Parents are over confident about internet safety

US author, educator and consultant Jeff Utecht has written an interesting post on how parents are dealing with the issues social media are bringing to the family home. He quotes the UK newspaper The Guardian:

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility at Plymouth University, said sexting – where schoolchildren are encouraged to take explicit photographs of themselves and send to other pupils – was a problem in most schools, despite the study revealing that 89% of parents believe their child has not been touched by cyberbullying or sexting.

“There is a disconnect between how safe parents think they can keep their children online and their actual ability to do that,” Phippen said. “Those conversations are not being had – we have a hell of a long way to go on internet safety. In schools we hear teachers unwilling to talk to teenagers about sexual images because they worry about their jobs, schools unwilling to record instances of cyberbulling because they are worried about their Ofsted reports.”

These statistics are of grave concern and demand us all to delve deeper into the way our children are using the internet. Read the whole blog post here.

Facebook users face identity theft says ex-conman

The Guardian (UK) newspaper is reporting that Frank Abagnale (portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie Catch me if you can) is warning Facebook users of potential identity theft.

 Abagnale said that children in particular need to be made aware of the serious risks of unwittingly revealing information on social networking sites.

Another readily available programme, which Abagnale said is owned by Google, uses facial recognition that can match an individual with their personal information on the social networking website “in just seven seconds”.

“If you tell me your date of birth and where you’re born [on Facebook] I’m 98% [of the way] to stealing your identity,” he said. “Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying ‘come and steal my identity’.”

He also advised Facebook users to never choose a passport-style photograph as a profile picture, and instead use group photographs.

The most interesting point Abagnale makes is:

Abagnale said that while it was common to see companies such as Facebook being criticised for privacy issues in the media, it is up to people to take action to keep their data private.

“Your privacy is the only thing you have left,” he said. “Don’t blame all the other companies – Google, Facebook – you control it. You have to keep control of your own information.”

Read the whole post here.