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Is the internet killing our brains?

The Guardian – Dean Burnett

“Throughout history, people have always worried about new technologies. The fear that the human brain cannot cope with the onslaught of information made possible by the latest development was first voiced in response to the printing press, back in the sixteenth century. Swap “printing press” for “internet” and you have the exact same concerns today, regularly voiced in the mainstream media, and usually focused on children. But is there any legitimacy to these claims? Or are they just needless scaremongering? There are several things to bear in mind when considering how our brains deal with the internet.”(more)

Survey Shows Tech Disconnect Between Teens, Parents

Education News – Grace Smith

“A study by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) researched online safety attitudes and behaviors of young people, finding that there is a complex relationship between US parents and teens. “Keeping Up with Generation App: Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey” contained interviews from 804 online teenagers between 13 and 17 and a separate sample of 810 online parents. The study found numerous signs of an apparent “digital disconnect” represented by the fact that 60% of teen internet users have created online accounts that their parents do not know exist. This number is over double the 28% of online parents who speculate their young ones have secret accounts. The research also discovered that there was a high reliance by teens on peer-to-peer support, with 43% of the subjects stating that friends have asked them for backup when they have been confronted with online issues.”(more)

Teaching online safety to kids should be mandatory

The Toronto Star – Catherine Little

“Anyone who has taught teenagers, parented teenagers or has been a teenager knows that they will find ways to do things if they are motivated enough. We are only fooling ourselves if we think we can declare a ban on online activities. Eventually, they will need to travel the online world for school, work and life. Talking to them about how to do it safely from an early age means they are more likely to talk to you about it when they run into difficult situations.”(more)

How every school can promote safety in a digital world

E-School News – Harold Reaves

“Keeping students safe in the digital era — with its myriad dangers — means a proactive IT strategy. Technology has become a mainstay within the walls of today’s schools. One-to-one computing is enhancing and enriching the student experience, transforming the way we teach and the way we learn. K-12 schools were expected to spend approximately $4.7 billion on technology this past year, according to IDC, with no sign of a plateau. But as rapid technology adoption continues unabated, the safety of the students who are meant to benefit from these advances is frequently overlooked.”(more)

Press 3 for Chinese?

Matthews Asia – Patricia Huang

“During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington last fall, he and President Barack Obama made rather unsurprising pledges to boost bilateral relations—agreeing to advance cooperation over such top issues as cybersecurity, investment treaties and climate change. But there was one relatively small—yet still sweeping—new initiative that caught my attention in particular. This was Obama’s call for a dramatic expansion in Mandarin language learning among U.S. students. Dubbed “1 Million Strong,” this effort aims to increase the number of kindergarten to 12th grade students currently studying Mandarin, from about 200,000 now to 1 million by 2020. “(This) will ensure a greater understanding of China, create a pipeline of China-savvy employees and ensure that students from all walks of life have the skills and opportunities to compete in today’s workforce,” said Carola McGiffert, president of the U.S. nonprofit established to aid this effort…In just the past decade, Chinese early language and immersion programs across the U.S. have grown more than nine-fold, now totaling over 170 programs.”(more)

Time spent online ‘overtakes TV’ among youngsters

BBC – Sean Coughlan

“Young people are spending more time playing and socialising online than watching television programmes, according to an annual survey tracking children’s media behaviour in the UK. Staff at research agency Childwise described it as a “landmark change”. Among those watching TV, the Netflix on-demand service was more popular than any conventional television channel. There was also a surge in children’s ownership of tablet computers, up by 50% compared with last year. The annual media monitoring report, based on a sample of more than 2,000 five to 16-year-olds, has been following children’s viewing behaviour since the mid-1990s.”(more)