Author Archives: Larry Magid

Privacy and security tips for newly-minted college students

This post first appeared on Forbes.com by Larry Magid Congratulations. After a long and sometimes stressful childhood you (or your teen) are ready for college. It’s a big step that involves a great deal of freedom and independence and an exciting … Continue reading Continue reading

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LG’s new tracking watch for young children

There are lots of apps that can allow a parent to track their child’s phone. Assuming the phone and kid are together and the phone is turned on and in range, you can also use those apps to track your kid. … Continue reading Continue reading

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The ‘real world’ is a lot more dangerous than cyberspace

by Larry Magid This post first appeared on Forbes.com The media is full of horror stories about online dangers, but — in all but a few categories — offline risk dwarfs its online equivalent. Stranger danger vs. trusted adults Let’s start with … Continue reading Continue reading

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Why I don’t want to hear about any new parental control products

It’s hard to get through a week without hearing about a new product designed to protect children online or on mobile devices. Some of these products block content, others give parents some control over who their kids can communicate with … Continue reading Continue reading

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PTA panel tackles digital citizenship (slideshow)

I was honored to be on a panel at the National PTA Conference in Austin, Texas focusing on digital citizenship (scroll down for a description and list of fellow panelists). Panelists explored both the meaning of digital citizenship and strategies for … Continue reading Continue reading

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Aspen task force would take learning ‘back to the future’

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News The Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet released an outstanding report whose title, “Learner at the Center of a Networked World,” suggests a radical rethinking of how we … Continue reading Continue reading

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Parents have a lot to learn about mobile safety, privacy and security: from their kids

After spending a lot of time writing and editing our new free booklet, A Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones, my ConnectSafely.org colleagues and I came to the realization that parents do have a lot to learn — from their own kids. Sure, … Continue reading Continue reading

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Aspen Institute Task Force takes on education in the Internet age

The report: Learner at the Center of a Networked World A task force report & a student bill of rights: Task Force member and ConnectSafely co-director’s commentary about the report and the work of modern-day student activists Make personalized learning a … Continue reading Continue reading

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Google complies with “right to be forgotten” but is it the “right” ruling?

The European Union Court of Justice ruling about the “right to be forgotten” is more wrong than right. Of course I sympathize  with the individual who pressed the claim — a Spanish citizen who was upset that Google was linking to … Continue reading Continue reading

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Missing Children’s Day — let’s bring them all home

Since it was founded 30 years ago, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has helped reunite thousands of missing kids with their families. I have had the privilege of serving on NCMEC’s board for nearly two decades … Continue reading Continue reading

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Internet security is a global issue that requires global cooperation

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News PARIS — The National Cyber Security Alliance, or NCSA, is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes online security and safety. Its board consists of representatives from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Comcast and other … Continue reading Continue reading

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Facebook changes new user default privacy setting to friends only — adds privacy checkup

This post first appeared on Forbes.com. Until now, when new Facebook users sent out their first post, the default setting was public, which means that anyone could see it. It’s long been easy to change the audience to Friends only but if … Continue reading Continue reading

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Experts say UK’s optional filtering equals choice, not censorship

Under pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron and other British officials, major UK Internet service providers are now requiring customers to opt-in or out of Internet filters that affect every device in the home. And, starting this week, most public … Continue reading Continue reading

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Do kids need special protections or do we all need them?

This post is a work in progress and subject to editing and updates by Larry Magid We have always taken child safety more seriously than adult safety, even where children are not necessarily at greater risk than adults. It’s probably instinctual. … Continue reading Continue reading

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Google pulls scanning and ads from education apps

In addition to its consumer and business services, Google is also in the business of providing apps for education with apps such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, spreadsheets and YouTube for Schools. These apps, according  to the company, serve more than 30 million students, teachers … Continue reading Continue reading

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Facebook adding more user-control of app privacy

This post first appeared on Forbes.com Speaking at Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that “Over the years one of the things we’ve heard over and over again is that people want more control over how they share their information, especially with apps.”  He … Continue reading Continue reading

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A taste of Turkish Internet censorship

This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News ISTANBUL, Turkey — Today’s column was supposed to be about alternatives to the broken user-name and password systems, but as I was doing my research, I hit upon an obstacle that required … Continue reading Continue reading

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Bullying Books Empower Students, Parents and School Personnel

  Nancy Willard has been writing and speaking about cyberbullying since practically before the term was coined. But, like most cyberbullying experts, she knows that cyberbullying — for the most part — is bullying. And that — plus a lot … Continue reading Continue reading

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Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature: What you need to know

This post is adapted from one that first appeared on Forbes.com Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its mobile app that allows you to  share your approximate location with friends. The opt-in feature (it’s turned off by default) enables … Continue reading Continue reading

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Anonymous isn’t synonymous with ominous

This post first appeared on CNET News by Larry Magid I’ve heard a lot of consternation about apps and sites that let users post anonymously and, indeed it is possible to use services like Whisper, Ask.FM, Secret, and Yik Yak … Continue reading Continue reading

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How to protect your family from Heartbleed security flaw (Slideshow)

First, don’t panic. This is a serious problem but you need to put it into perspective. While there is clearly a vulnerability, there are so far no reports of the flaw being exploited. And even though this flaw has been … Continue reading Continue reading

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The evolution of online safety: Lessons learned over 20 years

When I wrote the original version of Child Safety on the Information Highway (click here for 20th anniversary updated version), in 1994, “online safety” was largely defined as keeping kids away from porn and predators and the solution was pretty … Continue reading Continue reading

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Letter to myself about recent weight-loss

Dear Larry, Congratulations. You (I) successfully lost 20 pounds over the past five months and are no longer overweight. You did it by thoughtful eating and daily exercise. That’s great, but you’ve done this before, many times.  Now comes the … Continue reading
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Safety through mindfulness: Watch ‘The Science of Character’

I’m not sure who decided this but March 20th is “Character Day” and it’s also the day that filmmaker Tiffany Shlain released a superb 8 minute video, “The Science of Character.” In addition to making the film available, Shlain’s website … Continue reading Continue reading

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danah boyd on why teens and social media are ‘complicated’

This post first appeared on CNET News.com When it comes to understanding how teens use social media, there’s perhaps no one more clued in than Danah Boyd, except maybe teens themselves. An ethnographer with a Ph.D. in information from the … Continue reading Continue reading

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In defense of Internet safety education

There has been some discussion lately over whether there is still a need for Internet safety education. I say yes. It’s true, as some argue, that safety messages from the 90′s are way out-of-date. We no longer need to dwell … Continue reading Continue reading

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Only 9% of adults say kids in their care have been bullied at school

In a new survey from Harris Interactive, 9% of adult respondents reported “My child or a child I am at least partly responsible for has been or is currently being bullied in school.”  Only 2% said that “My child or … Continue reading Continue reading

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‘Neknominate’ is a stupid and potentially deadly online dare game

The Irish Mirror calls it “sickening online drinking craze,” and that’s factually correct.  “Nekominate,” also known as neck and nominate, is a game that’s growing in popularity in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe where someone posts a video of … Continue reading Continue reading

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Confessions of a ‘binge’ viewer

by Larry Magid I don’t mind admitting that, for the past few days, I’ve been a binge TV viewer. That’s because Netflix released the second season of its hit show “House of Cards” and, unlike traditional TV networks, the company … Continue reading
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Sticks, Stones, and Names Can Damage the Spirit

  By Warren Blumenfeld Guest commentator “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” This stands as one of the great lies our culture teaches us growing up. Another myth states that bullying is simply … Continue reading
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People who suffer from so-called ‘game addiction’ have other problems

by Larry Magid This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News There was a big flap last week over the game “Flappy Bird,” an iPhone and Android app that was pulled out of app stores by its Hanoi-based … Continue reading
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U.S. Safer Internet Day focuses on potential, positives and problems too

It was a great honor that ConnectSafely.org, the non-profit Internet Safety organization where I serve as co-director, was selected to host the first official U.S. Safer Internet Day.  The day, which has been celebrated in Europe for the past 11 … Continue reading
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Safer Internet Day Event — View Live

Event starts at 9:00 AM Eastern February 11, 2014

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Safer Internet Day celebrates the good done online

By Larry Magid This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News By Larry Magid This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News For the past 11 years, the European Commission and InSafe, a Brussels-based nonprofit, have … Continue reading
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Safer Internet Day comes to US

View the live webcast here from 9:00 AM to noon Eastern (6:00 to 9:00 PT) by Larry Magid This column first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News For the past 11 years, the European Commission and InSafe, a Brussels-based … Continue reading
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Family Contract For Smartphone Use

Just updated the family contract for smartphone use aimed at parents, kids and teens.
You can find it here:
 
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Apple and FTC reach agreement about children’s app purchases

This post first appeared on Forbes.com The Federal Trade Commission announced that it has entered into a consent decree with Apple regarding alleged charges that Apple allowed children to purchase apps and make in-app purchases on its app store. The FTC accused … Continue reading
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Scuttle the “Bully Pulpit” Metaphor

Guest post by Warren Blumenfeld New words join while some words perish from all languages. Some words remain though altering or transforming their meanings to varying degrees between eras. A number of words even expand to include additional parts of … Continue reading
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National Center adds another layer to children’s safety online

For several years, I’ve been on the board of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The organization, which is based in Alexandria, Va., is best known for helping to reunite missing children with their custodial parents or … Continue reading
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Jerry The Bear Helps Kids With Diabetes

As part of Safer Internet Day’s One Good Thing campaign, I interviewed Hannah Chung and Aaron Horowitz about Jerry the Bear, a plush talking toy designed to help children with type 1 diabetes manage their condition. Continue reading

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Tell us ‘one good thing’ about using tech to make the Internet or the world better

This article first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News About 11 years ago, the European Commission established Safer Internet Day, an annual event that focuses on making the Internet a better and safer place. It takes place on the … Continue reading
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Preventing and recovering from bullying — what works and what doesn’t

For the past several days I’ve taken a deep dive into the world of bullying and cyberbullying at two back-to-back conferences – the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) conference inWashington DC last week and, this week, the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) conference … Continue reading
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Combating Cruelty with Kindness

By Justin W. Patchin Justin is co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. There’s no shortage of daily headlines that point to the conclusion that many teens are using technology carelessly and maliciously. Cyberbullying, especially, has been thrust to the forefront … Continue reading
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Congressional briefing: “Are the Kids Alright? Assessing the Impact of 20 Years of the Internet on America’s Youth”

SafeKids.com’s Larry Magid is moderating a session on Capitol Hill today (the Rayburn Building) called “Are the Kids Alright? Assessing the Impact of 20 Years of the Internet on America’s Youth”  The even is sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus and … Continue reading
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ConnectSafely.org named US host for Safer Internet Day

Washington, D.C., November 6, 2013–Safer Internet Day, which has been celebrated throughout the world for the last 10 years, is about to get a big boost in the United States. ConnectSafely.org has been appointed by INSAFE and the European Commission … Continue reading
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Family Online Safety Institute tackles ID theft and dangers of ‘Internet of things’

By Larry Magid Washington, DC: Every fall around this time, people from the tech industry, government, non-profit groups and academia gather in Washington for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) annual conference. Over the last few years, the conference has dealt with … Continue reading
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NSA snooping and youth rights at Internet UN’s Internet Governance Forum

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News BALI, Indonesia — For the past eight years, Internet “stakeholders” from governments, nonprofit and activist organizations and the technology industry have gathered at the United Nations-sponsored Internet Governance Forum to … Continue reading
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Internet Governance Forum Tackles Child Protection Vs. Child Rights

Bali, Indonesia — I’m at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF #IGF2013) in Bali where I’m participating in a workshop on child protection vs. child rights. As a child safety advocate, I’ve long argued that young people need “digital literacy” to understand … Continue reading
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ConnectSafely.org & SafeKids.com at Internet Governance Forum in Bali

ConnectSafely.org co-direct and SafeKids.com founder Larry Magid is on the way to Bali for the 2013 Internet Governance Forum.  The event focuses on a wide variety of issues pertaining to Internet policy.  The IGF, which is sponsored by the United … Continue reading
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Facebook Lets Teens Post Publicly: Why That’s a Good Thing

Facebook announced today that it’s changing its policy to allow teens to post publicly. Prior to today, Facebook members aged 13 through 17 were only allowed to post to a limited audience that max out with friends of friends. In … Continue reading
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Let’s not underestimate the impact of cyberbullying

For advice on how to deal with cyberbullying, check out ConnectSafely.org’s new free online booklet, A Parents’ Guide to Cyberbullying I’ve written several columns about how people tend to exaggerate the number of kids who are affected by cyberbullying, but … Continue reading
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Google May Feature You In An Ad With ‘Shared Endorsements’ (Unless You Opt-Out)

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Facebook to no longer let you opt-out of being found via search

Click for Larry Magid’s 1-minute CBS News & CNET segment about Facebook dropping the search setting Facebook has eliminated a setting called  ”Who can look up your Timeline by name?,” which controlled whether you could be found when people typed … Continue reading
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Parents can help prevent cyberbullying

While bullying has been around forever, there was no such thing as cyberbullying until about 20 years ago when people discovered the ability to use technology to display their mean, cruel, annoying and generally negative side. And since the late 1990s … Continue reading
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Beware of the Internet Safety Industrial Complex

By Larry Magid I got a call recently from a woman who works for a company that makes an app designed to “keep kids safe” by enabling parents to monitor their texts and social media activities. The pitch included some … Continue reading
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Author behind ‘Mean Girls’ focuses on ‘boy world’ (podcast)

by Larry Magid This post first appeared on CNET News.com Rosalind Wiseman is known for writing “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” a book about teenage girls that was the basis for the movie “Mean Girls.” But now she’s focused on boys. … Continue reading
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ADL and Facebook sponsor panel on free speech, civility and the challenge of cyberhate

Facebook on Wednesday hosted an  Anti-Defamation League program on “Free Speech, Civility and the Challenge of Cyberhate” to  address the issue of hate online hate speech. The panel was moderated by ADL Civil Rights Director Deborah Lauter and included privacy … Continue reading
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Most Online Adults Know They’re Not Anonymous But Take Steps To Protect Privacy

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found at the more than a fifth (21%) of adults have had an email or social media account hijacked and more than a tenth (11%) have had information important information stolen, such … Continue reading
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Hands-on with Samsung smartwatch — is it coming to a kid near you?

Are your kids about to get a smartwatch?  Probably not if they have their heart set on the new Samsung Galaxy Gear watch that was unveiled this week.  It costs a whopping $299 and it only works with a single … Continue reading
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Guarding against hacker attacks

The recent hacker attacks against The New York Times and Twitter are a reminder that the Internet has become a battleground for global conflict with businesses and consumers as collateral damage. It doesn’t matter whether the “Syrian Electronic Army,” which took credit … Continue reading
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Kids engaging in ‘distracted walking’

You’ve heard about distracted driving but what about distracted walking?  Research from SafeKids Worldwide* found that one in five high school students and one in eight middle schoolers were crossing the street while talking or texting on a cell phone. … Continue reading
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‘The Kids Are (mostly) All Right’ when it comes to privacy and bullying

The question of “what’s the matter with kids today?” has  probably been with us for millenniums, but it was certainly the top of mind in 1963 when the lyrics for the song “Kids” from the movie “Bye Bye Birdie” asked … Continue reading
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How LinkedIn Plans to Protect Privacy Of Teens On Its Service

LinkedIn, the professional network with about 238 million members will soon welcome teens, 14 and up.  Until now, the service was only open to people 18 and older. The company is launching what it’s calling University Pages. About 200 universities have already … Continue reading
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A much-needed national debate about privacy is now underway

This post is adapted from one that appeared in the San Jose Mercury News It’s been quite a couple of weeks for the national debate on privacy.  At a press conference earlier this month, President Barack Obama implied that he’ll … Continue reading
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Survey Finds Teens Know And Care About Online Privacy

Contrary to popular mythology, a survey from the Pew Research Center and Harvard’s Berkman Center found that “American teenagers ages 12 to 17 care about their privacy.” The study, Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice, involved a representative sample of 802 … Continue reading
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‘What’s Your Story” winning videos explore the good side of the Internet

For the past several years I’ve helped judge Trend Micro’s annual What’s Your Story video contest  which, in past years, focused on how to combat Internet risks like cyberbullying and inappropriate use of mobile technology. But this year, the contest … Continue reading
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New survey has mostly good news about teens and privacy in social media

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society has mostly good news about how teens approach privacy issues on social-networking services. While “teens are sharing more information … Continue reading
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Free Parents’ Guides to Snapchat and Instagram

Kids are flocking to mobile photo-sharing apps and leading the way are Instagram and Snapchat. Kids love Instagram (now owned by Facebook) because it’s an easy way to snap photos, enhance them with filters and quickly share them with friends. … Continue reading
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Help Support an Inspirational Picture Book for Kids and Get a Copy for Yourself

Children’s book author Trudy Ludwig, who specializes in books “that explore the colorful and sometimes confusing world of children’s social interactions,” is working on an extraordinary project that deserves widespread support. She’s collaborating with illustrator Craig Orback on a 32-page picture book titled Gifts … Continue reading
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Snapchat photos can be undeleted as well as captured: When it matters

I recently wrote about Snapchat, the popular photo sharing app that allows users to share photos that will self-destruct from between 1 and 10 seconds after they’re viewed.  As I said in that story, there are many reasons people use … Continue reading
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Researcher dispels five myths about missing children

by Larry Magid David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire and a researcher for the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children, has written an incredibly useful article … Continue reading
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Summertime Means Kids Spending More Time with Tech: Advice for Parents

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News By Larry Magid We’re just a few weeks away from school letting out and — for lucky families — a chance to spend a bit of time together on vacation. Summer also … Continue reading
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Hackathon Builds Tools for Social Good

Larry speaks with Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation about Project:Connect Coders, writers, teachers and others concerned about making the web a better place for kids gathered in New York on Thursday for Project:Connect, a hackathon dedicated … Continue reading
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Massachusetts Town Invests In Laptops To Increase Student Enagement

Click to listen to Larry’s 1-minute CBS News/CNET Tech Talk segment on Natick’s 1:1 program, including an interview with Natick High School principal Rose Bartucci Natick, Massachusetts, a town of about 33,000 people situated about 30 miles west of Boston, has recently instituted a … Continue reading
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Instagram Photos of You: What Parents Need to Know

Instagram recently introduced its new “Photos of You” feature that allows users to tag people in photos.  The  mobile photo app company, which was acquired by Facebook last year,  said in a blog post that it’s letting users add the “who” to their photos along with … Continue reading
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Digital Citizenship Includes Rights as Well as Responsibilities (Updated for 2013)

The original post was published in September 2010 but has now been updated here.
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