Digital Safety

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Fraudsters Target Mobile Apps

A recent article in Adweek reports that from 2017 to 2018, the number of fraudulent apps increased more than 150%, according to a DoubleVerify report. Since 2017, invalid ad impressions on mobile devices has doubled year-over-year. Security experts are calling on developers and app stores to help fight fraud in the mobile space.

Two Internets?

Should there be a separate Internet for children?  Conor Friedersdorf’s article in The Atlantic reminds parents that the Internet is “a place where the violence is more graphic than any R-rated movie, the sex is more salacious than any strip club, and the bullies get 24-hour access to kids’ bedrooms.” He proposes instead a “youth net” for kids younger than 15, with content similar to a PG movie and where decisions about content moderation are made with children in mind, freedom of speech is not paramount, and everything is delivered on special youth friendly devices. Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube would all be banned and would be seen as the equivalent of getting a drivers license. What are your thoughts?

Screen Time for 5 Year Olds Tied to Attention Deficit Issues

Five-year-olds that spend more than two hours a day in front of screens have 5.9 times and 7.7 times higher likelihoods of developing significant attention problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, respectively, compared with those who spent 30 minutes or less with digital devices, Canadian researchers recently reported. The findings were based on data involving 2,427 youths in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study. Parents of young children should keep this in mind as they monitor screen time.

Your iPhone Keeps a List of Your Every Location

There is a feature on your iPhone that keeps track of not only everywhere you have traveled and how you got there, but how many times you have been there. The phone even interprets that data to know, for example, that your dog goes to doggy day care every Wednesday morning.  If you no longer want this feature (although you may want to keep on your kid’s phones for other reasons), you can read the full story on how to get rid of it – with step-by-step instructions - on the Business Insider site.

Facebook CEO Calls for More Internet Regulation

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for more Internet content regulation in a recently published op-ed in The Washington Post. He urges new governance pertaining to "harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability." He also says that “By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what's best about it -- the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things -- while also protecting society from broader harms." Check out these rules for keeping safe on Facebook on the WikiHow site.

District Uses Scanners to Track Students on Buses

WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin  reports that one Wisconsin school district is installing scanners on school buses to track students as they ride to and from school. The technology will use identification cards to track students and allow parents to use an app to see where their buses are, and even receive notifications about when their children enter or leave the bus, district officials say.

Now You Retract that Message

Wish you hadn’t sent that? Facebook has finally made good on its promise to let users unsend chats after TechCrunch discovered Mark Zuckerberg had secretly retracted some of his Facebook Messages from recipients. Recently Facebook Messenger globally rolled out “Remove for everyone” to help you pull back typos, poor choices, embarrassing thoughts or any other message. For up to 10 minutes after sending a Facebook Message, the sender can tap on it and they’ll find the delete button has been replaced by “Remove for you,” but there’s now also a “Remove for everyone” option that pulls the message from recipients’ inboxes. They’ll see an alert that you removed a message in its place, and can still flag the message to Facebook, which will retain the content briefly to see if it’s reported. The feature could make people more comfortable having honest conversations or using Messenger for flirting since they can second-guess what they send, but it won’t let people change ancient history.

‘SAFR,’ Not ‘SAFE’

Should schools install facial recognition tech? As schools plan to spend billions on security equipment and services, EdSurge’s Emily Tate says that improvements like facial recognition systems such as SAFR (Secure, Accurate Facial Recognition) tend to make school staff feel safer, but she questions the effectiveness. In her article, she reports that experts say having a high tech system often leads to people letting their guard down and putting their faith in a system that needs constant updating, and input is not going to prevent the worst case scenarios that all too common.

Is All the Uproar Over Screen Time for Naught?

The effects of digital screen time on children's well being and development is a source of huge debate at the moment. While concerns over the effects of these new devices on childhood development are not unwarranted, scientists have not been able to reach a clear consensus on the topic. Now a new study by the University of Oxford, examining data from over 350,000 subjects in the UK and US, finds digital technology use accounts for less than half a percent of a young person's negative mental health. The research suggests everything from wearing glasses to not getting enough sleep have bigger negative effects on adolescent well being than digital screen use. Binge-drinking and marijuana use also were noted as having significantly larger negative effects, and bullying was found to have four times larger the negative effect on well being than digital screen use. On the positive end of the spectrum, things like eating a good breakfast and getting enough sleep were much more statistically relevant in affecting well being than the effects of technology use.

Study Looks at the Effects of Screen Time On Kid’s Brains

A recent segment of 6o Minutes covered the effects of screen time on kids and reported that children ages 9 and 10 who spent at least seven hours on screens per day actually had thinning of the part of the brain that controls sensory processing. The segment references an ongoing study from the National Institutes of Health, that also finds that those who had more than two hours of daily screen time had lower language and thinking test scores. The study is following over 11,000 children for 10 years to see how prolonged screen time affects the brain. The scientists and doctors working on the study said that no conclusions could be drawn at this point, but noted there are definite changes in brain structure and activity.

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