Category Archives: More

Technology and Middle school

MDS Tech ran across a site with a lot of useful information about students and technology – specifically, the use of smartphones.

https://www.waituntil8th.org/

“Teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day, and tweens — ages 8 to 12 — are at four hours and 44 minutes daily, according to a report by Common Sense Media.”
— taken from https://www.waituntil8th.org/blog/2021/9/19/how-to-help-your-kid-use-their-iphone-less

“Smartphones are distracting and potentially dangerous for children yet are widespread in elementary and middle school because of unrealistic social pressure and expectations to have one.”

“Parents feel powerless in this uphill battle and need community support to help delay the ever-evolving presence of the smartphone in the classroom, social arena and family dinner table. Let’s band together to wait until at least eighth grade before children are allowed to have a smartphone. “

https://www.waituntil8th.org/why-wait – top Silicon Valley execs are delaying the smartphone for THEIR children until at least age 14. Click the link to learn more.

https://www.waituntil8th.org/faqs – the FAQ that explains what the pledge is, how to rally people from the school into participating, and even has downloadable signup sheets and posters.

https://www.waituntil8th.org/resources – emails, posters, packets, signs, flyers, and even a video.

https://www.waituntil8th.org/digital-training – all sorts of best practices, family guides, and even a list of resources and services you can use in your family.

https://www.waituntil8th.org/devices – “When you are considering what communication device is best for your child, it is important first to ask what is the purpose of the device? In other words, why does my child need a phone? If calling and texting is all that is needed, we encourage parents to consider a basic phone before a smartphone.”

https://www.waituntil8th.org/

Top Tips for staying secure online

Top tips for staying secure online, borrowed from https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/top-tips-for-staying-secure-online

While you can find a TON of articles explaining how to stay safe online, many are either too wordy, take too long to get to the point, or are annoying in other ways.

Here, borrowed from https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/top-tips-for-staying-secure-online, are some pretty easily do-able things you can do to stay safe online.


  • Use a strong AND SEPARATE password for your email
    • After all, you probably stash a LOT of personal information in your mailboxes. Don’t reuse that password – that is just asking for trouble.
  • Install the latest app updates and software
    • Yes, there are a LOT of them, and they are constant [especially if you use a lot of software]. But update anyway – MDS Tech suggests starting updates before you go to sleep, so you are not aware of how long it takes.
    • Seriously – update. You’ll save headaches!
  • Turn on MFA/2FA – i.e. that thing where you get a text with a code when trying to login to an account.
    • Turn that on where you can – no, it is not perfect, but it is a bit like adding another lock on the door so the “bad guys” can’t get in.
  • Use Password Managers
    • This way you can have all of your passwords stored in one [VERY secure] place…. but make sure you have that one password stashed somewhere safe. There are lots of options out there.
  • Back up your data
    • Your computer WILL die [just like your car or refrigerator]. It is inevitable [see Murphy’s Law] that it will happen at the worst possible time. SO make sure you have backups of your data.
    • The hard part is figuring out how – and that is well beyond the scope of this article. Do a web search – something like ‘how backup [your operating system]”. For example – “how backup mac”.
  • Three Random Words
    • This is some advice that has changed over the years. Using three random words is FAR more secure than using just a few letters or numbers, and MUCH harder to guess. Some examples of decent passwords:
      • threerandomvehicles
      • FredGeorgeLIzrds [note the deliberate misspelling!]
      • IhaveNOidea!
    • Some website will require numbers, special characters like a period or an exclamation point, etc. The common theme here is to mix up type [upper case, lower case, number, characters] and make it as long as practical. 12 characters is far more secure than 8. 24 characters might be too aggravating to type in!

Thanks to Britain’s Nation Cyber Security Centre for posting the article serving as the source for this posting.