December 5th, 2019

Private companies are tracking your every online move and using that data to rate your behavior as a consumer. It’s valuable information, and it’s now available for you to see. As explained in this recent piece in the New York Times, you can request your file—the records that determine your secret consumer score—and find out just what these companies know about you. Fair warning: They know a lot. And if you want to try to shake… Continue reading >

December 2nd, 2019

If you don’t like the notion of faceless companies gathering information about you and your children for the benefit of their advertising strategies, you can opt out of their tracking efforts. Your data is yours. It isn’t always easy to do, but if digital privacy concerns you, opting out is an important step. As a recent report from the Washington Post put it, “data brokers are building profiles about you, using… Continue reading >

November 13th, 2019

Instagram is experimenting with likes—specifically, it’s testing what happens when it switches off public “like” tallies. Other tech companies, Twitter and Facebook among them, are launching similar assessments. According to Axios: “Responding to public clamor and media criticism, social media companies are trying to move away from engagement at all costs and towards a healthier experience. That means they’re also stepping into a more unpredictable future for their own bottom lines and those of businesses… Continue reading >

November 7th, 2019

The Chinese government has decided 90 minutes is the maximum amount of time per day young people should be playing video games. According to the New York Times, officials say more than that amount puts eyesight at risk and hinders academic performance. Continue reading >

October 30th, 2019

There’s almost always a semi-secret way to sneak into a website’s off-limits areas, and very often, your kids know about it before you do. This goes for age-restricted content on YouTube, too. Elsewhere on this site, we’ve covered the use of VPNs to breach firewalls and masking apps that disguise the programs a smartphone is running. Here’s another deceptive—and surprisingly simple—trick parents ought to know about: adding the letters NSFW to… Continue reading >

October 23rd, 2019

While schools across the country have implemented privacy and security restrictions to Internet access, students have discovered they can use a VPN to circumvent their school’s security measures and break through firewalls. (They’ve learned other tricks, too.) The VPN works to create an encrypted tunnel between a device and the Internet. Once you connect through this encrypted tunnel, your online traffic becomes indecipherable. In layman’s terms, this means that when your… Continue reading >

October 16th, 2019

Kids are always one step ahead of their parents when it comes to technology, and they’ve come up with some clever ways—like the secret calculator—to disguise their online activity. For instance, they’re using apps to mask what they’re doing. Some of these apps are so effective, most parents are completely fooled by what they see when they look at their kids’ phones. A trained eye, though, might notice that something’s amiss. Swapping apps Continue reading >

October 2nd, 2019

Microsoft recently revealed a new security flaw in its Internet Explorer. Some say it’s high time to ditch the browser altogether in favor of more secure options. In a statement, the company warns, “An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.” Mashable’s Jack Morse writes, “Sure, there’s a wonky fix available, but you have to do it manually. . . So go ahead… Continue reading >

September 25th, 2019

YouTube doesn’t have a popularity problem—just about everyone everywhere uses it. But it has had problems controlling what videos find their way to the site and who sees them. Your kids have the same access to the videos on YouTube you have. Whether those videos are appropriate for children is immaterial, and that is a problem. YouTube Kids is the company’s solution. Elsagate YouTube has literally millions of videos coming… Continue reading >

September 24th, 2019

Facebook has suspended a vast swath of apps from its platform, citing privacy concerns, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The tech giant has been roundly criticized for its policies relating to the collection and dissemination of personal data and was fined $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for mishandling users’ information. Millions of apps developed for Facebook are under review. Continue reading >
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