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Posts Tagged ‘age=14-17’

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.

Are Teens Broadcasting Their Mobile Location on Facebook?

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Are Teens Broadcasting Their Mobile Location on Facebook? Well, yes. Should parents be overly concerned? Not that much more concerned than having their teens use Facebook at all. Let’s back up. Over a month ago Facebook launched “Places,” a service where people can use their GPS mobile phones to “check in” to locations such as restaurants, concert halls, and schools. Once checked in, Facebook notifies other Facebook users that John Doe just checked in to “Potbelly Sandwich.”

Obviously, those of us in the online safety community are deeply, deeply concerned about nefarious use of a child’s physical location. Frankly, the thought is terrifying. Thus parents and social networking companies need to take the distribution of kids’ mobile location very seriously.

Now, for teen users (those under 18 yeas old) Facebook only allows their “Friends” to see the places they have checked into. Even if the teen foolishly changes their privacy settings to allow “Everyone” to see their information, Facebook automatically prohibits anyone but the teen’s friend from seeing their mobile location in the physical world. This is a positive privacy and safety measure by Facebook. However, this auto feature does not exist for those over the age of 17 who set their profile to “Everyone”

Of course, the teen’s safety and privacy really hinges on whether they trust those in her “Friends” list. As a general rule, parents should talk to teens about limiting their Facebook “Friends” list to only those they know and trust. If they don’t, none of their information is safe — especially their physical location.

More about Places can be found on ConnectSafely.org and on Facebook itself.

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.

New Data on Sexting from Pew Internet

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Amanda Lenhart from Pew Internet & American Life Project just published a new report on teen sexting, which the report describes as sending “sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging.” Ms. Lenhart is one of the nation’s leading researchers on youth online behavior. The report differs in some ways from last month’s MTV/Associate Press “Thin Line” study that included research on sexting. Certainly Pew’s research is more rigorous and nuanced. While the MTV study stated that 10 percent of teens had “shared a naked picture of themselves” Pew researches found that actually half that — only four percent — had shared nude photos of themselves.

Previous studies often get misquoted to give the impression that upwards of 25 percent to 30 percent of teens have sent naked pictures of themselves. The new Pew data very specifically states that the number is much, much lower. Of course the cascading effect — meaning the broader distribution of the naked image — can blossom to a much higher percentage.

Another interesting aspect of the Pew study is their acknowledgment that teens sometimes view sexting as a form of “relationship currency.” What is not commonly talked about outside of academic circles is the teen dynamics with relation to sexting are very complex. We as parents have a pretty black and white view of sexting (i.e. DON’T DO IT!). Yet the social pressures and coping mechanisms that result in sexting are not very well understood — certainly not by us as parents. We at GetNetWise applaud Ms. Lenhart for addressing this controversial aspect of the issue.

Of course, we encourage you to read our earlier blog post called “Practical Advice and Dialogue on Sexting” for help.

Technology Can Aid Parents of “Queen Bees”

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Chapter 1 of Rosalind Wiseman‘s update of the best selling book Queen Bees & Wannabes explores the role of technology in the lives of parent and child relationships. It’s worth a read for that chapter alone! Ms. Wiseman offers actionable tips for parents on how they can use technology to keep up with tech savvy teens. In the section “Using Technology for Reconnaissance” Ms. Wiseman advises parents of teens to have them take a camera phone picture of where they are when they are checking in. For a “very sneaky kid, make her take a picture that includes something to indicate the date and time,” according to Ms. Wiseman.

Parents can further take advantage of the technology to fill in the “information vacuums between parents” by befriending other parents using social networking sites like Facebook. According to Ms. Wiseman teens will sometimes exploit the lack of parent-to-parent communication to mask where she is or with whom. It’s an age-old trick — “Jenny’s mom is taking us to pizza and a movie.” Facebook friending and having Jenny’s mom’s cell phone number can seriously reduce that information fog.

Practical Advice and Dialogue on Sexting

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

As a parent or guardian of a teen or tween today, you’ve probably heard ad nauseum about “sexting” and the dangers associated with this risky behavior. What you don’t hear much is practical advice for preventing it and how to talk to your kids about it. Resident experts on youth online safety issues have come to your rescue at ConnectSafely.org with these insightful points on both what sexting is and how to talk about it with your children.

A printable PDF version of the webpage is available along with some thoughtful dialogue on the issue from online safety experts, Anne Collier – “Sexting overblown? – yes and *no*” and Larry Magid – “Teen sexting – troubling but don’t overreact“.

Listening in on teen safety – some food for thought.

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

This weekend presented a couple of interesting articles regarding teens and their habits for using MP3 players and cellphones. No surprise for any parent (or acquaintance for that matter), teens listen to their MP3 players louder than adults and are rarely using their cellphones to talk but rather to text. While these issues are not directly related to one another, it is always a good time to reflect on how our kids are using their electronics and how we can use these reflections to set boundaries for safe habits.

Time.com featured an article on CNN this morning about preventing hearing loss from MP3 players. While this article mentions the iPod specifically, I think it’s better to relate this to ALL MP3 players and personal music electronics, including cellphones – many of which are now being used in place of a separate MP3 player. The Consumer Electronics Association has a great reference guide for parents concerned about this issue at their site, DigitalTips.org, “The Safety of Your Ears is in Your Hands”.

The Washington Post ran a piece in the Sunday Technology section, “6,473 Texts a Month, But at What Cost?”, regarding a local mother and her surprise about the number of text messages her 15 year-old daughter sent and received. It used to be that parents would be taken by surprise at the physical cost associated with texting, not having an unlimited texting plan with their carrier. The concern in this article was related more to the potential toll of always trying to resolve life’s problems in 140 characters or less. As someone who, though not in the same demographic, also prefers to text over talk, this piece made me stop and think about my own habits. For some great information regarding wireless kid safety, check out these tips from CTIA – the Wireless Association. Food for thought!

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.

College Bound Privacy

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

This summer social networking will be the primary way younger students stay in touch with friends. College-bound students will not only stay in touch but will use these sites to market themselves to potential new friends and roommates at their new school. GetNetWise reminds students again to be careful about what type of information they share about themselves and with whom. What you post online today may haunt you tomorrow.

GetNetWise hosts a number of How-To Video Tutorials illustrating the privacy settings offered on many popular social networking sites. Please click on one of the links below to find how to change your settings on your social network of choice.

These video tutorials include audio descriptions.

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