Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teen are hiding their texts from their parents

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's Protecting Your Cyberturf segment featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda

We have talked to you before about setting ground rules for the teens in your life that have cell phones.  Rules such as “Digital is Forever”, “Don’t talk to strangers”, and  “Would your Grandmom be okay with that?” Many of you also like to check your kids’ cell phones and / or have worked with the cell phone companies to install monitoring plans.  Well guess what?  It looks like kids have found a way around that.  

There are several new apps on the market that allow you to hide texts and even phone calls.  Some are free or low cost and scary easy to use.  Some of the app names will give it away but others like, “Brightkite” or “Blacklist” might not be so obvious.  Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains what these apps do and what you can do about it at home.

The statistics of how teens get into trouble on their phones is astounding.  According to a Pew Internet study:

Almost 1 in 5 teens have used their cell phone to send sexually-suggestive images of themselves

Older teens are much more likely to send and receive “sexts”

1.  NO DIGITAL ZONE:  Have your teens turn in their devices before they head to bed.  They are more likely to get wrapped up in a texting session if they are alone in their room.

2.  CELL PHONE REVIEW:  Occasionally have your kids show you their phone and ask them to log into the apps that you aren’t sure what they are.  

3.  TALK, TALK, TALK:  The number one best rule to have is to talk to your kids!  Remind them that digital is forever and that they should not text inappropriate messages or photos - under any circumstances.

BIOSwimmer:  This is a new security project underway to help the U.S. better protect its underwater vulnerabilities.  Using a technique called biomimetics, it will look somewhat like a tuna and the robot will be able to swim and maneuver like a tuna while using it’s own computer for navigation.  It will use the digital world to communicate back a security report back to its home base reporting any suspicious activities.


Pew Research Center Study:

There are too many of these apps that hide texts or calls to list them all here.  

You can see these types of apps here:

Here's a short list that you may want to look for on your kids’ phones are:

Covering your tracks with Chrome

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's Protecting Your Cyberturf Segment featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda, Wednesdays 5:10pm

It seems like every time you turn around, someone is tracking you online.  Whether it’s your phone, your tablet, or even your web browser.  We have given you tips in the past to help cover your digital tracks but now it’s just become a little easier!   

That’s right!  You may remember that we told you that internet browser giants such as Microsoft and Google promised to help consumers out with “do not track” options and Google has just announced that they have added this feature to their browsers.  You had this feature, kind of...sort of...today but you had to know how to set various privacy settings.  Now it’s just easier to do.  Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, explains.

WHAT IS “Do not track”?:

Do Not Track is the feature that allows you to say, in simple “yes” or “no” terms how you feel about being tracked.


The Do Not Track feature will send what’s called an HTTP header, this is a short message, to all the websites that you visit with a message that says "it's NOT OK to track me" or, "it's OK to track me".


Not yet so it’s still very important to make sure you set your privacy and security settings and just be aware of who is tracking you and who is no


It’s not always easy to get a big picture on who is tracking you and what they do with the information.  Their privacy policies will give you a little clue but they are often hard to read.  Your best bet is to insure you pay attention to:

1.  YOUR BROWSER SETTINGS:  Check those for privacy and security

2.  LOCATION SETTINGS:  Say “no”.  Most will work unless they need to use a GPS to help answer your question

3.  WATCH WHERE YOU CLICK:  Those ads on trusted sites love to follow you around so avoid clicking on them.  


This tool at Microsoft tells you if you have do not track set up and it looks at all browsers, not just Microsoft!


You can try these following tools to see who is tracking you online:



Safari explanation of their do not track feature:


Firefox Browsers:  

a.  Abine lets you opt out of targeted advertising and tells you if a site is tracking you.

b.  Collusion is an add on that works with the Mozilla   


Friday, September 21, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From Back to School to Holiday Shopping - Picking Out the Best Gadgets for Kids

Content written by Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Also featured in an article for "Wee Ones" Magazine.

Many of you have sent your older kids off to school and might have little ones in pre school.  You just finished buying school supplies but do not put away your checkbooks and credit cards yet, it is time to start planning out your holiday gift giving.

We know you do not have a lot of time on your hands so we have done some pre-holiday shopping for you and have recommendations on digital fun for the family along with tips to keep you and your kids safe while you work and play online.

Tablet Apps that Entertain and Are Educational:
Five Little Monkeys:  Good for toddlers through 5.  This is a book collection and uses the popular "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed" song.  Books can be played in autoplay.  Visually appealing and keeps the attention of even the most fussy of the wee ones.  This will run you about $12.99

Disney's "Where's My Water?"  Good for ages 7-10.  A puzzle game that will make them laugh and use their brain.  Main character is Swampy the Alligator, a Disney original character.  Over 100 puzzles to solve.    There is a free version and prices vary depending upon device.

Doodlecast for Kids  Good for ages 3-5.  Your child draws and the app turns it into a story.  The story it creates based on their drawing can be shared with anyone with a quick upload to email or YouTube.   Approximately $1.99.

Device Protection:
If the kids hold your device as much or more than you do, consider the Woogie.  The Woogie is going to bring smiles and protection to your device.  Think stuffed animal meets protective case.  They make them for smart phones and it comes with a built in speaker.  Perfect for entertaining the kids with music, games, or movies.  Also comes with a spot to plug in headphones.  Different models run about $19.99

Devices "on the go" can be easy to lose, especially the smaller ones. If you are going to invest in an iPod nano or your kid already has one, consider pairing it with the Slapband.  It's a great way to turn it into a bracelet and/or functioning watch.  I have personally enjoyed one on a long run because you get a timer and music on the go and you are hands free.  Depending upon the model, roughly $25.

School or Just for Fun Art projects
There are lots of free fabulous apps out there that you can use to delight children from 0-100+.  If you want to do something more lasting, you may want to consider purchasing the Crayola Color Studio HD.  It comes with a stylus which can become a paintbrush, pen, crayon or marker all with just one touch!  Approximately $30.

Math Apps
Whether your little ones loves math or is struggling to keep up, apps are here to help.  For the pre schoolers, try Counting Caterpillar.   For ages 5-7 try MathBlaster Online.  For ages 9-12, try CoolMath.  (Note: prices vary depending upon your device). 

Group or Family Fun - It's Game Time!
Many of us grew up playing board games but nobody wants to huddle more than 2 people around today's digital devices.  Try a product called The GameChanger.  It allows you to plug your iPad into it's board system so you get the beauty of digital and the space of a board game for a group.  Approximately $60.

7 Tips in 7 Minutes to Staying Safer Online:
1.  Never purchase apps or toys online from sites that you do not know and beware of fakes and counterfeits
2.  Password protect all your devices 
3.  Teach your children never to click on pop ups
4.  Set browser settings to the tightest security and parental controls possible if your children will be using the devices
5.  Show your children how to use Google Safe Search tool for all internet searches that they do - Google will do their best to shield your kids from sites you don't want them to accidentally be exposed to
6.  Do not give your child's information when registering the gifts, use your own 
7.  Tell your children to never type in their name, age, gender, address, birth date or where they go to school on any site...even if it says they'll get a free gift

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Question from America Now!

Notes taken from America Now News for which Theresa Payton (Fortalice, LLC.) serves as a Cyber Expert. http://www.americanownews.com/story/16190165/theresa-payton

I am trying to find work at home and to avoid scams.  There is an ad on CNN for people to work at home, but I can't determine if this is a scam or if you can really make money this way.  There is another ad for Angela Bussio Home Profit Master and Google search said this was a scam.  Are these legitimate or fake?


It can be hard to decipher the real jobs from the scams.  Especially when they advertise on sites you trust and visit every day.
The best way to research work from home options is to start by researching the ones that you like  with the Better Business Bureau.  Even an ad placed on a legitimate job site could be a scam.  Look for red flags such as (1) do they ask for a credit card number or bank account number before they process your application?  (2)  do they talk about sending you a large sum of money and then ask you to redistribute it?  (3) do they ask you to pay a fee up front?  (4)  does it say no experienced required but everyone is getting rich?  If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it might be a scam.
Another resource that you might find helpful is the Rip Off Report at  http://www.ripoffreport.com/ .  It will show you user reviews of various sites.  Remember, it is a report for rip offs so some of the filed complaints might be complaints vs. indicating it is a scam.

For a sample of legit work at home jobs, look at an article on Bankrate.com http://www.bankrate.com/finance/jobs-careers/7-legit-work-at-home-jobs-20-somethings.aspx#slide=1