November 4th, 2022

Is Messenger Kids OK for your kids? Sort of. Here’s what you should know. Messenger Kids is an app designed for children for messaging and video calls that runs on Fire tablets and iOS and Android phones and tablets. This free app is from Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), which designed Messenger Kids so parents can control its settings. The target audience is kids, which Meta wants to bring into its platform…... Continue reading >

September 28th, 2022

Be honest, parents. You’ve heard of Twitch, but you have no idea what it is. That’s OK. You’re hardly alone. Here’s a primer. The basics Put simply, Twitch is a gaming platform that allows users to livestream the video games they’re playing. According to Windstream, Twitch hosts at least 15 million visitors on average every day, with more than 3 million of those being creators sharing their gameplay. ... Continue reading >

September 21st, 2022

Your data is so valuable, that companies around the world want it. But here’s a twist: some of the biggest collectors of that data have no idea where it is. According to recent congressional testimony from a Twitter whistleblower, the social media platform can’t really keep track of it all. Nor, it seems, can the other tech giants, including Facebook and Google. From the Washington Post: Some of these systems are black boxes…... Continue reading >

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. ... Continue reading >

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. ... Continue reading >

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…... Continue reading >

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…... Continue reading >

July 28th, 2022

TikTok’s “Blackout Challenge” is the kind of trend you hope your kids steer well clear of. Dangerous and sometimes deadly, it’s the dark flipside to the comparatively innocent viral challenges—remember the ice buckets?—of years before. Unlike those video memes, often started as publicity-awareness campaigns, this one has nothing noble in its roots. It does, however, offer an important reminder: Social media can be as risky as it is engaging. TikTok, in case, somehow,…... Continue reading >

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.” ... Continue reading >

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…... Continue reading >