Where we stand: Our commitment to Our Customers

Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy have become popular talking points and we understand there may be confusion about these topics. As your Internet service provider, we wanted to remind our customers of our commitment to our customers’ privacy, as well as where we stand in regards to Net Neutrality. EarthLink supports an open internet and values our customers’ ability to access the world. We do not block or slow down any internet traffic such as streaming or web browsing.

We also wanted to remind our customers that EarthLink does not collect and sell our customers’ information to anyone, including third parties. You can read more about this topic on our Customer Privacy support page.

Above all, we are committed to protecting our customers’ privacy on our network today and well into the future. We stand by our mission to provide a fast, secure, and reliable high speed connection and to allow our customers to do everything they love on the Internet, without interference.

Thanks for being our customer.

Software-Based Parental Controls Extend Your Digital Parenting Reach

By Ben Halpert, Founder Savvy Cyber Kids, an EarthLink partner

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Your parents had it easy; parenting today is hard.  Not just because it will be awkward to explain to your child, as they get older, why everyone on every sports team gets a trophy at the end of the season. But because the world today is a very different place than when your parents raised you. After all, the iPhone just turned 10 years old; And yet many of us can’t imagine how we would function without a smartphone on us at all times. While the topic of this post is not technology addiction, the addictive nature of these devices is a pressing issue that you as a parent have to deal when it comes to your children and their technology use.

However, parents today are not alone. With organizations like Savvy Cyber Kids providing cyber ethics sessions and resources for students, teachers and parents, help does exist for today’s digital parent.

While the most important thing any adult caregiver can do for their child is to talk to them on a daily basis about what is happening in their lives (including their digital lives), we are all busy and could use some help when it comes to imparting our values on the next generation. The reality is that it is simply not possible to sit with your child every moment they are using their devices. Thankfully, you can look to software parental control options to provide some assistance.

The first software-based parental controls tools that came to market years ago were focused on providing website filtering. These tools would block a child (or anyone for that matter) from going to a specific site or a category of sites such as pornography, violence, gambling, or other sensitive topics. An example of such a tool that has evolved overtime from a filter-only solution to a more powersuite of software parental controls is Net Nanny.

A few months ago, PC Magazine reviewed a selection of parental control software solutions and selected ContentWatch Net Nanny 7, Symantec Norton Family Premier, and Qustodio Parental Control 2015 as their top picks. These full-suite software solutions, along with others in the market such as Boomerang, uKnowKids, and TeenSafe, provide cross-device controls that can provide insight into what your children are doing with their technology while also letting you set usage limits.

In addition to full software suites, there are specific tools that focus on one aspects of your child’s technology use. Do you just want to filter out specific websites? Try the SPIN Safe Browser. Do you want to just limit the amount of time your kids are on their device? Give UnGlue a try. Are you just curious about potential issues that may arise with social media usage? Give Bark a try.

There are a few important things to remember when using any technical parental control solution:

  1. Technology is never perfect. Sometimes your child will see, hear, and experience things you thought were being blocked.
  2. Technology, even if parental control solutions are used, should never be used as a digital babysitter. An adult should always be near (I didn’t say sit next to, but somewhere in earshot) the child when they are using their devices.
  3. Have some aspect of the Tech Talk every day with your kids. For conversation starters, download the free Savvy Cyber Kids Digital Parenting Guides.

Grandparents Guide to Technology

By Ben Halpert, Founder Savvy Cyber Kids, an EarthLink partner

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May is Older Americans Month and seniors, like the rest of us, are spending an increasing proportion of their day in cyberspace and less time in real life.

From shopping, dating and sharing, to learning, buying and teaching, older American’s interactions with the virtual world are having a greater and greater influence on how they and others see themselves, how they think and how they see the world and their place in it.

Regrettably, there is not a virtual justice system ensuring that those who use the Internet for good are rewarded and that those who do otherwise face appropriate consequences. So, in recognition of Older Americans Month, Savvy Cyber Kids wants to remind everyone that the internet is, as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times put it, “an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information, where [we] need to bring skepticism and critical thinking to everything [we] read and basic civic decency to everything [we] write.”

Check out Savvy Cyber Kids’ Grandparent’s Guide to Technology and our in-depth analysis of seniors and the scams they need to be aware of.

“Back-up”, I say, and “Back-up often.”

By Ben Halpert, Founder Savvy Cyber Kids, an EarthLink partner

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They say death and taxes are the only things that are inevitable. I’d venture to say that at some point in your life, you can also count on losing data. Everyone does.

The story of how you lost your data might be a good tale… a malicious hacker up to no good randomly unleashes a ransomware attack on your computer. You no longer have control of your PC or Mac. You know, the computer with all your financial documents, family photos and important work presentations, it’s now encrypted and unless you pay ransom in the form of bitcoin, you will never get it back. Truth be told, even if you pay, you might never get it back…

Of course, there are less dramatic ways to lose your data. Your hard drive could simply die. A virus could infect all your files. Your basement office could flood. Water damage would pretty much be the end of your computer hardware. Your home could get broken into and your computer stolen. You child could drop your laptop, irreparably damaging it. Hey, your house could burn down with your computer in it. OK, that’s a little dramatic again.

The point is, no matter the details of how you lost your data, the solution to eliminating or at least drastically limiting the consequences, all rests with you. If you back-up your data on your computer on a regular basis, tell that hacker a few short expletives and go reformat your computer. Your data is safe. Flood, fire and theft can too have limited consequences. Unlike data, hardware can be replaced.

There are many ways to ensure your data is backed up. Here are just a few options:

– Use your device provided backup options
– Use cloud storage services like Box, Dropbox, etc.
– Use backup specific services like Earthlink Online Backup, Carboninte, etc.
– Use local backup options like USB drives

Be careful out there. The digital world is filled with minefields. Remember to stop clicking stupid links from unverifiable or suspicious sources. You might find yourself with a nasty virus. So, follow my advice and be prepared for any of a number of situations where your data could be compromised:

“Go now. Back-up your data. And back it up often.”

 Clumsy children and hackers, beware. You have lost your powers of destruction.