Digital Citizenship

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Living Life Without Filters

“If Beyoncé thinks her body needs to be edited, what on Earth does mine need?” writes teenager Sarah Kendrick in a commentary on the KQED site (a National Public Radio/ Public Broadcasting System affiliate). As Kendrick points out, it takes courage to buck the pressures of social media and post real, unaltered, “unPhotoshopped” images of oneself online. She goes on to challenge other teens to ditch image-editing tools and embrace the beauty of their imperfect, natural selves.

“Picting” May be the New Literacy

"Picting" – the usage of image-based materials - is the new literacy for today's students, assert professors Cathie Norris and Elliot Soloway in a recent blog post. In the post they examine how social media's reliance on images and the amount of time youths spend on social media is changing literacy and that it is something that parents, teachers and even employers need to pay attention to. Students spend much more of their time outside of school using and communicating with pictures than text. Popular social media applications for youth, such as SnapChat and Instagram, are primarily photo-based, so this begs the question: will pictures really come to be worth a thousand words?

Gender Stereotypes about Coding Ability Start Very Early

A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology found that experience with programming robots can make young girls more interested in technology and more confident in their abilities in related subjects, however programming experience did not diminish girls' gendered stereotypes about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ability. The first graders in the study, girls and boys alike, thought that boys were better at programming and robots.

This is the first study to find that children as young as age six have stereotypes about programming and robotics ability, wrote the researchers. It was surprising to see that gendered stereotypes about programming took hold so early, noted Allison Master, a research scientist at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington and the lead researcher of the study. She also mentioned that these attitudes are part of a well-established and much larger trend of thinking in society.

Incorporating Digital Citizenship into School Technology Programs – Some Ideas

As children are now allowed more and more to bring their own digital devices into their classrooms, David Anrade, a K-12 strategy specialist, writes that it is increasingly important that students receive lessons on digital citizenship. Anrade says that when giving your child a device, it is your duty as a parent to teach them how to use it responsibly and discuss the risks associated with how he or she uses it to communicate with the world. Children can be bullied, victimized, scammed or led to disclose personal information through the web. In fact, the Cyberbullying Research Center reports that one of every four teens has experienced bullying while online.

Incorporating Digital Citizenship into School Technology Programs – Some Ideas

As children are now allowed more and more to bring their own digital devices into their classrooms, David Anrade, a K-12 strategy specialist, writes that it is increasingly important that students receive lessons on digital citizenship. Anrade says that when giving your child a device, it is your duty as a parent to teach them how to use it responsibly and discuss the risks associated with how he or she uses it to communicate with the world. Children can be bullied, victimized, scammed or led to disclose personal information through the web. In fact, the Cyberbullying Research Center reports that one of every four teens has experienced bullying while online.

Khan Academy, College Board Offer Free SAT Prep

Students now have access to free SAT coaching through a partnership between the Khan Academy and the College Board. The College Board recently reported that students who used the program gained on average 55 points over students who did not use the program. There are no rigorous, recent studies of test gains made by students who took a for-a-fee test prep courses outside the College Board program, but this free option may be a good alternative for those who do not want to pay for prep courses.

Bullying Tied to Adverse Health Issues

A study in the journal Pediatrics found that youths who were bullied in fifth grade had a higher risk of developing depression symptoms by seventh grade, and of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana abuse by 10th grade, compared with peers who weren't bullied. The findings were based on 2004 to 2011 data involving nearly 4,300 children in Birmingham, Alabama, Los Angeles and Houston.

Students Suspended for Liking Instagram Posts

Four students in California are suing their school district after they were suspended for "liking" racist posts on Instagram. At issue is whether the action infringed on students' free-speech rights since the responses to the posts were input off campus. Schools have broad authority under federal law to limit speech at school that they consider disruptive, according to First Amendment scholars, but courts have disagreed about whether schools can punish students for off-campus speech that causes disruptions at school. As critics also point out about this generation, “Likes” are ambiguous and could signify agreement, but also just as likely, disagreement, with a nod to the right to speak freely, making this yet another topic to discuss with your children.

Are You Ready for Video Chat Drop-ins?

Are you ready for Grandma to drop in unexpectedly by video? The ability to do just that is a feature of Amazon’s newest “Alexa” system device called Echo Show. Echo Show boasts a 7-inch touchscreen where your “whitelisted” guests can drop by at any given time. Fortunately there are privacy protections, such as setting a list of contacts you are willing to accept video visits from, and the fact that there is a 10 second delay before an video starts, giving you a chance to prepare before the unexpected guest drops in. Perhaps we are finally getting a bit closer to The Jetsons after all?

Screen Time May be Tied To Infant and Toddler Speech Delays

Mobile devices are so common these days it is not unusual to own more than one, and it can be extremely tempting to hand one of them off to a squirmy infant or toddler to help amuse them. According to a new Canadian study though, children ages 6 months to 2 years whose parents reported increased use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games were more likely to have expressive speech delays. In fact, each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time was tied to 49% higher odds of developing speech delays. On the positive side, the findings showed that handheld-device use wasn't associated with other communication delays such as social interaction, gestures or body language.

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