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Youth sexuality, romance & digital media in Canada: Study

When MediaSmarts conducted its focus groups with young Canadians, it heard quite a bit about the important role the Internet plays in their “exploring and learning about sexuality and relationships,” the Canadian digital literacy organization says. But the authors write that the survey itself – of 5,000+ students in grades 4-11 – suggests that that […]

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Zooming in on social norms: Youth sexting study

The research on teen and young adult sexting is getting more granular. One of the more interesting findings in a new study at Drexel University indicated that social norms are clearly developing around the practice. Looking at frequency of youth sexting, the study – published in the academic journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy – […]

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Facebook’s new Slingshot aimed at Snapchat

There are no lurkers in the Slingshot app. It’s Facebook’s latest answer to users’ interest in disappearing (often called “ephemeral”) media and messages. What I mean by “no lurkers” is, as my ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid explains, unlike Snapchat and Facebook’s now defunct Poke, “in order to view someone’s photo or video, you have to […]

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Amazon’s Fire Phone could be a hot holiday item

Now there’s a phone that puts the Amazon store and all that accompanying “retail therapy” right in people’s pockets. It’s a pretty slick looking little device, so here’s fair warning to parents worried about kids getting caught up in consumer culture that you may see this on some wish lists. [Of course, this is not […]

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A task force report & a student bill of rights

One of the most remarkable things about the report of the Aspen Task Force on Learning & the Internet, I believe, is how in sync it is with students’ own view of what needs to happen in US education. Clearly, if a constitutional convention on students’ rights were held today, the various parties – students, […]

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Toward student-centered learning: Delete fear, add agency

“School,” said University of Maryland student and game designer Erik Martin in a TEDx talk last fall, “operates counter to the interests of children. In school, we’re not really taught to overcome a challenge; we’re taught to fear the prospect of failure…. How on earth can you innovate in a system that fears failure so […]

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For solving social problems: The social media jujitsu remix

The other day I blogged about the collective conscious that social media users could become – are becoming, actually. Then I wrote about how users themselves – and not just ethical venture capitalists – could demand that startups bake safety and other pro-social basics into their apps and other services and that anti-social policies in […]

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Hmm. Secret to open anonymous ‘Secret Dens’

It’s unusual to see a tech reporter anticipating Net safety problems with a new social app feature. So I was impressed with a post by TechCrunch.com’s Sarah Perez about Secret’s forthcoming addition of “Secret Dens” for anonymous sharing in specific locations (like schools, companies and other organizations). Launched early this year, Secret is an app […]

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Cybersecurity in social studies class

Cybersecurity is in the news more and more. It’s a growing concern for law enforcement, and US companies are “increasing both the size and budget of their security teams,” CNBC reports. “By the end of 2014, JPMorgan’s annual cybersecurity budget will rise to $250 million from $200 million in 2012 … and the largest U.S. […]

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Fresh data on US kids’ social media use

Young people’s social media interests are changing right along with the media, according to the latest Speak Up study, which surveyed more than 325,000 students, along with parents, teachers and administrators. “Only 30% of middle school students and 39% of high school students now say they’re maintaining a social networking site,” says Project Tomorrow, which […]

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