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YouTube Moving All Kids Content to YouTube Kids

Here is a move you may want to keep an eye on.

Facebook Wants To Be Regulated

In the wake of the revelations about the foreign infiltration of Facebook during the 2016 US election, Facebook itself is calling for government regulation. Of course we should not be surprised that they would also like to be part of making up the rules. Or at least that is what Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told an audience recently in Europe, where new laws govern companies that collect, store or process large amounts of information on residents of the European Union, requiring more openness about what data they have and who they share it with.

Social Media Alerts Stress Young People

Keeping up with a constant stream of social media notifications on their phones is one of the main drivers of stress among students, reports The Associated Press. Some schools are taking steps to help reduce students' stress and anxiety, such as  engaging students in mindfulness activities, hiring outside firms to scan social media for signs that students might need additional support, and encouraging “unplugging” from devices. One teacher says he has seen a profound shift toward constant self-evaluation in the past 30 years that he’s been teaching, and he associates that with social media. He sees students constantly checking their Instagram, SnapChat, and even school grade portals – all outside forces students have never before had to manage.

What Happens at School to the Data Collected on Students?

Are you curious at all about what happens to the data collected about your children at school? Leadership coach Andrew Knips says in a recent article of Edutopia online that two things schools should factor in is students' culture and identity. In his blog post, he shares six strategies to help support more equitable data analysis, including steps schools should take to address implicit bias not only about culture and identity, but gender and disabilities as well. This is a very interesting take on how to use data to make our schools more equitable.

Advertisers Spending A Billion on Digital Kid-Centric Advertising

According to Adweek, advertisers will be putting more than $1 billion in the global market for child-centric ads. Privacy concerns have been voiced because of the data collected on the youngest users, even with laws on the books against such collection. Video-on-demand platforms like YouTube Kids and social media are big draws for media buyers targeting digitally-savvy children.

YouTube Using a Questionable “Work Around” For Their Algorithm Problem

What is YouTube doing about the recently revealed research that found that YouTube’s algorithms could potentially be jeopardizing the safety of children? To avoid limiting the volume of content uploaded to YouTube (which would happen if every video was manually reviewed), they’re opting instead to tighten parental controls on YouTube Kids—the only place under-13-year-olds are ever supposed to be. Their solution is to hand parents the reins, letting them go so far as disabling search and only displaying videos they’ve personally approved, which essentially means is all they have done is put the onus back on parents to protect the postings of their children.

Researchers Find Concern with YouTube’s Algorithms

Imagine your 10 year-old posts a video on YouTube of her and a girlfriend playing innocently in the backyard pool, but weeks later you find the video has gotten thousands of unsolicited views. Should you be concerned? Yes, say experts who have recently revealed new research that found that YouTube’s algorithms (the mathematics that drives their search feature) has been connecting people who have been watching sexually explicit material to innocuous videos of prepubescent children at play.

This recent research should serve as a reminder to parents that there is the option to privately share videos on YouTube, to watch carefully what you let your children post online (if you let them post at all), and to restrict what you post to things that you would not mind the whole world viewing. This new development is also sure to add to the pressure on Silicon Valley by lawmakers in Washington to pay more attention to privacy concerns.

What’s Your Cyberhygiene Quotient?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks insight into how many state and local governments are faring with cybersecurity, says DHS official Rick Driggers in a recent interview covered in the online publication StateScoop. “We need to make sure state and local employees, federal employees and, quite frankly, the nation at large understands basic, simple cyber hygiene," Driggers says. Cyber Hygiene is the actions you take to monitor your cybersecurity or digital safety on a regular or routine basis. Norton Antivirus provides 9 great steps you can take to ensure your cyber hygiene is the best it can be.

 

Questions Raised About ‘Personalized Learning’

T.H.E. Journal has reviewed a recent report from the National Education Policy Center about the expansion of Personalized Learning in classrooms around the country. This practice of implementing a digital curriculum that students work through (typically on their own) has been pushed by education-technology vendors and philanthropies, among others. The report questions the efficacy of these initiatives, recommending schools establish independent entities that can supervise the programs to ensure students are actually mastering the material they are studying and that their data is being kept private. Is your district involved in the personalized learning movement?

 

Should You Cover Your Computer’s Web Cam?

Should you cover your webcam with a piece of tape? Some say it is a sign of paranoia, but many cybersecurity experts say it couldn’t hurt (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook actually puts a piece of tape on his webcam, so take that for what you will!). There are plenty of valid reasons to take this precaution. It is not unfathomable that one day a hacker might find some way to hijack your front-facing cameras and watch your children play online games, do their homework, or worse.

If you decide to cover the lens, tape is not your only option. There are commercial alternatives, such as this five-pack of webcam covers. They look a littler nicer than a piece of tape and are easy to use: line up the hole with your camera lens, and when you want to hide the camera, the cover slides right over it; when you want to use the camera, just slide the cover open This is a good safety measure to make your children aware of as well.

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