Microsoft's illustrations might be a bit cutesy, but there's some good stuff in "Own Your Space."
Microsoft has launched a free e-book that aims to teach teenagers how to keep themselves, and their computers, safe on the Internet.
Entitled "Own Your Space: Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online
," the book is designed to teach "computer and Internet savvy 'tweens' and teens
" about the risks of that there big bad Internet. Interestingly for the traditionally closed-source software giant, Microsoft has chosen to release the 266-page book under a Creative Commons licence for free download and redistribution.
So what do the lucky "tweens
" have in front of them when they've downloaded the 12.3MB PDF? The first chapter, "Protect Your Turf
," introduces us to Braden, "a typical 14-year old [who has] over the past 6 months [...] grown three inches, gained four shoe sizes, and eaten his way through nearly a ton of pizza.
" Sadly for Braden, we also learn that "he’s also unintentionally trashed his family’s computer no less than 12 times
" by clicking 'OK' to one too many dialogue boxes.
That's pretty much the tone throughout the book, but it does a surprisingly good job of educating without patronising. The second chapter, "Know Your Enemies
," is a particularly enjoyable history of viruses, malware, and spyware. Other chapters deal with subjects such as "Taking Spam Off the Menu
" and "Phishing for Dollars.
Some of the sections are surprisingly in-depth, with the chapter titled "Any Port in a Storm
" talking the user through how firewalls work and the use of ipconfig
to find your IP address.
Your average bit-tech
reader isn't going to find much new information here, but "Own Your Space
" is a neat compilation of history and sound safety advice for the less experienced members of the family. Sadly, the cutesy illustrations and appeals to the "tween
" market may well limit its usefulness if you want to teach your parents not to click on malicious downloads.
The full book or just individual chapters are available as a PDF download from Microsoft's site
Do you think that Microsoft's book could prove a useful guide for the younger generation, or is it too weighty a tome for your average "tween
" to digest without getting bored? Share your thoughts over in the forums