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Archive for April, 2012

Free Mac Antivirus Software – Take Precautions

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

I have been using long before it became popular. That lack of popularity meant that virus author saw little value in writing for the Mac platform. Once, several years ago during the spyware epidemic, a work colleague of mine mentioned that he was switching to the Mac platform because he was sick of viruses and spyware. At that moment I knew it wouldn’t be long before Mac were a target of malware authors.

Now that the market share for Macs has risen the platform is more likely to be under attack — which was foreseeable. Don’t forget to take precautions and install antivirus software. The security firm Sophos provides free Mac antivirus software.

Kids Know More About Online Privacy Than You Think

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Last year leading researchers danah boyd and Alice Marwick wrote a frank paper about how teens view and manage their privacy. This extremely influential research piece forced many of us to rethink our preconceived notions of how teens view privacy and how they deal with privacy issues. And, it provided an unvarnished assessment of the role parents play in that equation.

PBS affiliate KQED’s MindShift wrote a very good piece based on the boyd/Marwick research that’s more accessible. It’s worth a read. We’re thrilled that great research is starting to be reflected in journalistic reporting on these issues.

Is Instagram Safe For Kids? Puzzling Washington Post Article Asks

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Yesterday the Washington Post’s On Parenting Blog wrote an article titled “Instagram: What parents need to know.” The article discusses whether Instagram, a social camera and photo editing app for iPhone and Android phones, is safe for use by youth. The article was conspicuously written shortly after Facebook announced that it would buy the little app company for $1 billion (No, that’s not a typo. “B” as in Billion). The article references a helpful article written by YourSphere media about that topic.

The takeaway is that Instagram is a social photo app network. Anything that takes a photo and uploads it should be treated with caution — as the article rightly points out. The article also notes the possibility that the app can be used for bullying. All true. But, I think it’s worth noting that most Internet and online technologies pose that same possibility and that the overwhelming percentage of teens and tweens manage to deal pretty well with those pitfalls. Beyond that there seems to be nothing inherently unsafe about Instagram. The only issue we could see with the article was that during a recent Android installation of Instagram there seemed to be no age requirement and statement of age as the article suggests. Perhaps it’s only in iPhone OS.

Of course, sexting and bullying are real problems that parents must be mindful of. Our friends at ConnectSafely.org have writting some great pieces on the pitfalls of bullying and how to deal with sexting.

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