Monday, March 17, 2008

Why They Have Email Verification

The subject line was "Welcome to MySpace" and the message began:
Hi Andrea -- Thanks for joining MySpace!
Here's your account info for logging in:
Password: *******

It went on to provide a link for me to confirm the email address and open the account. I'd better make sure that I don't click the confirmation link or whoever set up the account is in business.

Ok, that's one of my email addresses, but my name isn't Andrea and I didn't open a MySpace account. What's going on? Is someone impersonating me? No, they're using my address and a different name. That's why the confirmation email came to my address. Lemme see what's going on here. I think I'll log in with the information provided in the confirmation message.

After I login, I go directly to the profile the person set up. Andrea says she's a 27 year old female from Cambridge, MA and that's all she has, but that's more than enough.

BTW - I've changed Andrea's name and location for obvious privacy reasons.

I'm going to assume that Andrea just made a typo on her email address. If her last name wasn't Wolinsky, I would have just gone to the account and canceled it and let her figure out what was going wrong, but I couldn't do that to someone with such a regal last name. :-)

With the little information she left, in about a minute, in a single search I was able to determine that she lived with her parents. I had their names, address, ages, and her phone number. A phone call and an email straightened thing out, but it just goes to show how things can go south in a serious way with the unintentional sharing of information.

In the end, no harm was done, everyone had a good chuckle, and I have another anecdote to tell in my presentations.

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posted by Art @ 11:34 PM   3 comments

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Webkinz Gets Best of the Web Award

Each year we poll more than 12,000 teen and preteens to see which web sites they like the most. That's step one in a rigorous process that leads to the awards presented at at the annual Wired Kids Summit in Washington, DC.

After the results of the poll are in, the top 70 sites are examined by parents for safety and appropriateness. Once they have narrowed the candidates down, the final selections are based on the evaluation of WiredSafety's director, Parry Aftab.

This year the best of the web award went to Webkinz because they offer fun and entertainment for kids while protecting them from revealing personal information which could lead to cyberbullying, stalking and other potential dangers.

Congratuations, Webkinz!

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posted by Art @ 10:24 AM   0 comments

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Megan Pledge - An Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign

A few weeks ago I gave you a peek behind the scenes of the 8th Annual Wired Kids Summit. Today, I'm here to tell you about the major focus of the Summit. The suicide of Megan Meier that took place after a cyberbullying incident brought national attention to the problem that is running rampant with teens. A Tweenangel chapter in New Rochelle, NY has done something about it and we would like to turn it into a national campaign.

The tweens have initiated the Megan Pledge, a three part campaign to help stop cyberbullying. There are three parts of The Megan Pledge, a signed individual pledge, a group banner and a black and white polka-dot ribbons to wear and share. The pledge itself contains both statements and a set of promises. It is signed and witnessed and given to WiredSafety’s Megan Pledge volunteer team and sent back to WiredSafety where the pledges will be recorded and entered in a data base with the objective of getting one million signatures by the end of the year.

At the Wired Kids Summit, Tina Meier, Megan's mother and Deputy Director of the Megan Pledge campaign, presented the program along with tweens from the Ridgewood chapter.

A dedicated web site is being created and when it is announced, it will be with the endorsement and help of Facebook, Xanga, and Tagged, with others to follow as arrangements are completed. The site will have all the necessary information and resources to get a program started in your school. Watch for that in the coming weeks. However, there is no need to wait. If you would like to get a Megan Pledge campaign started in your school, just email me at and I'll email you a starter kit.

Help fight cyberbullying. Be one in a million!

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posted by Art @ 5:40 PM   4 comments