Blogging At 92! Wow…

He was of my heroes growing up…..”I AM SPARTACUS!”

By Alex Dobuzinskis

 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – For more than 60 years, Kirk Douglas portrayed death-defying tough guys and conquering heroes in the movies, and at age 92 he’s not giving up.

 But his latest challenge is taking place on the Internet instead of movie screens, as Douglas has become the oldest celebrity blogger on social networking Web site MySpace.

 Even though he’s not a teenager or 20-something and may not know the difference between a good book and Facebook, Douglas understands one key thing about the Internet — it’s a place for stimulating discussion, in this case between him and those who comment on his blog.

 “I express my opinion, and I tell them that they don’t have to agree with me because it’s a free country,” he said. “And their answers are very, very interesting.”

 In an online universe where blogs are often grammatically incorrect or stream-of-consciousness screeds, Douglas’ distinguishes himself with reasoned entries that cover everything from acting (he calls it “a disease”) to his memories of once spending Thanksgiving in Pakistan.

 He also brings humor to his site. When listing his favorite movies he wrote, “‘Champion,’ ‘Spartacus,’ ‘Paths of Glory’ and ‘Lonely Are the Brave’ (I just happen to be in these movies.)” Some 4,400 MySpace users linked to his page as “friends.”

 “All the comments that he gets on his page are so supportive, and people really find him truly inspirational,” said Angie Allgood, director of talent relations at MySpace.

 HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY

 Douglas, the father of actor Michael Douglas, became a major star in the 1950s and has long been part of Hollywood royalty. As their household got ready for the holidays, the Douglases had a gift on their table addressed to Nancy Reagan, the former U.S. First Lady.

 Blogging is only part of Douglas’ life, something the actor began in March 2007 to promote his memoir “Let’s Face It.”

 But the actor has kept blogging since then, after seeing the interest generated by his posts.

 Douglas in one entry last year wrote that he was receiving too many comments and messages to answer each one personally, which was his goal when he started.

 “But I want you to know that I appreciate each comment that I receive — positive or negative. And I enjoy the opportunity to talk to so many people much younger than I am,” he wrote.

 Douglas in person tends to punctuate his phrases with short jabs of his hands, like a boxer, and on his blogs he makes full use of mood icons such as an animated cat with accompanying words like “creative” and “contemplative.”

 He said even though his wife, Anne, is more computer literate than he is, he intends to keep blogging.

 “I take it seriously. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it,” he said. “I don’t have to do it, I don’t make money. It’s something that gives me personal satisfaction.”

 (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

Social Networking Online

While social networking sites can increase a person’s circle of friends, they also can increase exposure to people with less than friendly intentions.

Here are tips for helping your kids use social networking sites safely:

  • Help your kids understand what information should be private.
  • Explain that kids should post only information that you – and they – are comfortable with others seeing.
  • Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child’s website.
  • Remind your kids that once they post information online, they can’t take it back.
  • Talk to your kids about avoiding sex talk online.
  • Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions. If they ever feel uncomfortable or threatened by anything online, encourage them to tell you.

Social Networking Sites: A Parent’s Guide

“It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

Remember that phrase from your own childhood? It’s still a valid question, but now, it comes with a twist: “Do you know where your kids are — and who they’re chatting with online?”

Social networking sites have morphed into a mainstream medium for teens and adults. These sites encourage and enable people to exchange information about themselves, share pictures and videos, and use blogs and private messaging to communicate with friends, others who share interests, and sometimes even the world-at-large. And that’s why it’s important to be aware of the possible pitfalls that come with networking online.

Some social networking sites attract pre-teens – even kids as young as 5 or 6. These younger-focused sites don’t allow the same kinds of communication that teens and adults have, but there are still things that parents can do to help young kids socialize safely online. In fact, when it comes to young kids, the law provides some protections – and gives parents some control over the type of information that children can disclose online. For sites directed to children under age 13, and for general audience sites that know they’re dealing with kids younger than 13, there’s the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). It requires these sites to get parental consent before they collect, maintain, or use kids’ information. COPPA also allows parents to review their child’s online profiles and blog pages.

Parents sometimes can feel outpaced by their technologically savvy kids. Technology aside, there are lessons that parents can teach to help kids stay safer as they socialize online.

  • Help your kids understand what information should be private. Tell them why it’s important to keep some things – about themselves, family members and friends – to themselves. Information like their full name, Social Security number, street address, phone number, and family financial information — like bank or credit card account numbers — is private and should stay that way. Tell them not to choose a screen name that gives away too much personal information.
  • Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child’s website. Some social networking sites have strong privacy settings. Show your child how to use these settings to limit who can view their online profile, and explain to them why this is important.
  • Explain that kids should post only information that you — and they — are comfortable with others seeing. Even if privacy settings are turned on, some — or even all — of your child’s profile may be seen by a broader audience than you’re comfortable with. Encourage your child to think about the language used in a blog, and to think before posting pictures and videos. Employers, college admissions officers, team coaches, and teachers may view your child’s postings. Even a kid’s screen name could make a difference. Encourage teens to think about the impression that screen names could make.
  • Remind your kids that once they post information online, they can’t take it back. Even if they delete the information from a site, older versions may exist on other people’s computers and be circulated online.
  • Know how your kids are getting online. More and more, kids are accessing the Internet through their cell phones. Find out about what limits you can place on your child’s cell phone. Some cellular companies have plans that limit downloads, Internet access, and texting; other plans allow kids to use those features only at certain times of day.
  • Talk to your kids about bullying. Online bullying can take many forms, from spreading rumors online and posting or forwarding private messages without the sender’s OK, to sending threatening messages. Tell your kids that the words they type and the images they post can have real-world consequences. They can make the target of the bullying feel bad, make the sender look bad – and, sometimes, can bring on punishment from the authorities. Encourage your kids to talk to you if they feel targeted by a bully.
  • Talk to your kids about avoiding sex talk online. Recent research shows that teens who don’t talk about sex with strangers online are less likely to come in contact with a predator.
    If you’re concerned that your child is engaging in risky online behavior, you can search the blog sites they visit to see what information they’re posting. Try searching by their name, nickname, school, hobbies, grade, or area where you live.
  • Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions. If they feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, encourage them to tell you. You can then help them report concerns to the police and to the social networking site. Most sites have links where users can immediately report abusive, suspicious, or inappropriate online behavior.
  • Read sites’ privacy policies. Spend some time with a site’s privacy policy, FAQs, and parent sections to understand its features and privacy controls. The site should spell out your rights as a parent to review and delete your child’s profile if your child is younger than 13.

A Few More Tips to Protect Pre-Teens

Many of the tips above apply for pre-teens, but parents of younger children also can:

  • Take extra steps to protect younger kids. Keep the computer in an open area like the kitchen or family room, so you can keep an eye on what your kids are doing online. Use the Internet with them to help develop safe surfing habits. Consider taking advantage of parental control features on some operating systems that let you manage your kids’ computer use, including what sites they can visit, whether they can download items, or what time of day they can be online.
  • Go where your kids go online. Sign up for – and use – the social networking spaces that your kids visit. Let them know that you’re there, and help teach them how to act as they socialize online.
  • Review your child’s friends list. You may want to limit your child’s online “friends” to people your child actually knows and is friendly with in real life.
  • Understand sites’ privacy policies. Sites should spell out your rights as a parent to review and delete your child’s profile if your child is younger than 13.