Opening doors, holding hands, going steady. When it comes to love, tech isn’t a replacement for in-person chemistry. But sometimes it can help move the relationship along. This Valentine’s Day, AT&T conducted a survey to learn more about technology and relationships and found:
- 36% of respondents agree long-term relationships can start on dating apps.
- Only 7% of respondents are most likely to ask someone on a date via text compared to 27% who are more likely to ask in person.
- 64% of respondents first said “I love you” to their current or most recent significant other in person vs. only about 3% through text or social media.
- 77% of respondents have never broken up with someone via text.
To help you use your smartphone to keep romance in the day and potential pitfalls out, AT&T is offering these Valentine’s Day tech dos and don’ts:
- DO text sweet nothings. Nothing can put a smile on your Valentine’s face quicker than an unexpected, romantic text from out of the blue. A short text like “I LUV U” or “MISS U” can make your significant other suddenly happier to see you when you get home. But remember, don’t over-abbreviate and stick with terms and symbols that most people know and use.
- DO share love notes. Rekindle memories of the ‘old-fashioned’ paper love notes once exchanged in school by sending your Valentine a love quote or saying through one of the free apps in your smartphone’s app store, like Love Quotes and Sayings or Love Notes.
- DO take advantage of free apps to plan your romantic evening. Want to find the perfect bottle of wine, order flowers, buy chocolates or make dinner reservations quickly and on-the-go? There are lots of apps for that, and many are free! For example, 1800Flowers features a selection of best-selling flowers. Find Chocolate helps you locate the nearest chocolate shops, and OpenTable allows you to book a table at more than 20,000 restaurants, browse menus and search by cuisine, price or location.
- DON’T check your texts and emails at the table. You’ve gone to the trouble of planning a romatic dinner for your sweetheart, so why risk ruining it by checking your device for messages while at the dinner table? Give your Valentine the gift she likely values the most: your undivided attention.
- DON’T text it if it’s better said face-to-face. Plan to pop the question on the most romantic day of the year? Think through your approach before you do. You know your Valentine better than anyone else. Would a face-to-face proposal have greater meaning for her or would she find a proposal via text more romantic? On the flip side, if something doesn’t go as planned on the special day, avoid texting while frustrated or angry. Instead, pick up the phone to hash things out.
Courtesy of AT&T.
January 28th is Data Privacy Day.
The Internet gives everyone a voice, but we need people to protect those voices.
Online harassment and cyber bullying are real. And, some groups, such as women, are targeted more than others. Sadly, who you are affects how you are treated by others online, as well as offline.
The Internet Society offers 10 tips to keep you safer online.
|A powerful way to counter online abuse, threats and violence is to share knowledge with each other. So, to mark this year’s International Data Privacy Day, the Internet Society would like to share with you 10 tips to protect yourself and others online:
Know the terrain. The Internet is a powerful tool for communication. Learn how to use the Internet, keep your eyes open for good and bad actors, and make the most of what the Internet offers.
Keep your private life private. Keep your personal information separate from your professional role. Use different personas for different roles.
Obscure your location. Remove location data from images and videos before posting. Turn off application access to location. Don’t disclose your location in public posts.
Guard your devices. They’re more precious than any jewels. Protect them from both physical and digital tampering. Use encryption and strong access credentials.
Prepare for an attack. Find allies and prepare a plan for dealing with online harassment, doxing and other forms of abuse. Don’t feed the trolls! They don’t deserve your attention.
Stand firm. Don’t let cyber bullies undermine what you are doing. Show them you are not afraid. Others will stand with you. Be willing to ask for help.
Beware of Trojan horses. Look out for spear-phishers. Check before connecting with someone new. If something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t!
Lead. Share your experience with others. Let people know that you are there to help.
Protect others. If you host user-generated content, prevent users from posting derogatory or other abusive messages. Help remove personal information that has been exposed to hurt someone. Report offenders
Share these tips with someone close to you!
The internet is a modern marvel. This simple invention has revolutionized our lives in ways we never could have expected. We can order food and products straight to our door. We can video chat with people on the other side of the globe. We can talk to almost anyone in a matter of seconds. We can play games, watch movies and TV, and keep ourselves entertained for hours on end. We can learn new things and explore new places without ever leaving the comfort of our homes.
But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Children of the modern age are inundated with data. They’re growing up in a world where tablets, smartphones, and smart watches are readily available. In fact, kids between eight and eighteen years old spend an average of almost eight hours per day using the internet.
The internet can also be a scary place, particularly for young kids. For teens, the internet can be even more intimidating. Many people on the internet feel as though they are anonymous, which means that bullying has become rampant on social platforms. People may feel as though their keyboard is a separate entity, which makes them think they can say whatever they want without consequence. In reality, hurtful comments and messages can have long-lasting, real-life consequences.
Parental restriction locks can help protect your kids from accessing the darker corners of the web, but children should also bear personal responsibility for their internet use. Kids and teens should be taught from an early age how to use these technologies safely and responsibly.
Basic Tips for Internet Safety
These tips may seem like common sense, but a little review never hurt anyone.
- Never give out any personal information. This includes full names, home addresses, work addresses, school addresses, phone numbers, credit and debit card information, and other security details. You never know who’s on the other side of the screen, and giving out personal information can put your child and your family in danger. Teach your kids the importance of keeping their personal information private.
- Never send or respond to messages that are mean or hurtful. Your kids should know to come to you right away if they receive a message that is meant to bully or insult them. Responding to messages like these can only make matters worse, and puts your child on the same level as the person who sent them in the first place.
- Never give out passwords to anyone. Not even to their best friend. All a hacker needs is your password to access your accounts and use your personal information for nefarious purposes. In addition, passwords should always be strong and difficult to guess easily.
How to Teach Your Child or Teen to Stay Safe Online
Everyone’s parenting style is different, and every parent will have different ways of teaching their children internet safety. All too often, those basic safety tips you try to instill in your child can go in one ear and out the other. Here are some approaches to teaching your kids internet safety lessons that will stick.
- Communication is key. Your child should feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns they have regarding their internet use. Establishing an open line of communication can help resolve problems and prevent them from encountering dangerous sites or people.
- Your kids should consult you if they have any doubts. The internet can be unpredictable. Even with parental locks and thorough education on the dangers of the internet, there’s still a chance your child can encounter something potentially dangerous. Encourage your child to consult you if they come across something that’s unsafe or makes them uncomfortable.
- Supervise your kids’ internet use. Internet use, particularly for younger kids, should always be supervised. Not supervising your kids’ internet use may lead to them accessing inappropriate material, or may result in them breaking an expensive device.
- Educate your children on the dangers of becoming addicted to the Internet. Children under five should not exceed one hour of internet usage per day. Older children and teens should have a maximum of two hours of screen time per day. Excess internet usage can have negative effects on mental health, sleep, educational development, and eyesight. Your kids should know this information and heed it when using the internet.
- Let your kids know that using the Internet is a privilege, not a right. If your child or teen breaks any of your internet safety rules, there should be consequences in place for dealing with it. The least of these should include restricted or no internet access for a predetermined period of time. In the event that this does happen, you should keep all devices secured safely so your child can’t access them.
- Talk to them about malware and phishing scams. Kids may not know what malware looks like. You should teach them to recognize phishing scams and to avoid them when they pop up. All your devices should have antivirus software installed, and your child should know how to use these programs in case they accidentally download malware.
- Teach them how to use privacy settings on social networking sites. This tip may be more useful for older children or teens who have social media profiles like Facebook or Twitter. Your children’s profiles should never be accessible to the public until they are 18 or older. Make sure your child or teen knows how to enable privacy settings so their updates and photos aren’t accessed by anyone they don’t want to see them.
- Be honest. Tell your kids exactly what they may encounter while surfing the internet. What you choose to disclose may vary based on their age and maturity level as well as your parenting preferences. Either way, honesty is important when teaching your kids internet safety.
- Address online sexual encounters. This one is especially important for teens. In the past year alone, 25% of teenagers younger than seventeen encountered unwanted sexual content. You should teach them what to do in case this happens to them.
Teaching your children about internet use is a relatively new realm for parents, and it can be scary no matter what age your kids are. The most important thing is to be open and honest, and to teach your kids and teens accountability for their internet use.
Contributor: Jim Shaw
So, your teenager is about to earn their driver’s license. How do you feel? Worried? Confused? Relieved? On one hand, a driver’s license means freedom from your duties as a chauffeur. On the other, teenage drivers can be a tremendous source of anxiety. In fact, one survey of 638 parents lists “driving without supervision,” as more worrisome than “using drugs/alcohol” or “having sex.” The worry, it turns out, is not completely unwarranted as automobile accidents kill more people each year on average than alcohol, AIDS, drug use, murder, suicide, airplanes, and even sharks. As if these facts weren’t enough, driving is even more dangerous for teenagers than it is for adults. In 2015, teen drivers were involved in 4,689 fatal accidents, up from 4,272 in the previous year.
Teenage drivers are also more vulnerable than adults when it comes to drinking and driving. According to the CDC, teenagers are 17 times more likely to die from an accident when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% (the legal limit for adults). And, while the number of teens who admit to drinking and driving has decreased by 51% since 1991, the number of teens who admit to texting and driving is on the rise.
If drinking and driving doesn’t worry you, distracted driving should. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, drivers under the age of 25 are three times more likely than older drivers to text while driving. This is likely due to the fact that only 60% of drivers under the age of 25 consider texting and driving to be “highly dangerous.” In contrast, 95% of drivers over the age of 45 consider texting and driving to be highly dangerous.
Knowing this, parents should prepare their child for the road as best they can. Begin by communicating with him or her, sharing experiences and research to show the importance of staying off their device while behind the wheel. While I understand that it may not align with every family’s parenting method, appealing to your child’s desire for digital media and showing them this terrifying video about texting and driving could really help hammer the message home. He or she may hate every minute of it, but the lasting impact could end up being a decisive factor down the road.
Getting your child behind the wheel of a “safe car” does not mean what it did when you went through the same process with your parents. There are plenty of resources at your disposal when it comes to researching the safest cars for teenagers or budgeting for a used car, but try not to deprive your child of high-tech options just because they may not have been around when you were getting your license. Providing your new driver with a vehicle equipped with features like Bluetooth connectivity will teach them how to safely interact with available technologies while keeping their hands on the steering wheel. Honda Accords, for example, have been widely considered among the most dependable vehicles for young adults for years, but now many come wired for Bluetooth.
If you are wary of your driver using any technology that may distract him or her from the road initially, you could practice by separating the two experiences altogether. Enact a new family rule by teaching your child that before the key enters the ignition, the driver’s phone must be locked in the glove compartment (that includes parent drivers). This exercise might also teach experienced drivers to improve our habits as well as our kids.
When ready, hand over the keys and let your new driver experience all the wonderful benefits of freedom that driving has to offer. It’s ok to worry, that’s what parents do. But by taking the necessary steps in making sure your child is well-prepared you will help ease the transition into this next phase of your family dynamic.
Contributor: Jayson Goetz is a young writer whose work primarily focuses on educating readers about the effects of science and technology on today’s society.