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Posts Tagged ‘take action’

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.

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“.

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/

Keeping Your Web Browser Security Up to Date

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

You face significant security risks online when you don’t regularly update your Web browser’s security patches. Using an un-patched browser can leave your computer open to exploits that range from becoming more vulnerable to ad-ware, spy-ware and viruses, to potentially leaving your entire computer vulnerable to being remotely accessed.

A recent Ars Technica news article indicated that a study conducted by Google, the Swiss Institute of Technology, and IBM found that up to 40% of Internet surfers are not using the most up-to-date version of their web browser.

Making sure that your web-browser is up to date is not as difficult as it used to be. Most browsers include a feature that allows the browser to check to see if it is the most current update. We recommend that you change your browser’s settings to automatically update its security software. Please view the new “How-To” video tutorials below to learn how to check to make sure you are using the most up to date version of your browser.

In Firefox:

In Internet Explorer:

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