Digital Citizenship

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Teens and Breaks from Social Media – Forced VS. Unforced

It all used to be so simple: Break the rules, get grounded and be forbidden from hanging out with your friends. These days, of course, social media makes anywhere a teen hangout, and parents looking to ground their kids might choose to cut off access to social media instead. But that punishment might not have its desired effect — and could even have some harmful consequences for teenagers, according to a new study published recently.

Teens forced to take a break from social media lose more than just a few days gossiping with friends, according to the research funded conducted by the University of Chicago's independent research organization, NORC. “The side effect of  [a forced break] is taking away from potential emotional support and from access to information,” said Amanda Lenhart, the study's lead researcher and an expert on social media behavior. “That's not just what's happening in friends' lives, which is one component, but also hard news, current events and that type of information.”

There is no denying that grounding a child from social media makes an immediate impact, Lenhart says. But the survey suggests that it may have a more negative effect than parents realize. The 38 percent of teens who were forced to take a break were more likely to report being anxious about being away from social media and more likely to increase their social media postings after being allowed back on their networks. On the other hand, teens who opted to take voluntary breaks from social media — 65 percent of those surveyed — tend to handle the lack of constant contact with friends and the online world much better than teens who had it snatched away from them. Across the board, these teens were more likely to say they felt relieved about taking a break and thought the break helped them connect with important people in their lives.

Facebook Can Tell When Teens are Feeling Down and Out

Leaked documents from Facebook's team in Australia allegedly show the social giant's ability to identify teens who feel "worthless," "useless," "stressed," "silly," "stupid," and "defeated" and then, at least in one case, help advertisers to target ads to them. The leaked documents, the subject of an article in an Australian newspaper, also detailed how advertisers could use Facebook's algorithms to find teens who were interested in "working out and losing weight" and promote health products. Facebook's team in Australia was reportedly looking to capitalize on the 6.4 million teens that use the social network in their geographic region. Facebook denied the allegations and called the article's premise "misleading". 

"Facebook does not offer tools to target people based on their emotional state," the social network said in its official response on Sunday. "The analysis done by an Australian researcher was intended to help marketers understand how people express themselves on Facebook.” According to the response, the research results were never used to target ads and were based on data that was anonymous and aggregated. Critics, however, worry that the emotional state of those who use the social network may now become a new commodity to be bought and sold.

“Satisfying Videos” Are Trending

“Satisfying videos” are trending, and everyone is taking notice. Clips that feature “repetitive tasks, perfect patterns in motion or machinery processes being completed in slow motion, with relaxing music” are providing young people an escape from stress. These videos—which include things like paint mixing, slime squeezing, and cake icing—are only getting more popular online: over 265,000 posts on Instagram currently live under the hashtag #satisfyingvideos. Prism TV is one brand capitalizing on the trend, with a promotional video series that shows painters mixing colors together in slow motion.

Boy's Note About Video Game Class Goes Viral

A mother shared a picture of a note on Reddit online written by her 7-year-old son that has gone viral. The note suggested that his teachers wanted him to “stay up late playing video games.” The note, signed "the school," indicated the boy is performing poorly in "video game class." Both the boy’s mother and teacher appreciated the creativity of the fraudulent note!

Digital Citizenship 101

A recent EdTech article titled 3 Basic Digital Citizenship Standards All Educators Should Know and Teach, is a great read for both educators and parents. The article reminds adults that children look to them for media literacy tips, which is especially important in today’s news climate, with information posing as reliable not always being accurate. Parents and other significant adults also need to remind young people of the consequences of their digital actions and that a key part of digital etiquette is the understanding of copyright laws and plagiarism. In addition, both parents and students need to also understand the regulations that schools must follow to protect student data and privacy.

Digital Citizenship 101

A recent EdTech article titled 3 Basic Digital Citizenship Standards All Educators Should Know and Teach, is a great read for both educators and parents. The article reminds adults that children look to them for media literacy tips, which is especially important in today’s news climate, with information posing as reliable not always being accurate. Parents and other significant adults also need to remind young people of the consequences of their digital actions and that a key part of digital etiquette is the understanding of copyright laws and plagiarism. In addition, both parents and students need to also understand the regulations that schools must follow to protect student data and privacy.

Can An iPhone App Track You Even if You Delete It?

A NY Times article about Uber and its founder has revealed that the Uber app marks iPhones with persistent digital ID tags that remain even after users delete the app and wipe the phone. Although Uber claims the information collected has not been used for anything, there is still the question of whether or not apps can continue collecting information about you after it is deleted from the phone. The answer , according to an article on USA Today is neither yes nor no. The app downloads a “tag”, leaving behind a unique ID on an iPhone so the developer can recall the apps that were on it and the last Wi-Fi network the phone was logged onto. These marks are used to help a company prove that the phone belonged to an individual, says Joseph Jerome, privacy & data policy counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology. Apple plans to take up the issue in developer conferences in May and June and will work on setting new security policies.

If You See a Crime Being Committed on Facebook What Should You Do?

The recent murder video that was streamed on Facebook has brought up once again the scenario of what you should do if you see a crime being committed online. While no two situations are the same, there are some procedures you can follow if you do happen to see something. If you know where the crime is being committed, call 911. If the video appears on a site like Facebook, report the post by flagging it. Facebook and other companies monitor and check flagged content 24/7. Record the video on your phone to make a record of it. Some don’ts  - don’t share the video, and don’t contact the person committing the crime, as that could prompt them to delete the video.

Adding Some Zip to That iMessage

Have you received iMessages on your iPhone or iPad from your kids or other young people in your life and wonder how they add those special effects like confetti or balloons? Plenty of third-party apps are available for the major mobile platforms that allow you to add animations and other special effects to your text messages, but Apple includes some built-in tools in its iMessage app for iOS 10. While most of the special effects do not fully translate to Android or Windows-based phones, iMessages sent between iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users using the same software should be able to take full advantage of the animations, sound effects, stickers and other features included in the iOS 10 version. Need some step-by- step instructions? Try these.

Too Broad a Reach for the “Adpocalypse”?

Facebook, Google, YouTube and other social media sites recently took a lot of heat for running the ads of mainstream companies with videos that promoted hate speech or extreme racist and radical views. Now it appears that the pendulum has drifted to the other extreme, and the change in YouTube's algorithm affecting display ads has been dubbed "the adpocalypse" by small, independent creators of YouTube content who have been swept up unfairly in the changes and are reporting significant revenue losses. The updates are meant to prevent ads from displaying near extremism and hate speech, but have affected shows on topics including video games, progressive and conservative commentary, and the military.

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