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Keep mobile kids safe

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Threats are everywhere on the Internet and pose a serious danger to younger users. Kaspersky Lab recommends that users keep their devices up to date with the latest virus protection to prevent phishing, cyberbullying and access to inappropriate content.

Threats are everywhere on the Internet and they pose a serious danger to younger users. Moreover, children who use mobile devices can be even more vulnerable because they are free to surf the Internet at any time or place, without adult supervision.

According to a survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, over a 12-month period the children of 22% of respondents were affected by cyber incidents. These incidents included outbreaks of cyberbullying or encountering sites containing material damaging for youngsters.

While surfing the Internet, children may come across web pages containing inappropriate information, for example, websites with erotic content or information about weapons or drugs. Another common problem arises when search results don’t lead to the kind of information the user is looking for. For example, a child might search for cartoons but get results about cartoons for adults.

Social networks are a serious source of threats too. Children can indiscriminately add anyone as a friend, making acquaintances and communicating with people who might upset or mislead them, or try to get confidential information from them. In particular, 21% of parents lost money or confidential information stored on their device due to their child’s activities, the survey showed.

Modern phones and tablets often serve as universal game consoles, and many children use them for little else. However, not all games are suitable for children: some contain scenes of violence, profanity or erotica. Games are not the only danger – any application downloaded from official stores could contain unwanted information.

It is important to remember that some threats are universal and can affect people of all ages. However, because children are less experienced they may be more vulnerable to these. For example, they may not properly understand how dangerous a site or a file can be, leading them to download infected files or enter data on a phishing page.

That’s why it’s vital to make sure the device is properly protected against viruses, phishing and other online threats – especially on Android-based devices since around 99% of all mobile malware is targeted at the Android platform.

Today many children spend too much time on their devices. Most prohibitions and access restrictions are hard to apply to a mobile device which is always with the child but there is a huge arsenal of technical means that could help to limit the time children use their mobile devices, or set times when they can play with the gadget. Of course, the problem cannot be solved by technical means alone. Children need alternatives to their gadgets and only their parents can ensure it – spend more time with the children; get them playing sports or being involved in a hobby, so that they have less time to spend on their mobile devices. It’s also advisable for parents to keep abreast of new cyber threats and tell their children about them. Understanding the rules of safe behaviour on the Web and careful attitude to the information that can be shared online, will help avoid many unpleasant incidents.

Information technologies can help protect children online. Kaspersky Lab offers a number of tools to ensure children are safe from cyber threats on mobile devices. These tools can automatically block dangerous content, filter unwanted sites and provide you with the reports containing information on the applications installed by your children. Among them are the Safe Browsers for iOS and Windows Phone, Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device 2015, which offers an array of protection for Android devices in particular.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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