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The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years

When I wrote the original version of Child Safety on the Information Highway (click here for 20th anniversary updated version), in 1994, “online safety” was largely defined as keeping kids away from porn and predators and the solution was pretty much focused on parental controls. But, over the past two decades, there have been a lot […]

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Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’

I’m not sure who decided this but March 20th is “Character Day” and it’s also the day that filmmaker Tiffany Shlain released a superb 8 minute video, “The Science of Character.” In addition to making the film available, Shlain’s website Let it Ripple, is encouraging people to: Join a global Q&A through Google Hangout with Dr. […]

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Adults spend 11 hour a day using electronic media

A recent study by Nielsen (as reported by Mashable) found that American adults spend about 11 hours a day consuming electronic media.  This comes four years after a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation got a lot of national attention when it reported that kids “8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 […]

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Smartphones that promise user privacy

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News Thanks in part to whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the former contractor with the National Security Agency, there’s increased interest in a new crop of services, apps and phones designed to protect our personal data from prying eyes, including those of government agencies. FreedomPop’s new Privacy Phone […]

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Author danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’

This post first appeared on CNET News.com When it comes to understanding how teens use social media, there’s perhaps no one more clued in than Danah Boyd, except maybe teens themselves. An ethnographer with a Ph.D. in information from the University of California at Berkeley, she has spent the last eight years speaking with and […]

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Security experts at RSA decry government hacking

There’s an old expression, “I’ve met the enemy and he is us.” When it comes to cyber-security, “us” may just stand for “U.S.” I’ve attended the RSA security conference for many years years and am accustomed to security professionals talking about the dangers from criminal hackers and hostile foreign governments. But this year there is […]

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In defense of Internet safety education

There has been some discussion lately over whether there is still a need for Internet safety education. I say yes. It’s true, as some argue, that safety messages from the 90’s are way out-of-date. We no longer need to dwell over the highly exaggerated risk of child predators or the panic over Internet pornography. While […]

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‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game

The Irish Mirror calls it “sickening online drinking craze,” and that’s factually correct.  “Nekominate,” also known as neck and nominate, is a game that’s growing in popularity in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe where someone posts a video of themselves doing something stupid or dangerous and then “nominates” another person to stick his or […]

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Confessions of a binge viewer

I don’t mind admitting that, for the past few days, I’ve been a binge TV viewer. That’s because Netflix released the second season of its hit show “House of Cards” and, unlike traditional TV networks, the company released the entire 13-episode season all at once. In theory, it would be possible to turn on the […]

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People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News There was a big flap last week over the game “Flappy Bird,” an iPhone and Android app that was pulled out of app stores by its Hanoi-based creator, Dong Nguyen. It all started when Nguyen tweeted that, “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours […]

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