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Breadth of videogames’ benefits to kids may surprise

It being summertime here in the global North, there may be a little extra videogame play going on in households with kids. So it may be helpful for parents to know about a mother lode of the latest wisdom on videogames’ effects on kids’ learning, social development and futures. It’s MindShift’s “Guide to Games & […]

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From ‘Big Data’ to ‘Big Parent’: Student privacy developments

Have you been watching the Big Parent response to Big Data? Great lede from Politico.com’s Stephanie Simon: “You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent.” She’s talking about an unpredicted mobilization in recent months that has “catapulted student privacy … to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida […]

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Digital summer camp Part 2: Of managing a child’s Minecraft time

“I’m sad that my son is so busy with homework and other stuff lately that he hasn’t had time to even play Minecraft! I think it’s a better use of his time than homework.” That’s a comment from a mom and educator in San Jose, Calif., posted under an article by educator Kevin Jarrett in […]

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For digital summer camp, kid-source a game (or play this one!)

One year ago this month, its 3rd-through-6th grader designers launched the fifth and final iteration of Escape to Morrow, an open source digital game they designed in Minecraft for Minecraft players. The five iterations – including writing and rewriting backstories, creating maps, finding mods (Minecraft modifications out on the Web) and producing the trailer – […]

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The real goal of unplugging

I love the parenthetical in the headline of “Five Ways to Break Your Kids’ Screen Addiction (and Yours, Too),” by Yahoo family tech columnist Dan Tynan. Because – if there’s such a thing as screen addiction and it’s not just something fashionable to (anxiously) joke about – what we model for our kids in our […]

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Experts say UK’s optional filtering equals choice, not censorship

Under pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron and other British officials, major UK Internet service providers are now requiring customers to opt-in or out of Internet filters that affect every device in the home. And, starting this week, most public Wi-Fi networks in the UK will have porn filters so kids can’t get around parental protections […]

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Kik Messenger’s smart new safety features

Kik Messenger, which claims to be the US’s 7th most popular social app and ranks even higher in some other countries, today released a new version that gives its 120 million+ users more control over who can text them. Over the past year, its creators at Waterloo, Ontario-based Kik Interactive noticed the app has become […]

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Your smartphone camera can be a practical tool

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News Everywhere I go I see people using their cellphones to take pictures of themselves, people around them or interesting things that they encounter. But your phone’s camera can also be a practical tool. I use my smartphone camera for all sorts of things that no one would […]

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Do kids need special protections or do we all need them?

We have always taken child safety more seriously than adult safety, even where children are not necessarily at greater risk than adults. It’s probably instinctual. As every parent knows, protecting one’s offspring is not something we even have to think about. We just do it. Children not always a special case But when it comes to risk, children […]

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Family Contract for Smartphone Use

Pledge for kids and teens I will not touch or look at my phone when it’s dangerous to do so such as driving, riding a bike or walking. I will be considerate of others and not use my phone to text or talk when it may disturb others or at inappropriate times or places such […]

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