Videogame misconceptions

This news story about Wisconsin legislation to put a tax on videogames reflects the widespread misconception in the US that videogames are a "kids thing." That's how the bill's author, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, described them to WISC-TV. The motivation is good – to raise money to have youth "who commit non-violent crimes" tried in […]

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Young adults biggest library users

Americans 18-30 are public libraries' biggest fans. "And people are going to libraries not only for the Internet-enabled computers there but also for library reference books, newspapers and magazines," reports the Associated Press, citing a new study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew/Internet director Lee […]

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More Web playgrounds coming

Stories about kids' virtual worlds are becoming perennial because children 6-10 appear to be a growth market. Twenty million children are expected to be virtual-world members by 2011, up from 8.2 million right now, according to eMarketer figures cited by the New York Times. This latest article paints a pretty good landscape. There's Disney's new […]

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Wii-related ‘parental challenges’

A California mom was "lucky" enough this past fall to walk into a toy store right after a fresh shipment of Nintendo Wii consoles had been received. So she bought one for her child as a gift, only too soon to discover some "hidden costs." "Be prepared for "post-Wii stress disorder," she wrote in the […]

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Oral history online

You know how most communication, story-telling, and history used to be oral? Well, with social networking, humanity may be coming full circle. "Academic researchers are starting to [explore] the parallels between online social networks and tribal societies," the New York Times reports. "In the collective patter of profile-surfing, messaging and 'friending,' they see the resurgence […]

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The social Web Petri dish

Social-networking sites are important Petri dishes. By studying the social Web, researchers are learning a lot about how people interact – not just about how they do so now and online but about human interaction in general. In fact, research in social-networking sites "may be more accurate than personal information offered elsewhere online, such as […]

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Politician’s profile deleted

It was Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, a British member of Parliament, whose Facebook page was deleted after someone sent in an abuse report calling it an imposter profile. Soon there was a Facebook group called "Steve Webb is Real!", CNET reports. His profile was shortly reinstated, to the satisfaction of his 2,500 Facebook friends and […]

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New features afoot at MySpace

MySpace plans to be people's dashboard for navigating cyberspace, USATODAY reports – the place "where they can check in on the activities of friends, peruse email, get the latest on news and weather, and post their favorite photos and videos." To deal with the growing threat Facebook represents to MySpace, USATODAY says, the latter is […]

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Controversial ‘Cool Girl’ game in Oz

Is it a way for "cool girl" wannabes to vent their frustrations, does it teach them to bully, or does it simply entertain? Those are the questions reportedly surrounding a new mobile-phone game in Australia that's drawing international attention. Called "Coolest Girl in School," the game – quite an anomaly because designed specifically for girls […]

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Australia’s very connected families

Ninety percent of Australian families with children are online, up from 7% in 2005, reports Australian IT, citing new findings from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Three-quarters (76%) of those online families have broadband connections. The study also found that "most Australian families with children older than eight now have three televisions, three mobile […]

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