Tag Archives: Tumblr

Yahoo may owe you $358 for data breach settlement

By Tracey Dowdy

Did you get an email from Yahoo stating you may be eligible for compensation due to a data breach? Unfortunately, it’s not a scam. If you had a Yahoo account between 2012 and 2016, you’re eligible to take part in a class action settlement to compensate you for losses as the result of a data hack.

According to Yahoo, over the past several years, hackers gained access to Yahoo user accounts on multiple occasions and stole user’s private emails, calendars, and contacts. On the Frequently Asked Questions page of their website, Yahoo outlines just how far the hackers went

  • In the initial breach in 2012, Yahoo states that no data was taken, but in 2013, hackers gained access to all of the more than three billion Yahoo accounts. They stole names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords, and answers to users’ security questions. 
  • Then in In November 2014, “malicious actors” again gained access to Yahoo’s user database and “accessed  the names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords, and security questions and answers of Yahoo account holders.”
  • From 2015 to September 2016, hackers bypassed the need for a user account password by creating “forged cookies” that provided them with access to Yahoo email accounts, impacting approximately 32 million user accounts worldwide.

As a result, Yahoo has announced that if you had a Yahoo account any time between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016, and are a resident of either the US or Israel, you are eligible to file a claim for part of the $117,500,000 settlement fund. This includes accounts with Yahoo Fantasy Sports, Yahoo Finance, Tumblr, and Flickr.

As for how much compensation you can expect, the number varies, and you may choose either money or credit monitoring.  

According to the website, the settlement provides the following benefits to Settlement Class Members:

  • Data Security Practice Changes and Commitments by Yahoo (see FAQ 10);
  • Credit Monitoring Services (see FAQ 11, FAQ 17);
  • Cash Payment as an Alternative to Credit Monitoring Services (see FAQ 12, FAQ 17);
  • Fraud Resolution Services (see FAQ 13);
  • Cash Reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Losses (see FAQ 14 and FAQ 18);
  • Cash Reimbursement for up to 25% of Paid User Costs (see FAQ 15 and FAQ 19); and
  • Cash Reimbursement for up to 25% of Small Business User Costs (see FAQ 16 and FAQ 20).

If you choose to submit a claim, you must submit all forms online or postmarked by mail by July 20, 2020.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Setting Social Media Boundaries for Younger Kids

By Tracey Dowdy

Setting appropriate social media boundaries isn’t as daunting a task as it may seem. By engaging your kids in an honest discussion of what social media is and the possible risks will ensure you can establish boundaries the whole family can respect. More than that, it can help your kids develop healthy online habits that will safeguard them from making common social media mistakes – mistakes that can have long term negative consequences.

Start with a conversation. No one – not you, not your kids – likes arbitrary rules with no background or information to support the decisions. Whatever age your children are, have an honest conversation about setting boundaries, what being safe online means, and what that looks like for your family. Allow give and take, listen to their concerns or arguments, work together to set up guidelines, and help your kids see how it translates to social media use.

Use common sense. You wouldn’t let your kids play unsupervised at the park or let your 4th grader hang out with a group of strangers at a party. Letting your kids surf the web or engage in social media with no restrictions is no different. Setting reasonable limits on the amount of time they can be online or limiting the sites they can access isn’t punitive, it’s protection.

Consider age and maturity. I think we can all agree maturity levels may vary significantly and have less to do with age than life experience. When my oldest daughter was 19, she’d already lived in three different states, two countries and graduated from nursing school. When I was 19, my six year old brother locked me in a trunk while I was babysitting and we were playing magician. “Age is simply a number” may be a cliché but it’s true – you know better than any arbitrary age guideline if your child will make wise choices when they’re online.

Make Privacy Settings your new best friend. Privacy settings aren’t foolproof but they are helpful and are there to safeguard users. Learn how to establish the privacy level you want on each of the social media sites your kids are using and stay up-to-date. Privacy policies are often updated or changed and it’s important to stay informed.

Teach them what’s okay to share. Teaching your kids not to share their personal information or accept friend requests from strangers is fundamental to social media safety. It’s the online equivalent of don’t take candy from strangers. Speaking of sharing, depending on your child’s age and maturity, you may want to have access to their social media accounts, but passwords should never be shared with friends.

Boundaries are important. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the average 8 to 18-year-old in the U.S. spends almost eight hours a day using entertainment media. That may seem unreal but understand that statistic not only includes TV but texting and using social media platforms like Snapchat and Tumblr. No, not Facebook; we’re on Facebook, so that means our kids aren’t. Think about it; eight hours is a long time – far more than they’re spending with us. That’s why those boundaries are important.

Establish a Family Online Safety Contract. The best way to ensure your kids develop healthy online boundaries, especially with social media, is to establish an Online Safety Contract for your family. There are plenty of templates and samples online or you can simply create your own. By developing it together, you’ve demonstrated that you’re both committed to making it work. Including your kids in the process helps them to be personally invested and gives them ownership on a practical level. Keep in mind you’ll need to update the contract from time to time as your kids mature and need fewer restrictions.

Have a conversation, don’t lecture. Start lecturing about the dangers of social media and watch your kids’ eyes glaze over like frost on a window pane. Instead of listing all the reasons you feel something is inappropriate, ask your kids what they think. Help your kids to understand that what they post can have long term consequences. It’s important they understand that what goes online is out there for everyone to see, and that once it’s out there, it really never goes away.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is just as important online as it is in real life. Help your kids understand bullying is just as hurtful online as it is face to face and words said online have real-world consequences.

Set a good example. Kids see what you do far more clearly than they hear what you say. Set an example for your children by being mindful of what you do online and in real life. Even if your kids aren’t your Facebook friends, they see how you treat others every day and they pick up on your social cues. Beyond that, if you want your kids to have a balance between screen time and face-to-face interaction with friends and family, set the example. That can be something as simple as turning off your phone before you sit down to dinner.

On a final note, you may find it interesting to know that most social media sites and apps require users to be 13 or older. Contrary to popular belief, this has little or nothing to do with protecting your kids from inappropriate content. That’s our job as parents. Instead, 13 is the magic number because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that prevents companies from collecting certain information from kids under the age of thirteen.

Whatever age your children are, by engaging in honest conversation, doing your research, staying connected and up-to-date on what’s trending through sites like The Online Mom, you can feel confident knowing your kids are developing and maintaining safe social media boundaries.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Where Your Teens Are Hanging Out Online

By Tracey Dowdy:

As a mom, I try – try being the key word in this sentence – to keep up with trends in social media. It helps that it’s part of my job. But honestly, there are days when it feels like I’m jogging with a greyhound – there’s just no way to keep up.

Inevitably, when parents do catch up and get onboard with the latest and greatest, we immediately “mom it up” and our kids start to leave in droves.

So, in the hopes of helping you keep up without embarrassing your children, here are some of the most popular sites, what they’re about, and why they’re popular:


Twitter isn’t new – it’s been around since 2006 – but it’s steadily gained popularity, particularly among teens. Limited to 140 characters, Twitter is a microblogging site that provides a platform to share snippets of your day and keep up with breaking news, major sporting events, and celebrity gossip.

When you join Twitter, you choose to follow other users and their tweets then show up in your Twitter feed. Your own tweets can be seen by people that choose to follow you. Tweets can be deleted but users should keep in mind that, like everything else online, our words can still come back to haunt us. Teens like Twitter it because it takes what they like best about Facebook – sharing every waking moment and detail – and shrinks it down to a manageable sentence or two.


Instagram lets users post photos or 15 second videos either to a group of followers or publicly. Like Twitter, users can follow friends, strangers or celebrities and leave ‘likes’ or comments. Photos can be edited and filters utilized to create different effects.

Instagram recently added a private message feature, so users can post a photo to up to 15 friends and the photo won’t show up in a user’s regular feed. Likes are a big deal in the world of Instagram, so though the Terms and Conditions specify that sexually suggestive photos may not be posted, users may push the envelope of what is considered acceptable to draw more likes. Teens like it as it takes what they like about Facebook – endless selfies – and lets them filter and edit those duck-faces into artsy photos.


Snapchat has received a lot of negative attention as a way for teens to sext. In theory, the photos disappear after just 1-10 seconds (users determine how long recipients can view the photo) but the problem is that 1-10 seconds is plenty of time for recipients to take a screenshot. As with any form of social media, there are those who will abuse it but, for the most part, teens like Snapchat because it’s another way to connect, be silly and have fun.


Think of Tumblr as an online scrapbook. Users create “Tumblogs” (Tumblr blogs) of images, text and videos, and share their blogs with a list of friends or leave them public. Users can create private profiles but only after creating an initial profile that stays public. Tumblr is a lot of fun – it’s basically a cross between Twitter and Instagram – but content is far less regulated. Sexually explicit language and images are easy to find, as are posts related to self-harm, drugs or other topics parents may find objectionable. For the most part, that’s not why teens are using it. Teens like it for the obvious reason: it’s fun.


Vine allows users to create and post looping six-second video clips grouped by categories like Art, Music and Dance, Comedy or Style. Videos are intended to be fun, but again, it’s not hard to find objectionable content. Teens like Vine because it’s entertaining and users get to be creative.

Ultimately, like every other area of parenting in our digital age, it’s up to you to decide how much you need to screen and monitor your teen’s activity and what sites are appropriate.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology.