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Screen Time for 5 Year Olds Tied to Attention Deficit Issues

Five-year-olds that spend more than two hours a day in front of screens have 5.9 times and 7.7 times higher likelihoods of developing significant attention problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, respectively, compared with those who spent 30 minutes or less with digital devices, Canadian researchers recently reported. The findings were based on data involving 2,427 youths in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study. Parents of young children should keep this in mind as they monitor screen time.


More Companies are Screening What Kids Do on Their School Issued Tech

An article in The Outline discusses the double-edged sword of having outside companies screen what students do on  school issued technology devices. Gaggle and Securly represent the extreme end of the monitoring today’s students are growing up with. Email, calendars, documents, search history, and other typically private online activities are monitored by these apps. They scan for bullying, bad language, suicide warning signs, and more, reporting any concerns to school administrators or parents. While these kinds of technology can protect kids, some fear it will “undermine students’ expectation of privacy” forever.


What to Do If Your Toddler Locks You Out of Your iPad

Stories seem to abound about toddlers dropping phones into water. But what happens if your toddler locks you out of your passcode on your iPhone or iPad? For one thing you might want to print out or bookmark this story on CNBC about a toddler who locked his dad out of his iPad for 48 years. Lucky for you it comes with a practical twist - a solution for what to do if it happens to you.


Digital Literacy: Taking a Closer Look at Close-Read Politics

Want to help your children understand more about the digital images they are exposed to in political campaigns? Read what media literacy expert Frank Baker says about stagecraft and the "polioptics" that will be an important part of everything digital citizens see and hear. Learn how you can help your children "pull back the curtain on visual techniques used by professional image manipulators" and build their citizenship skills. 


Social Media Use Remains Unchanged

It looks like privacy concerns are not chasing away social media users, according to Mashable .The share of adults in the United States on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest has remained basically unchanged since 2018, according to a Pew Research Center report, even though consumers have voiced concerns in other Pew studies regarding data privacy and censorship. YouTube won the popularity contest with 73% of overall users, while younger demographics favor Instagram and Snapchat.


App Helps Manage Privacy on Social Media

As reviewed in The Verge, the new privacy app “Jumbo” on Apple’s iOS is designed to take the guesswork out of user data protection protocols on social media sites. Although some social media sites have restrictions on what the app can do, Jumbo can help manage your privacy on Twitter, Facebook, Alexa and Google search, and plans are afoot to add Tinder and Instagram. So how does it work? For example, connect to your Twitter account, and Jumbo will delete tweets from the time frame of your choosing, let’s say after a month. Your Twitter password is saved to the iOS keychain, not Jumbo itself — part of the company’s effort to collect as little data about its customers as possible. The app is currently free, but eventually we all may end up paying to protect what little is left of our privacy.


Apple’s New Emphasis on Privacy

You may have seen a new Apple ad touting their emphasis on privacy. Skeptics warn not to be lulled into a false sense of security, and say this is just part of Apple’s advertising plan. The company understands that, right now, people desperately want more control over their personal information. And so they are using privacy — this time, the idea of it, not the lack of it — to sell you more devices and streaming services. However, while Apple may collect less about you than some of the other tech giants, they still collect plenty of info, so be sure you understand the privacy settings on your Apple (and other brand) devices. You are the last line of defense on your privacy and that of your children.


Speaker Culture

Voice activated technologies are rapidly emerging and young consumers are increasingly speaking to their devices. The smart speaker is gaining the most traction as a voice-activated device and platform. Already, almost two in five 13-36-year-olds report owning a smart speaker. Voice activated technologies are becoming more mainstream with Gen Z and Millennials—and Millennial parents, the earliest adopters of the tech. Of course there are many privacy concerns that go along with this trend so be sure you are aware of the privacy controls on these devices.


Netflix Has Plans to Monopolize Your Kids’ Screen Time

A recent article in Fast Company states that sixty percent of Netflix’s members are watching kids’ programming, a clear reason why Netflix is investing so heavily in the animation space by developing their own animation studio. The company has also recently developed enhancements for children to learn more about characters and content on the platform. For example, kids can scroll through character images of Curious George, Phineas and Ferb, or Spider-Man and use those visuals to click into a series or movie. The company is also experimenting with a concept that would allow users to explore not just shows but characters through a trailer-like video about the character. All of these features and enhancements prove that Netflix is striving to be a top player in the children’s entertainment market.


Your iPhone Keeps a List of Your Every Location

There is a feature on your iPhone that keeps track of not only everywhere you have traveled and how you got there, but how many times you have been there. The phone even interprets that data to know, for example, that your dog goes to doggy day care every Wednesday morning.  If you no longer want this feature (although you may want to keep on your kid’s phones for other reasons), you can read the full story on how to get rid of it – with step-by-step instructions - on the Business Insider site.


LEGO Continues to Make it Easier for Kids to Learn Engineering

LEGO steering kids toward STEM learning is nothing new, a recent article in Wired reminds us. But now the company is offering Spike Prime, a new set of tools and bricks, which caters specifically to middle-schoolers, and aims to teach the basics of coding and robotics. The Spike Prime set aims for accessibility, opting for bright colors, friendly shapes, and drag-and-drop coding tools that gently nudge students towards coding. Spike Prime will, at least at first, be available only to schools so it may be something you want to bring up at your next parent teacher conference.


The Enemy From Within

Careless employees are a bigger risk to a company's data security than hackers, states the 2019 Global Encryption Trends Study, which was released recently by nCipher Security and the Ponemon Institute and reviewed by TechRepublic. More than half of respondents said that employee mistakes are more of a risk factor than malicious attacks.


Six Steps to Promote Digital Citizenship

Strategies to help students be better digital citizens offered by Chief Technology Officer Dr. Audrey Hovannesian of the Victor Valley Union High School District in California include focusing on digital etiquette, respect and safety, and preparing students to leave digital footprints they can be proud of. She also reminds districts that you can’t put a price on the value of educating a student to be a good digital citizen. Safety needs to be the number one priority for all stakeholders – from parents and kids to teachers and administrators - in every district.


Facebook Adds New "Why am I seeing this post?" Feature

Facebook recently unveiled a "Why am I seeing this post?" feature that will help customers better understand the content that appears on their news feed. The feature is an attempt by Facebook to be more transparent concerning algorithms that target users. To use the new tool, all you have to do is click or tap the drop-down menu on the right hand corner of a post. From there, you'll be able to view info at a glance on why you're seeing certain posts on your News Feed -- e.g. because you're a member of X Group or like X Page on Facebook -- as well as manage the content you'd like to see more or less of. You'll get shortcuts to controls to help you further personalize your News Feed too, including See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts.


Facebook CEO Calls for More Internet Regulation

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for more Internet content regulation in a recently published op-ed in The Washington Post. He urges new governance pertaining to "harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability." He also says that “By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what's best about it -- the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things -- while also protecting society from broader harms." Check out these rules for keeping safe on Facebook on the WikiHow site.


Digital Devices Grow in Popularity For Broadcast and Cable Content

According to an article in MediaPost Communications referencing a new Nielsen report, smartphones and tablets are the choice of 18- to 34-year-old viewers when consuming broadcast and cable content. In a deeper look, 55% of them watch cable content on mobile devices, with the four top broadcast networks still getting the attention of 66% of them during live TV viewing.


Are Biometrics a Solution for School Safety?

Some schools are adopting biometric technology, including facial and fingerprint scans, to improve safety and boost efficiency. Biometrics are said to be more secure than passwords and other traditional identifiers, but concerns about the safety of students' personal information has caused some districts to proceed with caution.


Watch Out for Wearable Devices

According to a new report released by IDC, wearable devices will increase 15.3 percent worldwide in the next year. Watches made up 44.2 percent of shipments in 2018 and are expected to account for an even larger percentage of the market by 2023, at an expected 47.1 percent. But headsets/ear-worn devices will have a major impact on that growth as well with the rise of smart assistants, reaching 31 percent of the market by 2023. One of the major drivers is healthcare, with wearables playing an important role in digital health, constantly collecting important patient data while also giving patients the ability to self-monitor.


District Uses Scanners to Track Students on Buses

WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin  reports that one Wisconsin school district is installing scanners on school buses to track students as they ride to and from school. The technology will use identification cards to track students and allow parents to use an app to see where their buses are, and even receive notifications about when their children enter or leave the bus, district officials say.


What Schools are Doing About Protecting Student Data and Privacy

Curious about what schools are doing to protect student data and maintain student privacy? Check out this article in Education Week about a survey that was conducted for the Consortium for School Networking of school district tech leaders who, overall, say that student-data privacy and security is a somewhat or much more of an important priority this year compared with last year. One interesting fact that emerged is that schools in urban areas are more concerned about cybersecurity and privacy than their rural peers, but that may be that because rural schools are simply just more concerned about getting access to broadband service.