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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Better teen privacy in Google's Buzz

Google's Buzz, which makes its Gmail much more social, didn't get off to a great start, where kids' privacy was concerned. But Google has made serious strides toward fixing that, and the "Buzz Teen Safety Tips" video it just put on YouTube takes 2 minutes to show you what I mean. If your teens are using Buzz (the minimum age is 13, as with most social Web services), you might watch the video to see if there are privacy features you'd like to talk with your kids about. The five key points are 1) they can choose to make only their first and last name visible on the public profile they have to set up to use Buzz (they don't have to include a photo), 2) whatever they post is not only visible to all their followers but could also appear in Google search results; 3) BUT they can edit and delete their own posts, delete any comments on their posts, and delete comments they've made on other people's posts; 4) Buzz sends them an alert whenever someone starts following them, and they can choose to block that person (it's good to know that Buzz doesn't let the person know if they do block him or her); and 5) they can disable Buzz altogether or hide it in Gmail but still use it on their phones. Here's my last post on Buzz and a little more detail on the subject from my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid at CNET.

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