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43% of South Africans use one password across accounts

Study reveals South Africans need to take online safety a lot more seriously.

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Safer Internet Day, observed around the globe on Tuesday, bypassed most South Africans.

While the day itself is arbitrary – it could be argued that every day should be safer Internet day – a study by YouGov*  released last week shows that awareness campaigns are essential.

Commissioned by Google and conducted online among 1005 internet users, the study shows that 53% of respondents have received phishing emails from people imitating legitimate sources in order to fraudulently gain access to their personal information, including passwords and bank details. A surprisingly

24% of South African internet users admit to having fallen victim to online scams in which they ended up making an upfront payment for a product or service that did not exist.

Surprisingly, despite the fact that more than a quarter (28%) of respondents have had someone gain unauthorised access to their social media and/or email accounts, and that 65% of South Africans are concerned about protecting their financial information (like banking details) online;   few South African internet users actually take advantage of readily-available services and safeguards:

  • 43% of South Africans use the same password for most or all of their online services
  • Only 34% of South Africans use 2-step verification for all their online accounts
  • A total of 11% of South Africans have no recovery phone number or email address for their online accounts
  • 21% of South Africans update their online passwords less frequently than once every 6 months
  • 26% of South Africans never use tools like Google Security Check-Up to review their security settings

“This is concerning”, says Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda who heads up Public Policy and Government Relations at Google South Africa. “This research shows that South Africans are well aware of the dangers that present themselves online, yet so few are proactively using tools available to protect them from online predators.”

Internet safety covers a range of areas that go even beyond this study, such as child safety on the internet and the prevention of internet addiction.

“In 2018, we launched Family Link – software that enables parents to supervise their children’s’ use of the internet,” says Mgwili-Sibanda. “We also launched our Digital Wellbeing app that helps users understand their online habits so that technology can help them rather than hinder them in their daily lives. This Safer Internet Day, we want to encourage South Africans to take their online safety more seriously and educate themselves on the tools available out there, such as the Google Security Check-Up and other free tools such as 2 step verification.”

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,005 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th December 2018 – 10th January 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all South African adults (aged 18+).

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Samsung clears the table with new monitor

For those who like minimalism and tidy desks, Samsung’s new Space Monitor may just do the trick, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The latest trends of narrow-bezels and minimalist designs have transcended smartphones, spilling into other designs, like laptops and monitors. 

The new Space Monitor line by Samsung follows in this new design “tradition”. The company has moved the monitor off the desk – by clipping it onto the edge of the desk.

It can be put into three configurations: completely upright, where it sits a bit high but completely off the desk; half-way to the desk, where it is a bit lower to put some papers or files underneath the display; and flat on the desk, where it is at its lowest.

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The monitor sits on a weighted hinge at the edge of the desk, providing sturdy adjustment to its various height configurations. It also swivels on a hinge at the point where the arm connects to the display. This provides precise viewing angle adjustment, which is great for showing something on screen to someone who is standing.

Apart from form factor, there are some neat goodies packed into the box. It comes with a two-pin power adapter, with no adapter box on the midpoint between the plug and the monitor, and a single cable that carries HDMI-Y and power to prevent tangling. 

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However, it’s slightly disappointing that there isn’t a Mini Display Port and power cable “in one cable” option for Mac and newer graphics card users, who will have to run two cables down the back of the screen. Even worse, the display doesn’t have a USB Type-C display input; a missed opportunity to connect a Samsung device to the panel.

A redeeming point is the stunning, Samsung-quality panel, which features a 4K UHD resolution. The colours are sharp and the viewing angles are good. However, this display is missing something: Pantone or Adobe RGB colour certification, as well as IPS technology. 

The display’s response rate comes in at 4ms, slightly below average for displays in this price range. 

These negatives aside, this display has a very specific purpose. It’s for those who want to create desk space in a few seconds, while not having to rearrange the room. 

Final verdict: This display is not for gamers nor for graphic designers. It is for those who need big displays but frequently need to clear their desks.

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Can mobile fix education?

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By Ernst Wittmann, global account director for MEA and country manager for Southern Africa, at TCL Communications

Mobile technology has transformed the way we live and work, and it can be expected to rapidly change the ways in which children learn as smartphones and tablets become more widely accepted at primary and high schools. By putting a powerful computer in every learner’s schoolbag or pocket, smartphones could play an important role in improving educational outcomes in a country where so many schools are under-resourced.

Here are some ways that mobile technology will reshape education in the years to come:

Organisation and productivity

For many adults, the real benefit of a smartphone comes from simple applications like messaging, calendaring and email. The same goes for schoolchildren, many of whom will get the most value from basic apps like sending a WhatApp message to friends to check on the homework for the day, keeping track of their extramural calendar, or photographing the teacher’s notes from the blackboard or whiteboard. One study of young people’s mobile phone use in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa confirmed that many of them got the most value from using their phones to complete mundane tasks.

Interactivity

One of the major benefits smartphones can bring to the classroom is boosting learners’ engagement with educational materials through rich media and interactivity. For example, apps like Mathletics use gamification to get children excited about doing mathematics—they turn learning into a game, with rewards for practicing and hitting milestones. Or teachers can set up a simple poll using an app like Poll Everywhere to ask the children in a class what they think about a character’s motivation in their English set-work book.

Personalisation

Mobile technology opens the doors to more personalised and flexible ways to teach and learn, making more space for children to work in their own style and at their own pace. Not very child learns in the same way or excels at the same tasks and subjects – the benefit of mobile phones is that they can plug the gaps for children seeking extra enrichment or those that need some additional help with classroom work.

For example, teachers can provide recommended educational materials for children who are racing in ahead of their peers in some of their subjects. Or they can suggest relevant games for children who learn better through practical application of ideas than by listening to a teacher and taking notes. 

In future, we can expect to see teachers, perhaps aided by algorithms and artificial intelligence, make use of analytics to track how students engage with educational content on their mobile devices and use these insights to create more powerful learning experiences. 

Access

South Africa has a shortage of teachers in key subjects such as mathematics and science, which disproportionately affects learners in poor and rural areas. According to a statement in 2017 from the Department of Basic Education, it has more than 5,000 underqualified or unqualified teachers working around the country. Though technology cannot substitute for a qualified teacher, it can supplement human teaching in remote or poor areas where teachers are not available or not qualified to teach certain subjects. Video learning and videoconferencing sessions offer the next best thing where a math or physical science teacher is not physically present in the classroom.

Information

Knowledge is power and the Internet is the world’s biggest repository of knowledge. Schoolchildren can access information and expertise about every subject under the sun from their smartphones – whether they are reading the news on a portal, watching documentaries on YouTube, downloading electronic books, using apps to improve their language skills, or simply Googling facts and figures for a school project.

Take a mobile-first approach

Technology has a powerful role to play in the South African school of the future, but there are some key success factors schools must bear in mind as they bring mobile devices into the classroom:

  • Use appropriate technology—in South Africa, that means taking a mobile-first approach and using the smartphones many children already know and use.
  • Thinking about challenges such as security – put in place the cyber and physical security needed to keep phones and data safe and secure.
  • Ensuring teachers and children alike are trained to make the most of the tech – teachers need to take an active role in curating content and guiding schoolchildren’s use of their devices. To get that right, they will need training and access to reliable tech support.

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