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21
Jul

Snapchat is Being Sued for Exposing Kids to Harmful Content

Snapchat is violating California law and the Communications Decency Act by failing to warn minors and their parents about sexually explicit content, according to a class action lawsuit filed recently. The suit targets a feature introduced last year, Snapchat Discover, which allows users to share articles and images from media partners. Most of the articles and images are pretty innocuous, but some such as “People share their secret sex rules” and “Has an alien ever gotten you pregnant?” also appear. Snapchat’s Terms of Service do not warn against potentially offensive content nor do they notify parents of filtering options.

20
Jul

Summer Night Internet Cruising

 If you are looking for something both educational and engaging to occupy your children on summer nights, check out these two websites:

  • Google Art Project – Can’t get to a museum this summer? Try the Google Art Project. The Google team took professional photographs of artwork in museums all over the world, including close-ups. The app allows users to see brush strokes in detail, as well as some of the aspects of older art that aren’t always visible to the naked eye, like elements that have been painted over. If kids click on the little yellow figure at the bottom (known as Pegman) they can dive into the 3D world of the museum space, affording them a view of other paintings on display in the same gallery.

  • Constitute -This site hosts a database of constitutions from around the world. Anything digitally available has been aggregated here. It is searchable by topic and will pull out specific excerpts related to search terms like “freedom of speech.” It also has a compare function so kids can look at one aspect of citizens’ rights – such as the right to a trial - across various constitutions.
20
Jul

Summer Night Internet Cruising

 If you are looking for something both educational and engaging to occupy your children on summer nights, check out these two websites:

  • Google Art Project – Can’t get to a museum this summer? Try the Google Art Project. The Google team took professional photographs of artwork in museums all over the world, including close-ups. The app allows users to see brush strokes in detail, as well as some of the aspects of older art that aren’t always visible to the naked eye, like elements that have been painted over. If kids click on the little yellow figure at the bottom (known as Pegman) they can dive into the 3D world of the museum space, affording them a view of other paintings on display in the same gallery.

  • Constitute -This site hosts a database of constitutions from around the world. Anything digitally available has been aggregated here. It is searchable by topic and will pull out specific excerpts related to search terms like “freedom of speech.” It also has a compare function so kids can look at one aspect of citizens’ rights – such as the right to a trial - across various constitutions.
19
Jul

When All Else Fails – Apps to Help You Spy on Your Kid

You’ve had all the conversations about online safety, keeping personal information private, and basic digital citizenship with your children, but if they have broken your trust or you just feel like something is amiss, it might be necessary to monitor their online activity. Common Sense Media has provided a guide to some tools that can help. Keep in mind that downright spying on your kids has the potential to backfire- kids are very adept at getting around any kind of tracking, but if you just want to limit access to certain kinds of content, monitor activity on their phones, or make sure they are not being bullied or sexting, these apps can help.

19
Jul

When All Else Fails – Apps to Help You Spy on Your Kid

You’ve had all the conversations about online safety, keeping personal information private, and basic digital citizenship with your children, but if they have broken your trust or you just feel like something is amiss, it might be necessary to monitor their online activity. Common Sense Media has provided a guide to some tools that can help. Keep in mind that downright spying on your kids has the potential to backfire- kids are very adept at getting around any kind of tracking, but if you just want to limit access to certain kinds of content, monitor activity on their phones, or make sure they are not being bullied or sexting, these apps can help.

18
Jul

An Update On What Social Media Apps You Should Know About

Before you sit down to talk about social media with your kids, you need to make sure you are up on all the latest apps. Need a summary of what to look out for? Check out Common Sense Media’s article Social Media Apps Parents Should Know About.

18
Jul

An Update On What Social Media Apps You Should Know About

Before you sit down to talk about social media with your kids, you need to make sure you are up on all the latest apps. Need a summary of what to look out for? Check out Common Sense Media’s article Social Media Apps Parents Should Know About.

15
Jul

Page Flip Could Make Textbooks and Non-Fiction Ebooks Easier to Use

Amazon’s Kindle has a new feature called Page Flip that could make reading a nonfiction book or textbook on a digital device easier and more productive. The feature is now available as a free download on Amazon’s own Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, as well as the Kindle app on iOS and Android phones and tablets. Page Flip has a singular purpose: to make it easy to hop, skip and jump around a book while saving your place. You can skim past thumbnails of every page in a book, tapping to zoom in on any of those pages or zoom out to get a birds-eye view. There is also a thumbnail pinned to the screen that represents the last page you read, making it easier to go back to what you were just reading by tapping that pin.

15
Jul

Page Flip Could Make Textbooks and Non-Fiction Ebooks Easier to Use

Amazon’s Kindle has a new feature called Page Flip that could make reading a nonfiction book or textbook on a digital device easier and more productive. The feature is now available as a free download on Amazon’s own Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, as well as the Kindle app on iOS and Android phones and tablets. Page Flip has a singular purpose: to make it easy to hop, skip and jump around a book while saving your place. You can skim past thumbnails of every page in a book, tapping to zoom in on any of those pages or zoom out to get a birds-eye view. There is also a thumbnail pinned to the screen that represents the last page you read, making it easier to go back to what you were just reading by tapping that pin.

14
Jul

Facebook Changes News Feed

Facebook recently announced an update to its news feed algorithm that will more favorably promote content posted by the friends and family of users. Those changes, the company says, will limit content posted by publishers, resulting in significantly less traffic to the hundreds of news media sites that have come to rely on Facebook. The change comes in the wake of criticism that news featured on the site has a liberal bent, and is accompanied by Facebook’s publication of a set of family friendly “values” which reiterates that content posted by friends and family is the top priority.

14
Jul

Facebook Changes News Feed

Facebook recently announced an update to its news feed algorithm that will more favorably promote content posted by the friends and family of users. Those changes, the company says, will limit content posted by publishers, resulting in significantly less traffic to the hundreds of news media sites that have come to rely on Facebook. The change comes in the wake of criticism that news featured on the site has a liberal bent, and is accompanied by Facebook’s publication of a set of family friendly “values” which reiterates that content posted by friends and family is the top priority.

13
Jul

Apple Adds Coding to Summer Camp Offerings

Apple stores will add a session called "Coding Games and Programming Robots" to its Apple Camp series this summer. The three-day class will introduce 8- to 12-year-olds to coding concepts and teach them how to program Sphero robots. Check your local Apple store for more information about this and other summer camp offerings.

13
Jul

Apple Adds Coding to Summer Camp Offerings

Apple stores will add a session called "Coding Games and Programming Robots" to its Apple Camp series this summer. The three-day class will introduce 8- to 12-year-olds to coding concepts and teach them how to program Sphero robots. Check your local Apple store for more information about this and other summer camp offerings.

12
Jul

The Rules for Communication Between Teachers and Students Remain the Same

Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate with one another, but the rules for how teachers and students should communicate have not, even though more instances of improper relationships between students and teachers seem to be revealed each year. As one Virginia chief information officer puts it, “One of the things that we absolutely 100 percent expect all of our educators to do is to act and communicate appropriately, whether that is verbal, whether that’s written, whether that’s typed, whether that’s posted, etc.” No matter how much trust you have in your children, it is important to be concerned and vigilant about all interactions your children have with anyone online, teachers included.

12
Jul

The Rules for Communication Between Teachers and Students Remain the Same

Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate with one another, but the rules for how teachers and students should communicate have not, even though more instances of improper relationships between students and teachers seem to be revealed each year. As one Virginia chief information officer puts it, “One of the things that we absolutely 100 percent expect all of our educators to do is to act and communicate appropriately, whether that is verbal, whether that’s written, whether that’s typed, whether that’s posted, etc.” No matter how much trust you have in your children, it is important to be concerned and vigilant about all interactions your children have with anyone online, teachers included.

11
Jul

And They Get Their News From Facebook

A recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that social media is more popular than television with people ages 18 to 24. Social media is also the leading source of news for this age group, with more than half of online users getting news from sites such as Facebook. It is interesting to note however, that although this group prefers getting their news online, they are still highly distrustful of the accuracy of information found through social media.

11
Jul

And They Get Their News From Facebook

A recent report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that social media is more popular than television with people ages 18 to 24. Social media is also the leading source of news for this age group, with more than half of online users getting news from sites such as Facebook. It is interesting to note however, that although this group prefers getting their news online, they are still highly distrustful of the accuracy of information found through social media.

8
Jul

Tracing Your Google History

Did you know that, by default, Google keeps a detailed history of your activity on its search engine and other services when you are logged in to your Google Account? If Google has access to your device’s location settings for mapping and search suggestions it will even store your location history and display it on a map.

 

Part of this data-hoarding is to make Google’s predictive services more accurate by tailoring suggestions (and advertisements) to your known interests and location. Some people like having relevant material (including ads) tailored to them, but if the information collection creeps you out, you can change your Google Activity controls to clear out the stored information from your account. The company says it may still keep the data for its own purposes, but stored anonymously.

 

To change your Google Activity settings, go to https://www.google.com/settings/accounthistory when you are logged in to your Google Account and make adjustments as you see fit. You can delete your search and browsing history from the site, information from your mobile devices (like contacts and calendar events that use Google apps), your voice-search recordings, your location history, and your searches and viewing activity on YouTube.

8
Jul

Tracing Your Google History

Did you know that, by default, Google keeps a detailed history of your activity on its search engine and other services when you are logged in to your Google Account? If Google has access to your device’s location settings for mapping and search suggestions it will even store your location history and display it on a map.

 

Part of this data-hoarding is to make Google’s predictive services more accurate by tailoring suggestions (and advertisements) to your known interests and location. Some people like having relevant material (including ads) tailored to them, but if the information collection creeps you out, you can change your Google Activity controls to clear out the stored information from your account. The company says it may still keep the data for its own purposes, but stored anonymously.

 

To change your Google Activity settings, go to https://www.google.com/settings/accounthistory when you are logged in to your Google Account and make adjustments as you see fit. You can delete your search and browsing history from the site, information from your mobile devices (like contacts and calendar events that use Google apps), your voice-search recordings, your location history, and your searches and viewing activity on YouTube.

7
Jul

Tweens Not the Digital Natives They Would Seem

A survey of 1,200 children examines how upper elementary students use digital spaces for communicating, reading and writing. The study, published in the International Literacy Association’s “Reading Research Quarterly”, reveals that tweens have more difficulty using the internet for research than for reading books.  Data also shows that students are online more at school than at home, and use the internet for different tasks at home than in the classroom. The research also suggests that there is a big difference in knowing how to use a digital device and using it to locate, understand, and effectively communicate information to others.

The study advises parents that even though they may not consider themselves tech savvy, they are still likely more skilled than their tweens at reading, problem-solving, and making sense of information online, so their support is still very valuable. “With print-based reading we provide children with plenty of opportunities to read appropriate texts independently, but we also help them read increasingly difficult books so that they can continue to develop their skills,” one of the researchers wrote. The process is the same for online reading and writing, and parents should help kids learn to use all the multiple modes of information (such as color, image, video, hyperlinks, and text) that are encountered in digital spaces.

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