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Safer Internet Day: Teen tips

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With today being Safer Internet Day, Facebook’s Head of Global Safety, ANTIGONE DAVIS has some tips to help parents and teenagers take more control over their security and privacy, and keep children safer online.

1) Think before you post. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and write or do something that may seem funny at the time. But remember, what you say can really hurt someone, or come back to haunt you.

We’ve found it helpful to think about these questions before posting: Is this how I want people to see me? Could somebody use this to hurt me or my reputation? Would I be upset if they shared it with others? What’s the worst thing that could happen if I shared this?

Also remember that any information you post – whether in a comment, a note, or a video chat – might be shared in ways that you didn’t intend. Before you post, ask yourself: Would I be OK if this content was shared widely at school or with my future employer?

Of course, we all make mistakes. If you find yourself wishing you hadn’t said or done something, it’s never too late to apologize.

2) Know who you are communicating with. On Facebook, every time you share something – a post, a photo or a link – you choose exactly who can see it. You also choose your friends on Facebook and for this reason, it’s important to only accept friend requests from people you know. If you ever receive hurtful or abusive messages or posts on your profile, you have options. Depending on how serious the situation is, you can ignore it, ask the person to stop, unfriend or block the person, or tell your parents, a teacher, a counsellor, or another adult you trust. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

3) Play your part. On Facebook, you can always report abusive content—whether it’s on your profile page, or someone else’s. Everyone who uses Facebook agrees to abide by our Community Standards, which define what kind of posts are welcome and aren’t welcome. For example, hate speech, graphic violence and bullying are not allowed on Facebook and we remove this type of content when it is reported. You can also report inappropriate Pages, Groups, Events and fake or impostor profiles. (Remember that reporting is confidential, so no one will know who made the report.)

This list is just a start. Facebook is a community, but a community only works well if it has certain rules and resources to ensure people feel safe. That’s why we are so dedicated to providing the Facebook community with the tools needed to feel safe and supported. But a community also requires people to take care of it and act responsibly. This month, take some time to think about the ways you can be a better neighbour on Facebook.
5 Tips For Parents:

1) Stick with what works. Typically, you can employ the same parenting style for your kid’s online activities as you do offline. If you find your child responds best to a negotiated agreement, create a contract that you can both sign. Or, maybe your child just needs to know the basic rules. In that case, you can establish them early when you first buy a mobile device for him or her.

2) The old adage your kids will “do as you do, not as you say,” is as true online as it is offline. Try to be a good role model. If you set time restrictions on when your child can use social media or be online (i.e., no texting after 10:00 pm), modelling that same behaviour makes a big difference. If you want your child to be civil online, model civility and respect in your texts to him or her.

3) Engage early and establish norms. Data suggests parents should engage online with their children as soon as they are on social media, by friending them as soon as they join Facebook or following them on Instagram when they sign up. It gets harder to do so if you wait. While this is not surprising, it is worth noting that just as you lay the foundation for dialogue and conversation offline with your children early, you have to lay that foundation early online. Even before they are on social media, talk to them about technology as a whole. It can help lay the groundwork for future conversations.

4) Seize key moments. There are many natural times to have these conversations: when they get their first mobile phone (it’s a good time to establish ground rules), when your child turns 13 and is old enough to join Facebook, Instagram and other social media services, or when your child gets a driver’s license (it’s a good times to discuss the importance of not texting and driving).

5) Ask your children to teach you. Not on Instagram? Maybe you’re interested in trying a streaming music service? If your children are already familiar with these services, they can be an excellent resource. The conversation can also serve as an opportunity to talk about issues of safety, privacy and security. For example, maybe you can ask them questions about privacy settings as you set up your own Facebook account. And, as most parents know all too well, your child will likely appreciate the opportunity to teach you.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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