Protect your child in the era of Blue Whale

The answer to this big question on our minds can be simple if we want it to be. As a mother of two boys still in their pre-teen years, it is a big concern shifting my heart every day, with everything that they do.It is estimated that so far the game has claimed 130 lives across Russia and other central Asian countries where it has gained notoriety. That should give us a clue into the disturbing implications of this game.

What is Blue Whale?

Generated online, this game comprises ‘guides’ and ‘participants’. This guide gives 50 sinister tasks to the participant such as watching a horror film at wee hours of the morning or writing something on their arm with a sharp knife. The participant then comes back with proof—generally in the form of photographs—that they have completed the task. The 50th and the final task is to commit suicide by jumping off a high building.

The Central government of India has already directed internet companies like Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Yahoo to remove all links to the challenge and take off material that is connected to the challenge.The creator of this game, I don’t wish to name him and make him a hero, is a Russian who is now behind bars.

What gives me hope is that this phenomenon is not as pervasive as is being perceived in media reports.First thing’s first, the news that these kids indeed committed suicide following a Blue Whale Challenge is not corroborated yet. Let’s take the case of the boy from Calcutta, who is believed to have taken this challenge. Bharati Ghosh, superintendent of police in West Midnapore has said: “Ankan Dey did not take the Blue Whale Challenge… The boy did not have a smart phone. He surfed the internet quite often from a computer in his father’s shop. We have examined all his online interactions and reached the conclusion that he did not take any such challenge.”

Many reports that mistook this for a death related to Blue Whale based it on statements from some friends, who said that he was fond of video games. Ghosh said that many friends told the police that he was fond of video games but they hadn’t even heard of the Blue Whale Challenge.

At the same time, there is no denying that some cases—particularly of the boy from Mumbai who committed suicide by jumping from the terrace of a 7-floor building in Andheri and of the Class 7 student from Indore in Madhya Pradesh who was rescued by a teacher—seem to have a connection with the Blue Whale Challenge. It has been reported the survivor confessed to his principal that he tried to jump off the building to complete the challenge.Note that these claims are not completely verified by the individuals or the authorities as well.

What you need to know

Whether this game is on or not, it is always important to maintain some security for your children when they are accessing content online. We’ll take you through a quick guide on how to do that.

Parental controls on gadgets and regular emotional contact with children can help you to keep away from a menace like the Blue Whale Challenge. All browsers, apps, websites and internet service providers these days have parental controls. Make sure to use them. They help you to disable access to harmful content for your children.

Let’s see this QuickHeal antivirus I have downloaded on my child’s computer.

Quick heal

  1. Go to Parental Control

Parental Control


  1. Select All Users for a child’s computer. If you want your child to use your computer, set it for Specific Users
  2. Click on Not Configured

Quick heal parental control


4. This will give you options of what you want to control.

Quick heal parental control

  1. For Internet Browsing, you can control access to some categories

Quick heal


Mark Deny for categories you don’t want to provide access to. Mark Allow for categories you want to allow access. Select ok.

6. You can also control access to particular websites:

Quick heal


  1. Select ok.

Most anti-virus software and applications follow a similar format.

Remember, apart from launching such controls, there are many other things parents can do to help their child stay physically and mentally healthy. Firstly, it is a good idea to limit the screen time for your children.Monitor their online activities from time to time so you know what they are watching.

Paying attention to your child should become a habit. Give them your complete attention at least 1 hour in the day.And most importantly, give them unconditional love.

Have some ideas on how to provide security to your children while they surf? Tell us in the comments below.

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Twitter ‘Night Mode’ Soon on Desktop Screens

Last year, when Twitter introduced the ‘Night Mode’feature for its mobile app, people just could not stop gushing about how much they liked it. Now, the company is introducing this ‘Night Mode’ option to its desktop website. Some fortunate users are already enjoying the feature, which is yet to be rolled out to large masses.

How does it work?

Clicking on the profile picture on the top right side will display a menu containing ‘Night Mode’ option. Clicking on ‘Night Mode’ will turn your Twitter screens dark. As of now, the feature is only available to few Twitter users for testing. It is not clear when this feature will be available officially. However, Twitter users are already excited about the new desktop feature that is easier on the eyes. The Night Mode feature will allow you to tweet in a night-friendly mode. It has a relaxing influence on the users. Some find the site much better in Night Mode on their mobile devices. Last year, the new feature was introduced for iOS and Android devices. Some users say Night Mode on their mobiles is encouraging them to use the Twitter app more frequently on their mobile.

What do we expect?

The Night Mode feature on Twitter is giving users a chance to enjoy the social networking site in a different color theme. If you are bored with existing Twitter appearance, try the new Night Mode feature and see the magic. But, for now, the feature is only available on mobile apps. What’s more, the new feature will help users avoid strain to their eyes by shifting to Night Mode that is easier to the eyes. By clicking on the ‘Night Mode’ on your desktop screen will replace the white screens areas with a dark gray screen. The Night Mode feature can be found by clicking on the profile picture. After you click, you will find an option at the bottom of the pop-up list.… Read the rest

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Microsoft Paint Isn’t Going Anywhere

If you have grown up with Microsoft Paint as a rescue to all creative worries, Monday must have looked like a black day in history. The cyber world went into a tizzy Monday morning over news that Microsoft would be phasing out 32-year-old Paint application. Many of us were wondering, why would Microsoft take away our favourite doodling app? The news was based on a Microsoft Monday report that placed Paint in the ‘deprecated’ column of the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

microsoft paint on windows app storeThe good news is that our worries were short lived. Microsoft has been quick to clarify that we were all jumping the gun. In a blog post, the Redmond-based technology giant said that Paint is “here to stay”. Although the app will move away from Windows 10, it will be available on the Windows Store. Users will be able to download the app whenever they want.

Paint has been part of Windows for 32 years, turning into a basic tool that everyone relied on. For many of us, it was the first app you learnt. So when news of a possible demise started making the rounds, it put all fans in a tizzy.

Clearing all the worry in the air, the Microsoft blog said, “Today, we’ve seen an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia around MS Paint. If there’s anything we learned, it’s that after 32 years, MS Paint has a lot of fans. It’s been amazing to see so much love for our trusty old app.”


Was Paint the first app you rintroduced to your toddlers? I haven’t done it yet but it’s definiltey going to my weekend task. Just to make sure they are part of the original Windows era!


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All That Glitters is Rose Gold

When Apple launched its Rose Gold Apple Watch priced at $ 10,000 plus, a new colour trend came into being. Warmer than white gold and cooler than yellow gold rose gold is a fancy name for something that is little more than a pale metallic pink. ‘Rose’ gold sounds ~dainty~ and ~fancy~; a step above gold and pink.

According to a writer for the New Yorker, “rose gold is warm and flush—what yellow gold would look like if it suddenly suffered an embarrassment.”

Rose gold gadgets have been around for a long time. Samsung came out with the Galaxy Note 3 in 2014, with a gilded rose gold edge. Back in 2003, Motorola offered a pink Razr but called pink instead of rose gold. There are the Huawei Watch and the Mate S smartphone in rose gold. Samsung has a rose gold Gear S2 smartwatch and the Galaxy S7 in ‘pink’ is pretty much rose gold too.

But it was after the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6S in Rose Gold, followed by the iPad 3, MacBook and the Beats by Dre Headphones- all in a charming Rose Gold colour – the trend really took off.

Here are the latest rose gold-tinted gadgets from the rose-tinted world of technology that charges a lot more money for a change of colour:

  1. Apple iPhone 7

i phone 7 rose gold


With a wonderful 5.5-inch retina HD display, responsive 3D touch,2 rear facing 12-megapixel cameras, 4K video and a re-engineered enclosure that makes it the very first water-resistant iPhone, iPhone 7 plus offers an enhanced user experience, bolstered by the 64-bit A10 Fusion chip that offers a faster CPU performance.

It comes in 3 variants: 32GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Price: Starts at INR 67,000 (Feel free to look out for online discounts!)

2. Apple MacBook


Source: AnandTech

Sixth generation dual-core Intel Core M processors, a Turbo Boost feature that gives 3.1 GHz of processing, an 1866 MHz memory, new Intel HD Graphics 515 and faster flash storage bumped with better battery life on a 12-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display is what the latest MacBook offers.

Price: Starts at INR 106,900

3. Beats by Dre Solo2 Wireless




Offering up to 30 feet of wireless listening, 12-hour rechargeable battery, an ear cup padding that buffers outside noise and a durable, compact folding design for easy portability the Beats Solo2 Wireless headphones offer a wonderful experience.

Price: INR20033

4. MI In-Ear Headphones Rose Gold

MI In-Ear Headphones Rose Gold


To satisfy the lust for rose gold earphones, try the MI In-Ear plugs by Xiaomi. These are classy and go with your other rose gold accessories. Don’t miss the really sophisticated box that comes with it.

Price: INR2000 (approx.)

5. Unitek Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Unitek Portable Bluetooth Speaker

With its roundish rose gold aluminium unibody with Bluetooth 2.1, up to 3.5 hours of playtime, built in micro phone hands free function, auto-scan FM radio, 3W speaker with enhanced bass and a micro USB cable that acts as an antennae, this little wireless speaker packs a punch and matches all the rose coloured gadgets you may have.

Keeping in tune with the trend, it should be mentioned that the world of rose gold gadgets expands to rose gold charging cables, electric toothbrushes, clip-on phone cameras and watches. One could also simply purchase some of the gazillion covers available in this colour till another colour (metallic anything) becomes the next big thing.

Price: INR3000 (approx.)… Read the rest

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Why Was Google Slapped With a$2.7 billion Fine?

Google fine

You know what they say about monopoly—it is business at the end of its journey. To think of Google here would sound exaggerated right now. However, there have been many cases recently where Google has been warned for misusing its position in the search market. Global economic forums and anti-trust agencies are keeping a close eye on their activities to prevent a global technology giant from creating ripples in the market.

Recently, the European Union’s competition commission slapped Google with a $2.7 billion antitrust fine, inquiries while blaming the popular search engine for giving out false shopping results. Google is being criticised for promoting its own shopping comparison higher than others.

European Commission first reported the matter to Google in 2015. It studied 1.2 Billi inquiries before arriving on the decision that Google was unfairly manipulating shopping results. There were hundreds of companies that complained about Google for displaying its shopping services inappropriately.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestages called it an abuse and illegal under European antitrust laws. According to European Competition Commission guidelines, Google should be unbiased and treat its rival services equal to its own when comparing prices.

In support of the internet giant, Google General Counsel Kent Walker said that Google’s shopping comparison is a service provided to customers. He explained his point using the example of Puma shoes that has links to five different European retailers.“Our data shows that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches,” said Walker. Clearly, Google completely disagrees with the fine imposed by the EU antitrust.

The search engine giant can appeal this decision to the bloc’s highest courts and they have 90 days to take any action. It can either try to end the conduct or pay the penalty amount, which accounts for up to 5% of the company’s average daily global revenue. Google has been asked to ensure that it complies with the EU antitrust guidelines and finds ways to implement the decision.

This is not the first time that Google is accused of an anticompetitive activity. In past, it was reported that Google has promoted its apps and services unfairly to suppress competition of Android devices.

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In a spin over fidget spinners

Till sometime back, you would have been reprimanded for being fidgety.Currently, a restless nature is trending and help is available at your fingertips. Or that’s how the marketers of fidget spinners would like us to believe.

It’s unlikely you haven’t heard of fidget spinners until now. It is has been reported as the biggest gadget trend of 2017 and we are just half way through the year.In fact, Amazon has listed it as one of the top-selling products under its ‘Toys & Games’ category.

For the uninitiated, a fidget spinner is essentially a toy/gadget that doesn’t require technology or batteries to run. It has three spokes along with an inline skate and ball bearings that make it a spin. Extremely popular across age groups –school children form a major chunk of users – it’s easy to use, cheap to buy and portable. Promoted as a fun way to beat stress and restlessness, fidget spinners have gained a steady fan following. There’s even a Fidget Spinner Association that is looking to host a championship in September.YouTube has enough videos gone viral that prove the gadget’s popularity.

Take a look at this:

Now here’s the not so good part about what seems like a harmless toy. Parents across the world and health experts are raising concerns about the safety of fidget spinners and its repercussions on mental health. New videos about children taking the spinners to school and cases of addiction of the gadget have surfaced. Some schools have even banned the toy.

In some cases, new versions of the spinner have caused injury. The spinners with lithium button batteries also have small parts which pose a choking hazard. The toys are now being called ‘dodgy’. So can fidget spinners help with attention and anxiety, as claimed by those who make them?

“The jury is still out on whether a fidget spinner is simply a toy or a gadget that can eliminate anxiety in children and adults, and even help those with ADD or ADHD focus,” Claudia Swartzberg, chief executive of Top Dog Education was quoted in a news report. “While many are claiming they aid mental focus, there’s no science that supports the notion they have therapeutic properties. However, even though there is no data to show that fidget spinners are beneficial rather than being fun, teachers, many parents, and learners claim they’re helping their mental focus in and outside the classroom,” Swartzberg was stated as saying. In an interview that appeared on, Dr. John L. Bender, a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians says, “It would not be proper to claim that there was a level of evidence comparable to a full scientific study to base such a claim.”… Read the rest

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The New Snapchat Update Has Parents in a Tizzy


Picture source: Netsafe

Almost every few days, Snapchat rolls out a new fun filter for users to play around and click photos with. You could be a furry Koala one day, a ferocious looking gorilla or a cute puppy the next. It’s mostly harmless fun with your friends and those who follow you.

But the newest update to Snapchat has parents worried. Snap Map, the new addition to the App, lets friends and anyone who follows you see your location. “You can share your locations with each other so you can see where they’re at and what’s going on around them,” reads the official update.

It’s this sharing of location that has raised security concerns among parents.

The main concern is that once a story is shared in the ‘Our Story’ option in Snapchat, anyone anywhere can see the location of those in the story. It’s like everyone’s watching every step you take. It comes as little surprise that many concerned parents and adults have shown their dislike for the feature by posting views using the hashtag ‘stalking’ (#stalking).

Even though Snapchat recommends adult users, the App enjoys huge popularity among pre-teens and teenagers. According to a news site, parents have concerns that if children added a potential predator, bully, or other undesirable people to their friend list, they could be easily located.

“Given how specific this new feature is on Snapchat – giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person,” said child safety group Childnet International in a post on their site. It went on to issue a safety alert saying, “It is important to be careful about who you share your location with, as it can allow people to build up a picture of where you live, go to school and spend your time.”

But in their defense, Snap Chat lists out that “only the people you choose can see your location — so if you’re friends with your boss, you can still keep your location on the down low during a ‘sick day’.”With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional.

How to be safe?

We live in unpredictable times. With social media penetration on the rise, especially among children, here are some safety guidelines you could get your child to keep in mind when using Snap Map, courtesy Internet safety website

  • Location setting: Consider using the Ghost Mode or selecting close friends, this will give you more control over who can see you. If you choose the Friends setting – Ensure you review your friend list. Do not share your location with people you do not know in real life.
  • Location-sharing services can give other users a clear picture of the places you regularly visit (home, school, etc.). Consider whether this is information you want to share with others.
  • If you choose to share a story using the ‘Our Story’ feature anyone can view that story regardless of what sharing setting you choose for Snap Map. Consider how much information you want people to see.

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Ringing in a Power-Packed Comeback with Nokia 3

Nokia 3, latest technology news, tech news, smartphone reviews, latest smartphones

Who doesn’t remember the boxy-looking but extremely durable early phone models from Nokia? In fact, didn’t we all flaunt it at one point in time?One of the best-remembered features of a Nokia phone was its power backup. You could go for days, well, at least more than a day, without having to plug in the charger. That’s unlikely today, where power banks and fast-chargers sell as much as smartphones.

The earlier models of Nokia, released in early 2000 and the next couple of years, were bestsellers. Nokia was a game changer and ruled the mobile industry for more than a decade. But in recent years, new brands and Android phones took over the market, phasing Nokia phones out.

The return with Android

Well, it seems the hiatus wasn’t for long. Earlier this year, Nokia announced that it’s set for a comeback.It isn’t going to be easy as the company has to now face rising competitors, price conscious buyers and live up to expectations. This is a huge risk on the part of the company but Nokia has accepted the challenge of reinventing themselves to join the new mobile league. But this is the age of the smartphone. Will new Nokia smartphones have what it takes to make once-upon-a-time users sit up and take notice? We decided to test out the newly launched Nokia 3 to get an idea.Nokia has re-launched with HMD Global, a Finnish company which has launched Nokia 3 at an affordable price of Rs. 9,499.

What’s so special about Nokia 3?

At first glance, Nokia 3 seems impressive with its high-quality polycarbonate back which comes with a matte finish look and detracting fingerprint facility.

Nokia seems to have spent a good time learning about smartphones in the last few years and has even launched a series of tablets. Nokia 3 is the first phone in the smartphone category and it hit the shelves earlier this month. It comes with a 5-inch HD screen for a good display, which gives crystal clear images and good visibility. It will be fun to watch movies, videos and click pictures with the Nokia 3. Its 8 MP front and rear camera and 16GB storage will make sure you never run out of space for your selfies. The phone offers inbuilt apps on beauty, Twitter, Facebook and low-intensity games, which should make it more lucrative for customers. It has an inbuilt memory and a 2,650mAh non-removable battery inside which is good enough to last for a day without charging.

The phone also offers the provision of a microSD slot to expand its internal space by another 128GB. Like most of the smartphones available these days, it supports 4G connectivity making it a good choice for consumers who are glued to the internet 24/7.

So what is our take?

Nokia 3 gives us numerous reasons to bring it home. It’s packed with good features, boasts of easy accessibility and high battery backup. Along with that, there is good storage and the best part is its smart pricing. The price will give it an edge over other leading brands in the market. We also really liked the way it looks. We tried the multimedia on the Nokia 3 and here’s what we found – the loudspeaker can handle high volumes but is not very loud.But overall, this phone has all the qualities and features required in a Gen Next smartphone. If the battery lasts as long as it promises to, this would be a winning comeback by the manufacturer.

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Radio Hopping in Virtual Garden

Radio garden, tech news, latest technolgy

Picture this. It’s late in the night and you are tossing and turning in bed, trying hard, very hard to get to sleep. You have exhausted your song playlist and can’t fathom switching on the television for some late-night viewing. You reach for your phone. A message pops up‘You don’t want to miss this’ it reads along with a link to what seems like a radio station. Only this is no ordinary Internet radio station. It’s nearly 8,000 of them. From across the world.Welcome to Radio.Garden.

Hey, what garden?

Firstly, Radio.Garden is not an Internet radio station. It is a website with links to radio stations across countries, cities, genres, languages, all just a click (truly just one click) away.Designed by Amsterdam-based Studio Puckey, Radio.Garden lets anyone, anywhere in the world tune into a radio station at any point in time for a live feed.

How does it work?

Radio garden, tech news, latest technology

Log on to the site and the first thing you see is a 3D globe (Google Earth interface), which in a few seconds gets covered with tiny green spots. There are no names marking the countries or cities. A tiny pointer lets you glide over the world and as you rest it on any of the green spots, it tells you the name of the city and country you have reached and the radio stations you can tune into.One minute you could be listening to Celtic music from Glasgow and a few minutes later, be plugged into ghazals from Karachi or enjoying classic country numbers playing out from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Why are we gushing over it?

We have to admit, it has us hooked. The number one reason is easy accessibility. The interface is very easy to use and there are no long sign-ins required (not just yet). You don’t need to download an app or register to use the service. Heck, you don’t even need earphones to get the radio on.Though it will definitely help if you have them on while listening to a popular talk show streaming out of North America. Also if you were good at geography lessons, you won’t take long to zero down on your favourite place on the planet. Finding Boston on the map took us a while.

Nevertheless, it’s good fun to place the pointer anywhere in the world and be surprised with what’s playing. Hop across continents and find your favourites. There’s also an interesting history section on the site that plays out a compilation of sounds from a particular place recorded a decade ago. We tried Kolkata and it took us to 1986 with sounds of a Durga Puja, hawkers and street noises coming through.A delight to hear. Are you ready to tune into the world?… Read the rest

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Hackers Dine on Zomato

Online restaurant and food joint aggregator Zomato had indeed hit the jackpot of being Hackers dine on Zomatothe first company with over 120 million visitors every month. The company has been protecting the personal information of its users diligently till recently. A security recently breach of the company’s systems resulted in a theft of their user database as 17 million user records were stolen.

The Delhi-based company claims that the passwords were hashed that means it cannot be converted easily by the hackers. In an official blog, the company has also explained that it has logged all users out of its website and app as a precaution. Emails have been sent to affected users urging them to change their passwords to be on the safer side. In the same blog, Zomato has also assured that financial data and credit card information of users has been fully secured.

A report stated that a web vendor under the pseudonym “nclay” had taken the responsibility for the hack. Further investigations into the matter suggested that the hacker has provided exact details of stealing of the data which shows loopholes in the company’s security system.

Zomato’s founder Deepinder Goyal tweeted that most of the people use their Facebook and Google accounts to log in to Zomato. So, they are not at much risk as they don’t have passwords for these accounts. However, he assured users that the company will be enhancing and focusing on its security measures and will do everything in the interest of the users.

Ransomware is an act of encrypting files from a victim computer and prohibiting access until the user pays an amount of money demanded by a hacker. There have been several cases of ransomware experienced in the past. The most disruptive ransomware named WannaCrypt popularly called Wcry severely hit dozens 74 countries including India affecting more than 45,000 computers in many enterprises that include IT organizations, ATMs, universities, hospitals, railway station networks.

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