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Take a seat, we will share with you what we have been up to and some of the new things we have learned about Internet safety!

Internet safety blog

Internet Tide Safety 101

I remember when the internet became more and more accessible and convenient throughout the world. A common term I heard was “surfing the web” a term we don’t use as much now but the meaning still lives within many of us. I must admit that I am not a surfer but I recently read an article about how rip currents function and the real dangers that exist for ocean swimming. 

Certain signs of rip currents include, a difference in waves, a difference in water color and foam or objects moving swiftly out towards sea. Okay this blog is about Digital citizenship, above you will see the map of how to escape a rip current. Lets for a minute think about how this relates to our experience using the internet.  

First of all, in this map you see a majority of the ocean is safe. Speaking as someone who was married on the beach, I love being in the ocean. Fun activities like surfing, body boarding and snorkeling are my favorite. When viewing the internet as a whole, a majority is safe and full of fun.

At the same time we need to be mindful of where our attention is. The reality is, video games, social media, websites and videos are doing cartwheels for your attention. Certain online content will sprout flowers and others weeds. A Digital Citizen is someone who uses the internet experience responsibly, looking to plant flowers. I am not suggesting we can’t use such services for entertainment or “fun” but when you do use it that way, plan it out in advance and truly enjoy that time. I am a big believer in living in the moment, when it’s time to watch a movie with family, go all out and pop some popcorn. If you have a science question for the upcoming science fair, use the internet but use the resource for that purpose. Certain aspects of surfing the internet is just like a rip current, it is so easy and sometimes unrecognizable when web surfing has you lost in the online ocean. 

In 2015 the Merriam-Websters dictionary added the word “Clickbait” it is defined as “a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article or another web page”. No confession necessary, if you have caved to clickbait you aren’t alone. With the cookie tracks we leave when we go from website to website it creates easy clickbait where advertisements know what we want. On the other hand, these same cookies and saved web history has given us answers to difficult crimes that need to be solved. Such recourses have been an incredible tool for police detectives.   

In conclusion, keep asking questions. Technology is moving so fast right now and at times its easy to feel like a rat in an experiment. A few examples of questions to be asked, how can I benefit from my online experience? What can I add to help the internet be better?  What online rip currents take me away from online purpose? Where are my priorities and how can the internet assist me to better fulfill my roles?


Hidden Apps: What Your Kids Don’t Want You to Know

Have you ever looked at your child’s phone and wondered, “what is that app?” Well parents you are not alone. With so many different apps out there it is hard to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest new thing. One type of app that is essential that parents stay informed on is hidden apps. You probably look through your child’s texts, Facebook posts, and other known social media apps, but did you know that there are apps that kids use to hide apps or pictures that they don’t want you to see? Here is a list of several different apps that people use to hide pictures that they don’t want you to see.

  • Private Photo Vault
  • Gallery Lock Lite
  • Best Secret Folder
  • KeepSafe
  • KYMS
  • Vaulty
  • PhotoVault
  • Secret Calculator Pro
  • Secret Photo and Video Calculator

This is only a short list of apps that can hide pictures, apps, or information that your teen wants to keep from you. Many of the apps disguise themselves to look like regular default apps like a calculator or utilities folder. Look for redundancy, like two calculators, or two utility tabs. There are settings that parents can enable to stop their child from downloading apps without a parent’s permission. Regularly check the app store to keep up-to-date on the latest hidden apps.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


How to Know More About Apps

New apps come out every day, which makes it difficult to stay up to date on the latest and greatest new app. As a parent this is a frustrating reality, but you don’t have to stay in the dark. A website called SaferKid seeks to help parents to be able to quickly look up information about apps.  The founders have reviewed more than 1,000,000 apps. All you need to do is enter the app you want to find out more information about into the search bar in the app directory, and you have access to age recommendations, risks, and in depth information about that app. This can help when you see a new app on your child’s phone and you don’t know what it does, or your child wants to download a new app.

The website also provides a service for $59.99 per year, where they scan your child’s phone apps to detect unapproved and non age appropriate apps.

Check out this great resource for parents.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Access are You Giving Your Apps

How often do you actually take the time to read through the terms of service or privacy policy when you are downloading an app. Most likely not. App developers use complicated legal terms, and you probably start to get a headache after trying to read the first two pages.  The problem is that we are giving away too much of our information without even realizing it. Business Insider did an experiment where they had people read aloud the permissions that they have given to some apps. It is truly scarey to see what permissions people are granting to apps. Click here to check out the video from Business Insider.

GameStation wanted to see if people actually read the Terms of Service, so they put a hidden clause in which stated that:

“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and forever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorized minions.”

Only 12% of gamers noticed the trick. Reading through those privacy policies may be tedious, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

15 Apps and Websites Kids are Heading to After Facebook

As parents and school administrators it may seem impossible to keep up with all of the new apps kids and teens are using. Apps are constantly being changed and updated, and it’s hard to keep track of each app and what they are used for. Here is a list of apps kids and teens are using and what you as parents and school administrators need to know about them. It’s important to stay informed so you know how to help your kids and teens become responsible digital citizens while socializing through technology!