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12
Jan

I Didn’t Know Netflix Could Do That

In the spirit of getting organized for the New Year, take a gander at this article on Netflix tricks to get more out of your subscription this year. Did you know that you get better quality video at off peak hours? How about trying your hand at Netflix Roulette to pick out something at random for you to watch? Want to delete the shows that embarrass you from your activity list? Take a look at the list of hacks.

11
Jan

Twitter Expands Hate Speech Rules

Twitter recently has said that it will begin to enforce new rules related to how it handles hateful conduct and abusive behavior taking place on the platform. New guidelines will address hateful images or symbols, including those attached to user’s profiles. The announcement is Twitter's latest attempt, in a difficult year for the company, to clamp down on what many people consider its most pressing issue: disgusting behavior from a significant number of users. Many of the problems on Twitter came into focus after President Trump retweeted videos from a far right group in Britain.

10
Jan

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Schools is Growing

The presence of artificial intelligence in schools is expected to grow, with some reports predicting 47.5% growth by 2021. Schools already are using the technology in various ways, such as identifying what math students know and then providing tailored assignments. Experts say this should offer teachers deeper insight in how to help struggling students, but this development does not signal that teachers are going to be replaced by machines.

9
Jan

Former President Obama Talks to Prince Harry About Social Media

Former President Barack Obama and the United Kingdom's Prince Harry took to the airwaves for a recent BBC interview where they discussed the potential dangers of social media and how it should be used to promote diversity and find common ground. "One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases," Obama stated. The former president also echoed something that parents concerned about their kids growing up in a Digital Age try to communicate to their children reiterating that " the truth is that on the internet everything is simplified and when you meet people face to face it turns out they are complicated." Perhaps, something every cyberbully should remember?

9
Jan

Making Digital Communications More Accessible

While written for educators, the article Making Digital Communications Accessible on the Edutopia site is also useful to parents who may need schools (or parent/teacher associations) to use some accommodations to make sure the information they provide is accessible. By adding captions to Facebook pictures or turning on image descriptions in Twitter, communication improves. Adding captions to videos and posting transcripts of podcasts and videos by using transcription software can also make it easier for those with hearing or vision issues. And why bother? Accessibility is a matter of civil rights and can also be a legal issue. There are several districts across the country`` that are currently under investigation for issues related to website accessibility. 

8
Jan

Online Tools Implemented for Reporting Bullying

Several states, including Nevada and Colorado, have opened online systems that allow students and others to report bullying incidents. New York City is spending 8 million dollars on a similar system set to launch in 2019. Daniel Kelley, president of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, says online options can make it easier for students to report bullying that occurs in and out of school. Right now most schools have a paper based reporting system that has created issues because of the stigma attached to being seen filling out this kind of form. Schools are finding that it is very important to document bullying incident reports otherwise parents may allege that administrators did not address an incident adequately.

4
Jan

Why Kids Need to Learn How to Code

Is your school considering teaching students how to code? Do you understand the reasons why? For some interesting insights take a look at The Future of Coding in Schools on the Edutopia site. Mitch Resnick, who is one of the creators of the popular programming languages for kids called Scratch, outlines why he think that learning to code is akin to learning to write.

3
Jan

France to Ban Cellphones in Schools

Primary- and secondary-school students (up to age 15) in France will not be permitted to use cellphones on campus beginning in September 2018. The country already bans the devices in classrooms, but the total ban will include use during breaks and outside of the classroom. French educators note that 40 percent of punishments in French schools are related to mobile devices and hope the move will be a way to cut down on cyberbullying. However, parents are skeptical that the schools can pull it off. Emmanuel Macron spelled out his intention to ban mobile phones in schools in his campaign platform before his election as French president in May 2017.

2
Jan

Young Americans Favor YouTube

Ninety-six percent of Americans between ages 12 and 17 use YouTube, and nearly 70% use Instagram and Snapchat. However, Facebook's share has stagnated according to a Forrester research report. The study also reveals that 51% of 12- and 13-year-olds say it's “cool” to be associated with brands on social sites. Another major takeaway from the study is that young Americans prefer social platforms geared toward video and visual content.

1
Jan

An Around the World Look At When Kid’s Get Cellphones/Smartphones

While no one seems to know when the best age to give a child a cellphone/smartphone is, a recent article entitled When kids get their first cell phones around the world takes a snapshot of how parents in different countries seem to have answered the question. Cost certainly plays a big factor, but US parents seem to be more willing to give their children phones at an earlier age, starting at age 6. If you are not familiar with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on media use, you can find a write up on their site.

29
Dec

Facebook Offers Messenger App For Children

As a parent you want to control who your children talk to online, so you can step in if anything becomes a problem. But, how do you do that? Facebook is now offering a solution by developing a messaging program for children younger than age 13 called Messenger Kids. Parents are able to use their own Facebook accounts to create Messenger profiles for their kids. These profiles have most of the features of full-blown Facebook Messenger, but messages are sent and received exclusively from a smartphone, tablet, or web-connected device (only on the Apple platform currently) and are controlled by parents.

 

Control is the key to Messenger Kids. Kids’ names don’t show up in searches of Messenger users. Once parents create an account, they get to decide whom their children are able to talk to. Parents can add friends and family they’re personally connected with–and those users’ kids, if they’re on Messenger Kids–to their offspring’s list of approved chat friends. 

 

Conversations within Messenger Kids are monitored, and should the app’s artificial intelligence detect an inappropriate word or image it won’t be sent. Kids can also report activity they find inappropriate or hurtful, a move that will also send a note to parents letting them know there was an incident such as “Sally reported Bobby.”

28
Dec

Brain Changes Found in Teens with Fixated with Smartphones

Teens overly attached to their smartphones show higher levels of a neurotransmitter that slows down brain signals, South Korean researchers reported at the recent meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The research linked the impact on the brain signals to increased levels of addiction, anxiety and depression, one radiology professor said.

26
Dec

When Should Cybersecurity Education Start?

Educators and government officials met recently to discuss cybersecurity education for elementary and high school students at a conference in Nashville, Tenn. A number in attendance expressed the need for cybersecurity education to begin as early as elementary school to prepare students for possible technology careers as reports of cyberattacks multiple. One of the keynote speakers even went as far as saying, "If you're in high school, it's almost too late." Experts are asking teachers to weave cybersecurity principles into core academic subjects.

25
Dec

The Most Liked Tweet on Twitter EVER

Donald Trump’s use of Twitter has certainly put that social media platform front and center this year. Curious about what tweets were the most liked or the most retweeted tweets of 2017 (so far)? Take a look at In 2017, Barack Obama beat Donald Trump . . . at retweets from The Washington Post to see the top ten in each category. The most popular tweet of all time?  “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." from Barack Obama.

22
Dec

Free Keyboarding Practice for all Ages

Learning how to type well is definitely a 21st Century skill, and even Kindergarten students can find the practice useful especially if it comes in a graduated skills game format. Schools don’t always have the time or the technology for all kids to practice keyboarding but a free gaming platform like TypeTastic can be very useful for home practice. Kids can ramp up their words per minute and accuracy by hitting different keys to hop over lily pads, build construction projects and pop bubbles in outer space. The platform includes several different games, each with multiple levels of play so kids can continually test themselves. Unlocking the levels and conquering challenges keeps them engaged and learning. This kind of practice can be vital with schools issuing tests via computers as early as first grade.

21
Dec

Snapchat Takes Aim at Misinformation

Snapchat is taking aim at misinformation with some unconventional changes to the design of the app (which for many parents is an app that has been associated with cyberbullying and sexting in the past). While the app will still initially open to the phone camera, allowing users to make and share photos that disappear with friends, the new design will try to separate personal (social) side of the app from what is produced by outside media sources. The media part will also be vetted and approved by Snap, the parent company, by humans, not by algorithms. The use of human curators will allow Snapchat to also program content to make sure that users’ preferences are not keeping them from seeing a wide array of opinions and ideas. In addition to winnowing out fake news, this may keep Snapchat from becoming a place that reinforces narrow sets of thinking. This approach is in contrast to Facebook and Google, who have not vetted much of the hate speech, fake news, and even disturbing videos aimed at children that has been proliferated on those platforms over time.

20
Dec

Apple Support Now Has Its Own YouTube Channel

Apple is expanding its social media outreach. The company has just launched a new YouTube channel to teach people how to use their Apple devices, like the iPhone and iPad, via video tutorials. The first set of videos focus on common and fairly simple tasks, like taking screenshots, adding attachments to email, deleting photos, changing the wallpaper and more. The videos are short, with most around the minute-and-a-half mark, and the longest being two minutes. They also include English captions for accessibility, and are formatted with instructions on the left with a demo on the device to the right.

19
Dec

Increased Screen Time Suggests Correlation to Surge in Suicide Rate

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that an increase in suicide rates among U.S. teens occurred at the same time social media use surged between 2010 and 2015. Recent teen suicides are being blamed on cyberbullying and social media posts that depict "nothing but perfect" lives.  Experts say there is a tendency to discount the connection between teen suicides, depression and social media as just the usual “adult” opposition to the latest trends for young people, like television or rock and roll for previous generations. Experts warn that with its immediacy, anonymity, and potential for bullying, social media has a unique potential for causing real harm.

18
Dec

Text Messages That Save Lives

Here is a rather scary fact. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide rates for teen girls, specifically, in the U.S. are at a 40-year high. So how do you target that audience? Crisis Text Line, which launched about four years ago, offers free crisis intervention via text messages. Seven out of 10 texters are women, and 75 percent are under age 25. The stats also skew rural, LGBT and low-income.

 While Crisis Text Line is not set up as an ongoing therapy, volunteers field texts about topics ranging from school stress to suicidal thoughts and work to get first-responders on the scene when needed. And how do people find the service? If you search the hashtag #741741 you will see posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook spreading the word. Fifty million texts were exchanged with Crisis Text Line in the first four years, and they expect another 50 million just within the next year.

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