After six or seven years of using a free email account, I decided to switch to one that I pay for, one that does not share my data or track what I do.
I made the decision after I looked at my Google purchase list that goes back for years. These notations include hotels, restaurants, transportation tickets, clothes, books and just about everything else that I bought online. Looking over the list, I observed that it was pretty easy to monitor the past few years of my life just by looking through my purchases. I had no privacy.
One of my friends said it best when he commented, “When something is free, you and your data are the product.” So that is when I decided to switch. I do not want to be the product. I am tired of serving as the product.
I looked at half-a-dozen different programs, all of which emphasize privacy and freedom from tracking, and I chose one that several people I know have used. Then I got out my credit card, paid for a year and — wonder of wonders — the charge did not show up on Google Purchases.
Since then I’ve spent time moving things over to my new email system. This includes just about everything that asks me to sign up with my email address and probably anything that relates to business.
At the beginning of the school year, what can parents and teachers do to ensure that digital kids — with their hand-held devices, connected school activities, homework, and other online endeavors — get off to a good start?
Back-to-school preparation is more than school supplies, lunch boxes, and carpool arrangements. It also involves reviewing and articulating connected-life expectations with family members and working together to set up a family media plan that works for each person in the family.
Below are a few issues for parents and educators to consider as they seek to maintain quality in kids’ 21st Century digital lives during the 2019-2020 school year. Raising strong and competent digital citizens requires teamwork and immense effort — at home and at school.
When we use Chrome, Google’s tracking cookies follow us everywhere, and the video below perfectly illustrates how these trackers operate in our digital lives. It was produced by Washington Post technology columnists, Geoffrey A. Fowler and James Pace-Cornsilk.
Enjoy watching, but also ask yourself how much of your personal data and your daily activities you want to share with these trackers? Moreover, how much of your children’s data do you want these cookies to collect? In a connected world, digital life is complicated as is personal privacy.
FYI, I have stopped using Chrome completely (I use Duck Duck Go as a browser), and I am migrating to an email that I pay a small fee for each month. To learn more about what I use you may want to read two past MediaTech Parenting posts.
Today everyone needs to get better at fact-checking –a critical digital world skill. Interestingly, as we parents and educators help young people learn to distinguish what is true from what is not, we quickly discover that many adults need as much or more practice than the kids.
Online games and simulation activities can help people supercharge their fact-checking and evaluation abilities and even have a bit of fun doing it. Recently the weekly Poynter fact-checking newsletter, Factually, featured a list of seven of these games that can help people fine-tune their content evaluation skills. While each of the games is different from the others, all of them aim to help individuals gain the confidence and competence to determine what is true and what is misinformation or disinformation. All can be good teaching tools.
I recently wrote a blog post about Factitious, a game that is included in Poynter’s list, but the other six games look like they have enormous potential when it comes to helping kids and adults practice and understand a lot more about the need to fact-check and how to go about it.
After nine years of blogging at MediaTechParenting, I’ve written posts about kids, technology, parenting, screen time, citizenship, 21st Century life, digital devices — well you get the idea. Now a New York Times Smarter Living published report summarizes a good deal of what I’ve been writing about in a parents’ guide to raising and guiding kids in the digital world.
How (and When) to Limit Kids’ Tech Use by Melanie Pinola (@MelaniePinola) includes just about everything a digital age parent needs to know. The comprehensive and well-packaged guide overflows with information. Keep it nearby, whether your child is a new baby, a teenager, or any age in between.
Privacy is a big topic on this blog, and today, JULY 9, 2019, was an interesting day in the 21st Century privacy department.
It’s a significant day because just about every newspaper features an article about facial recognition software and how it may be misused by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE). This government agency uses the facial recognition software to go into state driver’s license databases and collect information about the faces associated with those licenses. This is accomplished without the permission of the people whose images they scan.
As a privacy-conscious person, I turn off facial recognition on Facebook, on my phone, and for my photos, but I never considered my driver’s license. I also did not think that researchers might be harvesting photos from social media, using them to test their facial recognition products.
Videos are everywhere on social media, but quite a few that we view on various sites are doctored and edited, often seeking to muck up the facts. Understanding how to evaluate and identify red flags in a video is now a critical 21st Century media literacy skill that everyone — parents, students, and educators — needs to acquire.
Recently the staff at Washington Post Fact Checker created a useful teaching and learning tool that can help all of us — young people and adults — understand more about today’s video landscape.