I don't want to get into all the details about how to sign up and how it works. You can go to the site for those details. Instead, I wanted to share this with you in the interest of sharing knowledge of new uses for existing technology. I don't know how many teens are using this kind of technology, I only learned about it through a few of my friends (all adults).
The basics premise is that you use your cell phone to announce where you are at any given time to your friends on social networks. Here is an example of FourSquare in action when one of my friends went to a local restaurant. (His name and pictures covered for privacy).
Since my friend registered with FourSquare, he has "checked in" 103 times. This means that he posted that he was at a specific location on Facebook and Twitter 103 times.
The badges represent various things including how frequently you go to a specific location and if you have any friends that recently checked in at the same location.
Once you "check in", it shows up on the social networks that you specify. Here is what the check in looks like on Facebook.
And here is what it looks like on Twitter
While there are some benefits to using applications like FourSquare, you want to be careful how you use it. I think it is obvious that you wouldn't want to post your home address. What may not be obvious is that there is some level of risk that if you post your location and often visit the same locations at the same times.
The purpose of this article is to simply show you how existing technology is being used in new ways. It is up to you to decide if and how to use it for yourself and your family. What are some of the benefits you see in using FourSquare? What are some of the risks you see?
The specific action items are: (From broadband.gov)
Goals & Action Items Highlights
Goal No. 1: At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
In order to be a world leader in access to broadband by 2020, the plan has recommendations to foster competition, drive demand for increased network performance and lower the cost of deploying infrastructure. These will help inform consumers about broadband performance, expand services and infrastructure, and reform access to rights-of-way to lower barriers to entry for firms.
Goal No. 2: The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
Without enough spectrum, the wonderful potential that wireless and mobile broadband promise will remain unrealized. The Plan recommends making 500 megahertz of spectrum available by 2020, including 300 megahertz within the next five years, for both licensed and unlicensed use. In addition, the Commission recommends initiatives to ensure greater transparency and access in allocating spectrum for various uses.
Goal No. 3: Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
Not only is our world increasingly accessible online, but Americans have more opportunity for civic engagement than ever. But for these exciting online tools to be useful, every American must: have access to a network; be able to afford that access; and have the opportunity to develop digital skills. The Plan proposes reprioritization of resources and strategic targeting of efforts in order to achieve the goal of a 90% broadband adoption rate by 2020.
Goal No. 4: Every community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings.
The plan makes recommendations to upgrade the E-rate and improve the Rural Health Care support programs. Reforming incentive structures, licensing, and data interoperability, ensure that public priorities take advantage of the benefits broadband networks offer. And once community anchors are connected to gigabit speeds, it will become less expensive and more practical to get the same speeds to homes.
Goal No. 5: To ensure the safety of American communities, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
Often, first responders from different jurisdictions cannot communicate effectively with each other at the scene of an emergency. A nationwide broadband safety network should be robust enough to maintain performance in the aftermath of a disaster, and should allow every first responder to communicate with each other and share real-time data over high-speed connections.
Goal No. 6: To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.
The United States must lead by encouraging renewable power, grid storage, and vehicle electrification. Real-time data can also inform automated thermostats and appliances, allowing consumers to save energy and money while reducing the need for expensive new power plants. Consumers should be able to access real-time usage information from smart meters and historical billing information over the Internet.
What do you think about these goals? Do you think it is about time? Or would you change it?
The program started by talking about how effective (or not) people are at multi-tasking. I was in full agreement. I kept thinking how crazy the people were who said "they can read email, pay attention to a lecture, and search the web at the same time." Then I had to laugh at myself. I was watching this documentary with my laptop open checking mail and starting to write this post.
After I put my laptop away and started paying closer attention to the message, I was really impressed with the information.
They said that there are two categories of people in the digital arena, digital natives and digital immigrants. Among the natives, there was a deep look at the possibility of Internet addiction and the observation that multi-tasking is rampant and unproductive, the social aspect (looking mainly into massively multi-player online role playing games such as World of Warcraft), and how this technology has transformed warfare.
Regarding which camp I fall into - I think I fall squarely into the immigrant category. I have worked very hard to learn about different kids of technology, but it is not easy for me. I often end up asking people (generally young people) who are natives for help. Do you think you fit into the digital native category, or the immigrant? If you are a native, do you share your knowledge? If you are an immigrant, do you seek to learn more? How?
It is playing on PBS periodically, so I'd recommend watching it. Check your local listings for when it will be on in your area.
Richard Wood, vice president of Nielsen Mobile, discussing the company's Mobile Kids Insights report, recently said: "Tweens have grown up with mobile phones and expect them to do much more than make a call." Is it just the younger market with higher expectations?
Assuming the "need" of the tween/teen to have a cell phone is a real need, having a phone that just makes calls will not do. The phones need to make a phone call home, be able to text their BFF's, take a picture of him/herself for the social networking site, and the phone must be able to download the latest song for a ring tone to match the personality of anyone calling. Extra bonus points if the phone can hold their entire music collection, surf the Web and play the latest games and get the latest apps. They almost don't even need the cell phone to make calls.
I don't think this is exactly what Alexander Graham Bell had in mind.
As an adult, parent and a kids safety advocate and professional, I "need" the cell phones to be able to make a phone call, have safety features and parental controls built in. Actually, for my own use I also need it to access my email.
What do you expect out of a cell phone? At what age do you think of all the features that are now available are "needed"?
The answer (in exactly 140 characters) is:
Twitter is a micro-blogging site that is asking you to share what you are doing right now with your friends and the world in 140 characters.
Why? This video from Common Craft answers this question:
Of the top 100, I was not at all surprised by what was searched, but I have to admit that I was quite surprised how highly ranked some of the search terms were - especially 'sex' and 'porn'.
There are things you can do to help mitigate your child getting to search results that are not age appropriate. The article mentions several and AOL Parental Controls can also help.
This article made me think. Thankfully, my daughter isn't old enough for the computer, but I am not sure how I would react if I discovered she was searching on these terms. Now that you read their article - what (if anything) will you change about your online habits at home?
Then, at the FOSI conference, I heard this startling figure: of the top 100 apps on the iPhone, 35% are geared toward toddlers and preschoolers, and 12% to elementary aged kids. I'm assuming they were purchased by the parents who are giving their kids a game to play with while they at the store, on a plane, waiting at the doctor's office, etc.. The person doing this seems like the polar opposite of the mom I first described. Are these parents this tech savvy to use the all of these gadgets and gizmos? Or are they the same parents, but have discovered a way to make the Internet part of their everyday world?
A not so scientific survey I heard about at the conference said that parents who don't use parental controls on their computer don't because they:
- don't feel they need to because the child knows more about computers than they do
- feel "that wouldn't happen to my child" when talking about being exposed to mature content
- are intimidated by the computer
I have a theory that the same parents that use technology to their advantage are the same parents who say they "can't"... they just don't realize they already are tech savvy.
What technology do you use in your life?
The Internet has introduced a myriad of new words, phrases and even acronyms into the lexicon; LOL, OMG, social network, tweet. I am not surprised that this year's word references social networking and the act of removing someone from your list of friends on your social networking profile. I am constantly surprised at how much the Internet has infiltrated society.
The act of unfriending is one way you can help prevent cyberbullying. If your social networking profile is private (only visible to friends), taking away the ability to be taunted via your social network certainly aids in the removal of the bullying online. You can also block communications by blocking email from either that user or from all unknown users. You can block Instant Messages from a single, multiple or all unknown users. If the cyberbully doesn't have a way to communicate with you, it is pretty hard to be abused.
Have you ever unfriended someone? Why? What other methods have you used to curtail cyberbullying?
In looking at my own Facebook page, here are some ways my contacts, or "friends" use Facebook status updates.
One friend updates to say where he is working for the day. (He works remotely some days, some days in one office, some days in another office.) His status serves as a notice to colleagues where he can be found.
Another friend constantly updates everything he does. Every day. All day. It is annoying.
* Tip: You can hide status updates from a specific person, but still be connected to them on Facebook. To do this, click on "Hide" and choose "Hide (friend's name)"
Some use their status updates to promote what they are working on. A new article published, a new song written, or an upcoming show.
Invitations to play games, join causes, etc. Some people love them. Some people hate them. Either way, if you are on Facebook, you probably have your fair share of invitations about various games and causes.
* Tip: You can hide each game, cause, etc. To do this, click on "hide" next to one of them and choose "Hide (name of game, etc.). You will still get updates from that friend, but will no longer see that game on your updates.
A few people I know quote movies or song lyrics to express how they feel that day.
Using tools to tie together several social networking tools, some people update their Facebook status and Twitter profile every time they post to their blog (a social networking trifecta). Some of the tool options to post to both at once are Tweet Deck and LifeStream.
Many people I know use Facebook to share pictures of their family. When there is a new picture posted, it normally shows up as a status update.
How do you use your Facebook or Twitter updates? What do you love or hate about them?
This has been talked about on the SafetyClicks Blog It speaks to a common theme – behave online as you would offline. Understand that privacy is not synonymous with social networking. And lastly – if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
What advice do you have regarding social networking, friending family members, and online behavior?
Susan Avery, senior editor at ParentDish.com, told the Wall Street Journal that she has observed parents becoming more concerned about not knowing what their kids are talking about. "The best thing is to embrace it and use it as a bonding experience with your child," she says. I agree -- fostering open communications with your child is definitely key to staying plugged into your kids' lives.
Fox News in Atlanta came up with a list of 50 terms parents should know. Hopefully this will help you by:
- Teaching you the latest Internet slang kids are using that may cause you concern
- Giving you an idea of what to worry about if you see a cryptic text message on your child's phone or in their IM conversations
- Providing you with an opportunity to have a bonding experience with your child per Susan Avery's suggestion
The source from this news story was www.netlingo.com. Another source for Internet lingo translations is www.urbandictionary.com.
A new word on the scene is "sexting", which is a combination of "texting" and "sex". It is similar to "cyber sex" through Instant Messages, where two parties are having a sexually charged conversation, but "sexting" is done via text messages through the cell phone. The conversations can even include sending sexually explicit images taken by the cell phone and sent to the other party.
Chat rooms are a popular way of communicating on the Internet, especially for young people. Chat rooms provide an opportunity for people all over the world to come together and chat on a variety of topics in real-time. Typically, these chat rooms are text-based and chatters are identified by user IDs or screen names (e.g., In2CheerForFun2), and they can "talk" to each other by simply typing in what they want to say. Whatever they type appears on the screen to everyone who is participating in the chat room.
There are chat experiences available for kids who have just learned to read and write to much older teens getting ready to graduate from high school. There are also chat rooms for adults. The different chat experiences offer different levels of user protection and are outlined here:
Chatters are limited to chatting with a predefined list of messages and responses.
Chatters can type their own messages and responses, but the messages are filtered through a list of pre-approved list of words and phrases. In this form of chat, phone numbers and other personal information such as proper names and addresses are blocked.
"IM speak," also called "Internet Slang" or "Netspeak," originally developed as a way for online chatters to convey ideas more quickly by replacing full words and phrases with various forms of shorthand, acronyms and abbreviations, thus cutting down on keystrokes. This "language" continues to evolve and is today used in a number of places -- especially by teens -- where electronic text is used to communicate, such as chatting via Instant Messaging or "texting" via mobile phones.
One common technique is to leave out vowels to shorten words. For example: sorry becomes sry. Here are some other commonly used terms below. This is not an exhaustive list, but these terms rank among the most common. Understanding the basic approaches to word shortening just may help you decipher new and emerging terms as you come across them. Otherwise, try online dictionaries such as the NoSlang Internet Slang Translator or the Internet Abbreviation Dictionary.
:-) : A smile
?: Indicates confusion or the person has a question when posted alone
!: Indicates excitement when posted alone
<3: (shape of a heart) love
2: too or to
A/S/L: Age / Sex / Location \
BFF: best friends forever
BTW: by the way
CYA: see ya
CYA L8R: see ya later
G2G: got to go
JK: just kidding
LOL: Laughing Out Loud
NM: never mind or not much
OTW: On The Way
ROFL: Rolling On Floor Laughing
UR: you are or your
Blogging, tagging, twittering, friending -- are you familiar with these terms, or like many people, does it sound more like a foreign language to you? Perhaps you've heard other people use them, but you just nod, smile and pretend to "get it" as words such as blogging and tagging just whiz by you. These are all examples of common verbs in Internet parlance that are working their way into every day conversations.
To bring you up to speed on the latest Internet lingo, spend a few minutes here to absorb a few of today's popular terms so that the next time someone (i.e. your own kid) informs you that he is going out to find a hot spot so he can update his blog, you will at least know how to translate it.
Blog: Short for web log, this is an online journal that a user typically updates regularly. The page you are looking at is a blog from AOL about family online safety. There are many personal and professional blogs on almost any topic you can imagine.
Cyberbully: A cyberbully is like the traditional playground bully, but the harassment of his/her victims' takes place online. Harassment can include teasing another person, posting rumors/lies about someone, or publishing unwanted pictures of the targeted person in public forums such as social networking profiles, message boards, chat rooms, etc.. It can include creating a negative profile to impersonate the victim, or e-mailing or instant messaging the victim using "anonymous" user names for the purpose of taunting or stalking the victim.
Facebook: Facebook is a popular and rapidly growing social networking site based on circles or networks. A person selects a network, such as a school or geographic location, and can then make friends with others in that network. Users attempting to join a school network must submit an email address from that school's domain being allowed to join that school's network. Facebook gained tremendous popularity among high schools and colleges, but is now widely used by adults as well.
Friending: "Friending" describes the act of making friends online through sites such as Bebo, MySpace and Facebook. It's easy to make friends on these social networks. You simply send a friend request to someone using the site and ask them to be your friend. Teens often have hundreds of these online friends whom they may or may not know personally. Read "Who Are My Child's Friends" for more information.