My bratty smartphone demands

Bratty demand #1
Shoulder surfing is prevalent enough in my own boring life that the shady behavior warrants deliberate methods of data concealment. I have yet to find an automated solution for hiding data during the simple action of waking up a smartphone (various manual swipe methods exist to deal with closing apps and some settings will hide things like alerts coming in – this is not what I am looking for).

No matter what, on wake up, my smartphone picks up right where I left off by displaying whatever the last thing was that I was working on. This is so convenient. However, this is a feature I can do without in certain settings. I want an automated feature I can turn off/on that forces the home screen to appear on wake up regardless of what I was working on before sleep mode engaged.

Bratty demand #2
Have you ever given a phone to someone so they could look at a photo and then the person swipes through all photos on your phone? Many complex solutions exist to deal with behavior like this ( However, I am interested in something a little more convenient and intuitive.

I want to bring a photo up on my smartphone and select a little padlock in the bottom corner of the photo. The photo remains on the screen so I can hand the phone to another person to view (the user is allowed to zoom). If the user attempts to swipe they are met with a password prompt. Bam!

I need all of this by Friday, if possible.

Thank you.

Am I being recorded? Probably not, maybe, wait, hmmmm…

Our homes, offices, purses and cars are filled with gadgets that make life more convenient and fun.  Unfortunately, with these new devices comes risk of privacy invasion in the form of being unknowingly monitored through a camera or microphone on a device.

If you want to protect your privacy, it is up to you to read the documentation that comes with any device you bring into your home or workspace so you fully understand what features are in the device and the potential consequences of using the device.  If you do not have documentation for your device, simply perform an Internet search on the name of your device (followed by the word “documentation”).  A few suggestions on how to handle various devices are outlined below.  There are many other methods of protecting your privacy so consider these suggestions a first step toward privacy and not complete solutions.


Install updates as they are released.  Put the device in a drawer, cell phone signal blocking case, or sound proof case when not in use.  Or, review the device documentation for instructions on how to disable the camera and microphone via the interface.  Don’t forget, most smart phones allow photos to be taken from either side of the device so if the device is hacked, there is no guarantee that a phone ‘face down’ on the counter is going to protect your privacy.


Keep anti-virus software up to date.  Install Windows updates as they are released.  Shut down or close your laptop when it is not in use.  If your laptop computer has a built in web cam or microphone (read the documentation to find out if it does), cover the web cam lens with a sticker to prevent unwanted recordings when the laptop is in use.

Disabling the microphone is a little trickier.  Mute the microphone in a way that is difficult, tedious, or impossible for the hacker to manipulate (like the sticker over the camera lens strategy – unless a hacker is in your house, that sticker is not coming off of the camera lens).  One example is disabling the microphone by plugging in a dummy microphone into the microphone port of the computer and disable the microphone through the system BIOS (you get into the BIOS normally by selecting F2 or F12 during boot up to Windows).


If your smart TV has a built in web cam or microphone (read the documentation to find out if it does), cover the camera lens with a sticker to prevent unwanted recordings when the smart TV is in use.   Read the documentation for your specific smart TV to determine how to disable the microphone.  If you are unable to locate instructions on how to disable the microphone, then simply hire an 80’s big hair band to stand next to you smart TV and sing night and day to drown out any confidential chatter going on in your home.


If you live in a home accessible by a person you do not know or trust (or was at one time accessible by a person you do not know or trust), change the locks when you move in.  Periodically search the interior and exterior for things like small cameras, wires, microphones or antennas (ex. pay close attention to areas around windows, behind mirrors, attics, and crawl spaces).

Unsupervised children on the internet = TROUBLE

Untitled-7Why unsupervised children are allowed to use smartphones (or any internet enabled device for that matter) is baffling to me.  I am even more perplexed as to why we often look to manufacturers to place parental controls on these devices.

Leaving a child alone to explore the internet is like setting him or her down in the middle of a city, whose population consists of nothing but the most horrid reflections of humanity, and just walking away so the little ones are all alone to flounder aimlessly among a vat of degenerates.  I certainly wouldn’t rely on a third party to try to control this sea of horror.

Unfortunately, for the vulnerable and naive, the Internet harbors a large number of suspect individuals who, for whatever reason, find great pleasure in attempting to destroy others while under the incorrect assumption of complete anonymity.  Interacting with such individuals can carry a heavy price as outlined in numerous studies regarding youth and the electronic world (here is one of many examples of such studies:

Plenty of smart people succeeded in life well before all of our fancy devices showed up so don’t worry that your child is going to suffer intellectually by having limitations on internet usage.

A few short examples of potential red flags:

  • For gaming systems:  many have chat features, cameras and microphones built in or they take advantage of cameras and microphones built into television units they connect to.  These systems are often a target by degenerates in an attempt to communicate with children.  Carefully review the documentation for your gaming system as well as any smart tv the system may be hooked up to so you understand potential points of risk.
  • For online games:  many have chat features, cameras and microphones built in or they take advantage of cameras and microphones built into the device accessing the online games (pc, laptop, smartphone).  Carefully review the features and rules of the online game community before allowing your child to participate while supervised.

Do you really want to give your child the power to broadcast statements to the entire world or to be able to interact with the entire world in ANY way? Adults can’t even handle this power, how can we expect children to even comprehend this type of power and the subsequent repercussions of such power?

Discuss the dangers of the internet world with your children just as you discuss the dangers of the non-internet world with them so they go in with their guard up and monitor their usage so your children can grow up to be fabulous contributors to the world:)

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