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MS releases teen safety guide

MS releases teen safety guide

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.

13 Comments

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mi1ez 10th September 2010, 09:50 Quote
Good to see Microsoft trying, especially in terms of the licencing!
crazyceo 10th September 2010, 09:54 Quote
Having looked through it, every kid in school should get to go through this in their ICT lessons as standard. Simple, accurate and important.

Niceone Microsoft
maximus09 10th September 2010, 10:29 Quote
cool, i like how they have tried to word it in a younger language without being too stereotypical. I just hope it has a section on chatting to strangers online!
Cthippo 10th September 2010, 11:20 Quote
Great idea, but perhaps aimed at the wrong market. I just had to rescue my mom from a scammer and so I'm wondering if i should get her a copy.
TWeaK 10th September 2010, 11:33 Quote
Definitely agree with you Cthippo, I think it's adults who really run the risk of 'trashing the family computer', along with their banl accounts. Saying that, I doubt said adults would know where to find a guide like this
Jim 10th September 2010, 12:17 Quote
Or would want to read them.
sotu1 10th September 2010, 15:11 Quote
I think everyone is at risk of trashing the PC.

And kudos to Microsoft for trying, plenty of respect given there.

I've scanned the (text)book and it's definitely targeted at adults to educate their kids. I think make a free game about shooting viruses or a free light weight java phone thing or a serialised sitcom about PC hackers would hit the teen market much more effectively. Go where they're going and all that.
adam_bagpuss 10th September 2010, 16:07 Quote
i just sent it to me mum and dad as they need to know this stuff too.
Shichibukai 11th September 2010, 03:01 Quote
Well its good that MS is trying, but i doubt you'll find many teenagers willing to go through that in detail...hence the pwning continues.
thehippoz 11th September 2010, 05:09 Quote
Blanx3_Bytex 12th September 2010, 21:27 Quote
n, "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."

Looking at your thumbnail image and then reading and realising that was supposed to be a male was a bit weird but whatever.
Gareth Halfacree 13th September 2010, 09:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanx3_Bytex
Looking at your thumbnail image and then reading and realising that was supposed to be a male was a bit weird but whatever.
The image on the cover is of a woman. The people in the chapters vary in gender, and have nothing to do with the cover image.
BRAWL 13th September 2010, 12:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanx3_Bytex
Looking at your thumbnail image and then reading and realising that was supposed to be a male was a bit weird but whatever.
The image on the cover is of a woman. The people in the chapters vary in gender, and have nothing to do with the cover image.

hilarious if it was though... Microsoft screwing more stuff up ;)

However.. on topic wise: good to see this coming from M$ to be honest. Especially free...
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