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Posts Tagged ‘Age=10-13’

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.

Get a Glympse of Where Your T(w)een Is

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

“Where are you?” That’s the way the vast majority of mobile calls and texts start — and it’s the question parents always ask of their t(w)eens. Parents have a frenetic need to always know “where” their children are. Unlike the era before the mobile phone parents now have a better sense of where their children are. Recent studies by Pew Internet & American Life Project show that the supermajority of teens have mobile phones.

Many parents simply call their children and ask them where they are. While teens use mobile phones, they seldom use them to speak. Asking a teen to “answer” or pick up a call may be a tall order. You will need to learn how to text “where R U?” if you want a more prompt response.

Some wireless carriers offer parents GPS location tracking services for their children’s phones. Now, smartphones contain a growing array of Apps that can be used by parents to quickly locate their children.

A really interesting and easy App that parents can use is called Glympse (available on iPhone, Android and Windows 7). Glympse is an App that allows t(w)eens to quickly send to their parents a glympse of where they are on a map. Unlike other location tracking tools, Glympse allows users to send a short duration peak at where they are. After the specified period of time is over the other person can no longer view the location of the user — it simply times out. We think this is a very effective privacy feature. Check out the “What is Glympse” page for a helpful video.

Of course there are some caveats. Keep in mind that parents should use tools like Glympse responsibly and realize that they are not foolproof. Parents should explain to their children why they want them to check in with their location (who knows, kids may rather send a Glympse than a text message or, heaven forbid, actually talk on the phone). Further, never ask your teen to initiate a Glympse or text while they are driving a car. And lastly, use this conversation as an opportunity to talk to your children about your concerns with their sharing their location information with people they don’t know or don’t trust. We are generally concerned with the amount of uninformed location sharing that is being done on social networking sites and mobile phones.

Good luck.

Start teaching password security early

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Parents know that kids are logging on earlier than ever – children as young as five might have an account on the family computer or on sites like Club Penguin or Webkinz, with their own username and password. Signing up for their first account is a great time to talk to you child about how to keep their information and identity private. While there might be little real security risk for a young child using these services under supervision, it’s important to start building lifelong smart security habits early.

The most basic ground rule is this: NEVER share your password with anyone except your parents. Password sharing with friends and peers is a surprisingly common practice amongst youth. A 2001 study from Pew Internet found that 22% of youth 12-17 who use email or IM have shared a password with others. Often this is seen as a sign of trust between friends and significant others. But sharing passwords put kids at risk for being impersonated online, having their personal information compromised, or being a target of cyberbullying. Sharing passwords makes children more vulnerable to online harassment, as kids will sometimes exploit access to each other’s accounts as a tool for humiliating or damaging the reputation of the target if a friendship takes a turn for the worse.

Make sure your child knows how to protect their online identity. Even young children can understand these password security basics:

  • Passwords are secret and shouldn’t ever be shared with anyone.
  • Choose a password that’s hard for others to guess, using a mix of letters, symbols and numbers.
  • Don’t write your passwords down—make sure it’s something you can easily remember.

For more password safety tips for kids, check out http://www.connectsafely.org/Safety-Tips/tips-to-create-and-manage-strong-passwords.html.

Do You Know Where Your Kids Go Online? Monitoring Kids Web Use through Browser History

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Many parents respond affirmatively when asked in surveys whether they check up on where their children travel on the Internet. Research done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicates that 46% of parents monitor their child’s history (or “travels”) online. We suspect the vast majority of them likely monitor their children’s Internet usage by checking the History and Cache files within the Web browser that their child uses. At GetNetWise, we recommend that parents tell their children that they are keeping track of their online travels if they are doing so. Marian Merritt of Norton’s safety blog “Ask Marian” happens to agree. That conversation alone is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about online safety.

For younger children under 10 years old this is a moderately effective approach for parents to get a sense of the sites their kids are visiting. For instance, the browser History will show names and addresses of sites visited in recent days but very little detail about what the child did while there. Yet, this strategy has real limitations for older, savvier kids and teens.

Even though parents may make it a rule that children should not remove, alter, or delete browsing history, there are very simple workarounds to remove, alter, delete, or even never record a browsing history. One such work around is a simple function available in the Safari browser called “Private Browsing” that turns history recording off.

When Private Browsing is engaged the Web browser goes into stealth mode — no browsing history cookies or cache will be recorded. This feature can be switched on and off very easily, leading to a History and Cache that is incomplete. It is also relatively easy to altering a History to remove individual websites visited.

Private Browsing

It is important for parents to keep these types of workarounds in mind when considering whether they are effectively keeping track of their kids’ footprints online. Children younger than eleven would seem less likely to “work-around” history, than teenaged users. It is vitally important that parents clearly define rules for appropriate browsing behavior and talk about Web safety with their kids. If you as a parent decide you want to monitor your child’s online used and are concerned that he or she is manipulating the browser’s history and cache files you may want to consider using a more a robust approach to keeping track of Internet usage. To supplement Internet usage monitoring, there are many monitoring tools available on the market [See GetNetWise Tools Database for a list]. Many of these tools help parents keep an active eye on a child’s footsteps through cyberspace.

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