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Student and school videos on “the good side of the Internet” could win $10K each

Friday, March 1st, 2013

GetNetWise founding contributor, Larry Magid, just announced a competition called “What’s Your Story” that asks kids to create videos about what the “Good side of the Internet looks like.” There are actually cash prizes for young filmmakers sponsored by Trend Micro. If you have an aspiring filmmaker in your house click here for more information.

House Passes Resolution to Challenge America’s Youth To Code in Nationwide STEM Competition

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Internet Education Foundation Applauds the Passage of House Resolution 77 Paving The Way for Annual Congressional App Challenge

WASHINGTON, DC – The Internet Education Foundation commends the House for passing the “Academic Competition Resolution of 2013.” The Resolution creates an annual academic competition in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and paves the way for the first-ever “app” competition fostered by Congress. IEF applauds Rep. Candice Miller and Rep. Robert Brady for sponsoring this important resolution and Rep. Cantor and Rep. Pelosi for their leadership and support.

Over the past year IEF staff have worked tirelessly with the co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, to urge the creation of a Congressional App Challenge. Both co-chairs rose in support of the Congressional App Challenge as a step in the right direction to the future of jobs in America and its competitiveness globally. Our efforts were aided by a steering committee of app competition experts representing Google, Blackberry, AT&T, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Motorola Mobility.

“One after another Members from both sides of the aisle rose in support of the STEM education Resolution during a break in the sequester debate,” said IEF president Jerry Berman. He added, “I was heartened to see a group of technology leaders in Congress act to invest in the future of American jobs and of the economy: young STEM-educated constituents.”

IEF coordinates the work of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, which supports the goals of the Congressional Internet Caucus. The ICAC does not support or oppose any policy agenda; however, it shares the concern of most Americans that our students are falling behind in many areas of STEM education. We look forward to working with Congress and the Committee on House Administration to support this competition going forward. During his floor statements, Internet Caucus co-chair Goodlatte said, “This competition will motivate our young people to further pursue programming and other technology related educational opportunities. It will also enable them to showcase their programming skills on a national stage while at the same time promoting the value of STEM education and careers.”

Co-chair Eshoo said, “Building on the success of the Congressional Arts Competition, which for more than 30 years has recognized and encouraged artistic talent among our nation’s youth, an apps competition will foster interest in STEM education, which is just what our country needs to prepare for the future.”

The Internet Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the potential of a decentralized global Internet to promote communications, commerce and democracy. Its board members ensure the balanced of the organization’s efforts and consist of public interest groups, corporations, and associations representative of the diversity of the Internet community.

Contact:
Leonard Hyman
lhyman@netcaucus.org
(202) 638-4370 x129

Understanding Your Email Privacy Post-Patraeus

Friday, November 16th, 2012

More and more we’re living our lives and expressing ourselves through email. Every aspect of our lives are communicated through email — work, personal, and intimate details are shared. The recent scandal involving CIA Director Patraeus has reminded us all that those email communications are as secure as we would like them to be. Of course, Director Patraeus’ emails were unearthed by the F.B.I. using the governments vast powers of investigation and surveillance. Regardless, we all need to recognize that our work emails, our family emails, and our intimate emails can be unearthed in myriad ways. Please be careful when committing your most intimate thoughts to email. Here are some thoughts from the Online Mom about email privacy.

Is Xbox Kinect Family Friendly?

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Today Microsoft just launch their much-anticipated Kinect for Xbox 360 along with new Family Safety Settings. If you’re not familiar with the Xbox Kinect, you’ll be amazed after watching the video on the Xbox site. Last month GetNetWise Advisory Board members were invited to an advanced demo for Kinect. Later we received an extremely professional briefing by Microsoft’s top safety and security executives. In short, Kinect is not only amazing, it also takes into account a myriad set of privacy and safety issues so that it is as family safe as possible. In David Pogue’s NY Times review he writes “The Kinect’s astonishing technology creates a completely new activity that’s social, age-spanning and even athletic.”

At GetNetWise.org we were also pleased to see that Microsoft has updated its already robust family safety settings to accompany the Kinect launch. Below is a list of new family safe features provided by Microsoft executives.

New Family Settings include:

  • Intelligent default settings for children, teens and adults. When Console Safety is turned “On,” Xbox automatically assigns default privacy and activity settings for each Xbox LIVE member, based on age. For example, for children under 13, the default settings include blocking profile sharing and text, voice and video chat, and turning on Family Programming. These settings can be individually customized by parents.
  • Video Kinect. Allows users to video chat over Xbox LIVE with friends and family. Family Settings automatically block this feature for Child profiles, but parents and caregivers can customize whether (and with whom) their children can video chat.
  • Kinect Share. Enables users to share pictures captured during Kinect games like “Kinect Adventures!” on social media pages like Facebook. Kinect Share is automatically blocked for Child profiles but parents can decide to allow this feature for any profile.
  • Family Programming. When turned on, Family Programming prevents the display of mature content on the dashboard and highlights family-friendly entertainment.
  • Game Title Exceptions. Parents have the ability to allow their family members to play specific games with content ratings above the console’s designated maximum if they deem the title appropriate.

Census Scams: Never Respond to a Census Email

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

The U.S. Census is out! But only in your mail box. Fraudulent scammers are staring to send fake phishing emails to consumers pretending to need personal and financial information for the Census. They are bogus. Do not respond to them. As the U.S. Census points out in its Fraudulent Activity and Scams web page it never solicits information from you by email or Web page. It is our understand that a citizen does not return the Census form through the mail the Census Bureau may send properly credentialed Census agents around door to door for the information in May. If some one knocks on your door claiming to be from the Census don’t let them in the house and make sure you see photo ID and documentation that they are from the Census. If you get an email claiming to need personal and financial information for the Census you can be certain it’s a scam (a phishing scam). To learn more about Census phishing scams visit their Fraudulent Activity and Scams web page. To learn more about phishing generally, visit OnGuardOnline.gov.

Be apart of the discussion on our “Digital Nation”

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The PBS program Frontline released its latest episode, Digital Nation last night and it’s highly worth a watch for everyone. The program is sectioned into nine parts – the first parts dealing with digital distraction and the realities of multi-tasking. These segments are an eye-opening look into the effects of the constantly wired world kids live in today and also how educators are using technology and the Internet to keep kids engaged. Other segments include gaming, online relationships and social media and a look at what we can expect down the line in a 24-hour a day wired existence.

There is also a feedback mechanism for you to share  your thoughts on the program. Be apart of the discussion!

More helpful advice on web video from the NYT.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

We’ve certainly discussed the topic of web video and your family, but today the New York Times lays out some more good advice for how to address sites like Hulu.com and YouTube with your kids.

Summer Travel Season is Here!

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It’s that time of year again – time to start research on the Web for that perfect family vacation, weekend getaway or beach trip! the Internet is so much apart of our daily lives, it’s hard to imagine how we ever got by without it. Gone are the days of the “National Lampoon’s Vacation”-style family getaway…now we can plan ahead for that trip to Walleyworld and find out well in advance if the park’s going to be closed. Or if that hotel we pass by will take a personal check.

Here are a few helpful sites to help plan this year’s amazing vacation with your family.

Travel with the Kids at About.com

One-Tank Escapes for Seven Cities and Family Travel Ideas from BudgetTravel.com

Fodor’s Plan Your Trip Online, Frommer’s Trip Ideas and Travel Services & Ideas from The Lonely Planet

Weekend Getaway Deals from Amtrak.com

Flight Status & Delay Reports and National Traffic and Road Closure Information from the U.S. Department of Transportation

If you have a smartphone, don’t forget to download some helpful travel apps as well to take with you on the go at Blackberry App WorldiPhone Apps and the Nokia Ovi App Store for starters. Let us know where you’ve done research on the Web to plan your family’s vacation by leaving a comment. Have safe and happy summer travels!

Adware and Spyware

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Two of the pieces of computer jargon that often come up in the context of safe computing are Adware and Spyware. It is important to note that these are two separate items, but often contain overlap in terms of the risk they pose to the individual.

Adware is a piece of computer code that resides on your computer that is designed to display advertising to you. Adware can cause pop-ups, slow down your computer by increasing the number of programs running, and can generally be somewhat annoying. Adware is often bundled in with legitimate downloads.

Spyware is a piece of computer code that resides on your computer that monitors you. Spyware can collect information on your Internet browsing habits, including any information that you type into your computer while on the web (such as usernames and passwords). Spyware is generally seen as having greater potential harm to the individual than Adware. Spyware is commonly bundled with illegitimate downloads; it is often times seen in files found on file-sharing networks. To learn more about the risks that file-sharing has for safe computing and kids’ safety, watch Ari Schwartz on identifying Spyware Symptoms (Video in RealPlayer format)   

Both Adware and Spyware are not good for safe computing. So how can you help protect yourself from Adware and Spyware? There are two ways. The first, preventative measures you can take to help keep your computer clean. Pre-ventative Tips:

• Know the symptoms of spyware: Before you can protect yourself from new spyware you have to make sure you do not currently have any on your computer. Learn more about spyware symptoms.
• Learn about examples of the most devious programs: The trickiest part of spyware is that there is not one clear-cut type. Knowing the many forms in which spyware may appear on your computer will help you remove or prevent it. View specific examples of spyware.
• Explore steps you can take to prevent spyware: Prevention is the key to a safe and secure computer. The tips to help you prevent spyware will also help keep viruses and hackers from taking advantage of your computer. Learn more about these prevention tips.

Secondly, there are many tools that will help you rid your computer of Spyware or Adware. You should know that each of the tool providers might define Spyware differently. You, the user, should be able to decide for yourself what you find annoying and want to uninstall or disable. GetNetWise offers a list of many different types of Spyware removal tools here: http://spotlight.getnetwise.org/spyware/tools/

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