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And What Did Kim and Justin Give You?

social media celebrities

There’s something fun and kind of cozy—and maybe a little snobbish—about using the same shampoo that Selena Gomez uses. You feel special using the same foundation as Kim Kardashian. You send flowers to your mom, just like Justin Bieber did.

You feel like you are part of an exclusive, personal group of friends who Selena, Justin and Kim confide in, giving you secret insight into their celebrity lives through their tweets and posts.

Well, hold on to your tablet. Kim and Selena and Justin aren’t necessarily sharing personal information with you. They might not even really believe everything they say about those products. Those cozy tweets and posts might be simple cash grabs.

Advertising professionals pick celebrities to tweet or post pictures about the products they are trying to sell. Being paid makes a difference.

When we see commercials on television, we know that the stars who talk about products are paid generously. We take that into account when deciding to buy what they are selling. When your friends tell you about a product, chances are that they are not being paid and really do like or use that brand of jeans or hair gel.

Social media is a new form of communication. People feel close to the people they follow. When a social media “friend” tells you about a new movie they like or a skin cream they use, they could be telling you that because a company is paying them lots and lots of money.

How much money? Kim Kardashian, the undisputed queen of making money on social media, makes up to $20,000 for a tweet about a product. She is paid a reported $300,000 for an Instagram post.

Other celebrities that can demand huge amounts are any Kardashian, Jared Leto, Kendall Jenner, P. Diddy, Gigi Hadid, Lindsay Lohan and most sports figures—including Mike Tyson.

Legally, there is nothing wrong with making money by telling people about your interests and the items you use. What is questionable is how consumers buy products solely because a celebrity endorsing it. Is it the best product and do we even need it?

Do celebrities truly like a product when posting a picture or tweeting about it when they are getting a lot of money to do so?

The reason these big payments should matter to you is because you end up buying Kim Kardashian million-dollar earrings and Mike Tyson’s new car. When companies pay these celebs money, the companies make that money back by charging you more.

You help pay for mansions, fleets of cars, expensive clothes, luxurious trips and outrageous jewelry.

The other thing to think about is this: What did Kim and Justin give you?

There’s something fun and kind of cozy—and maybe a little snobbish—about using the same shampoo that Selena Gomez uses. You feel special using the same foundation as Kim Kardashian. You send flowers to your mom, just like Justin Bieber did.

You feel like you are part of an exclusive, personal group of friends who Selena, Justin and Kim confide in, giving you secret insight into their celebrity lives through their tweets and posts.

Well, hold on to your tablet. Kim and Selena and Justin aren’t necessarily sharing personal information with you. They might not even really believe everything they say about those products. Those cozy tweets and posts might be simple cash grabs.

Advertising professionals pick celebrities to tweet or post pictures about the products they are trying to sell. Being paid makes a difference.

When we see commercials on television, we know that the stars who talk about products are paid generously. We take that into account when deciding to buy what they are selling. When your friends tell you about a product, chances are that they are not being paid and really do like or use that brand of jeans or hair gel.

Social media is a new form of communication. People feel close to the people they follow. When a social media “friend” tells you about a new movie they like or a skin cream they use, they could be telling you that because a company is paying them lots and lots of money.

How much money? Kim Kardashian, the undisputed queen of making money on social media, makes up to $20,000 for a tweet about a product. She is paid a reported $300,000 for an Instagram post.

Other celebrities that can demand huge amounts are any Kardashian, Jared Leto, Kendall Jenner, P. Diddy, Gigi Hadid, Lindsay Lohan and most sports figures—including Mike Tyson.

Legally, there is nothing wrong with making money by telling people about your interests and the items you use. What is questionable is how consumers buy products solely because a celebrity endorsing it. Is it the best product and do we even need it?

Do celebrities truly like a product when posting a picture or tweeting about it when they are getting a lot of money to do so?

The reason these big payments should matter to you is because you end up buying Kim Kardashian million-dollar earrings and Mike Tyson’s new car. When companies pay these celebs money, the companies make that money back by charging you more.

You help pay for mansions, fleets of cars, expensive clothes, luxurious trips and outrageous jewelry.

The other thing to think about is this: What did Kim and Justin give you?


Odd Friends with Search Engines

best-odd-friends-search-fun

Life is better when you have odd friends. I discovered this when I introduced my friends Bobby and China. They’re both interesting, fun and incredibly brilliant kids who do Internet searches on absolutely everything. When they met, they pulled out their phones and began looking up ways to top each other.

“So your name is China,” Bobby said with a snort. “That’s a silly name.”

With a haughty sniff, China tipped up her chin and said, “I’ll have you know that according to the dictionary I use, china is a fine, elegant material used in the creation of beautiful artistic creations.”

Bobby jumped around, wriggling from side to side. “Bob means to go up and down like this.”

“And you called ‘China’ silly?” China crossed her arms. “I’ll also have you know that China is a huge country with the most people in the world.”

“Bobby is what British people call their police officers,” Bobby responded. “That’s pretty cool.”

I was about to point out that a bob is also a hair style, but I didn’t want to interrupt the fun as they continued their battle of information.

“Oh, yeah?” China countered. “The traditional British beverage is tea and what do you think your bobby would drink his tea from? A tea cup made out of china! And where do you think tea comes from? China.”

“Not always,” Bobby said. “What about tea from India? Or tea from Argentina? Kenya sells more tea than China.”

“Kenya? Isn’t he some sort of rapper?”

Bobby started laughing so hard, he snorted out of his nose, making China laugh even harder.

Yes, Bobby and China are very different kids. Both Bobby and China go online to see what they can see and learn what they can learn. Both Bobby and China enjoy using the Internet to make their lives and their friendships more interesting. They are odd and that’s what makes them as fun as a roller coaster.

After this exchange, Bobby and China ended up challenging each other to a game of Chinese checkers. I went with them to watch them play, but I couldn’t concentrate.

I was thinking about how challenging each other and doing it with real information and a playful attitude made their friendship stronger while enriching their lives.

Bobby and China showed me how much fun information can be. I saw how respectfully challenging what you think can make everyone better informed while letting everyone have fun.

But as my odd friends play Chinese checkers, I wonder what will happen when I introduce Tatsu to Dracon. Will someone end up breathing fire?

Life is better when you have odd friends. I discovered this when I introduced my friends Bobby and China. They’re both interesting, fun and incredibly brilliant kids who do Internet searches on absolutely everything. When they met, they pulled out their phones and began looking up ways to top each other.

“So your name is China,” Bobby said with a snort. “That’s a silly name.”

With a haughty sniff, China tipped up her chin and said, “I’ll have you know that according to the dictionary I use, china is a fine, elegant material used in the creation of beautiful artistic creations.”

Bobby jumped around, wriggling from side to side. “Bob means to go up and down like this.”

“And you called ‘China’ silly?” China crossed her arms. “I’ll also have you know that China is a huge country with the most people in the world.”

“Bobby is what British people call their police officers,” Bobby responded. “That’s pretty cool.”

I was about to point out that a bob is also a hair style, but I didn’t want to interrupt the fun as they continued their battle of information.

“Oh, yeah?” China countered. “The traditional British beverage is tea and what do you think your bobby would drink his tea from? A tea cup made out of china! And where do you think tea comes from? China.”

“Not always,” Bobby said. “What about tea from India? Or tea from Argentina? Kenya sells more tea than China.”

“Kenya? Isn’t he some sort of rapper?”

Bobby started laughing so hard, he snorted out of his nose, making China laugh even harder.

Yes, Bobby and China are very different kids. Both Bobby and China go online to see what they can see and learn what they can learn. Both Bobby and China enjoy using the Internet to make their lives and their friendships more interesting. They are odd and that’s what makes them as fun as a roller coaster.

After this exchange, Bobby and China ended up challenging each other to a game of Chinese checkers. I went with them to watch them play, but I couldn’t concentrate.

I was thinking about how challenging each other and doing it with real information and a playful attitude made their friendship stronger while enriching their lives.

Bobby and China showed me how much fun information can be. I saw how respectfully challenging what you think can make everyone better informed while letting everyone have fun.

But as my odd friends play Chinese checkers, I wonder what will happen when I introduce Tatsu to Dracon. Will someone end up breathing fire?


You’ll Never Grow Out Of Trouble

social-media-safety-for-adults

Kids sometimes feel insulted or frustrated when always warned by adults about the dangers of social media. They shouldn’t be. Just because someone has more life experience and education doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid mistakes on social media.

The Internet is full of frightening and sometimes laughable stories about adults who should know better getting in serious trouble over social media activity.

Young adults with high enough marks to apply for college will probably find that their social media history could prevent them from higher education. Admissions officers at universities and colleges commonly read a candidate’s Facebook page before deciding to accept his or her application.

Some goes as far as to search for candidate’s who have been tagged by friends to see pictures of that candidate’s behavior.

Rude and mean behavior isn’t all that recruiters look for; some potential students have lost athletic scholarships valuing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars because they posted pictures of injuries which scared off sports recruiters.

The scrutiny continues when adults apply for work. An on-line site published by Time Magazine reported that 93% of businesses check out an applicant’s tweets and posts before offering the person a job. Any behavior that reflects poorly on a company will tend to have a resume tossed to the side.

Even adult with good, solid jobs have to be careful on-line. People have lost their jobs because bosses saw posts critical to the business. Workers have been fired or reprimanded when bosses spotted posts that were made during work hours or found tweets where employees complained about their jobs in off-work hours.

Privacy settings don’t keep adults safe, either. Friends can like a post or re-tweet a few words that can easily be found by others.

You don’t even have to post words or pictures for social media to get into trouble.

In 2015, an Australian woman had a real-life dispute with a co-worker in her office. She later went home and unfriended the co-worker. A job-place tribunal found the woman guilty of cyberbullying—all because she hit the unfriend button.

Adults are absolutely correct when they lecture kids about being smart with social media. With more experience in dealing with life and the world, adults have a better grasp of dangers that lurk on-line. Yet all that experience and knowledge can’t prevent adults from getting into trouble with posts and tweets.

Regardless of age or education, anyone can get into trouble or be personally damaged by a simple slip on social media.

Kids sometimes feel insulted or frustrated when always warned by adults about the dangers of social media. They shouldn’t be. Just because someone has more life experience and education doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid mistakes on social media.

The Internet is full of frightening and sometimes laughable stories about adults who should know better getting in serious trouble over social media activity.

Young adults with high enough marks to apply for college will probably find that their social media history could prevent them from higher education. Admissions officers at universities and colleges commonly read a candidate’s Facebook page before deciding to accept his or her application.

Some goes as far as to search for candidate’s who have been tagged by friends to see pictures of that candidate’s behavior.

Rude and mean behavior isn’t all that recruiters look for; some potential students have lost athletic scholarships valuing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars because they posted pictures of injuries which scared off sports recruiters.

The scrutiny continues when adults apply for work. An on-line site published by Time Magazine reported that 93% of businesses check out an applicant’s tweets and posts before offering the person a job. Any behavior that reflects poorly on a company will tend to have a resume tossed to the side.

Even adult with good, solid jobs have to be careful on-line. People have lost their jobs because bosses saw posts critical to the business. Workers have been fired or reprimanded when bosses spotted posts that were made during work hours or found tweets where employees complained about their jobs in off-work hours.

Privacy settings don’t keep adults safe, either. Friends can like a post or re-tweet a few words that can easily be found by others.

You don’t even have to post words or pictures for social media to get into trouble.

In 2015, an Australian woman had a real-life dispute with a co-worker in her office. She later went home and unfriended the co-worker. A job-place tribunal found the woman guilty of cyberbullying—all because she hit the unfriend button.

Adults are absolutely correct when they lecture kids about being smart with social media. With more experience in dealing with life and the world, adults have a better grasp of dangers that lurk on-line. Yet all that experience and knowledge can’t prevent adults from getting into trouble with posts and tweets.

Regardless of age or education, anyone can get into trouble or be personally damaged by a simple slip on social media.


Protecting Yourself Against Email Phishing

email phishing

I will be the first person to tell you to never click a link in an email from a bank or what you think is a legitimate link to any online account you may have, whether it be iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Fed Ex, PayPal, USPS… the list is endless and those sending out phishing emails exploit many of these accounts and more.

Even though I know better, it happened to me when I had my guard down. More about that in a moment and how you can protect your online accounts and identity, but first – what exactly is Phishing?

Phishing is a malicious attempt to steal your personal information about an online account you have with a reputable company by sending you a fake email that links to a fake login of that company. It’s pronounced like ‘fishing’ and just like when commercial fisherman case a wide net to catch fish, scammers and hackers send out millions of emails in hopes to catch easy prey who unwittingly click on the links in those emails.

First of all, most online services will never send you a link asking you to sign into your account for any reason. If they do, I’ll explain why you should still not click it and how to access your account safety to see if the email actually came from a legitimate company. In most cases, these malicious emails contain alarming news about your account being compromised or hacked.

We’ve all seem these emails. They come from hackers and scammers that state “Your Account Has Been Locked” or the message I recently received from Netflix:
“Thanks for choosing Netflix membership! due latest security issues we need you to upgrade your account details in order to continue your membership.” Notice how there was even a grammatical error in the message, but yes – I still clicked it. I knew full well that if our account had needed changing or was compromised, Netflix is one of those companies that would have emailed a notice and then instructed her to go to their website via usual methods (such as Googling Netflix or using a trusted bookmark you made in your browser). They won’t put the link in the email.

Well, here’s how it happened to me and why people click on malicious links in emails when they know better.

In my case, I had just made changes to the WiFi password in our home and this of course would effect Netflix’s ability to connect via the devices that were set up to watch Netflix on. Even though I know about phishing and to be careful when receiving these emails, my wife had just mentioned to me that she was unable to connect to Netflix and at the same time the fake Netflix email arrived in my inbox. I was annoyed that Netflix may not be working so I clicked the link. Fortunately, I realized immediately what I’d done so I closed my browser before any harm was done. Upon further investigation, I noticed that the link actually was going to a different website than Netflix, but in that moment of frustration it made sense in my mind to be receiving an email from Netflix.

cyberthieves count on catching people off guard. For example, if you don’t have a Chase bank account, then chances are you won’t pay much attention to the email. You know it’s probably fraudulent. But if I do have an account related to the email, it makes sense to be receiving an email about a problem with your account. Especially when you’ve recently logged in your this account and made changes.

For example, imagine that you just shipped a package via FedEx, and later that day a FedEx email comes in stating that your package can’t be shipped. You immediately get stressed… “What?” If you’re not thinking, you will click the link to see what the problem is. It’s a ‘game of chance’ as hackers send out millions of these emails. They know they will trick some people because by coincidence alone these same people will not only have an account related to the email, some of them will have recently made changes to their account, or shipped a package with UPS, or applied for a loan at a bank.

Phishing, also known as Spoofing, is very common. If you click the link in a plishing email and you attempt to log into your account, thieves gain access to your user name and password. Once inside the account, they have access to all of your personal information.

Beware of Viruses coming as Email Attachments…

Protecting yourself against phishing is as easy as never clicking a link to an online account from within the email. Always go to your account home page or bookmark. Computer infections caused by viruses in email attachments however, are a different story. This is why Anti-Virus software is important to stop spyware, Trojan horses, adware and computer worms. But there are new email virus schemes that employ the same methods as phishing. You may have see them. These emails contain attachments in the form of a seemingly innocent Word doc or a zip file. The email may say, “Your loan has been approved!” Or “Attached is Your Out Standing Invoice”. If you happened to have just applied for a loan or are curious about if you owe money, you will be more likely to open the attachment.

While phishing emails gain access a single account to access your personal information, viruses via email will activate malware that infects your entire computer. In both cases, your personal information is compromised.

If you have accidentally given access to one of your online accounts for any reason or are not sure, log in and change your password as soon as possible.

If you think your computer has been infected by a virus, read more about how to scan and remove malware – as well as protect yourself from attacks.

What Can You Do to Help Stop Hackers Who Send Phishing email?

Virtually every online account service you use will have security departments that investigate phishing. As such, many have email addresses that you can forward these bad emails to for further investigation. When you get a suspicious email, simply Google the company name with the word phishing (i.e. ‘Report PayPal Phishing’ or ‘Report Chase Phishing’) and you will find information about where to send phishing emails and perhaps help these companies catch the cyberthieves.

I will be the first person to tell you to never click a link in an email from a bank or what you think is a legitimate link to any online account you may have, whether it be iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Fed Ex, PayPal, USPS… the list is endless and those sending out phishing emails exploit many of these accounts and more.

Even though I know better, it happened to me when I had my guard down. More about that in a moment and how you can protect your online accounts and identity, but first – what exactly is Phishing?

Phishing is a malicious attempt to steal your personal information about an online account you have with a reputable company by sending you a fake email that links to a fake login of that company. It’s pronounced like ‘fishing’ and just like when commercial fisherman case a wide net to catch fish, scammers and hackers send out millions of emails in hopes to catch easy prey who unwittingly click on the links in those emails.

First of all, most online services will never send you a link asking you to sign into your account for any reason. If they do, I’ll explain why you should still not click it and how to access your account safety to see if the email actually came from a legitimate company. In most cases, these malicious emails contain alarming news about your account being compromised or hacked.

We’ve all seem these emails. They come from hackers and scammers that state “Your Account Has Been Locked” or the message I recently received from Netflix:
“Thanks for choosing Netflix membership! due latest security issues we need you to upgrade your account details in order to continue your membership.” Notice how there was even a grammatical error in the message, but yes – I still clicked it. I knew full well that if our account had needed changing or was compromised, Netflix is one of those companies that would have emailed a notice and then instructed her to go to their website via usual methods (such as Googling Netflix or using a trusted bookmark you made in your browser). They won’t put the link in the email.

Well, here’s how it happened to me and why people click on malicious links in emails when they know better.

In my case, I had just made changes to the WiFi password in our home and this of course would effect Netflix’s ability to connect via the devices that were set up to watch Netflix on. Even though I know about phishing and to be careful when receiving these emails, my wife had just mentioned to me that she was unable to connect to Netflix and at the same time the fake Netflix email arrived in my inbox. I was annoyed that Netflix may not be working so I clicked the link. Fortunately, I realized immediately what I’d done so I closed my browser before any harm was done. Upon further investigation, I noticed that the link actually was going to a different website than Netflix, but in that moment of frustration it made sense in my mind to be receiving an email from Netflix.

cyberthieves count on catching people off guard. For example, if you don’t have a Chase bank account, then chances are you won’t pay much attention to the email. You know it’s probably fraudulent. But if I do have an account related to the email, it makes sense to be receiving an email about a problem with your account. Especially when you’ve recently logged in your this account and made changes.

For example, imagine that you just shipped a package via FedEx, and later that day a FedEx email comes in stating that your package can’t be shipped. You immediately get stressed… “What?” If you’re not thinking, you will click the link to see what the problem is. It’s a ‘game of chance’ as hackers send out millions of these emails. They know they will trick some people because by coincidence alone these same people will not only have an account related to the email, some of them will have recently made changes to their account, or shipped a package with UPS, or applied for a loan at a bank.

Phishing, also known as Spoofing, is very common. If you click the link in a plishing email and you attempt to log into your account, thieves gain access to your user name and password. Once inside the account, they have access to all of your personal information.

Beware of Viruses coming as Email Attachments…

Protecting yourself against phishing is as easy as never clicking a link to an online account from within the email. Always go to your account home page or bookmark. Computer infections caused by viruses in email attachments however, are a different story. This is why Anti-Virus software is important to stop spyware, Trojan horses, adware and computer worms. But there are new email virus schemes that employ the same methods as phishing. You may have see them. These emails contain attachments in the form of a seemingly innocent Word doc or a zip file. The email may say, “Your loan has been approved!” Or “Attached is Your Out Standing Invoice”. If you happened to have just applied for a loan or are curious about if you owe money, you will be more likely to open the attachment.

While phishing emails gain access a single account to access your personal information, viruses via email will activate malware that infects your entire computer. In both cases, your personal information is compromised.

If you have accidentally given access to one of your online accounts for any reason or are not sure, log in and change your password as soon as possible.

If you think your computer has been infected by a virus, read more about how to scan and remove malware – as well as protect yourself from attacks.

What Can You Do to Help Stop Hackers Who Send Phishing email?

Virtually every online account service you use will have security departments that investigate phishing. As such, many have email addresses that you can forward these bad emails to for further investigation. When you get a suspicious email, simply Google the company name with the word phishing (i.e. ‘Report PayPal Phishing’ or ‘Report Chase Phishing’) and you will find information about where to send phishing emails and perhaps help these companies catch the cyberthieves.


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