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Friday, January 14, 2011

Facebook to Display Amber Alerts

Since I often have very negative things to say about Facebook with regards to child safety, I feel I also have to acknowledge when they make a move in the right direction.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Facebook is safe for your kids, but I do think that their latest addition is a good move.

As of now, you can receive Amber alerts for missing children on your Facebook page and on any Facebook connected mobile device.  It's a good idea but it could be improved.  The way it currently works, you have to sign up to receive the alerts.  I have to ask, if Facebook is willing to push advertisements I don't want to see onto my Facebook page without me signing up for them, why can't they push Amber alerts instead?  Give up one add space for the latest Amber alert.  But that would cost them money and we know Zuckerberg is barely scraping by.  Facebook claims the reason you have to sign up is so they know which states you want to receive alerts for, but they already know where I'm at every time I log in so why is the login required?

Anyway, it's not perfect, it could be better, but it's a good move.  Here is an article on CNN about it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Xbox Kinect and Family Safety

I've gotten a bunch of commetns and e-mails about the Kinnect since Christmas.  I definitely have some research to do.  In the mean time, here is a new Q&A from the Microsoft Xbox website.

What Family Settings do you provide to help me protect my child’s privacy and online safety? 
Family safety is a very high priority for us and there are several ways parents can help safeguard their child’s use of Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and Kinect. Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE already provide parents with strong controls to manage their family’s gaming experiences, and we extend those controls to Kinect. Family Settings consists of two types of settings: The first is Console Safety, where you can manage settings for all users of the console. Within the console, located at My Xbox >Family Settings, you can:
  • Decide what your kids can play, online and off. This includes content ratings for games, movies, and television shows.
  • Set a pass code to restrict who can change your Family Settings.
  • Set limits on console play time using the family timer.
The second is Online Safety, which is set for each individual Xbox LIVE profile. Parents for example can set controls for each child’s Xbox LIVE profile that are appropriate for their age and maturity level, including:
  • Decide what activities your kids can participate in online including multiplayer gaming, video chat, and voice or text messaging.
  • Decide who your kids can communicate with online.
  • Choose who can see your child’s profile or friends list, and what information they can see about others.
The Xbox LIVE sign-in is how each member of your family signs in to use Xbox LIVE. Online Safety Settings only apply when you or your child is using Xbox LIVE. If a child is a minor, parental permission is required for the child to obtain an Xbox LIVE account, and the Online Safety Settings that you established during account creation are applied every time your child signs in to the service. For more information on choosing and setting the right parental controls for your family visit