Sunday, June 29, 2014

social media affecting our children

It is interesting to thing for a moment about the consequence of the use of technology on our brain and even more on our children's brain. Technology fascinate our children even more as us, parents, are using it intensively. Internet is a magnificent tools, it is undeniable, it is a source of knowledge where our children, as us. can find mostly all the answer to their question. it is a great help for research but...Hank Pellissier wrote an interesting article about how social media can potentially influence our children, here are some part of it:

Social network sadness?

A 2012 University of Belgrade study of 160 high school students determined that “online social networking is related to depression,” — but that additional research would be needed to determine whether or not Facebook is triggering depression.
This finding was echoed by a 2013 University of Michigan study in which researchers report the more time participants spent on Facebook, “the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time." The study noted that this negative effect didn't happen from interacting with others in real life. On the surface, Facebook is an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.

International cyberbully

A 2012 poll conducted by The Global Research Company Ipsosshowed even higher numbers: 12 percent of parents around the world reported that their child has been cyberbullied and 26 percent reported knowing a child in their community who has experienced cyberbullying. Of those, a majority (60 percent) said the harassment occurred on social networking sites like Facebook.

Risky behavior

A study published May 2014 in the Journal of Adolescent Healthstudied 1,563 tenth graders from five Southern California high schools to determine how much social media use affects adolescent risk behaviors like smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. The researchers’ conclusions were disturbing. They warn: “Exposure to risky online content had a direct impact on adolescents' risk behaviors… friends' online behaviors should be considered a viable source of peer influence.”

Parenting in the age of technology

Are there any simple rules for monitoring a child’s technology — whether it means video gamestabletscell phonesTV or social media? Unfortunately, there's still so much we don't know about the long-term effects of technology on the brain. But since technology isn't going anywhere, parents need to think carefully about the role it plays in our children's lives. "Every child is different, so it is difficult to draw hard-and-fast rules, but I think wise parents go for less tech use rather than more," concludes psychologist Jane Healy, author of, Failure to Connect.
In the end, it’s vital to remember that your kids are watching you. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work when it comes to technology. If your face is pasted to an electronic screen most of the time, your impressionable offspring will consider that normal — and do the same. Shut off all gizmos regularly and enjoy face-to-face conversation. Take your children outside, without digital toys, and enjoy the wind, sunshine, trees, and flowers. Growing brains need the kind of nourishment that technology — no matter how sophisticated and bewitching — can never supply.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

another video game under the radar: Clash of Clan

Let's look at the popular online game Clah od Clan and ask ourselves some question before letting our children get exposed to it...

Clash of Clans is a strategy game where players can construct and expand one's village, unlock successively more powerful warriors and defensesraid and pillage resources from other villages, create and join Clans and much, much more. A multiplayer game, Clash of Clans allows players to build their community, train troops, and attack other players to earn gold and elixir while building their own defenses to protect against attackers. Players can also use the chat feature to communicate with others and join clans to aid each other.

So already, this is a game of war, I get it. You build, you attack and you get attacked.

Paula Marner wants parents to be careful with "free" gaming apps for their kids.
The Canadian mother's warning comes after she discovered that her twin 7-year-old boys charged $3,000 worth of in-app purchases while playing Clash of Clans on her iPad, according to CBC News.
Marner thought it would be fine to let her boys use the app. What she didn't know was that even though Clash of Clans was free to download, players could make in-app purchases.
Clash of Clans Revenue at $654,000 Per Day, Third Best Performing Freemium Title Worldwide
You may also want to read what this teacher say about her experience with the game:
You may also wnat to read how this video game can be a great opportunity for pedophile:
and how about cyberbullying:
Over all, I would personally recommend to have a good conversation with any kid playing or wanting to play that game. First about the value that this game carry, are they positive value?
it is important that the child stay aware:
  • In app purchases are tempting and can lead to pestering (or a big bill if in-app purchases aren’t switched off in parental controls)
  • Addictive structure (bearing in mind, the debate about “computer/gaming addiction” rages on)
  • Global Chat allows contact with strangers; predators have been reported to use the site
  • harassment/bullying  that can emerge at school between students who share a clan, etc
  • Exposure to swearing and nastiness in global chat and clan chat (there is a filter, but itdoesn’t appear to be effective)
  • Emotional arousal

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is there a TV in your child's room?

Research shows having a boob tube in your kiddo's bedroom can be far more damaging than we ever knew.

By Jessica Kelmon
The average person will watch nine years of TV. Nine. Years.
And it starts early. The average American youth spends roughly 900 hours in school each year — and about 1,200 hours a year watching TV. (To do the math: 1,200 hours is 150 school days.)
Not cringing yet? In one study, kids ages 4 to 6 were asked whether they'd like to spend time with their dad or watch TV — 54 percent of them picked pixels over pops.
The stats, compiled by Statistic Brain and culled from a Neilsen survey are an unsettling reminder of the monumental space TV takes up in our children's lives.
Along with these sobering stats, there's an abundance of additional research that shows a link between having a TV in a child's room and their health and academic success. Spoiler alert: it's not good news.

Do most children have a TV in their room?

An estimated 71 percent of American kids ages 8 to 18 have a TV in their room. One study found 70 percent of third graders had bedside boob tubes. My childhood self is envious: as a kid, I campaigned relentlessly — and unsuccessfully — for a TV in my room. (I did, however, wrangle a red plastic lips phone.) And yet both of my brothers got in-room TVs. My partner also grew up with a TV in his room. All three boys were gamers — and I think these personal TVs were really strategies for getting Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong (and their infernal electronic beeping) out of the living rooms.
Turns out, this scenario may be pretty typical — the boys getting TVs, that is. A longitudinal survey out of Dartmouth — a telephone survey of 6,522 boys and girls ages 10 to 14 — asked specifically whether kids had TVs in their bedroom. In the first survey in 2003, 59 percent of kids had TVs in their room. The TV-havers were predominantly boys, minorities, and children in families of lower socioeconomic status.
Here's the really bad news: researchers followed the kids and their parents two and four years later and discovered a TV in your bedroom is linked with both being overweight and continuing to gain weight. Two years in, kids with TVs in their rooms reported higher BMIs. After two more years, their BMIs had grown again. What's particularly noteworthy is that obesity isn't linked isn't to the hours of TV being watched. It's to the presence of the TV in their room.
Why? The study authors speculate that these kids see more junk food TV ads or have their sleep patterns disrupted by the light TV emits. Certainly, having a TV in a child's bedroom sets kids up to be sedentary and isolated — choosing, day after day and hour after hour, to be alone and immobile — an unhealthy way of life for any child. A private television's connection to childhood obesity, the researchers observed, suggests that removing TVs from kids' rooms may be "an important step in our nation's fight against child obesity."

The hidden TV in your child's room

Older studies reveal more troubling TV trends. Kids with TVs in their rooms read less, score lower on tests in school, tend to have sleep issues, and may be more likely to smoke in adolescence.
Before parents who've never permitted a big glowing blue box, LCD, or flat screen into their child's sanctuary congratulate themselves for standing firm, consider this: tablet ownership in families with young kids has exploded. In 2011, 8 percent of all families had iPads; in 2013, that figure was 40 percent, according to Common Sense Media. What's more, as of 2013, 75 percent of children 8 years old and younger have access to a smartphone or a tablet. All of these findings add up to the fact that it's never been easier — TV or no TV — for children to be transfixed by endless hours of videos on YouTube, TV shows on Hulu, and movies on Netflix from the comfort of their rooms.
What will be the outcome for this screen-saturated generation? Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Minecraft is not real, tell your kids!

I got very upset as I was reading my child magazine named Science and life, when I read a 4 pages article about Minecraft. Even if it was under the label "video games" it still looked a lot like a commercial. Unhappily it was not presented like a commercial :-(

It was a few paragraphs under the subject Minecraft on a science mood. Each paragraph had a specific subject and include link to the game.

For example, the first paragraph which is the easiest to analyse for any one knowing music and playing a musical instrument, even if one is a beginner, so, the first paragraph is about composing music! It tells you how wonderful minecraft is as it allow the player to compose even if he is the dummies ever in music. Using some musical bloc you may compose, for example by clicking 3 times on it you produce a B and if you click 11 times it would be a F!
I guess it is the Morse code for music?

Then it tells you how wonderful it would be to reunite IN minecraft with you fellow "new type of musician" and make a band!
Honestly? anyone who learn a little about music would react to this.
So the naive kid will go for it and believe that he is living a wonderful experience, being at last able to play music?

And the article goes on: another subject is explore geophysics with minecraft, and then it is about quantum physic...

And this is supposed to be an article!!!
So I had to explain to my child that this was not an article! that if it was, the journalist would have done a research and expose more than one point of view. For example, the journalist would have interview a musician or a quantum physician to have is view on the subject: a good way to confront virtuality and reality.

I totally dislike minecraft, and the situation with it remind me about the baby Einstein video issue. At that time, Disney was trying to convince parents that those video were good for their babies, that they will make them more intelligent like Einstein. It was a success for a while, many parents felt for it and believed all of this. Well, I guess it was also convenient to believe as they were feeling comfortable that way putting their baby in front of the screen...

Anyway, after a long battle of parents, doctors and researchers proving that not only it was not making their baby smarter but it was actually bad for them, the whole baby Einstein period went away.

Now it is minecraft with all those preteen getting addicted to it and I guess many parents falling for it as well because... it is also convenient isn't it?

Kids stay for hours busy on their computer and parents can be free to do whatever they want instead of entertaining them, driving around, or sharing some precious time with them.
Well, not all the parents are feeling that way, you may want to read what some parents are saying about the game:

Monday, March 03, 2014

Your Baby Can’t Read (and that’s just fine)

in 2011, CCFC filed a complaint with the FTC against the makers of Your Baby Can Read for falsely advertising that their infant video series taught reading. That complaint led to a landmark decision by the FTC against Your Baby Can Read. Now, a new study validates our complaint. Researchers found no difference in the reading skills of babies who used Your Baby Can Read and babies who didn't. In fact, babies can't learn to read. We hope these results will be a relief to parents pressured by marketers to push infants toward reading (and screens). They should also be a relief to babies who are now free to play, explore, and have fun with the adults who love them—activities proven promote learning in those important early years! You can read more about the study here

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Still no time for TV...

Oh well, today, I would be happy to sit on the coach and watch a good movie with my children. I do have a collection of great movies worth to be seen. I love cinema and the audio-visual language is totally important to learn. However, it is not again today that we will find the time to do so.

It is already 4pm and my children are busy doing their own thing, one reading the other exploring a new computer program (not a game, we do not do game, no time for it). So he is actually exploring new tools on his computer keeping in mind a class project.

So, here is the situation, if I call them to watch a movie, sure they will drop what they are doing to come with me and enjoy. But a movie last for at least 1h30mn. So it would be over by 5:30 pm... hum, diner is at 6 pm so that would mean no more time to wander around, do whatever feeling in the mood to do... those precious moment they never encounter on working days...

I guess we will have to wait another occasion to watch a movie. In California the weather is mostly beautiful so we are mainly outside, which is great. On the other end, we do not have much time for all those activities that happen inside. And truly, TV is not at the top of our list. Those days, music may come first with reading and exploring technology I guess.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

I am getting hungry seeing all those people eating...

oh, what did you say? you are getting hungry seeing all those people eating in those commercials?

Exactly! that is exactly the point! We are watching the Olympic games, a great model we will think as we are watching sport.We are admiring the hard work of fit athletes. But unhappily, at each commercial break, and there are a lot of them, we are seeing people eating, commercial for food, for junk-food! People eating pizza, or chicken nuggets, or sweet...

So that is a challenge for a family where we avoid TV programs in order actually to avoid commercials. Happily we do not have much time for TV anyway. A rare grey week-end with a lot of homework is the occasion to follow the Olympic games while working on some artwork. But it does raise a question, how do you expect american to get healthier, eat better and less while they are watching people eating junk-food at almost every single commercial break?

Like my kid said, surprised to feel that way as it was the first time "whoah, to see all those people eating, it make me hungry"