a fake social media page or bogus email account, to swiping someone’s device and texting under their name. The practice (sometimes called e-personation) violates websites’ terms of service, even if not done maliciously,  and in some states it is actually illegal. Another digital trend to be aware of is “catfishing.” Catfishing is creating a false online identity to lure an unsuspecting person into an online relationship. Teens are using apps that facilitate online relationships  such as MeetMe and Badoo, making it easy to fall victim to Catfishing. Something else to remind your kids is that so called “self-destructing” apps like Blink, Snapchat, and BurnNote that claim to delete the messages or pictures you send are not totally safe. Pictures rather than texts are also the main fodder for digital drama these days. Posting less-than-flattering pics of someone, texting a snarky (or downright mean) caption for an Instagram photo, blackmailing others with embarrassing pictures, and uploading super awkward pictures (called cringepics because they're so cringe-inducing) -- these all are violations of trust that can destroy friendships.

9
Sep

Digital Drama Trends for Back-to-School

Common Sense Media has an excellent article on the digital trends that every parent should be aware of this school year. Some of the biggest trends this year seem to be different types of impersonation - from creating a fake social media page or bogus email account, to swiping someone’s device and texting under their name. The practice (sometimes called e-personation) violates websites’ terms of service, even if not done maliciously,  and in some states it is actually illegal. Another digital trend to be aware of is “catfishing.” Catfishing is creating a false online identity to lure an unsuspecting person into an online relationship. Teens are using apps that facilitate online relationships  such as MeetMe and Badoo, making it easy to fall victim to Catfishing. Something else to remind your kids is that so called “self-destructing” apps like Blink, Snapchat, and BurnNote that claim to delete the messages or pictures you send are not totally safe. Pictures rather than texts are also the main fodder for digital drama these days. Posting less-than-flattering pics of someone, texting a snarky (or downright mean) caption for an Instagram photo, blackmailing others with embarrassing pictures, and uploading super awkward pictures (called cringepics because they're so cringe-inducing) -- these all are violations of trust that can destroy friendships.

8
Sep

Catfishing in a Nutshell

There are many predictions that a big issue this school year is going to be “catfishing”, creating a false online identity to lure an unsuspecting person into an online relationship. Lonely teens, or those looking for more than what their crowd at school has to offer, are particularly susceptible. How can you protect your teen from falling victim to a fictitious relationship? Some online safety tips you may want to review with your teens are summarized in an article entitled Catfishing: Hook, Line and Sinker on the Psychology Today web site. Discussing online safety and the ease of falsifying information online can help protect your teen from being duped.

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