Digital Smarts Blog

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31
Mar

What Tech Usage Rules Would Kids Make for Parents?

Researchers at the University of Washington and University of Michigan recently surveyed parents and their children between the ages of 10 and 17 about their household's most important technology rules and expectations. Interestingly, twice as many children as parents expressed concerns about family members oversharing personal information about them on Facebook and other social media without permission. Children also called out parents on issues like not texting while driving or sitting at a traffic light. According to the children surveyed, parents need to practice what they preach when it comes to rules like staying off the internet while at meals and giving them their full attention when talking to them rather than glancing at their phone. Overall, children found it easier to follow household technology rules when families had developed them collectively and when parents lived by them as well. The research also suggests that when parents found that a particular app or social media site was too difficult for their kids to disengage from, the simplest solution (and most respected by kids) was to just make it off-limits.

30
Mar

Sexist Emojis?

An interesting opinion piece in The New York Times points out that when it comes to emojis, female presence is lacking. While there are flamenco dancers, brides and princesses, the emojis depicting other professions are all male. While not the most pressing of digital equality issues, symbols do play an important part in how people perceive and communicate about their world. Will we see more women depicted in emojis in the future?

30
Mar

Sexist Emojis?

An interesting opinion piece in The New York Times points out that when it comes to emojis, female presence is lacking. While there are flamenco dancers, brides and princesses, the emojis depicting other professions are all male. While not the most pressing of digital equality issues, symbols do play an important part in how people perceive and communicate about their world. Will we see more women depicted in emojis in the future?

29
Mar

Productive Email Habits

Do you ever feel like you spend most of your day checking e-mail and Facebook? Aside from eating up hours of your time, a new study has also found that hyperchecking your email can make you (surprise!) more stressed.  To help combat the stress of a cluttered inbox, check out health.com’s list of email habits that can make you more productive. Some suggestions include prioritizing what is important, setting designated times to reply to emails, and creating folders to categorize and sort emails that you will need later.

29
Mar

Productive Email Habits

Do you ever feel like you spend most of your day checking e-mail and Facebook? Aside from eating up hours of your time, a new study has also found that hyperchecking your email can make you (surprise!) more stressed.  To help combat the stress of a cluttered inbox, check out health.com’s list of email habits that can make you more productive. Some suggestions include prioritizing what is important, setting designated times to reply to emails, and creating folders to categorize and sort emails that you will need later.

28
Mar

Ballot By Emoji

Researchers at Kansas State University, Olathe, are developing an emoji ballot that could help assess students' reactions to school meals. "School nutrition professionals are always looking for new ideas to promote healthier choices to students ... to find ways to get more student feedback so they can develop kid-approved menus that are healthy and also appealing to students," said School Nutrition Association spokeswoman Diane Pratt-Heavner. Getting a better idea of what students like can help eliminate food waste and save money as well.

28
Mar

Ballot By Emoji

Researchers at Kansas State University, Olathe, are developing an emoji ballot that could help assess students' reactions to school meals. "School nutrition professionals are always looking for new ideas to promote healthier choices to students ... to find ways to get more student feedback so they can develop kid-approved menus that are healthy and also appealing to students," said School Nutrition Association spokeswoman Diane Pratt-Heavner. Getting a better idea of what students like can help eliminate food waste and save money as well.

25
Mar

Sexting Explained

Sexting is becoming more and more normalized in the media, with the consequences often minimized, but in real life the aftermath is usually far from normal or desirable. How can you get your kids to understand this?  Telling them not to do it doesn't really help them when the culture of social media forces them to face different types of social situations. A new guide on the subject - written for teens, but just as useful to parents - is now available as a free download from Common Sense Media. Entitled “Send me a naked pic? ;) …”“Promise not to share?”  it is definitely worth a look, before or after a sexting incident occurs.

25
Mar

Sexting Explained

Sexting is becoming more and more normalized in the media, with the consequences often minimized, but in real life the aftermath is usually far from normal or desirable. How can you get your kids to understand this?  Telling them not to do it doesn't really help them when the culture of social media forces them to face different types of social situations. A new guide on the subject - written for teens, but just as useful to parents - is now available as a free download from Common Sense Media. Entitled “Send me a naked pic? ;) …”“Promise not to share?”  it is definitely worth a look, before or after a sexting incident occurs.

24
Mar

Unplugging

The National Day of Unplugging is an annual tradition sponsored by nonprofit organization Reboot, but you don’t have to wait until that one day a year to get the benefits of unwinding, relaxing, reflecting, getting outdoors, and connecting with loved ones, unimpeded by your digital device. Balance is an important goal and setting up a full day every week to unplug can help give your brain time to reset. It could be a sign that you are addicted to technology if it is hard for you to do that.

24
Mar

Unplugging

The National Day of Unplugging is an annual tradition sponsored by nonprofit organization Reboot, but you don’t have to wait until that one day a year to get the benefits of unwinding, relaxing, reflecting, getting outdoors, and connecting with loved ones, unimpeded by your digital device. Balance is an important goal and setting up a full day every week to unplug can help give your brain time to reset. It could be a sign that you are addicted to technology if it is hard for you to do that.

23
Mar

Facebook Slang Explanations

Good news for adults who don’t understand the latest slang kids are using on social media - Facebook will soon be offering a “Social Glossary” that covers the meaning of all the latest terms used on the site. Called neologisms, or bits of language being used by groups of people but aren’t in common use yet, Facebook has patented a software tool that can scan social chatter to find up-and-coming slang terms before they're universally adopted. The system could help improve Facebook's predictive text services, most likely the reason for the glossary, but will also help adults to figure out what the kids are all saying.

23
Mar

Facebook Slang Explanations

Good news for adults who don’t understand the latest slang kids are using on social media - Facebook will soon be offering a “Social Glossary” that covers the meaning of all the latest terms used on the site. Called neologisms, or bits of language being used by groups of people but aren’t in common use yet, Facebook has patented a software tool that can scan social chatter to find up-and-coming slang terms before they're universally adopted. The system could help improve Facebook's predictive text services, most likely the reason for the glossary, but will also help adults to figure out what the kids are all saying.

22
Mar

Privacy Partners

Common Sense Media has partnered with 40 U.S. school districts  to launch the “Common Sense Privacy Evaluation Initiative.” Supported by the Gates and Dell Foundations, the partnership aims to establish a common framework to help districts thoroughly review the privacy and security standards of the educational technology tools they use. The first set of evaluations will be for educational software and will be available April 1, 2016 at Common Sense Graphite.

22
Mar

Privacy Partners

Common Sense Media has partnered with 40 U.S. school districts  to launch the “Common Sense Privacy Evaluation Initiative.” Supported by the Gates and Dell Foundations, the partnership aims to establish a common framework to help districts thoroughly review the privacy and security standards of the educational technology tools they use. The first set of evaluations will be for educational software and will be available April 1, 2016 at Common Sense Graphite.

21
Mar

Using Videos for Self Critiques of Speeches and Presentations

When your child has to give a presentation or speech, you know that practicing it over and over is the best way to prepare. A great way to help them practice is to take a video of the presentation, giving them opportunity to self-critique. Watching themselves will make them more aware of things like volume, eye contact, gestures, speed and even how comfortable they are with props or other presentation tools. It is also a great way to get other people in the family involved by sharing it with them. If you need help getting started, read how one teacher used it in their classroom. It is also important to note that student presentation is a major component of the Common Core Standards and is going to become a larger part of the classroom experience for all levels of students, so practicing these skills young will help later on.

21
Mar

Using Videos for Self Critiques of Speeches and Presentations

When your child has to give a presentation or speech, you know that practicing it over and over is the best way to prepare. A great way to help them practice is to take a video of the presentation, giving them opportunity to self-critique. Watching themselves will make them more aware of things like volume, eye contact, gestures, speed and even how comfortable they are with props or other presentation tools. It is also a great way to get other people in the family involved by sharing it with them. If you need help getting started, read how one teacher used it in their classroom. It is also important to note that student presentation is a major component of the Common Core Standards and is going to become a larger part of the classroom experience for all levels of students, so practicing these skills young will help later on.

18
Mar

Digital Addiction isn’t Just for Teens Anymore

Before you start to complain about the amount of time teens spend on their phones, you might want to look a recent survey that found Baby Boomers are the most likely age group to use their phones at the table. Half (52%) of 50-64-year-olds say they use technology during meals, compared to 40% of 21-34-year-olds, and 38% of 15-20-year-olds. Although older generations may not be addictively Snapchatting, they are devoted to their emails: “over 50% of working adults check their company email over the weekend and before or after work. 40% also think it is fine to respond to important work emails during family dinners.”

18
Mar

Digital Addiction isn’t Just for Teens Anymore

Before you start to complain about the amount of time teens spend on their phones, you might want to look a recent survey that found Baby Boomers are the most likely age group to use their phones at the table. Half (52%) of 50-64-year-olds say they use technology during meals, compared to 40% of 21-34-year-olds, and 38% of 15-20-year-olds. Although older generations may not be addictively Snapchatting, they are devoted to their emails: “over 50% of working adults check their company email over the weekend and before or after work. 40% also think it is fine to respond to important work emails during family dinners.”

17
Mar

Dangerous Emojis

There have been several recent instances where charges were brought for using emojis in a way deemed to be threatening, and many of them involve children. A 12 year-old girl in Virginia was charged with threatening her school because she posted a message on Instagram that included bomb, knife and gun emojis and the phrase “meet me in the library.” Other cases have involved a variety of emojis and other social networking sites. It is worth it to mention to your kids, who might think lightly about using emojis to joke around.

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