Extra Credit-Curate Great Media Literacy Resources

Here is a short list of sources that I found had a great variation of explanations towards a key topic we have learned about this session, media literacy. These sources focus on the fact of how essential learning media literacy is, and how as a society we should recognize this is an endless tool we should always prioritize as a media consumer. I have chosen four different sources ranging from articles, blogs and videos. The best way to understand a necessary topic such as media literacy, is continuing to learn different sides of it from different sources, and these were some of the most informative for me. Video

Student Reporting Labs

In this first source, It is actually an article, that Josephine Lister has put together, and a video she showcases on behalf of the Student Reporting Labs she references in her article. The article itself starts off with a strong point, “The revolution of the internet – and all the content it brings with it – has left a key skills gap for today’s young people. That gap is media literacy.” Which in all truthfulness, the gap between generations and media literacy seems to be getting farther on the spectrum, and that needs to be the complete opposite in this digital age we are in. The video I highly urge you to see, is explaining what Student Reporting Labs is, and what a great benefit it is for our younger generations to understanding and practicing media literacy. This video and article is noteworthy because it is an educational organization designed to seek and share innovations, such as transforming children’s classrooms into newsrooms with ages K-12 for free. Their focus is to teach our younger generation, but our older generation can learn just as much from this source as well.

Media Literacy Now Video

In this source its a short video but very informative. For those of us that are more of a visual learner, videos like these are great, they not only explain but also show you the examples and questions the author is referring to referring to . A key point to take note of here is, “If each of us makes the practice of using the five key questions for media literacy in all our activities and with all of the people we encounter, we will all move closer to the more positive and well informed physical engagement that we want and deserve.” This source is noteworthy because it actually is coming from a media literacy center where one can find much more informative sources as well.

The 74 Blog

This Source I actually had never heard of until this recent research of media literacy sources, but i am so happy that i now know of The 74. The 74 is a non-profit non-partisan news site covering education in America. Their mission is to lead an honest, fact-based conversation about how to give America’s 74 million children under the age of 18 the education they deserve. In this particular blog, Katie Stringer is the contributor to this blog and she, along with Sherri Hope Culver,(director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University)  cover topics such as: urgency in media literacy that is needed in schools, how fake news has only risen since 2016, laws to promote media literacy and vaccine for #fakenews? This source is noteworthy because it has a mission unlike any other source out there, their goal is to reach those 74 million kids that need the media literacy education as well as all those people that surround the children.

Overall, in this particular exercise of learning media literacy noteworthy sources, I noticed that I unintentionally gravitated towards sources that emphasized teaching media literacy to school aged children as well as adults. The important key in all of us becoming media literate is to gain as much knowledge of it that we can early on, and that eventually means law reforms at some point, within the educational systems, would have to take place perhaps all across the world one day. As for now, it has to be spread by word of mouth and take actions into our own hands to constantly keep informing, learning and practicing not only for our good, but for many of those around us that may need our support in becoming media literate.


Extra Credit: The Grandmother Problem

Recently I saw something on my facebook timeline about the coronavirus being spread by those in the Asian community. This was posted by my Grandmother who obviously didn’t realize how harmful what she posted was. There was a lot of comments stating very racist and upsetting things about the Asian community. I messaged my Grandmother because of how upset I was reading this. I told her that her article was incorrect about how the virus is spread. She simply stated that she, “didn’t care”.

I sent her various articles in attempts to prove to her just how wrong she was but she simply left me on “read” and did not respond any further. This was obviously very upsetting for me. I tried calling her but she did not answer. Maybe she had a feeling what I was calling about and didn’t want to talk or maybe she was busy. I will never know.

What I do know is that the “Grandmother Problem” isn’t as simple as I thought. Even when you try to be nice and simply point out a fact you could be putting your entire relationship on the line with someone. Even though my Grandmother is upset with me I’m glad I did what I did. Standing up for what is right is so important to me. The truth is always worth fighting for.


Digital Security

Before reading through this module’s learning materials, I’d say that my digital security practices were less than thorough. There was a time in my life when I was allowing my web browser to remember all my passwords for me. The majority of my main and frequently used accounts shared the same password. My passwords were always on the weaker side. I didn’t regularly update my laptop’s software. The list goes on.

First and foremost on my list of digital security habits to improve is to start using a password manager. I’m actually surprised I’ve never considered or really ever heard of having a password manager until reading about it in this course. One of my biggest issues has been that I cannot possibly remember all the passwords I need to have while have them being different and unique from each other. My current password situation is as follows. My passwords for a small handful of social media sites I visit frequently are memorized by my web browser. Most other passwords for less frequently visited sites are accessible to me via my MacBook’s Keychain Access. In addition to that I have a password encrypted document on my laptop that contains a list of all the sites I have an active account with along with my username, the associated email address and a hint to myself to clue me in on what the password could be in the event I cannot access it in the aforementioned Keychain.

As far as using the same or similar passwords for a huge majority of my accounts goes, I’ve been working on making stronger and more unique passwords for each site after I recently received a notification in my Google Chrome browser letting me know passwords had been compromised. I’ve been prioritizing accounts that are linked to confidential information of mine and accounts that are linked to money payments in an effort to protect the most important information first.

Finally, one of my main goals is to work on updating my computers software whenever it prompts me to do so. I have this terrible habit of continuously clicking the “remind me later” button to put off the update. I actually just did so while typing up this post. I have what I believe to be a good reason as to why I don’t immediately update software when it’s available. About a year and a half ago I updated my brand new laptop to the new iOS. The problem however was that after the update, I no longer had admin access to my own laptop. I couldn’t figure out what had happened and I was panicking. I had online assignments due. Important documents that I had lost access to. It felt like my new laptop had grown sentient and was attempting to overthrow my reign. I eventually fixed it, but that situation left me scorned. I’m weary of updating right away, especially if it’s a large update for fear something like that will happen again. But ultimately this course has made me realize that I should just update.

What’s funny is that right before I began typing up this post, I came across this Twitter thread from Google’s verified account that echoed some of this module’s key points on internet/digital security. I liked and retweeted it and urged my followers to take their digital security seriously. Overall, I learned a lot from this module and took away a lot of great information that I’ll be sure to implement.


Digital Security

How have I been approaching my own digital security?

With caution.

I’m careful about what I do, what I download, what I share, and what I click on.

I was born in 1990. The internet hasn’t always been an integral part of my daily life. My first hands-on experience came in an elementary school classroom. When Mavis Beacon wasn’t teaching us how to type, we were given lessons in internet safety. The prevailing theme of these lessons was not to trust anything. While I think giving a bunch of children the impression that everyone online is trying to kidnap you was a bit much, the need to be skeptical has stuck with me.

Here are a few examples of how that skepticism has shaped my approach to digital security:

    • If a link in an email or on a website seems suspicious, to avoid malware or phishing scams, I take a moment to further inspect it.
    • Before adding an app to my phone or an extension to my browser, I do some research to find out if it’s safe or if it’s not to be trusted.
    • While I don’t share my financial information with just anybody, there are reasons to doubt that even large, legitimate companies will be able to keep it safe and secure. Should my information end up in the wrong hands, I signed up to get text messages from my bank whenever purchases are made (including my own). That way, I’ll know something is wrong and will be able to cancel my card as soon as possible. This hasn’t happened yet, but it seems inevitable in today’s world.

Additionally, I was glad to learn that keeping our software and devices updated is an important security measure because that’s something I’m already doing. It’s good to know that my desire to prevent those obnoxious pop-ups from constantly reminding me that updates are available is also keeping me safe.

After finishing this week’s readings and lectures, I am strongly considering giving a password manager a try. I’ve had questions about how secure these things truly are since hearing that LastPass was hacked in 2015, but I can see why they’ve become such highly recommended security tools. Plus, I’ve just about reached my breaking point when it comes to creating and remembering secure passwords. It would be nice to have that taken care of for me. I’ve done some light Googling for recommendations and 1Password has come up often. I like that it offers a free trial. With Spring Break about to start, I’ll have plenty of time to test it out.


Module 8 Blog-Security

In this weeks module, security is in my opinion, one of the key topics we have learned this whole session, if not, actually the most important for all of us. We live in such a digital world now, that almost anything that we hold, listen to or see can be tracked through particular devices. We often may question how, what, when, where? Almost feels as if there is a separate galaxy where all of our cyber and digital records are being sent to. Although we may not have those exact answers to curiosity now, we can take the necessary steps needed to protect ourselves until further discoveries.

I am an avid digital user when needed. I actually don’t necessarily use the internet unless I have specific tasks to accomplish online, outside of work of course, and even so, I value my online security and try to do the most I can to protect my identity and digital activity. At least I thought I did, before this weeks module.

Coincidentally, In my email this week, as a subscriber to Vox, I saw this recent article, and it had to do on financial hacking that Sara Morrison experienced. She had three very simple ways to protect yourself from common hacks, that I felt can be applied to not only financial hacks but any type of cyber hack we have learned about this week. These are simple but detailed, and could be that small extra step to help us become more cyber protective. 1.) Don’t reuse your passwords 2.) Put two-factor authentication on everything and 3.) Don’t save your credit card info on your account.

As professor Gillmor mentioned in one of his lectures, we should take precautions and deploy countermeasures, followed by the number one thing he advised all of us to do, which is to install software updates when they are available, encrypt data and have a two factor authentication for your passwords. After I heard this in the lecture, I realized I actually don’t do any of those currently. I think my most protective thing is a “stronger” password each time one needs updating. I also have McAfee security on my laptop, but then again, I don’t update the software as often as it asks, and I am realizing this week its a huge risk going about my day to day taking minimal to no protective measures in my digital space.

In order to move forward with a positive approach on my digital security, I plan to establish and use a threat model chart. This module was the first time I had ever heard of it, but it is a very clever form of security. Also, I would incorporate safety guides from credible resources such as  Committee to Protect Journalists or Society of Professional Journalists   that have available resources for all of us to learn from not just journalists. I also, found out last week of duckduckgo which is a free privacy protection option available to use in order to have privacy and protection while you browse. Lastly, I plan to continue researching and learning more about protective measures to secure my digital security and overall just keep observing endless ways to become proactive about it.


My Digital Security

This week’s module has really opened my eyes to the different ways that I could protect myself on the Internet. In my opinion, I’ve always been a pretty safe Internet user, but this weeks’ material touched on ways to take precautions and counteract data mining and hacking attempts that I was not aware of.

When it comes to my own digital security, I don’t really use any of the methods suggested in the reading and lectures, and now I feel pretty foolish about it.  I never knew that I could get my devices encrypted to protect myself from any sort of access to my actual data, but this may be due to the possibility that these services were not available when I first became an avid user of the Internet. Now that I know it’s possible, it only makes sense to use it as it seems to be one of the most protective options available right now.

I don’t use the Internet too often for things that need anonymous browsing, but I believe that everyone has the right to have anonymity while browsing. I’ve never looked into private browsing services, but will now check out Tor as suggested by the material. I may not be using the Internet for anything that needs anonymous browsing, but after learning what can happen to my data, I’m planning on downloading the software after this post.

Another security measure that I’m guilty of not using, is software updates. I honestly never knew the importance of software updates, besides adding new features to the device. The updates always seem to occur when I’m currently using my device for something important and don’t have time to sit and wait for an update, and then eventually forget that there was an update in the first place. When I really think about it, it makes sense that it’s improving security since most of the updates are, “bug fixes,” which could include gaps in the software security. I’m definitely going to start updating all of my devices when updates are available, and I’m thankful that the material showed me the importance of these updates and that they’re not just an annoyance.

I’m not a very paranoid Internet user, and this week hasn’t changed that, but it has opened my eyes to the availability of services that can protect me. I haven’t used any of these methods previously like I mentioned, but I would rather be protected online than not and plan on looking further into each of the suggestions provided in the material. I believe that if there’s an option for more privacy, then why not use it? It will only make me feel more comfortable and I can’t really see a reason not to. The easiest thing to tend to first is updating the software on all of my devices, then I’m going to  download Tor for safer browsing, and then from there I’ll look further into encryption software as well.




Everything is on the internet and this calls for more security to protect your information. People have credit cards and social security numbers on their phones and laptops. People also order many things online now and this causes people to have credit cards and social security numbers on the websites that can ask you to keep on file to make it easier to order additional items for the future. There are many ways that I use to protect my passwords and information.

One of the ways that I protect my information is by using the two-factor authentification. I  found that this really helps me in many ways because this form of protection is just an extra wall that can help people who could have retrieved your main password. There are a good amount of applications and websites that use that form of security and I try to use it more often than not.

I also try to change my password often because that can help stop people who are trying to attempt to break into your profiles and such. Changing my profiles really help me keep a peaceful mind because I know that I can continue to make changes to my security profiles in a safe way and in a more efficient way.

Another way that I tend to use in order to keep my information safe to not save my passwords on the devices that I use. This is probably a huge issue with a lot of people because if someone can just get into your devices that have all of your passwords saved within the different platforms and websites, then your information could be compromised for sure.  I try to really watch that tool because my devices often ask me for permission to “save password” and it is so easy to just say yes. Clearing your cookies and encrypting your information is a very important part of the process of keeping your information safe and secure.

Protecting your information and passwords is such an important piece of life, especially now that everyone and everything is now on the internet. People from all over the world can easily have access to your personal and private information if the process to keep the information safe is not done properly. Everyone must know and learn how to safely and proactively secure their information and I can only feel for the elderly people because many do not even have a clue to do so. We must make it a priority to stay safe.


My Digital Security Improvements

Digital security is not something that I thought about much until recently. After looking through the articles, I find that it is a much bigger issue than I ever thought before.

It took me seeing my friend’s social media accounts getting hacked to finally realize how unprotected we really are. Getting hacked can be very scary. One second everything is fine, and the next you feel like you’ve lost everything including your sense of security.

I hope I am not jinxing myself, but I personally have never gotten hacked, had anything happen to any of my bank accounts, or even gotten my phone stolen and used by someone else. I can only imagine how scared and helpless people must feel in situations like these. I have experienced people going through this all the time, especially at the bars. People start drinking and completely forget about their belongings and the value that their items hold. It is a scary position to put yourself in especially if you are not protecting yourself properly.

One article that stood out to me the most was discussing cell phone passwords. I felt quite a bit of shame when looking at the list of the most commonly used passwords because sure enough, mine was on the list. Granted, I know that it is definitely not the most secure password, but I chose it because of its easiness. I think that I take my phone and all of the information stored on it for granted. I have this mindset like it is fully protected and nothing bad will ever happen to it. The truth is though; I am very wrong. If anyone got ahold of my phone, they could try the top 10 most used passwords and get right in. This is something that has prompted me to make a change.

The first thing that needs to change is my lock screen password on my phone. It is way too easy and predictable in the event that it gets lost or stolen. I currently have an iPhone, so the options are limited to just a number code ranging from four to six digits. When I had an android phone, I was able to make my password as long as I wanted with digits, or I could choose a pattern and connect the dots. I miss having that option because there are so many different possibilities when choosing a pattern to draw and it also has no real correlation to personal aspects of your life the way a digit code might.

Changing my passwords more frequently is another adjustment that I need to make. I appreciate all of the useful tools presented in this week’s module. Having a place to securely store and manage all of my passwords is a real game changer and offers me the ability to change my passwords more frequently without the fear of forgetting them. I tend to use the same password for nearly everything that I log in to which, after doing some reading, is only setting me up for some bad outcomes.


My approach to digital security

My Approach to Digital Security

Photo Source:

Up until this point, my approaches to digital security have been equal parts throw my hands up, look the other way, and do what’s popular. Although I do cringe when news of data breaches hit the air. And who wouldn’t be a little taken back by Joe’s ability to locate and profile his victims in the Netflix original, “You?”

Hopefully, my lack of attention to this matter doesn’t indicate ignorance. I mean I may or may not have been raised in a cult that considers cell phones to be the mark of the beast. If you’re shocked at what you just read, please do yourself a favor and Google, “Are cell phones the mark of the beast?” And then take your pick! It’s an actual thing. So, let’s just say that I am very aware of big data, big brother, and the amount of access our digital devices give to others; perhaps, unreasonably aware.

That said, my therapist (yup, I said it), says that we can swing to either end of the spectrum, showing excessive amounts of precaution or being reckless without care, or we can strive to stay in the middle. Oddly, “The Middle” is playing as I write this.

So, this is what “the middle’ looks like for me when it comes to digital security.

Access to my phone is protected by a fingerprint and passcode. That was a lesson we learned the hard way when my husband lost his unprotected phone at a gas station. By the time he got to another device to track it, the phone had been reset. I also use fingerprints to access any banking and finance apps on my phone rather than entering a password each time.

We also learned the importance of backing up the data on our phones from that experience. My husband uses his phone more than I do, so, naturally, he had most of our family vacation photos and memories stored on his phone. We lost all of those photos when he lost his phone.

We back up our phones now.

However, I do not use encryption, because I am not concerned about the data on my phone being “out there,” it is more so to make it harder to access and wipe our phones if they are lost.

I am guilty of quickly scrolling through terms and conditions and agreeing without seeking an understanding of how my personal information is being tracked and used. I don’t think that will change much. I don’t have a problem with big data, so long as that data is not being used to harm me in any way.

As far as I know, I am not participating in any illegal activities that would get me in trouble with the government or other authorities, nor am I a member of any secret or private work/groups. So privacy and security in that capacity is not a concern of mine.

I did take a moment to check all of my electronic devices for updates. This is the main change I will make after studying this module. My laptop and cell phone needed system and app updates. I went ahead and scheduled automatic updates and notifications for both of my devices.

The last digital security measure I have is credit tracking. Most of my credit cards offer this service for free and I also use Credit Karma. If there is a credit inquiry, a new account, or any other credit changes to my credit report, I will get an email from Credit Karma and a push notification from my credit card companies.

So, that’s where I am at with digital security for now. I will continue to digest the information I have learned throughout this course and make changes as I go.


Online Security MCO 425 Module 8 Blog

After working through this weeks module regarding online security, I was alarmed about just how little I knew. Who is tracking our online activity and why? The fact is that our online behavior and even physical behavior such as where we drive and who we contact are all tracked whether we like it or not.

I surprised to learn just how valuable our online data is to companies. I learned first hand how Google makes money off of data in the article The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff. One part of the article that was alarming is when Zuboff is speaking to a CEO of a Silicon Valley tech company that stated ” The goal of everything we do is to change people’s actual behavior at scale” in relation to their app. The article also points to the fact that Google generates massive revenue due to being able to predict our future behaviors.

With the reality that companies are making massive capital from our online behavior data, it’s no secret that our information is valuable. The question arises just who is tracking us and what they will do with the data? Bottom-line is their is ample reasoning that cements the need to be digitally literate when it comes to online security.

Looking at my own online security measures, they are elementary at best. I attribute this lack of security to simply not being educated on the subject matter. I did adhere to the very basic security rules of utilizing strong passwords, never sharing them with anyone, and periodically changing them. I also have always been vigilant in avoid phishing by not clicking external links and avoiding emails from unfamiliar senders.

After working through this module, I will certainly be changing how I approach my online security.  The first measure that I realized I must take is to utilize an https service such as HTTPS Everywhere. Using https essentially means that you are using ssl to hide your traffic from third parties, or in programmer speak, “Eve.” Additionally, I learned that ssl is not effective without also using end to end encryption. Another immediate measure I will be taking is to ensure that my router is secure and monitor the activity on it.

Overall, this module opened my eyes to the importance of online security. There is a huge demand for our personal data and whether we like it or not companies are creating great capital from it. There are many measures that we can take to help secure our online activity. The first step is to educate yourself in this subject manner so that your online information remains safe. Becoming digitally literate in online security is a responsibility that can not be overlooked.

Francisco Healy