I need to know about location based services

Continuing on with the resources provided by the Australian Communication and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website, the information on location based services is must read information for everyone with a smart phone.

Smartphones have a built-in feature called geolocators that can pinpoint your exact location. This data is often published online through social networking sites, or used by location-based services such as maps, public transport apps, retail services and so on. It can also be embedded in images you take with your smartphone camera. Sometimes, you might want to think twice before you check in and tell the world where you are.

For more information, click here.

How do I deal with offensive or illegal content

This time the Australian Communications and Media Authority‘s Cybersmart website is looking at how teenagers can deal with offensive or illegal content found online.

  • Know how to ‘escape ’ – hit control-alt-delete if the site will not allow you to exit.
  • If you want to talk about a problem with offensive or illegal content, you can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or visit their website.
  • If you have found material on the internet or your mobile phone that is offensive or you believe may be prohibited you can report it to the ACMA.  – See more here.

Read more here.

School to monitor students’ social media posts

In an interesting development, CNN is reporting that a California school district is spending over $40,000 on monitoring students’ Facebook posts, comments, tweets and the like for  a year.

The district in Glendale, California, is paying $40,500 to a firm to monitor and report on 14,000 middle and high school students’ posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media for one year.

Though critics liken the monitoring to government stalking, school officials and their contractor say the purpose is student safety.

As classes began this fall, the district awarded the contract after it earlier paid the firm, Geo Listening, $5,000 last spring to conduct a pilot project monitoring 9,000 students at three high schools and a middle school. Among the results was a successful intervention with a student “who was speaking of ending his life” on his social media, said Chris Frydrych, CEO of the firm.

Do you think this is a good way to keep students safe or an invasion of privacy? Read the whole story and see the video here.

Anonymity, privacy and security online – 2013 Pew Report

A new survey by Pew Internet reveals that:

  • 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
  • 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government.
  • 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
  • 12% have been stalked or harassed online.
  • 11% have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
  • 6% have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
  • 6% have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
  • 4% have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.

Although the survey was completed in the United States, there’s certainly transfer of thoughts and anxieties that affect Australians as well. Read the whole report here.

You can now view (almost) every tweet ever

NBC News (USA) is reporting that Topsy, a social analytics site

has now indexed every public tweet sent – with the exception of those that have been deleted.

This makes searching tweets and the history of specific users much easier and therefore users who want to maintain a positive digital footprint are advised to take extra care what they tweet.

Like, post, share

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the final version of the report Like, post, share: young Australians’ experience of social media.

Some of the results include:

  • Two thirds of 12-13 year olds (67 per cent) used a social networking service (SNS) in the last four weeks on a computer, 85 per cent of 14-15 year olds have done this, as have 92 per cent of 16-17 year olds.
  • The younger age group (eight to 11 years) are active social network users – 78 per cent of eight to nine year olds and 92 per cent of 10-11 year olds have used a social network. The most popular social network amongst this younger age group was YouTube—more than half of the eight to nine year olds surveyed (53 per cent) and the majority of 10-11 year olds (69 per cent) had used this site.
  • The majority of 12-17 year olds reported having used a social network,– especially those aged 14-17 years (97 per cent of 14-15 year old and 99 per cent of 16-17 year old internet users).
  • Facebook was the most popular social network service for 12-17 year olds. The majority of Facebook users use the site at least daily and in some cases, more often. For example, the majority of Facebook users aged 14 and over in our study were more likely to use Facebook more than once a day (47 to 50 per cent) than daily (32 per cent). (page 8)
  • Twenty one per cent of 14-15 year olds reported having been cyberbullied, compared with four per cent of eight to nine year olds. Reported experiences of cyberbullying amongst 10-17 year olds appears stable since 2009, but has marginally increased for the youngest age group (eight to nine year olds).
  • The children and young people who reported that they had been cyberbullied were also asked who they told, and the majority did tell someone. All the eight to 11 year olds who had experienced cyberbullying told someone, and the majority of the older children did so as well (89 per cent of 12-13 year olds, 93 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 87 per cent of 16-17 year olds told someone).
  • Thirteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that within their group of friends, either they or someone else has sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of themselves to someone else. Eighteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that they or someone within their group of friends had received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of someone else. Parents underestimated the extent to which their children were exposed to sexting.

Read the whole report here.

Online behaviour fact sheet

The Line, an Australian government website that helps young adults decide where they draw the line in lots of areas of their lives, has developed an online behaviour fact sheet designed for parents. Included are ten tips to protect kids online:

  • Limit the time they spend online – set clear boundaries and stick to them
  • Get protector software on your computers that blocks access to risky sites.
  • Get involved with, and understand the technology your child is using
  • Direct your kid to age-appropriate sites and find out about the sites they are visiting
  • Allow internet use only in shared family areas at home
  • Explain that they must not give out their phone number or address online at any time
  • Encourage them to report behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid.
  • Without scaring them, explain that stranger danger also works online.
  • Ask your child to let you know if someone your child has met online wants to get in contact or meet face to face.
  • Make sure they understand what behaviour is acceptable online, both from them and others.

Read the whole fact sheet here.