Tag: internet safety

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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Is Unroll.me safe to use?

In a recent New York Times article, one of our favorite organizational apps Unroll.me was mentioned as selling user data (specifically emails with Lyft receipts) to Uber, and not surprisingly people are worried, including us. We’ve been using this app for years now, and have been recommending it since we first discovered it, so you can imagine we were surprised to hear the accusations. So, we decided to take a closer look at the Unroll.me Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, as well as speak to someone on their team to get clarification about what exactly is happening and...

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New research: snooping on teens doesn’t work. Oops.

If you think spying and snooping on your kids’ social media behavior will help keep them safer, a new study in the Journal of Adolescence actually suggests otherwise, this recent post on Well Family discusses. In a survey of 455 adolescents, researchers found that teens who believed their parents were snooping on them shared less information that teens who felt their parents were respecting their space and boundaries. Related: Internet safety tips for families you can start using right now And this supports previous research that suggests snooping behavior from parents can negatively affect the home environment for families with teens. So...

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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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8 smart ways parents can manage screen time and not lose their minds

We’ve found that managing screen time is one of the most common across-the-board challenges parents in this digital age face. And hey, with six kids between us, we understand how difficult it can be, especially when just going gadget-free is not a feasible option. Over the years, we’ve tried all sorts of different approaches to screen time management with our own kids, from screen time manager apps to creating simple reward systems, even turning it into family time, all eight of which we’re sharing with you. Whatever you choose, we hope these ideas help you help your kids make better...

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Web Coolness: The new NASA travel poster, a hot Instagram feature, and why people are leaving Snapchat

Here are some of our favorite tech links from around the web. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.   We’re loving this gorgeous new, free NASA travel poster. (via Laughing Squid) This device lets dads feel the fetus kicking in utero! Whoa. Ooh, wearable tech that’s actually chic and not gimmicky. Here’s how social media might be creating unrealistic parenting standards. Coming soon? Charging devices might be as simple as connecting to WIFI. Here’s everything you need to know about the hot new Instagram feature. 13 email etiquette rules from around the world. Randi Zuckerberg...

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What parents need to know about the Roblox app, a Minecraft alternative that makes it easy for kids to chat with strangers. Eep.

You might have heard about the app Roblox, a multi-player Minecraft alternative that’s making the news because kids are unknowingly chatting with adult strangers. And getting propositioned. Just read what sort of chats this dad discovered his son was getting. Gross. Related: What parents need to know about Whisper app What’s the deal with the Roblox app? Turns out, it’s a pretty widely-known app that’s popular with Minecraft-loving kids because it’s so similar to the original game, allowing kids to create worlds and interact with other kids (or so they think). But, when I asked my 12-year old daughter about it,...

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4 tips for creating a social media policy for your babysitter, nanny, or childcare provider

Whether your kids are with a full-time nanny or you just use a babysitter (or grandparent) for an occasional date night, creating a social media policy is an important consideration. It could be a formal written contract, or just a short discussion, but either way, it’s definitely something to decide on before you leave your child in the care of someone else these days. Are you okay with them taking photos and videos of your kids and sharing them on Instagram? What about checking in at a certain location while they’re with your children? Should you friend your nanny on...

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All your personal info, all in one handy place online. Well, this is scary!

As much as we love the Internet, and the helpful information it makes available to us, there are definitely some downsides, like the Family Tree Now site which aggregates all your personal info, including addresses, relatives, possible associates, all in one place. Thankfully, there is a way for you to opt-out of their site, which we suggest doing immediately. While all this info might be readily available on the Internet, having it all in one place for people to access is downright scary....

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Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide

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