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Connect with Your Citizens Anywhere They Want - CityConnect: New Mobile App for Law Enforcement

Do You Know How to Manage Facebook Privacy Settings?

Chances are that you are on Facebook. Or, if you’re not, you soon will be. After all, Facebook boasts over 400 million users across the world (Facebook Press Room) and is growing rapidly.

We all have our own reasons for joining—we want to connect with old friends, find new friends, or we give in to pressure from friends or family that are already there (Groundswell, 2008). However, too many of us join Facebook without giving much attention to our Facebook privacy settings.

A Consumer Reports survey, released yesterday, says that 52% of social network users posted “risky information” during the past year. Interestingly, the number was 56% among Facebook users. A New York Times analysis of this Consumer Reports survey says the report “inadvertently reveals that Facebook users clearly have no idea about how much they’re publicly sharing on the network.”

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Internet Browsers for Kids: Surf Knight

Yesterday I was introduced to an internet browser created just for kids, Surf Knight. I’ve seen similar products from time to time and I’m not quite sure what to think about them. On the one hand, I can image great benefit for parents and children with a web browser that is specifically engineered for child use and parental monitoring. For example, Surf Knight lets parents control which websites a child is able to access and it provides filtering for pornographic websites, if your child is doing internet searches.

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Will Anti-Bullying Legislation Make a Difference?

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Cyberbullying has been a major theme in headlines over the past few months. The teen suicides of Long Island’s Alexis Pilkington and Massachusetts’ Phoebe Prince, as well as the bullying of California teenager Autumn Albin, have generated legislative action from California to New Hampshire.

Here is a brief look at what four states are doing to stop bullying.


In wake of Phoebe Prince’s death, the Boston Herald reported that both the state House and Senate passed anti-bullying bills in March. According to the article, both bills seek to “curtail bullying in schools and in cyberspace.”

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Social Media and Law Enforcement: Your Facebook Demographics

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This is a bit of a follow up to a post I did last week about the type of citizens you can expect to connect to if your department is on Twitter. Well, this week, Mashable released a Facebook infographic along roughly the same lines (pictured at right).

One of the things I found interesting was that African Americans, Asians, and Latinos are more likely to use Facebook than Caucasians. And this follows on the heels of a Morpace Omnibus study that found,

Non-Caucasian consumers tend to be more active users of Facebook, and will more likely join retailer fan pages. One-half (50 percent) of Hispanics, 46 percent of Asians, and 44 percent of African Americans consider Facebook to be a useful tool for researching new products. Only 31 percent of Caucasians agreed.

Although the study found that non-Caucasians were more likely to “fan” retailers’ pages, I think the same probably holds true for law enforcement pages. My reason being that people who “fan” retail pages are more likely to fan other organizations like charities and government agencies.

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What Games Are Your Kids Playing?

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A recent Philadelphia Enquirer story highlighted the fact that kids today are putting away their dolls and action figures earlier in favor of online games and social networks. One dollmaker, interviewed for the story, said his company used to make dolls for girls up to 12, now, he says, “By the time they hit 4 or 5, they want a cell phone.”

Using Technology Earlier

We can debate whether this is a positive or negative turn in our culture, but the fact remains that kids are turning to online games much sooner then they were a decade ago. This is due both to the proliferation of high-speed internet into the home and the increased market of online games aimed at children. Case in point, my 6 year-old begs me everyday after school to play Club Penguin, a virtual online environment where he has a cartoon penguin avatar and plays games with other users. When I was 6, if you were lucky enough to know someone with an Atari, you might get to watch an older kid play it.

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