The ‘real world’ is a lot more dangerous than cyberspace

This post first appeared on The media is full of horror stories about online dangers, but — in all but a few categories — offline risk dwarfs its online equivalent. Stranger danger vs. trusted adults Let’s start with children. Every parent worries about their kids being harmed by strangers, but – whether offline or on — children are at far […]

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The anti-EDIs social norm: A counterargument

They’re more like DEDIs (digitally enabled displays of insensitivity) than EDIs (electronic displays of insensitivity), because the behavior on display is human not electronic. But that’s beside the point. This NPR commentary suggests that EDIs are becoming a social norm. It cites an unscientific survey of 2,000 newsletter subscribers as finding that this insensitive behavior – […]

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LG’s new tracking device for young children

There are lots of apps that can allow a parent to track their child’s phone. Assuming the phone and kid are together and the phone is turned on and in range, you can also use those apps to track your kid. But now there’s a wearable device from LG just for that purpose. The KizON wristband, […]

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Tips for Smart Cellphone Use

Cellphones are increasingly full-blown handheld computers, and everything that can be done on the Web via computer – photo-sharing, Web browsing, game playing, tune-swapping, real-time text or video chat, and (oh yeah) talking – can be done on a phone. Here are some basic ideas for keeping mobile phone use safe and constructive: Share with care. Use […]

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From ‘Big Data’ to ‘Big Parent’: Student privacy developments

Have you been watching the Big Parent response to Big Data? Great lede from’s Stephanie Simon: “You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent.” She’s talking about an unpredicted mobilization in recent months that has “catapulted student privacy … to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida […]

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Advice for reducing risk when using mobile phones

This article first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News I recently helped write a free online booklet called “A Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones,” available at, but much of the advice applies to all cellphone users. Were it not for some parenting tips such as the section on buying a child’s first phone, it could just […]

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The why of the Facebook research fracas & what it calls for

Wondering about the “Facebook Emotional Manipulation Study” so much in the news these past few days? If so, you’re not alone. What’s causing this firestorm? Consumer research is nothing new, and we all know academic research certainly isn’t. There are some aspects of this that are very different, however, and so cause a great deal […]

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Why I don’t want to hear about any new parental control products

It’s hard to get through a week without hearing about a new product designed to protect children online or on mobile devices. Some of these products block content, others give parents some control over who their kids can communicate with but most offer some sort of monitoring, giving parents a glimpse into what their kids […]

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ConnectSafely’s new ‘Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones’

It’s hard to know exactly how many kids and teens have mobile phones right now, but we do know that over a year ago more than a third (37%) of US 12-to-17-year-olds had smartphones, up from 23% in 2011, and a whopping 78% had some kind of mobile phone. That’s from the Pew Internet Project, […]

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Social media major factor in teens’ social & sex lives: Australia study

With its 5th national study of Australian teens’ sexual attitudes, behaviors and health since 1992, La Trobe University for the first time took a careful look at social media’s role in their social and sexual lives, finding that it plays a significant one. “Our survey clearly shows the major role social media has in the […]

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