Kik announces safety board, not for the reason you think

Kik announces safety board, not for the reason you think

Kik, the mobile messaging app that’s home to sex offenders, pedophiles, and child porn collectors, recently announced they were forming a safety board. However, it seems like their motivation is more based in greed than user safety.

If you read not only this article from Venture Beat, but Kik’s press release as well, it seems the only reason they’re even discussing safety is because of the cryptocurrency Kin, they’re planning on launching.

“We’re bringing [the advisory panel] on now to help us inform this strategy, so as Kin evolves and there are a few iterations, we will have a wide breadth of expertise advising us on making these product decisions and the strategy decisions with Kin,” Kik’s head of trust and safety, Catherine Teitelbaum, told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

Kin will only be able to used by users who are over 18 but so far Kik hasn’t said how they’re going to verify ages. I’m not exactly a cryptocurrency expert, but I don’t see why a messaging app need its own version of Bitcoin. To me it sounds like it could be another tool that could be used by predators to groom their victims. “Hey kid, send me some pictures and I’ll give you some Kin”

Again, the only defense between your kids and online predators is you. App creators like Kik don’t really care about your kids and only care about the bottom line.

Snapchat’s new map feature is a cause for concern, but it’s not the end of the world

Snapchat's new map feature is a cause for concern, but it's not the end of the world

(Story broke 6/25/2017)

Photo sharing app Snapchat has added a new feature called Snap Map, and it has some parents concerned. The new feature allows Snapchat users to see the location of other users, but it’s not as dangerous as it may sound.

First off, the feature is off by default. If someone wants to be found on Snap Map they need to turn it on first. Secondly, not everyone on Snapchat can see where every other user is. You can only see people on your friends list and they have to enable Snap Map. So no, child predators won’t know where your child is at all time. However, that does come with a caveat.

As a parent, you need to know who your child is friends with on Snapchat. Check their friends list regularly and ask who they are and how old they are. Make sure you get a first and last name for all their friends. If your child were to unknowingly friend someone who was a child predator and turned on Snap Map then they could know where your child is.

Much like with every other social app out there, it’s your job as a parent to prevent your kids from meeting predators online. The apps are not going to do it for you.

Even the AG's admit it's useless

My not so safe space, still?:

This is a great article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about how MySpace’s ‘pact’ with the Attorneys General is pretty much useless. Who says so? Why Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett says so.

That’s because the safety barriers it prescribes depend largely on MySpace subscribers’ truthfully reporting their ages when creating online profiles. And it offers no reliable means of identifying or policing the suspected millions who do not.

“I’ve been arguing this point for more than a year now,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, who considers the agreement more blueprint than panacea. “Age verification has been the number-one issue for us from the very beginning.”

Until that nut is cracked, no set of guidelines can keep 12-year-olds from registering their virtual selves as adults, or stop 60-year-old creeps from masquerading online as high school cheerleaders.

Yet none of the Attorneys General have come up with a realistic way on how to verify age on the internet.

The article also at the very end prescribes to common sense.

But police say the best security of all is a vigilant parent – one who knows a child’s passwords, monitors his online friends and activities, and keeps the computer in a public area of the home. Some even buy spyware that can record their kids’ online conversations and Web visits.

“A lot of parents don’t want to do that because they don’t want to invade their kids’ privacy,” said Montgomery County Detective Ray Kuter, an Internet-crime expert. “I say, ‘You are the parent. You need to decide what to do.’ ”

“Parents,” Kuter said, “are the best monitoring program we know of.”

The police know this why don’t the Attorneys General?

Is MySpace finally getting serious?

MySpace.com hires child safety czar from Microsoft:

News Corp. is set on Tuesday to name a security czar to oversee child safety measures on MySpace.com, the popular teen dating and music site that has provoked an outcry among parents who fear they have not done enough to thwart sexual predators.

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam, now director of Consumer Security Outreach & Child Safe Computing at Microsoft Corp., will head up safety, education, privacy and law enforcement oversight programs for MySpace and other Fox Web properties.

The appointment is effective May 1, News Corp.’s Fox Interactive Media, the parent of MySpace, said in a statement.

The move is one of several responses MySpace and its owners have taken in recent months to respond to harsh criticism by parent groups, legal authorities and politicians.

Nigam brings strong credentials to his new role. He has more than 15 years of experience in online safety, including serving as a Federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the U.S. Department of Justice.

He was also an advisor to a Congressional commission on online child safety, and an advisor to the White House on cyberstalking.

Prior to Microsoft, Nigam was vice president of worldwide Internet enforcement at the Motion Picture Association of America, where he oversaw the global strategy to combat online video piracy for seven major Hollywood studios.

Impressive credentials outside of that stint with the MPAA.

MySpace reaching out to parents:

MySpace has also hired more employees to handle security and customer care–roughly 100 people, or one-third of its workforce, scout out inappropriate content or underage members.

Again that is rather impressive but will it be enough? Only time will tell.

MySpace getting serious about safety?

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Advertising Council and MySpace Partner to Promote Online Safety:

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children(R) (NCMEC), the Advertising Council and News Corporation, parent company of Fox Interactive Media and MySpace, announced today a joint effort to promote online safety through the deployment of a series of national public service advertisements (PSAs). The PSAs, part of an ongoing Ad Council campaign, will begin running today through News Corporation’s broad network of distribution channels, and are designed to raise awareness about Internet safety and education.

Sponsored by NCMEC and created pro bono by ad agency Merkley + Partners, the PSAs are designed to educate parents and guardians about measures they can take to better protect their children online, and to educate teens on how to be smart and maintain safe online relationships. The PSAs direct parents, guardians, and teens to visit http://www.cybertipline.com to learn about safe and responsible use of the Internet, as well as how to report threats.

The PSAs will air on primetime on FOX, and across Fox Interactive Media’s network of websites including MySpace, FoxSports.com, IGN.com, Fox.com, AmericanIdol.com, Rotten Tomatoes and AskMen. The PSAs will also air on the 28 Fox Networks Group broadcast, cable and satellite services. Fox broadcast and cable networks running the campaign will include FOX, FX, National Geographic channel, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Reality, FUEL TV, FSN, SPEED, Fox College Sports Atlantic, Fox College Sports Central, Fox College Sports Pacific, Fox Soccer Channel and (in Spanish) on Fox Sports en Espanol. All Fox-owned-and-operated regional sports networks will likewise televise the PSAs. Additionally, Fox All Access radio and the New York Post will run the campaign.

Normally I would say this is just a PR move on Newscorp’s part but I have tremendous respect for the NCMEC.

Hopefully, this will make parents more aware of what’s going on online but excuse me if I don’t hold my breath.

Ask Amy

Mom finds MySpace a harmful disgrace:

Check out this letter to an advice column called “Ask Amy”…

DEAR AMY: I didn’t realize the harmful nature of MySpace.com until I received an anonymous copy of my 16-year-old daughter’s MySpace page. She thought it was “just fun and games” when she posted provocative pictures on her home page. I was shocked when I read her Web space, which was tame by comparison to other kids from our community who have posted lewd pictures with profane comments for the world to see! I’ll be monitoring my daughter’s activity, if not deleting it altogether, but what about the parents who are unaware of this Web site? What has our culture degenerated to when photos of girls imitating sexual acts and wearing bras in the midst of boys are posted online for anyone to see? No wonder we are so concerned about predators. Our children are making themselves targets for anyone to exploit.

Saddened by Complacency

Rather than give the whole answer away I’ll just post the best part that should be common sense…

DEAR SADDENED: If your daughter is demonstrating such poor online judgment, then it’s time to take the “car keys” away until she figures out that those photos could affect her life now and haunt her well into the future.

Is that so hard for parents?

More kids posting more personal information

MySpace, your space, some say it’s unsafe:

Another local news article about how kids are posting too much information on their blogs. This time from Asheville, North Carolina, the Berkeley of the South.

HENDERSONVILLE Lynn Price doesn’t remember the exact moment she realized she needed to learn something about Xanga. But she knows it was right about the time she heard the screen name one of her students had come up with for herself. (Sorry, it’s unprintable here.)

Flabbergasted, the computer science teacher at Rugby Middle School visited xanga.com and got a look at the site that was revolutionizing her students’ social lives. What she found didn’t make her feel any better.

“I was scared to death. I was mortified when I came across these 13-year-old girls, beautiful girls in my classroom, and they’re giving their names and they live in Henderson County and they go to Rugby Middle School and they’ve got a soccer match at Hendersonville Middle Wednesday at 4:30, everybody’s going to be there,” she said. “I get real frightened because I’m thinking they haven’t got a clue who they’re inviting to that soccer match by putting that on the Web.

I don’t get it. Are parents really so clueless or such technophobes as to not know what their kids are posting online? Or haven’t they instructed them on the dangers of posting personal information online?

What would we do without experts?

A Parent’s Guide To Checking MySpace:

Another local news article on what parents can do to protect their kids online. I only have one bone to pick with the article…

Remember, experts have said you should warn your child that you are going to look at their Web site, and be prepared to talk reasonably about how they present themselves on the Web.

Screw what the experts say. If you really want to protect your kids don’t tell them you’ll be checking it out. This way they won’t have time to change anything and you can really see what they’re doing online which in turn will let you know how you need to protect your kids. When it comes to protecting your kids be a parent first and their friend second.

Wake Up Call

MySpace Dangers:

Yet another local news expose on the evils of MySpace. That seems to be the in thing with local newscasts right now…

MySpace.com is a growing phenomenon among teens and also an easy way for people to find you if you’re not careful. Many people think, ‘It couldn’t happen to me.’

Only on KXAN, Jenny Hoff set out to prove those people wrong with a wake-up call at their front doors.

Jenny admits MySpace is a great resource for journalists. She logs on every time there is breaking news to get information.

It’s also a great resource for predators, pedophiles and stalkers, and as I’m about to show you, for anybody who wants to know where you live.

You may call it an ambush. We prefer wake-up call.

This article is actually much better than most of the local newscasts about MySpace. I love the fact that the reporter actually took it to the parents of MySpace users and their children.

This is a great read for any parent whose kids have a MySpace account.