Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

5 Apps You May Not Want Your Kids Using

February 1, 2015

A portrait of the Snapchat logo in Ventura

 

Like anything technological the following apps can be used for good but can also be quite destructive:

 

1. Snapchat

Snapchat is a picture-messaging app whose claim to fame is that the messages last only for a few seconds once they’re opened, then supposedly evaporate into thin air. In theory, you can send embarrassing or risque pictures without being afraid someone will steal or distribute them.

Unfortunately, the claim that Snapchat makes it safe to send risque pictures is just plain wrong. It’s way too simple for anyone to grab a screenshot of the image before it’s deleted. In fact, several teenage boys have gotten in serious legal trouble over the last few years for capturing and distributing illegal photos sent to them by underage girls.

Also, last October, hackers got their hands on thousands of “deleted” Snapchat images that had been stored on third-party servers. While it wasn’t exactly a breach of Snapchat, it’s further proof that pictures don’t always disappear.

In fairness, many teens use Snapchat for innocent picture-conversations with each other. And as Snapchat grows in popularity, the company is moving further away from its sexting association. But it’s still a big concern.

If your teens are using Snapchat, ask them to show you how they’re using it. Make sure they are communicating only with people they know and that they realize the pictures they send don’t just vanish forever. Remind them, “Once on the Internet, always on the Internet!”

2. Tinder

While Snapchat has uses besides sharing inappropriate images, Tinder is all about meeting new romantic partners, which probably isn’t something you want your teen doing with strangers.

Tinder allows a person to create a profile and see images of potential romantic matches in the immediate area. If two people like each other, they can have a conversation through the app and potentially “hook up.” Again, broadcasting images to strangers and potentially meeting them on a whim is not something teens should be doing, in my parental opinion.

Actually, underage teens aren’t even supposed to be using Tinder. The only way to get on the app is to have a Facebook account with a birth date that indicates the user is 18 years old or over. Of course, children can set any birthdate they wish with a simple keyboard entry. There is no age verification.

Any child who uses the app will be meeting people who are over legal age. They might come across predators, scammers and any variety of creeps that no one should have to deal with.

In short, Tinder is dangerous for kids. Keep them away from it.

3. Vine

Vine, which lets you record and share six-second videos, seems like a totally safe app at first. It gets dangerous when you consider how strong peer pressure is on social media.

Teens, as I’m sure you remember, will do almost anything for acceptance and attention. And the best way to get attention on social media is to do something edgy or crazy. Last year, in the most dramatic example yet, teens across the world took to setting themselves on fire.

I’m not kidding. The #FireChallenge hashtag was one of the most popular in August. Click here for my coverage of the shocking trend. This isn’t the first or last dangerous “game” to appear online. Click here to learn about seven other “games” your kids shouldn’t be involved in.

In response to this, Vine just released the Vine Kids app, which features hand-selected videos that are supposed to be appropriate for younger audiences. Unlike the real Vine app, Vine Kids can’t record videos. This might be good for younger kids, but I can guarantee older kids and teenagers will want to use the real Vine app.

If your kids use Vine, or any social media site, be sure to friend, follow or join them on it to monitor what they’re doing and saying. You might also occasionally look at their phones to confirm which apps they have installed, or even review their activity on the site. You’ll want to know if they’re running with a dangerous crowd or doing something stupid or worse.

4. Whisper

Whisper, an app built specifically for spreading rumors and secrets, lets users post pictures and text anonymously. Apps like Whisper could potentially be a good outlet for teens, as anonymous confessions can help people unburden themselves. But Whisper shares the secrets based on geographic location, so the users nearest to your child are the ones more likely to see the secret. If your child reveals too much, it can put him or in a dangerous situation with friends or adversaries.

The most dangerous apps for teens use GPS tracking to bring people physically together. Cyberbullying is much more hurtful when the person bullying your child moves from online to in-person abuse. In this case, Whisper seems like it could cause teens more harm than good.

5. 9Gag

9Gag is one of the most popular apps for distributing memes and pictures online. The risky part for teens is that all kinds of pictures are shared on 9Gag. These pictures aren’t moderated and could come from any uploader and feature terrible images you don’t want kids seeing.

Not only that, but some 9Gag users are cyberbullies and abuse other users online. Many of the people guilty of “swatting” — getting the police to raid an innocent person’s house — come from 9Gag. Click here to learn more about swatting and how to protect your kid from becoming a victim.

If your children have to get their humor fix from somewhere, always try to make sure they’re getting it from a place with rules and regulations that commit to keeping underage users protected.

 

 

Click on the link to read 11 Valuable Digital Media Tips for Students

Click on the link to read The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

Click on the link to read The Must Have iPad Apps for the Classroom

Click on the link to read Using Videogames in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

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11 Valuable Digital Media Tips for Students

September 5, 2014

kidsCourtesy of Justin Boyle at teachthought.com:

 

1. Use Privacy Settings

Let’s talk Facebook, shall we? Chances are pretty good that your students can be counted among the 1.3 billion monthly active users of the social media giant, and there’s practically no other website that contains such a breadth and depth of personal information.

Encouraging students to put all of their social media accounts, including Facebook, on a short leash might be the most important step toward helping them manage their digital footprint. Look into Facebook’s proprietary privacy tips or get the works from Lifehacker.com with it’s “Always Up-to-Date Guide to Managing Your Facebook Privacy,” then inform students about the steps they can take. Better yet, just pass the links along.

Complete privacy on Twitter is simple — you just choose to protect your tweets under “security and privacy” on the account settings page — but encouraging students to do so might do more harm than good. Some teachers have gotten great results using Twitter in education, and a class full of students with protected tweets might interfere with that.

2. Keep A List Of Accounts

Then delete the ones you no longer use. That myspace page you signed up for? Don’t just forget about it–find it and delete it.

3. Don’t Overshare 

Perhaps the best tip for helping students maintain privacy on Twitter is one that can be applied across the whole spectrum of social networking tools: Don’t overshare. As much of an alien concept as it may be to students these days, the only sure-fire way to avoid digital footprint trouble is for them to keep quiet about anything they wouldn’t want to share with everyone in town.

This includes usernames, aliases, passwords, last names, full-names-as-usernames, pictures, addresses, and other important information.

4. Use A Password Keeper

This is more of a security thing, but the worst kind of footprint is the one you didn’t make that contains all of your sensitive information. It’s too much work to remember 50 different passwords, and every site has their own unique rules. Until someone solves this problem, the best solution is likely a password keeper

5. Google Yourself

You may be surprised what you find.

6. Monitor Linking Accounts

When you link your facebook or twitter account to that new site (whatever site that might be), you may not realize–or care at the moment–what you’re giving it access to. It’s usually safest to use a secondary email address to sign-up for new sites rather than granting this kind of access.

7. Use A Secondary Email

Whether you’re communicating with someone new, or signing up for a new social media platform, it can be useful to have a secondary email address.

8. You Don’t Need 12 Email Addresses

That said, you don’t need 12. Keep it manageable.

9. Sending Is Like Publishing–Forever

Every time you send a message, post, or picture, you’re publishing it the same way CNN does a news story. And the internet never forgets.

10. Understand That Searches Are Social

There’s another side to your digital footprint, too — it’s not always information that you choose to make public. Remember: Privacy controls or no privacy controls, Facebook still records and uses every scrap of information it gets to better determine its users’ marketing demographics.

Google pulls the same trick with search and browsing habits. If a student is logged into their Google account, the service tracks every keyword they search, every Web page they visit and every time they visit Youtube.

There are ways, however, to control the bits of deep data that we leave strewn around. First of all, even though Google is practically an official synonym for “Web search,” it isn’t actually the only game in town. Less profit-motivated search engines like DuckDuckGo.com and Ixquick.com may take a little getting used to, but they do make explicit policy of protecting users’ browsing privacy.

11. Use Digital Tools To Manage Your Footprint

A host of browser extensions and app add-ons can also limit the surreptitious capture of personal information. Disconnect (Disconnect.me), DoNotTrackMe (Abine.com) and Ghostery (Ghostery.com) are examples of cross-platform extensions that block tracking cookies and give users control over site scripts.

 

Click on the link to read The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

Click on the link to read The Must Have iPad Apps for the Classroom

Click on the link to read Using Videogames in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

Click on the link to read 5 Great Spelling Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

Click on the link to read Are Educators Being Conned by the i-Pad?

The 10 Best Educational Apps for Children

August 21, 2014

tablets

 

As brought down in the Adjust Report:

 

1.Bugs and Buttons

2.Kids Puzzles Puzzingo

3.Preschool EduKitty-Amazing

4.Heidi on the Alp

5.Shape-O ABC’s

6.TeachMe: Kindergarten

7.Monkey Math School Sunshine

8.Green Eggs and Ham — Dr. Seuss

9.Endless Alphabet

10.Dr. Seuss’s ABC

 

 

Click on the link to read The Must Have iPad Apps for the Classroom

Click on the link to read Using Videogames in the Classroom

Click on the link to read Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

Click on the link to read 5 Great Spelling Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

Click on the link to read Are Educators Being Conned by the i-Pad?

Click on the link to read The Best Phonics Apps for iPads

Apps for Controlling Your Child’s Smartphone and Tablet Use

June 16, 2014

smartphone

Parents may well consider getting these apps if they have exhausted all other methods of monitoring and reducing their kids’ phone and tablet usage:

 

Parents struggling to get their children away from smartphones and tablets for meals, homework, exercise and other activities can arm themselves with new apps to remotely block access to the devices.

Usage of smartphones and tablets among children has tripled since 2011, according to Common Sense Media, a San Francisco based non-profit that studies the effects of media and technology on young users.

A new app called DinnerTime Parental Control, for iPhone or Android smartphones, enables parents to restrict when children can use their smartphones and tablets.

With the free app, parents can pause activity on a child’s Android smartphone or tablet so that they can focus on things like homework, exercise and family time. Once a device has been paused, all functions on their device are blocked, including the ability to text and play with apps.

To use the app, parents install it on the child’s device and enter in their phone number to link the two devices. Parents can then set specific break times, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, when the device will be locked. A countdown screen displayed on the child’s device shows when they can use it again.

 

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video Showing the Reaction of Children to Old Computers

Click on the link to read New App Encourages Kids to Flush their Teacher Down the Toilet

Click on the link to read Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Hilarious Video Showing the Reaction of Children to Old Computers

May 26, 2014

 

 

How times have changed! My 2 year-old knows how to navigate an iPad without any problem, whilst our family didn’t even invest in a home computer until I was in 12th grade. Imagine if a child of today were told that they can have their first computer or smart phone when they turn 17?

The technology itself has changed markedly in that time as highlighted by this video.

 

Click on the link to read New App Encourages Kids to Flush their Teacher Down the Toilet

Click on the link to read Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

 

 

New App Encourages Kids to Flush their Teacher Down the Toilet

March 31, 2014

 

flush the teacher

Whilst I think that an app allowing users to flush teachers down the toilet is in poor taste, I don’t have a major issue with it. As important as it is to advocate the respect of teachers, let’s not pretend that we didn’t all have teachers we absolutely detested.

As much as teacher respect is vital and teacher harassment is repulsive, we must be able to see the humor of such games and learn not to take ourselves too seriously. What I take exception to is the violent options featured in the game such as the use of a slingshot. A bit of adolescent humor is fine, but violence crosses the line.

A TEACHER who developed a controversial phone app in which students can flush a teacher down the toilet or shoot them with a slingshot is being investigated by the Department of Education.

Ross McGuigan has taught in private and public schools for almost 40 years and currently teaches at Kincumber High School on the Central Coast.

He claims his app helps children vent their frustration at disliked teachers without taking action in the “real” world.

His “Flush the Teacher” iPhone and Android game encourages users to upload a photo of their teacher, which is then superimposed on an animated character and flushed down the toilet or harassed with slingshots. The department has taken the matter seriously enough to investigate Mr McGuigan’s role in developing it.

“The department does not support any activity that might encourage disrespect to staff or other students,” a spokesman said.

Mr McGuigan said he had been cleared of any “inappropriate actions”.

 

app

Click on the link to read Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?

February 13, 2014

 

grand theft

Growing up, one of the more popular video games around was a shooting game where you were a soldier charged with the responsibility of locating and killing Nazis. The fact that the villains were Nazis was a clear stunt by the game’s makers to disguise the mindless violence of their game.

Even as a youngster, I found the game very troubling. Whilst I have always hated Nazism, I didn’t feel comfortable with pointing a gun, pulling the trigger and killing. It might not be real, but the video game designers are fully aware that the person playing their game is meant to feel as if they are actually on a killing rampage.

Nothing I ever experienced from watching violent movies compared with the emotions of going on a video game shooting spree.

It’s even worse today. Nowadays, video games designers don’t bother with Nazi’s – they provide children with police and innocent bystanders as their targets instead:

Primary school pupils as young as six are re-enacting drug and rape scenes from Grand Theft Auto in the playground, a headteacher has warned.

Young children have been initiating games involving ‘simulating rape and sexual intercourse’ as well as having playground chats about ‘drug use’, according to Coed-y-Brain Primary School head Morian Morgan.

Staff at the school in Llanbradach, Caerphilly, blame the behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series Grand Theft Auto, which sees players take on the role of criminals in America.

Latest instalment GTA V is thought to be one of the best-selling video games of all time, having sold more than 32 million copies worldwide.

A letter sent to parents said children were ‘acting out scenes from the game which include the strongest of sexual swear words’, ‘having conversations’ about sexual acts and ‘play acting extremely violent games that sometimes result in actual injury’.

Click on the link to read The 10 Best Road Trip Apps for Children
Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

Click on the link to read Issues Relating to Kids and Video Games

The 10 Best Road Trip Apps for Children

May 27, 2013

trip

Courtesy of education.com:

  • 123 Color: Talking Coloring Book ($0.99, all ages) Let your toddler color in the car without any risk of broken or (yuck!) melting crayons. Unlike other coloring apps, this one teaches your little one to recognize letters, numbers, shapes and colors, making use of animation, sound effects and classic children’s music. Featuring different dialects and six different languages, your kid can brush up on her foreign phrases while honing fine motor skills.
  • iStoryBooks (free, all ages) Keep your little learner occupied for hours while helping her learn to read. Stories featured in this app include several fairy tales and fables, as well as a few interactive alphabet books and even a selection of multicultural tales. iStoryBooks publishes a new book every two weeks, and a parents’ section of the app gives you the option to add or delete titles from this interactive library.
  • Road Trip Scavenger Hunt (iOS, $0.99; Android, free, all ages) “I spy a family having fun on the road!” Everyone competes in this high-tech version of I Spy to see who’s the first to spot a particular word or object. The app keeps score and lets you determine a winner without any arguing. The iPhone app has over 140 different things to find; the Android version is a bit more basic, but you can add two additional game packs for $2.99 each.
  • Stack the States ($0.99, all ages) Cure backseat boredom with laughing and learning! Your kid answers questions about the states in a fun, quiz show format. Younger kids start to recognize state shapes, while older ones learn the capitals. A correct answer allows players to add a state to their stacks, and the player with the highest stack is the winner! If your pride and joy’s your one and only, though, there is a solo-player mode.

(more…)

Nobody Should Love Their Phone THAT Much!

May 14, 2013

 

galaxyEverything seems to be pitched at impressionable kids nowadays. Films have become less sophisticated, television near juvenile and marketers are seeing the exploitation of children as their gold mine.

Today I saw the above advertisement whilst going shopping, and it struck me how deceitful and pathetic its message is. Obviously pitched at impressionable people without a large quantity of “real companions”, Samsung is telling prospective consumers that their product will be your friend for life. There are plenty of children out there who are extremely lonely that will identify with the notion that technology is their only friend.

Unfortunately, to make matters worse, the advertisement wants us to link the universal aspiration of living a happy and fulfilling life to selecting the right Smartphone. It is saying:

‘To all you lonely, disaffected and unhappy people out there, buy this and you will have friends and a rich and rewarding life.’

The challenge of making friends and enjoying life is extremely crucial to young people and for it to be used against them in the name of selling a product is rather sad.

I know that’s the way the world works, but I don’t have to like it!

 

Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

Click on the link to read Issues Relating to Kids and Video Games

Click on the link to read Are you Addicted to the Internet?

 

The Effect of Pornography on Children’s Minds

March 18, 2013

pord

Whilst exposure to online pornography is unlikely to be the only trigger for sexual behaviour and misconduct, teachers are entitled to raise their concerns:

They will warn that the increased availability of pornography on the internet is warping school pupils’ ideas of sexual relationships and that children are often engaging in sexual behaviour on school premises.

Teacher leaders now believe the problem has become so significant that they want new policies to be drawn up on how to deal with the issue.

They are particularly concerned about the practice of “sexting” – which sees young girls being pressurised into taking intimate pictures or videos of themselves on a camera phone and sending them to others.

They are also asking for the introduction of new lessons on the dangers posed by pornography.

Helen Porter, a biology teacher who will raise a motion about the impact of pornography on pupils at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference next week, said: “Sexual activity in school is becoming more normalised because pupils are seeing it more.

“I’ve heard of a 13 year old girl taking part in an amateur porn video – it is really sickening. Research has found that 50 per cent of youngsters had taken part in some sort of webcam sexual experience.”

Official figures show that more than 3,000 pupils were excluded from state schools in 2010-2011 for sexual misconduct.

Recent research from Plymouth University also revealed that 80 per cent of young people are looking at sexual images online on a regular basis. The average age to start viewing pornography was about 11 or 12 while sexting was considered almost routine for many 13-14 year olds.

The academics warned that schoolchildren were becoming desensitised to sexual images after accessing hard core material.

 

Click on the link to read Parents Shouldn’t Be in Denial Over This Very Real Addiction

Click on the link to read Video Game Addiction is Real and Very Serious!

Click on the link to read Internet Addiction and our Children

Click on the link to read Issues Relating to Kids and Video Games

Click on the link to read Are you Addicted to the Internet?


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