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Archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

Revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule Now In Effect

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission’s revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule took effect on July 1st. COPPA gives parents greater control over the online collection of their children’s personal information. The revised COPPA rule is the result of more than two years of review by the agency to modernize the rule.

The revised COPPA rule addresses new ways in which children use and access the Internet, including the use of mobile devices and social networking. The modified COPPA rule, approved by the Commission in December 2012, broadens the definition of children’s personal information to include persistent identifiers such as cookies that track a child’s activity online, as well as geolocation information, photos, videos, and audio recordings.

COPPA was mandated when Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. COPPA requires that operators of websites or online services that are either directed to children under 13 or have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under 13 give notice to parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using, or disclosing such personal information, and keep secure the information they collect from children.

The FTC has also continued five “safe harbor” programs, whose guidelines now reflect the updated rule. Under COPPA, “safe harbor” status permits certain organizations to create comprehensive self-compliance programs for their members. Companies that participate in a COPPA safe harbor program are generally subject to the review and disciplinary procedures provided in the safe harbor’s guidelines in lieu of formal FTC investigation and law enforcement. COPPA safe harbor programs are offered by Aristotle International, Inc., the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, ESRB Privacy Online, PRIVO and TRUSTe.

The FTC has updated a guide for parents, “Protecting Your Child’s Privacy Online,” that explains what COPPA is, how it works and what parents can do to help protect their children’s privacy online.

Parents Should Read This: Data About What Teens Do Online

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Pew Research just released a report called “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy.” The report provides a bunch of data about what teens do online and how they view their personal privacy while sharing. The report also delves into social sharing apps like Twitter, SnapChat and Instagram.

Why should you care? As a parent it’s really important to get a broader view of how how other teens conduct themselves online. It also helps to understand the context in which teens uses these technologies. While many adults and even many press accounts describe SnapChat as a saucy photo sharing app teens use it in ways that may surprise you. One teen girl described her use of SnapChat in Pew’s focus groups in this way: “Well, because Facebook, everyone sees what I’m doing. But Snapchat is just to one person, unless they’re a jerk and they screenshot it and post it on Facebook. But mostly it’s just the person that you’re sending it to, so it’s like a conversation.”

Also, the teens comment about their parents joining Facebook: “It sucks… Because then they [my parents] start asking me questions like why are you doing this, why are you doing that. It’s like, it’s my Facebook. If I don’t get privacy at home, at least, I think, I should get privacy on a social network.”

So, take a deep breath, relax and read Pew’s data. It’s a brave new world, but you may find that it’s not a scary as you thought.

Parents’ Guides to Instagram and Snapchat

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Anne Collier and Larry Magid released two new Parents’ Guides yesterday — one to Instagram and one to Snapchat. Kids have started using these social photo apps to communicate with one another. If you don’t think your child is using his/her smartphone to share via Instragram and/or Snapchat you’re probably wrong. But it doesn’t mean you need to freak out. ConnectSafely’s guides to these new tools will help you get a better handle on your kids’ social photo sharing.

The “guides demystify popular photo-sharing apps and walk kids and parents through safety and privacy features.” The guides also answer “the top five questions parents have about these photo-sharing apps so popular with kids including:

* Why kids love these apps
* What the risks of each app are
* How to help kids stay safe using the apps
* How to report abuse and block problem users
* How to use privacy settings

ConnectSafely also has guides to using Facebook and Google+.

Instagram Name Tagging: Larry Magid on What Parents Need To Know

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

If you don’t already know Instagram is used but a lot of kids and teens to communicate with one another. The picture sharing app was bought recently by Facebook. Instagram has added a new feature that allows users to “add” the names of people in their photos to their posts. There are both public and private settings and parents and teens alike should know the difference. Larry Magid breaks it down in this post.

Kids’ Revised Online Privacy Explained by FTC

Friday, April 26th, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised it’s online kids privacy rule recently. The new rules go into effect this summer. Parents of children under 13 years old probably won’t notice many changes to how their kids interact with their web sites. But our friend Larry Magid explains the changes in this Forbes post.

NFN on Snapchat: Privacy as perishable as the photos

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Our friend Anne Collier at NetFamilyNews wrote a great piece about the fun app SnapChat, but also warns about a false sense of security. See post at Snapchat: Privacy as perishable as the photos.

Parental Controls for the Kids’ Tech This Holiday

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

More and more technology is the go to gift from parents and from Santa around the holidays. Once the boxes are unboxed make sure to take a few moments setting up parental controls on those game consoles, iPads, and phones this year. The USA Today’s blog has some great advice for parents in a blog post titled “Setting up your child’s new tech gifts“. Check it out.

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.

Google Privacy Account Activity Upgrade

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Many of us use a lot of different Google services from GMail to Blogger.com. For a long time Google has centered your privacy report in its Dashboard where you can see your data practices across those services. Today, Google introduced an upgrade to that service called Account Activity. Here’s a Google blog post describing how to activate it. Basically, it gives you more info about how you use Google services across the board. Pretty cool for the privacy conscience.

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