Friday, November 6, 2009

Online Safety During the Holidays


There has been a lot of banter on the news this week about online safety (at least until the arrest  of Anthony Sowell, accused serial murderer, with the potential bones of 11 missing women’s bodies found in the walls of his home)!

Every day, online safety comes up in some form, whether it’s questioning the benefits of technology or contemplating the worst fate possible for mankind. There is a continuing debate about how technology helps or hurts crime, so we can’t help but be aware of what goes on in the land of the world-wide web.

A CNN report explored this issue this week in the article, Social Networks and Kids: How young is too young? (link) As many of you already know, this is my area of specialty and my passion.  Whatever we may think, the good, the bad, the productive, the addictive—internet technology is here to stay!

We all know how important it is to take precautions to keep our kids safe online (and if you don’t know, I’m telling you now)! As our President said to a group of students, “Be careful what you post on Facebook”… So, what precautions are you taking for yourself, as well as your children? Identity theft, among other hazards, is a very real and scary online problem, so don’t give your credit card numbers (or any other personal information) to any sites unless you’re 100% sure they’re legitimate.

Many of you will be cruising online this month for special holiday deals—(and cheers to you for helping fortify our economy)! Now, have any of you heard of Cyber Monday? I hadn’t--just a sign that Hallmark doesn’t make cards for that holiday!

Anyway, this is what I learned: the “official definition of Cyber Monday is:

“…..the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the United States between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, "Cyber Monday" symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores. Although that idea has not survived the test of time, Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event, sponsored by the National Retail Federation's Shop.org division, in which online retailers offer low prices and promotions.”

I just wanted to educate you about this new “holiday” and remind you all to exercise safety when you’re shopping online. I also wanted to note how cyber-culture has made its way into our traditional holiday shopping sprees. This is a clear indicator to me that we are moving more and more towards becoming an online community, and that, as in any developing community, we need to include additional safety measures as the demand grows.

On the lighter side, Cyber Monday is offering really good deals online -- most of you know that my other passion, besides kids’ safety, is fashion and deals/finds! Here is your link to some great online deals: http://www.cybermonday.com/

Happy Shopping and be safe!

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