Friday Rewind – Generation Like, It’s Complicated, Security Tips

rewindHappy Friday!

On Friday, I am answering your questions and sharing helpful blogs and resources. So, if you have a question about kids living life online or a specific app, go to ask KidsPrivacy and watch for your answer in my weekly Friday roundup.This week, I have a few recommendations and some security tips.

Generation Like

In 2001, Frontline produced the documentary The Merchants of Cool, about how companies collected and used teenage data to design irresistible marketing campaigns. Now in 2014, Frontline has updated this documentary with Generation Like. It is a fascinating look at how social media has changed the landscape of marketing. In Merchants of Cool companies were designing marketing campaigns based on what teens considered cool. In Generation Like, teens are the marketers with companies using them to promote their products through likes.

As I watched this documentary, sometimes it seemed like teens were in on it and sometimes if felt more insidious. Some teens appeared to have mastered marketing with the rise of the teenage YouTube star. But, seeing how the movie studio strategically promoted the Hunger Games, teens looked more like pawns in an orchestrated marketing campaign. The studio strategically pushed content to create the feel of a grassroots campaign with teens doing the work of promoting the movie with their likes, tweets, posts and videos.

Parents were not immune to the pursuit of likes. One mother initially encouraged her daughter to show case her musical talent by posting YouTube videos of her singing. What started as a way to promote her talent became a chase for more and more likes. In the end, the music was pushed a side and the mother was encouraging “pool” shots because they generated more attention.

By the end of this show you will never look at liking something the same again.


It’s Complicated


After watching Generation Like, click on danah boy’s interview “the kids are alright“. danah is a Microsoft researcher who has spent the last 10 years talking with teens about living life online. If you have ever thrown your hands up wondering why your teen is doing this online, chances are danah has the answer. If you like her interview she has a new book out “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.”

Security Tips

This week, security companies and professionals gathered in San Francisco for the RSA Conference. During the conference, Stop Think Connect hosted a tweet chat to share security tips for individuals and families.  If you want to learn more on running a secure device and protecting information, check out these organizations.


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10 Tips from Data Privacy Day Champions

data privacyData Privacy Day is January 28. Every year, governments, businesses, nonprofits and individuals come together to share how people can protect their privacy and control their digital footprint online. Over 200 organizations have signed on as Data Privacy Champions including KidsPrivacy.

To kick off Data Privacy Day, I have 10 privacy tips from some of these great people and organizations. Growing up in a digital world, we must teach our kids how to maintain their privacy and stay secure online.  To learn more about talking with kids about managing their digital footprint, head over to National Cyber Security Alliance,who is taking the lead on organizing Data Privacy Day in the US.

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Talking to your Teen about the Snapchat Hack

snapchat ghostAlthough you may have lost sleep over the Target breach, chances are it barely registered with your teen. The breach that should concern them is Snapchat. One of the reasons teens flock to Snapchat is privacy. Here, they can send funny photos and silly messages to their friends that disappear. Teens can have fun without leaving a digital trail. But, one cannot have privacy without security.

Snapchat became less private this New Years Eve. A website posted 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and their corresponding phone numbers. They attained this information by exploiting Snapchat’s “Find My Friends” feature. This feature allows users to look up their friends by uploading the phone numbers in their device’s contact list and searching for accounts that match those numbers. What the hackers did was upload a phone book. Snapchat searched through all these numbers and sent the corresponding usernames.

Fortunately, the published information was limited. It did not contain photos or messages. Also, the published phone numbers had the last two numbers redacted. Although some security sites mentioned the ability for people to request the original list with the entire number.

Gibson Security, who identified this potential security flaw four months before the attack, has set up a website where teens can look up their username. The site will tell them if their information appeared in this breach. If so, there is not a lot they can do. Snapchat does not allow you to change your username and it is a pain to change your phone number. Concerned teens can delete their account and start over. They may want to go this route especially if their username is their real name.

Even if your teens information is not on public display, there are still a few lessons here.

  • Mobile Spam

Data has value. Adaptive Technology has an excellent piece on how hackers could use this information. Active mobile phone numbers are worth money within the spam industry. Couple a phone number with a name and hackers can send a personal phishing message. Teens should know how to identify potential security scams.

  • Unique Usernames

Many teens use the same username for their Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Yes, this makes it easier to connect with friends but it also ties together a lot of personal information. If your friends can easily find you so can others. Keep information separate by creating unique usernames for each account and different passwords.

  • Update apps

Snapchat is working to eliminate this security hole and improve find of friend. To receive these security updates, teens need to download the latest version. They should always keep their apps updated.

Privacy does not exist without security. Sit down with your teen and look up their username. While looking up their name talk to them about security. They are growing up in world where breaches are becoming more common. The best security you can give them is teaching them how to spot potential trouble