11 Stories About #DigitalParenting 17/12/13

Keeping track of a number of stories relating to ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘ in the news… and I love this piece about a ‘tech-deprived childhood‘:

News on digital tablet.

  • Link between cyberbullying and teen suicides oversimplified, experts say: One of the threads tying their deaths together is a cause-and-effect link made by the media, politicians and parents between persistent bullying and the victim’s decision to end their life — a phenomenon that generated its own buzzword — “bullycide.” It is something Todd and health experts say oversimplifies teen suicide and cyberbullying at the expense of recognizing the complex set of mental health issues that are usually at play in many cases. (In another article, teens speak out
  • Left to Chance With the iPotty: Snarkiness aside, I think we need to reflect loudly about how we make choices as parents and consumers. Corporate America and big box retailers may not have your back in this regard. As these baby human beings’ brains are rapidly making connections (young children make 700 synapses [connections between brain cells] per second during birth to 2 years), they are simply learning how to think. Do you really want the iPad doing the instructing?
  • I Might Be Mediocre, But at Least I’m Honest: So why is it that we parents feel the need to hide our realities from the world, especially social media? Check any mom’s Instagram or Facebook feed, including my own, and it looks like we are running a regular Montessori. The kids are smiling and sun-kissed. There’s paint and Legos and fresh fruit dripping from their chins.
  • Why You Need to Get Involved in Your Child’s Digital Life: Responsible parental screening of a child’s behavior has always been a good idea. But in today’s age of increasingly advanced technology, parents face unique challenges. While there certainly are advantages to instant access of virtually any kind of information, there are also formidable risks associated with our digital age that can be quite damaging to kids if parents don’t exercise appropriate levels of control. Put another way — damage can be done if parents don’t do their job.
  • Weston man faces child porn charges: Microsoft regularly uses automated scanning tools to monitor photos and other content uploaded to SkyDrive to ensure that users’ accounts do not contain illegal files, according to the company’s website. Suspected child pornography is automatically reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Tarter: Author touts printed page in the digital age: The author also suggests that e-books have their place. “The e-book is here to stay,” he says, pointing to savings in time, space, trees and student spines (replacing heavy textbooks). But Trelease isn’t afraid to point to shortcomings in new technology, as well. “Research clearly shows that we read more slowly (6 to 11 percent) from a screen than from paper,” he said.
  • 7 Practical Tips for Parenting Digital Natives: “What are your recommendations for balancing technology use with socializing face-to-face?” This question was directed to a panel of psychologists at our recent high school PTA meeting. A universal parenting dilemma in our social media landscape, if ever one existed post-1999.
  • Drawp: Imaginations Soar With Inventive Art App For Kids: With this release, Drawp is launching a collaboration with talented artists from around the world who will create coloring pages exclusively for the Drawp app. The objective is to provide children with a constant stream of high quality art and to expose them to different styles in order to stimulate their creativity.
  • Europe Children Between 4 and 12 Spend Almost 3 Hours a Day in Front of TV: Children watch, passively, television, computers, mobile phones or ipads. Given this reality, a team of British pediatricians asserts in a research released in the medical journal “Archives of Disease in Childhood” that children under three should not be in contact with so many digital displays. For kids between 3 and 16, they suggest that a maximum of two hours a day should be set. The experts argue that spending more time in front of screens can cause damage to the physical and cognitive growth of children and overweight, heart problems, attention deficit or lack of empathy.
  • Internet a safe place for those who play safe: “Although the majority of kids are doing good things there is still a small percentage of people doing bad things and those predators are the people we need to protect our children from.”
  • iPad holder seat for babies sparks outcry: An advocacy group has called on toy maker Fisher-Price to stop selling a baby seat designed to hold an iPad at the front, saying the product encourages parents to leave infants alone to watch screens that could be harmful.

and BT offers a parental control filter, a Mum talks about finding another mum of a child with a rare condition, whilst programmes in New Zealand seek to diminish the ‘digital divide’.

9 Stories About #DigitalParenting 06/12/13

Keeping track of a number of stories relating to ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age‘ in the news:

  • n2lASIqEmotions in the digital sphere and the effect on future generations: We live in a strange age now where a large proportion of our daily interaction tends to take place online. This affects almost every generation, from children through to adults, most of whom are constantly digitally interacting with others, whether via business emails or social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Given how much time and effort we put into these digital portals, have you ever thought about how much they might be changing the nature of human interactions in general?
  • ‘Tis the season for marketers to think more like children: Technology has had a hugely liberating effect on the youngest in our society. Touch, gesture and voice navigation have opened up a whole new world of learning and possibility. And this has big implications, as technology has also liberated marketers to engage, excite and delight in new and profound ways. But has the marketing industry kept pace?
  • Making Kids’ Tablet Time More Meaningful: During busy times like the holiday season, many of us parents turn to our mobile devices to help manage our kids while we manage… everything else. Engaging the services of a digital babysitter is not something to boast about, but it doesn’t need to be anything to be ashamed of, either. So, how can we make the most of the time our kids spend with technology over the holiday break?
  • Tips on how to clean electronic devices when you have sticky-fingered kids: My two little angels (3 years old and 19 months) are obsessed with watching videos on my laptop and playing games on my phone. Unlike me, they are not the least bit concerned that their hands might be covered in some weird combination of chocolate and sand. Nor do they hear my pleas not to drink their orange juice in the vicinity of the keyboard.
  • New Selfie-Help Apps Are Airbrushing Us All Into Fake Instagram Perfection: Much as in real life, the only thing worse than looking zitty, wrinkled and tired is looking like you’ve sought help. If you get caught editing a photo, “it’s very embarrassing,” the 18-year-old said. “People are hyperaware of not wanting to seem fake in their pictures. As much as they edit them, it has to come off as natural.”
  • East Kilbride pupils experience the digi magic: The huge interactive touch screen table brings a whole new meaning to digital participation and makes the digital world a truly immersive experience. A key component of the Scottish Government’s Digital Exclusion agenda, the new digiTable is aimed at encouraging people to use the internet in new and imaginative ways.
  • In digital age, where do parents set boundaries?: “Technology has allowed me to do a lot of things my mother couldn’t do. My mother was gone from the house a lot. It was hard. Technology has allowed me to create my own schedule,” Shlain told CBSNews.com. But while Shlain praises technology, she acknowledges that she must set boundaries for her children, who are ages four and 10. Aside from the Technology Shabbat, she limits her children’s daily screen time.
  • Why Social Media Has Value for Children: First off though, kudos to the Academy for bringing to the forefront the debate about children and media in the digital age. We can’t avoid the topic nor should we, unless we want our kids to become the failed technology experiments perpetrated by our own fascination with all things digital. I think Dr. Marjorie Hogan, one of the co-authors of the policy, offers a valuable prescription by encouraging “a healthy ‘media diet’.” That’s a great starting point, albeit with the challenge to define what is “healthy.”

and Kobo wins acclaim from parents, too much technology for baby monitoring?, and see the technology that Santa requires these days.

APP IN USE: Splashpath

Been using this ‘Splashpath’ app for a while – I mix swimming in with other classes (just can’t find the gym interesting any more – was OK when used to go with a friend and just talk as exercise!). I like the fact that I can choose a ‘challenge’ and swim that – I did a short one first, then going for a slightly longer one – just makes the lengths a little more interesting!

You can add swims online, or via the iOS app – it’s not on Android, nor can you add swims backwards aside from using the note function … sure there are more sophisticated apps out there…


What do you use?

App: Verbal Victor

verbal-victorInteresting inspiration for an app:

It is Victor who has provided renewed inspiration for Pauca’s work. Born with a rare genetic disorder called Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, which limits language and movement, the boy was dependent on bulky and expensive communication devices that often broke down.

So Pauca and his students, who were introduced to Victor and other children with disabilities at his special school, set to work using their skills to develop a smartphone app that cheaply and efficiently allows people with speech problems to communicate. They named it Verbal Victor.

“You don’t think about things like this if you haven’t had experience with the disabled,” Pauca says. Academic researchers “typically go to conferences [and] present papers. But working on Verbal Victor has been different. It’s more palpable.”

Read full story, or find the app.

@VoucherCloud #iPhone App

If you’ve never heard of Vouchercloud (or other similar apps, which I’d love to know about), I was told about this over Easter. If you don’t have a smartphone (a variety are accessible), simply go to the website and download printed vouchers before you go.

What does Vouchercloud do?
Another example of global returning to local… On entering a postcode (or type of activity, or name of company), the app searches for nearby offers within distance (you can bring all of them up, but I tend to be looking for restaurants), and offers a range of discounts to be used in store.

“Get the latest discount voucher codes from a range of high street and local retailers. All our voucher codes are updated weekly, allowing you to get the best promotional deals as soon as they get released.”

What’s Special about Mobile?
However, what I love about this app is the ability to use it on the move. On downloading the app, it uses the phones GPS function to identify those nearest to you, and which have valid vouchers for that day (yes, some appear on a Friday night, and not on a Saturday and vice-versa). You can also save favourites for those places that you like to visit frequently!

“Vouchercloud is also the first voucher supplier in Europe to have released a separate mobile voucher application. You can now also get our discount voucher codes directly to your smart phone by signing up to our mobile voucher app”.

Not Always Super-Prepared?
When out and about, I haven’t always thought about where I want to go, or I’m staying with friends and have no access to a printer, so this is great. I simply get up a code on the phone, show it to the waiter in the restaurant, and they subtract from the bill – saved £20 in La Tasca the other week, got a few pounds off my tyres in National Tyres & Autocentre, and a meal for £10 in Zizzi.

What’s New?
Vouchercloud are clearly very excited about their new collaboration with Vue cinemas, and have a special offer of 2-4-1 for a viewing of ‘Knight and Day’, the new Cruise/Diez film, voucher valid until 14th September. Here’s the preview for the film if you’re tempted:

Is the site interested in feedback?
The site has an active Twitter account. I just sent this status update indicating that there was a spelling mistake on their ‘apologies we’re super-busy’ message, and 5 minutes later (who knows, they may just have noticed it themselves too):

Sleep Cycle #iPhone app

Why Sleep Cycle?
For years I have complained of being tired, and have had all kinds of tests… but I think the general conclusion is that I just enjoying living life to the full too much, and consequently do too much (and I work best late at night too… why is culture built around morning larks rather than night owls)!! Recently, however, I have been waking up knowing that I have had a lot of disturbing dreams, feeling less refreshed than ever, and falling asleep in the middle of the day. Many years ago I stopped trying to get to sleep if my eyes weren’t closing on their own – either picking up a book, or watching a film I already know (or now, iPlayer, in the knowledge that I can finish watching the next day). Last night I went to bed at 1.15am, watched Casualty, and started watching John Bishop’s Britain… I had already set my phone alarm… and it looks like it woke me just as I’d slipped into the second super-deep sleep of the night…

The App
The app, which was only 59p, was recommended to me by a friend who had tried it for several nights. You need to be able to leave your phone plugged in all night, otherwise I suspect it sucks all that wonderful iPhone battery life… The app uses the iPhone accelerometer (used to sense orientation, acceleration, vibration shock, and falling) to monitor movement during sleep. The more you move, the lighter the sleep phase that you are in. As I already had the phone alarm set, I didn’t really test the claims of the phone that the best use of this phone is to set the alarm, and the app will sense which is the lightest part of your sleep pattern within a half-hour window around the alarm time, and wake you up, allowing you to feel more refreshed/less tired during the day…  maybe one to try tonight…  The phone keeps a record of all your statistics.. maybe one to take to your GP to discuss… Note: Don’t put the phone under your pillow, not good for the phone or the accuracy of the app.

“Scientific” Review

“Actigraphy is the science of recording motion patterns during sleep. It is generally considered a more accurate means of monitoring sleeping patterns than a sleep journal or devices that can only record in short time frames, but not as useful as polysomnography, which encompasses the use of an EEG. For instance, it is very useful in collecting the night-to-night sleep patterns of patients diagnosed with insomnia or disorders with their circadian rhythms.

So in trying this app out, the graph is a little misleading. Since no motion occurs during REM sleep, the part of the graph that says “dreaming” is a misnomer. Perhaps a better term would be “wakefulness”. However, “deep sleep” works okay for the lower portion, but keep in mind that REM is when we are dreaming the most, and true “deep sleep” occurs in the latter two stages of Non-REM. More motion likely means you are not in REM, but for deep sleep you could easily be moving or not. The app builds on ideas that actigraphy utilizes, which is a good test for basic sleep cycle pattern testing, but should be used for novelty purposes only and to get a GENERAL idea of how you tend to sleep. The fact is, you could lay still during Non-REM just as you do in REM, so if you are truly having sleep issues, polysomnograph performed at a sleep clinic is the way to go.” (Review by a physiology instructor)

How To… #iPhone Folders

I still have several months to run on my contract for my iPhone (3GS 32GB), so an iPhone 4 is definitely out of the question at the moment, and probably have to wait for iPhone 5! The only things I crave on the iPhone 4 are the improved battery life (although not the weight that comes with it) and the flash on the camera… Otherwise, I’ve updated to OS 4.0 on my phone, so I’m sure it gives me whatever the extra functionality is… although unfortunately the phone seems (unsurprisingly) much slower and the battery life is just killing… although that may be more down to the experiments with geolocation software – notoriously hard on battery life!

Apps Folders

With OS 4.0 comes the option to place apps in folders… which sounds like a great idea… so long as you can remember which folder you put them in… Folders can be named whatever you want, and you work with whatever system works for you!

iPhone Folders

  • Hold down on an app/folder until the cross appears in the left-hand corner (see right)
  • Drag & Drop on top of another app which you wish to put into the same folder
  • Name the folder appropriately.
  • Continue

Now, I have huge problems getting my apps (all 9 pages of them) to move across the screen boundaries on my phone, so Tweeted out, and got lots of helpful advice that it was also possible to do this, much faster, in iTunes

iTunes Folders

  • Ensure that you have the latest version of iTunes available.
  • Attach iPhone to computer, allow it to Sync
  • Click on ‘Devices’
  • Look for the tab ‘Apps’, and a screen similar to the following will appear:
  • Drag & Drop apps from the main screen into the numbered screens.
  • Click on the numbered screen to ensure that it appears as the main screen
  • Drag & drop within the screen to in the folders. Appears to be a limit of 9 apps in each folder… (so I have ‘Games 2’)… actually, that’s not true – just got 10 in one!
  • Press ‘Apply’ otherwise before syncing, otherwise your phone settings will overset it (found that out the hard way!)

Maybe I’ll be back with another screenshot when I’m done… fortunately I had only moved about 20 apps when I lost what I’d done!!!!

Talking Carl

Initially, during an ‘app swap’ session at an educational tech conference (#pelc10), I couldn’t see the point of this app, but decided that it was only 59p, and my colleague seemed almost unable to use it for laughing.

What Can You Do With It?

Strictly speaking, there’s not a lot to this app.

  • Carl will repeat everything you say (and any music you play if loud enough) with a high-pitched voice.
  • Tickle him, he will laugh out loud.
  • Poke him and he will shout and yell.
  • Pinch him to hear him  growling.
  • Leave him alone, he’ll chatter back at you

What Do I Think?

Aside from the fact that it gives the biggest belch ever when opening (beware!), this app has had me in stitches several times over the past week (and it’s been a pretty tough week). The website describes it as ‘ideal for children of any age’, and I’ve never denied that I never want to fully grow up! Simple things please simple minds is what we always used to say, but really, life doesn’t have to be all serious!! I’m not going to say that this app does’t have a purpose/point, it does, and let’s enjoy it!

App Homepage: Talking Carl
Price: 59p