Tag Archives: social networking

Are Instagram and Snapchat Safe For Kids?

camera wikipedia public domainSocial media networks are a dime a dozen today, and some of the most popular among teens may not be safe. Photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Snapchat make it easy for teens to share pictures, but don’t have enough safeguards to prevent inappropriate shots.

Instagram says you must be at least 13 to sign up for their site. Do they do a good job of enforcing this rule, or are they letting underage kids get in? Well, this depends entirely on the kid trying to sign up. It’s pretty typical for teens and tweens to be good at getting around the internet. Often, kids are the authority for their parents on how things work online, which can put you in a tight spot. Make sure to take some time to get comfortable with how online sites like these work, and don’t rely on kids to show you everything.

What are some of the dangers?

On Snapchat, users are told images will be deleted within 10 seconds, never to be seen again. This will give teens a false sense of security. No matter what any site says, it’s a good idea to keep this rule of thumb in mind: once it’s on the internet, it’s forever.

For example, not long ago Justin Bieber used Instagram to
Continue reading Are Instagram and Snapchat Safe For Kids?

Is Your Status Drawing Homeland Security’s Attention? Keywords Revealed

Have you ever wondered which words posted on social networks can draw the attention of Homeland Security and federal analysts? Now, because of the Freedom of Information Act, the list of keywords has now been posted for public view. Many of the keywords are actually pretty self explanatory, although there are a few that are relatively innocent. So the next time you post about an earthquake, are you going to have federal agents knocking down your door?

Actually that’s pretty unlikely. Although these words can trigger an additional look at your profile by investigators, they say they’re really only looking for threats, not general discontent. Unless you make a habit of posting inflammatory tweets and status updates that either suggest the government needs to be punished or seem to be using code words to cover your true intent, the analysts will probably just rubber-stamp you as investigated and nothing more will happen.

What are the disadvantages of social media monitoring? Continue reading Is Your Status Drawing Homeland Security’s Attention? Keywords Revealed

uknowkids . . . and now you can help protect them from identity theft and cyber bullying

We’ve talked a lot here about teen troubles when it comes to identity theft, online security, sexting, and even cyber bullying is a real concern as our children start to use more and more technology for both “work” and play.   Having information is one good way to help protect them, and reading articles like:

Many parents are asking themselves and others what sort of steps that they can take to know what’s going on IRL (in real life) as well as online with their teens and tweens to keep them safe from identity theft and cyber bullying.   One system that not only helps you monitor what is going on in your child’s life, but that also provides you with the tools you need to talk to your children about online and cell phone safety is uknowkids.com.

uknowkids.com allows you to set up a system to monitor whatever you feel is important from texting, images and social networking to even tagging photos and sharing locations.  You control the system, instead of it controlling you or your children.  Many other systems set it up so that your child is “caught” doing something but it doesn’t tell you what that is.  It just keeps, say visiting the wrong website from happening.

With this system, you sync both cell phone and internet use, including cell phones and social networking.  You know when and where your child posts a picture and if it’s tagged with a location.  You can see, all in one place, who their online friends are.  And, but having these tools available to you, you can talk to your child about your concerns and help them achieve a level of responsibility, while you protect them from the dangers that are out there.

Now, here’s the really cool news I have to share with you.   uknowkids.com has offered to sponsor 50 of our readers so that they can use uknowkids.com and see for themselves how it works and if they like it or not.  Here is your special invitation code, A014591.  

Simply visit http://www.uknowkids.com and use your invitation code to take it for a test drive.   Let us know here what you like or didn’t like about uknowkids.com and if it is something that can help you as a parent or guardian keep your children safe from online dangers, from cyber bullying to predators to identity theft.

Social networking passwords requested by prospective employers

It’s a tough economy out there. There are plenty of people looking for jobs, and if job applications and competition among other applicant’s wasn’t tough enough now potential employers may be adding one more line to that form; one that says “What is your Facebook/Twitter/Other social networking site password?” Would you provide it?  Continue reading Social networking passwords requested by prospective employers

Do you have an interest in Pinterest?

Social networks come and go, and there always be those that love them or hate them, and even a few that act like they don’t exist.  While some thought that Google+ would be the social wave of the future, many others are convinced that you should have an interest in Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? 

A social network where you “pin”  images of your favorite Internet content to your boards.  Those that follow you (sort of like Twitter followers) can see your boards and find out what you like from recipes to DIY projects and a whole lot more.   You create your own online bulletin board on your main page with topics you can choose from like places or books, or you can create out own topic.   You can look at the boards of others, whether they are friends or not.

How does the information get posted to Pinterest? 

Many Internet sites and blogs have started adding a share button that says “Pin it” to the site.  If the site doesn’t have one you can use the pin it tool from Pinterest and pin a site, article or blog post anyway.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  Especially for those that are visual “learners” and others who really do think that a picture is worth a thousand words.   In some cases, like a craft or DIY project, sometimes a picture really is worth more than any words used to describe it.

Pinterest concerns

As with all social networking sites there are going to be concerns.  One concern is that the sign up process is well, a little “sketchy” is the word used in this Business Insider article.  After signing up I have to agree.  First, you are strongly encouraged to sign up using your Facebook or Twitter account.  I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Thinking that maybe that’s better than answering a bunch of questions, many people do go ahead and use their Facebook or Twitter account to create their account on Pinterest.  That’s where things start to get a little disconcerting.  Pinterest automatically imports all your Facebook or Twitter friends/followers into your Pinterest contacts, so whether you wanted to follow them or not (or they wanted to follow you) there they are.

Next, an email message goes out automatically to each of those people asking them to join Pinterest and that you would like to follow them.  I’m all for advertising, but to me it is sort of like handing them my address book and saying, “Yeah here go and and spam them with email until the join.”   Personally I wasn’t thrilled when I found this out.

Another concern is “fair use” and copyright infringement.   One attorney was so concerned after she realized that 1) the terms of service mean that she and she alone is responsible for anyone that charges her with copyright infringement due to “pinning” an image from their site and that 2) users actually “protect” Pinterest from any claims against them for copyright infringement.

I don’t know about you, but after a clear reading of the TOS, I was ready to 1) shut my account down or 2) only pin my own things and then if they are “repinned” at lest then we know that they are legally produced on Pinterest.   But let’s face it, I don’t want all my pictures available for use on Pinterest for anyone to use. Some of them are for personal use and shared with a select few but no matter what you do, you can leave yourself open to your images getting taken and used on the Internet.

Some feel that Pinterest does violate copyright laws because it takes an image from a website and uses it without permission, Pinterest people think you should be “grateful” for the promotion from one of the fastest growing sites on the web.  According to another article “Pinterest credits and links to the original source of its photos, but that doesn’t make it legal to host the content. Thumbnails are ok to post under the fair use doctrine, but Pinterest often lifts the entire, full-size image.”

This lawyer and sometime amateur photographer decided to shut her account down after doing her research.  Flickr has decided to protect users images by adding a “do not pin code” which stops people from being allowed to pin images to Pinterest.

Flickr shared the following with CNET, “Flickr takes privacy and content ownership very seriously and is committed to continue to build features that protect members’ photos and videos. Flickr has implemented the tag and it appears on all non-public/non-safe pages, as well as when a member has disabled sharing of their Flickr content. This means only content that is “safe,” “public,” and has the sharing button (e.g., also for Facebook, Twitter) enabled can be pinned to Pinterest.”

So, what do you think?  Have you used Pinterest?  Do you have any interest in Pinterest?  Are these security concerns valid or is it just the costs of sharing information?





Credit Cards Rewards? There’s an ‘app’ for that as credit cards join forces with social networking

As credit cards become even more competitive, and less not more are using them, credit card companies may be trying to get social with you and their rewards system.    Find out which credit cards may be interacting with you in a whole new way.

Citigroup will be thanking customer with thank you rewards that they can “pool” together in a new Facebook application.  The Facebook application allows users to join points and use them to benefit a charity, a person or a gift.  For example, 20 people could share their points together, and use them to purchase an airline ticket for a friend.   Citi says it’s the first bank to offer such a feature.

After a successful launch of a Citigroup app which permitted customers to transfer points to one another using the banks online banking service, it decided to expand the rewards sharing capability and program by offering it social media. Continue reading Credit Cards Rewards? There’s an ‘app’ for that as credit cards join forces with social networking

Facebook, Twitter and Me: Under Attack by Scams and Phishing

It’s been a busy week for me, between work, home, two sick children and the upcoming summer break from school for my older children. But what made it even more busy was the need for more vigilance as my Facebook, Twitter and email accounts came under attack of phishing schemes and scams. Find out how my week went and scams you should know about if you use these social networking sites.

Continue reading Facebook, Twitter and Me: Under Attack by Scams and Phishing