August 4th, 2022

It isn’t your kid’s job to influence anyone but you. So think twice before making your kid the star of your social media feeds. This recent CNET piece points out the perils of turning your kid into an influencer. It sacrifices their privacy and it puts them at risk. “Sharents,” parents who regularly share information and images about their kids, need to be aware of those risks. As one expert cited in the piece put it, “When parents share about their children online, they act as both the gatekeeper—the one tasked with protecting a child’s personal information—and as the gate opener.”

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July 30th, 2022

Digital privacy is finally on the minds of lawmakers in Washington, but they can’t quite figure out how to act on it. According to the Washington Post, the Senate is considering a pair of bills focused on protecting kids. The House, meanwhile, is working on a bill that would address digital privacy for all Americans, regardless of age. Perhaps not surprisingly, each side thinks its approach is best. As a result…nothing? We’ll see.

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July 26th, 2022

Is the end of the social networking era on the horizon? Is it here already? A piece by Scott Rosenberg on Axios makes the case that the social networking model—after more than a decade at the top of our digital experience—is kaput. Following Tik Tok’s lead, Facebook now plans to “shape your online life around the algorithmically sorted preferences of millions of strangers around the globe.”

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July 19th, 2022

If your Instagram feed is like everyone else’s, it’s gotten pretty messy lately. Suggested and recommended posts that have nothing to do with your interests. Video after video, each less interesting than the last. One solution: Quit Instagram! Another, less drastic option: clean up your feed. You’ll like it better, yes, but the big benefit: It’ll be more private. Cleaning up your feed gives you a bit more control over what you see. And that gives you a bit more control over how Instagram looks at you. This article explains how to do it.

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July 13th, 2022

The scam economy—fraudulent emails, robo calls, spam texts—cost victims nearly $6 billion last year. But it’s not just our dollars at risk. It’s our emotional well-being, too. A recent article in the Washington Post describes how the incessant intrusions from unknown numbers, and the need to guard against their entreaties, takes its toll on our mental health.

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July 8th, 2022

An interesting piece from Wired about the increasing importance of end-to-end encryption. The article uses recent Supreme Court rulings as a jumping-off point, but goes on to highlight the widespread benefits of incorporating the technology into daily life. The piece cites studies that refer to end-to-end encryption as a “human rights issue in the digital age.”

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June 19th, 2022

We aren’t the only ones trying to blow the whistle, raise the flag, and holler from the hilltops. NPR and the Washington Post are sounding the alarm, too: App-builders are finding ways to track your kids, even though they know they’re not supposed to. On a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler explained just how tech companies exploit loopholes in privacy laws to gather data on kids.

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June 8th, 2022

You already know that your iPhone isn’t really off when its screen is dark. It wouldn’t be able to buzz when someone calls you if it were. But did you know that “powering down” doesn’t really do the trick, either? Bluetooth and other features continue operating in low-power mode. Researchers now warn that can leave you open to hackers.

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