Digital Devices

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Why is Working on a Computer All Day So Exhausting?

It is uncertain why working on a computer all day long is so physically exhausting, although studies point to a couple of possibilities, writes Brian Resnick for Vox. One hypothesis is that the mental energy used sitting still in front of a computer has a draining effect on our bodies. Another theory suggests that tension caused by being drawn to the things we want to do (scrolling Instagram or reading blogs, for instance), rather than the things we have to do could is the cause of fatigue, and could very well explain the struggle of trying to get homework done!

Should You Digitally Track Your Teen?

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that while most parents don’t track the locations of their 13- to 17-year-olds, a full 16 percent do. Where do you stand on the issue? Before you make up your mind, you might want to read an article from The New York Times Family section entitled Should You Track Your Teen’s Location? that poses an interesting question: how do you learn to take care of yourself if you know someone else is always watching?

Another Approach – Issuing Tickets To Kids for Cellphone Use At

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a Wisconsin school district is seeking a village ordinance to issue citations to students who violate its cellphone policy a third time. Across the country, school districts have a mix of policies that include outright bans on campus to allowing phones in the classroom for schoolwork on a classroom by classroom basis. What policy does you school district follow? Do you and your kids think a policy like being given a ticket and facing a fine would be successful in curbing cellphones at school?

Google Glass Help Autistic Kids

It has been a while since Google Glasses have been in the news. While they never quite made out to become the newest social trend, they are helping some children with autism better understand facial expressions, according to findings published in npj Digital Medicine. Children use a smartphone app that works with the Google Glass headset and it gives the wearer information on what emotions other people are expressing. Researchers say the social skills of study participants improved after about 10 weeks of treatment.

Possible Link Between Screen Time and ADHD

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that too much screen time may boost teens' risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, according to a study of 2,587 10th-graders in Los Angeles. Findings show that students in the study who were high frequency users of 7 or 14 digital media platforms were more than twice as likely to develop ADHD symptoms as students who didn't have a high frequency use rate of any of the online social activities.

Flick and Tricks on an iPad

Been having trouble typing on an iPad recently with different characters than the ones you thought you pressed showing up? Apple’s current iOS 11 update for the iPad includes a new feature in the system’s built-in software keyboard called Key Flicks — which may be inadvertently disrupting your text entry. With Key Flicks enabled, most of the onscreen keys can enter different characters depending on how your fingers touch the glass.

The alternate characters for each key are shown in gray above the larger black standard letter or punctuation marks. If you tap the T key normally, you get the letter T. However, if you tap the T key and your finger happens to linger and slide down a bit, the Key Flicks software will use the alternate character for that key — which is the number 5.

Want to turn it off and return to what it was like before? Go to the iPad’s home screen and open the Settings app. Tap General, and on the General screen tap Keyboard. In the list of settings, find Enable Key Flicks and tap the button to the right of it to disable the feature and go back to using the multiple keyboard levels to insert numbers and other characters.

It’s Epic!

For less than the price of a Netflix monthly subscription, you can get access to Epic!, a digital library for children 12 and younger. They offer 25,000 premium books (some including audio), educational videos and quizzes. Epic! is a great place to let kids look for books based on their needs and interests. Better yet, Epic! is free to elementary school teachers and librarians and you can try for a month for free.

Use of Recording Devices By Students in Schools in Question

The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is expected to take up a case regarding a Maine student's right to carry an audio-recording device in school. The student in question has autism and a neurological syndrome that affects his speech and he cannot talk to his parents about his school day so the family is fighting for the right for him to carry an “always on” recording device to ensure he is being properly treated during the school day. In other states, parents of special education students have secretly placed audio recorders on their children to expose abuse, which have led to firings or settlements. Opponents say though that this raises serious privacy concerns for other students and that it would actually be “disruptive and detrimental” to his education.


Especially now that every cell phone has a recording option, you may be wondering is it legal for a student to record a teacher? That may depend on whether you live in a one party or two party consent state. While federal law allows for recordings as long as one party to the conversation consents (known as "one-party consent"), several states have stricter recording laws. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington all require every party to a conversation to consent to recording (known as "two-party consent"). Most states make illegal recordings a felony. For instance Florida's wiretap law makes illegal recordings a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If you live in a one-party consent state, you (or your children) are probably OK recording a teacher or professor as long as you are present in the class, since you're a party to the conversation and by your action have given your consent to be recording. If you're in a two-party consent state, or are placing a secret recorder on your child, things may get a little trickier. Of course the easiest way to get around the issue may be to let everyone know you are recording, but as these parents in Maine are finding out even that may not satisfy everyone. If you or your children are thinking of doing any kind of recording at school or at college, be sure to check with the institution first.

The Greener Choice: An eReader

If you are on the fence about whether to stop buying paper books and go with digital versions instead, one of your considerations might be the environmental impact of buying paper. While many publishers are moving towards sustainably sourced paper, there are two greener directions you might decide to go. Joining a library or getting an eReader can both help the environment and unclutter your life. Some advantages of eReaders include being able to read in the dark, no storage room needed, and access to independent authors you may have never heard about before.

Setting a Cell Phone Policy – Schools and Classrooms

With kids getting cell phones at younger and younger ages (10 is now the average), schools are struggling to catch up on establishing proactive policies about when and how the devices can be used. If your school is working on these policies, or if you are interested in how teachers are handling the situation in other schools, check out 3 Tips for Managing Phone Use in Class. While this article is written for teachers, parents may also find it useful in setting up a policy for home, using the questions posed for starting a dialogue about cell phone use.