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Smartphones are popular holiday gifts for kids that come with responsibility

There will be lots of smartphones under Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes this year, but if you plan to get one for a teen or pre-teen, consider first having “that talk” with your child. By “talk,” I don’t mean the birds and bees, I mean a conversation about smartphone safety, privacy and security. A while back […]

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Protecting student privacy calls for student participation

This era of big data and big exposure – of all aspects of life to peers, the public and even perpetrators – calls for big participation. Because every day people are exposing, sharing, uploading, creating and inputting things about themselves and others, whether in social situations or part of their jobs, as friends, relatives, students […]

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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 Politico.com’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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Our kids’ privacy & a White House report on ‘big data’

Referring to a new report from the White House that she contributed to, social media scholar danah boyd points out how impossibly simplistic it is to view “big data” as either all good or all bad. I’m thankful for the balance it struck in its findings on big data in education between the tremendous opportunities […]

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Do kids need special protections or do we all need them?

We have always taken child safety more seriously than adult safety, even where children are not necessarily at greater risk than adults. It’s probably instinctual. As every parent knows, protecting one’s offspring is not something we even have to think about. We just do it. Children not always a special case But when it comes to risk, children […]

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Google pulls scanning and ads from education apps

In addition to its consumer and business services, Google is also in the business of providing apps for education with apps such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, spreadsheets and YouTube for Schools. These apps, according  to the company, serve more than 30 million students, teachers and administrators. Disclosure: I’m co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a non-profit Internet safety organization that receives financial support […]

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Facebook adding more user-control of app privacy

This post first appeared on Forbes.com Speaking at Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that “Over the years one of the things we’ve heard over and over again is that people want more control over how they share their information, especially with apps.”  He added, “If people don’t have the tools  they need to feel comfortable using your apps […]

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Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature: What you need to know

This post is adapted from one that first appeared on Forbes.com Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its mobile app that allows you to  share your approximate location with friends. The opt-in feature (it’s turned off by default) enables you to find and be found by nearby friends. The feature can be turned on […]

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Identity theft a problem from cradle to grave — Kids most vulnerable

by Larry Magid April 8, 2014 was a scary day. Microsoft ended support and security updates for Windows XP, leaving millions of users vulnerable to hack attack from what will soon be an out-of-date operating system riddled with vulnerabilities. But by the end of the day, we had something else to worry about. Security researchers […]

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The app ecosystem & very public secrets

These are crazy times in the mediascape, and not just because of crazy valuations of startup apps. How do all these socially risky apps get out into the digital ecosphere? They don’t take a lot of people, time or other resources to build anymore – not like digital media products and services of lore, anyway, […]

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