Social networking in the classroom?!

There was a debate going on recently over at The Economist, and the pro-social-networking side won. For parents or anyone interested in social networking's benefits and not just its risks, let me zoom you in on a very meaty discussion, starting with points from the Economist debate's opening arguments, both pro and con (not answers, […]

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Teens posting personal info: Study

For their safety online, kids have been cautioned for years not to give out personal information online. Well, we now know from researchers at the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center that giving out such info isn't in itself a safety risk (see "New approach to online-safety education suggested"). We now have […]

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MySpace opens to widgetmakers

Like Facebook, MySpace has opened its doors to people who create parasitical little software applications for profiles on its site. It's offering developers tools to create these little apps riding on its "platform," the New York Times reports. Called "widgets," they can add a lot of fun and functionality to users' experience on MySpace and […]

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Social sites safer than chat, IM: Study

Parents, don't just talk with your kids about social networking – chat sites and instant messaging really need to be in the conversation too. Despite the news media's focus on social-networking sites as the locus of online child exploitation, it turns out chat sites and instant-messaging are where most sexual solicitation and cyberbullying is happening. […]

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PC Magazine on parental controls

Parents might be interested in the latest reviews of filtering and monitoring software here at PC Magazine. The top-rated products are Net Nanny 5.6, Bsafe Online, Safe Eyes, and Webroot Child Safe. Note that these are "client" software products you install on the family computer. If you have the latest operating systems on Mac and […]

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18-year-old registered sex offender

He was 17 when he downloaded child-abuse images. From the news reports, we don't really know why he did so. We do know that when he was interviewed by prosecutors, he "made full admissions," saying "he had no idea why he had done it," and "had no previous convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands," the Hemel […]

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Videochat at home

This could be unnerving for parents of teens – finding their kids' friends "hanging out" in the house virtually, via Webcam – but it looks as if ColumbiaJournalist.org found some parents who are handling it well. "Once dismissed as a potentially lewd distraction for the tech-savvy, video chatting has increasingly insinuated itself into American homes. […]

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Cyberbullying and free speech

Legislation proposed around the US after the tragic case of a Missouri teen's suicide following cyberbullying is fuel for an important discussion about whether such laws are needed. "Officials from Megan [Meier]’s town of Dardenne Prairie wasted no time unanimously passing a statute that makes Internet harassment a local misdemeanor," writes ConnectSafely.org co-director Larry Magid […]

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Key researcher’s view on MySpace/AGs accord

The day after the agreement between MySpace and the state attorneys general was announced, a University of New Hampshire publicist sent me comments from David Finkelhor, director of UNH's Crimes Against Children Research Center. The Center's work has been key to shaping our society's understanding of online child exploitation since any of us first became […]

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MySpace ‘backdoor’ closed

The day that Wired magazine reported the availability of a "backdoor" to photos on some MySpace users' private profiles, the site sealed the door, MySpace said. It's an example of how the Net industry and the media, at odds on the surface, actually work together to protect users. Though Wired said "the glitch emerged last […]

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