September 13th, 2022

Instagram was fined more than 405 million Euros, which amounts to about $400 million, for failing to protect kids’ data. The penalty was issued by Ireland’s data privacy regulator. The watchdog agency said the social media giant allowed children aged 13-17 to operate business accounts, leading to the release of their personal information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has said it would appeal the ruling.

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September 8th, 2022

We’re always on the lookout for a list that helps us stay safe online. To that end, this piece in the Washington Post is a winner. Easy-to-follow steps anyone can take to protect their privacy, boost their security, and avoid scams. Big takeaways: Be vigilant, be skeptical, and be aware. And switch your social media accounts to private. Good stuff and worth a look.

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August 21st, 2022

TikTok can track your every click and keystroke, including passwords and other personal information. As if anyone needed another reason to be wary of the rapidly growing social media platform, here’s another. When users click a link within the app, TikTok’s browser inserts code that allows it to record how users interact with whatever site they’re on. Taps on the keyboard, clicks, scrolls, TikTok can track it all. In a word: Sketchy. Be careful.

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August 18th, 2022

In a welcome bit of news, Snapchat is letting parents in the proverbial room. The company announced recently the launch of Family Center, an in-app tool that allows parents to see who their kids are chatting with and to more easily report suspicious accounts. In a statement, the company said, “Family Center is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens are friends with and when they are hanging out – but don’t eavesdrop on their private conversations.” It’s a step in the right direction.

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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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