This post is from one of my favorite bloggers, Marti Weston. Her blog Media! Tech! Parenting! is a fantastic resource for parents on helping kids to become thoughtful, collaborative, and savvy digital citizens. She covers everything from the latest apps to how to evaluate a website. Below is an excerpt from her latest post on how to identify online scams.
A week does not go by without students and parents asking me about an Internet scam, a circulating chain mail, a digital rumor, or a wild web story. And on a fairly regular basis, someone — always a good reliable kid or a terrific an reliable parent — forwards a digital missive that initially seems somewhat innocuous, silly, or sarcastic but then unleashes a virus or malware. Sometimes for children the strange digital content causes social problems.
To learn more about the unusual stories that circulate on the web, I suggest that 21st Century parents introduce Snopes.com to family members as soon as each individual begins using online communication and digital devices. We all need to learn how to consult Snopes resources and navigate around the site for helpful information — the true and reliable info — when strange and unusual content beckons.
Snopes researchers hear about a potential scam, a chain mail, a “too-good-to-be-true” story, something scary, or some outrageous spiel, and they check it out thoroughly, contacting sources and tracing the content. Once they post an explanation on the website, the researchers continue to update it as well as add the information to a database. So when something re-circulates a year or two later, it’s easy to locate current information on the website. Read the Snopes about page.