Category: Internet Safety

The big issue with Snapchat’s Snap Map and kids that no one is talking about. But should.

When Snapchat (or just Snap, as it’s being called these days) rolled out it’s Snap Map feature earlier this summer, there was a lot of buzz about the safety risks it could present, especially with so many younger users. Basically, the Snap Map tracks your whereabouts, and shares it with your friends, selected friends, or publicly (if that’s how your app is set). Freaky, right? You’re probably saying to yourself “why don’t they just turn the damn thing off,” except, you actually can’t. Yes, yes, there is Ghost Mode, which you can set and then blocks the ability for other...

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New study about kids’ online behavior might surprise you, parents. And not in a good way.

A recent survey of more than 1600 U.K. kids revealed some fascinating results when it comes to kids’ online behavior, leading the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to make some pretty strong recommendations for parents. Remember that tech talk we’ve spoken about on a frequent basis here on Cool Mom Tech? They want parents to be having it with their kids every two weeks. But really, parents should be talking to their kids about their digital lives every single day. Related: 8 shocking statistics about kids’ online behavior that parents need to know...

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The deadly Blue Whale online suicide game targeting teens: Is it a hoax? What parents should know.

We all issued a collective gasp around here this week, reading about the online game called Blue Whale, A.K.A. The Suicide Game. And of course right away I was hoping it was a big hoax. When I checked out the details, I was kind of hoping it was some awful teen-focused version of Grand Theft Auto — but that would be a step up. In fact, it’s a more like a real life version of a Black Mirror episode. What is Blue Whale? Reportedly, teen users are asked to download the game, then perform a new task as instructed for 50 days....

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An 8-year old boy learned how to drive on YouTube, then drove his sister to McDonald’s. Um.

Just when we parents were worried about all those scary parody videos on YouTube, an eight-year-old boy watched a regular old driving how-to video and decided to hit the road with his sister for a McDonald’s stop. Nope, we’re not kidding. Can you imagine getting the call from police to come pick up your kids at a local McDonald’s because your elementary-aged kid had driven there? And with his sister in the backseat, no less. Related: 12 of the funniest YouTube videos for kids The police officers had actually gotten several calls reporting a child behind the wheel, who was actually...

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Beware of this fake Netflix phishing email scam! It looks incredibly real.

Phishing cons are getting increasingly sophisticated, as even my tech-savvy boyfriend and I did a double take at this Netflix phishing email — before realizing it was complete crap. The goal, as with most phishing emails: To get you to provide your personal info, password, and ideally your credit card numbers to “reinstate” your account. Here’s how to figure out if your Netflix email is real or not. Now, many phishing emails are as hilariously identifiable as frauds, like this one we received this week directly from “Marc Zucenberg,” via an email domain @server194.web-hosting.com. Because “Marc Zucenberg” doesn’t use Facebook email — and...

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3 simple questions to ask before you purchase a WIFI-connected smart toy for your kids

With the recent CloudPets hack, and others like it (remember Hello Barbie?), it’s becoming clearer that smart toys, particularly the stuffed animal kind, could pose a privacy risk that parents should know about. Don’t get us wrong, we love smart toys and have featured many here on Cool Mom Tech, like the new Toymail Talkies for example, and we think that they can be a cool addition to your kid’s toy box. And given their popularity, we’re pretty sure you’ll be seeing more and more of them hit the shelves in the coming months. But, before you fork over the...

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Why you should stop charging your phone and tablet in public ports right now

There have been plenty of times I’ve been stuck with a low charge on my smart phone or tablet, especially when I’m traveling, and have used one of those public charging ports to juice my device up again. Well, you might want to skip those because from what we’ve learned in this new CNN report, they’re a simple way for hackers to access your data. Yikes! Related: A new portable charger that backs up your data too As you probably already know, the cords you use to charge your devices also transfer information as well, so when you think you’re...

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What you need to know about the VIZIO privacy breach. And how to fix it right now.

If you own an Internet-connected VIZIO smart television, you might have heard that they’ve been collecting data on your viewing habits for years, and surprise, it’s a serious breach of privacy. We took a close look at the reports and the claim on the FTC website to give you a quick breakdown of the VIZIO privacy breach and what it means for your family. And most importantly, we’ve got exactly what you need to do to turn that feature on your VIZIO television off right now. Related: Internet safety tips for families that you should know Are VIZIO televisions really spying on us? According to...

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How to opt out of Family Tree Now. Because, yikes!

Online privacy is becoming harder and harder to wrangle. Remember Spokeo? Well, recently there’s been a ton of buzz about a newish site called Family Tree Now. It’s been around for a couple years, but within the last 24 hours I have heard everyone from my tech-averse baseball-mom neighbor to goofy morning radio hosts, even the Washington Post warning about the amount of personal info that is shared on this site. We took a closer look and whoa, they weren’t kidding. You’ll definitely want to check to see if your info is there, and opt out if you so choose. What is...

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This lawyer rewrote the Instagram Privacy Policy in child-friendly language. Go talk to your kids, parents.

We share a lot about Internet privacy and talking to kids about web safety here on Cool Mom Tech, because we’re parents too, and let’s just say parenting in the digital age is no easy feat. Sometimes, it can be downright scary. That’s why we think this article we discovered on Quartz is a must-read. Related: Easy Internet safety tips from an expert that you can start using right now In this article, a UK lawyer actually rewrote the Instagram Privacy policy using child-friendly language to assist parents in having a discussion about Internet use and privacy with their teens and tweens. Though honestly,...

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Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide

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