March 26th, 2019
How Instagram Doesn’t Build Self-Esteem
Lexie Kite, PhD, explains in detail the pitfalls of letting girls on Instagram. While this article on BeautyRedefined.org focuses on middle school and high school aged girls, it also demonstrates how it can be bad for boys as well. The inherent message in Instagram is that your value resides in your appearance. For developing brains who are creating their identities, this is a dangerous paradigm and when Dr. Kite writes “Save Your Girls from Instagram,” it’s not an exaggerated headline. The article focuses on Instagram itself, but it also shows how social media apps and their endless scroll take a toll on our lives.
March 26th, 2019
Does Edutainment Belong in Our Schools?
This One Zero article on Medium explores a new math game, Prodigy, that bills itself as both an education and fun. The creators see themselves as competing with Fortnite, and teachers and parents like that it teaches the children math. Gamifying education isn’t a new idea, think Oregon Trail or Carmen Sandiego, but having hidden purchases available is. Jeff Wise explores this idea in his article, “The Ethically Questionable Math Game Taking Over U.S. Schools.”
September 6th, 2018
Get to Know Zeynep Tufekci, the Data Collection Cassandra
Professor Zeynep Tufekci has been talking to the tech world about the dangers of data collection since 2012. Six years later, everybody else is finally starting to listen. She has received a lot more attention since the news broke about Facebook and Google’s data collection in Spring of 2018. The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interview with her (behind a paywall). And on Vox, she recommends three books on how technology shapes us. (At the bottom of that article is a link to Ezra Klein’s interview with her on his podcast.) The podcast goes into the weeds on this topic, but also gives a solid background into what companies have been doing for years in terms of collecting users data. Tufekci has also given a few TED talks about this topic, and they are well worth watching. She also writes about all of this for the New York Times.
July 13th, 2018
What Tech Giants Really Do With Your Data
On BBC.com , Tom Calver and Joe Miller outline a simplified list of what the biggest tech companies do with your data. It’s clear and a little scary. Facebook, Google, and others are grabbing your data and they explain why and how. However, there are no solutions here–just clear explanations about how your privacy is compromised daily. Reading this article provides a fantastic checklist for your annual privacy update. It works for both you and for your children. Print it out and put aside an hour or two, and you’ll be on your way to improving your privacy. (For more detailed information on how best to address these issues, check out our archive.)
June 11th, 2018
Find Out What Google and Facebook Know About You
Baratunde Thurston guides you through the maze of data which Facebook and Google collect about you. He shows you what he did to protect himself and his family. Following his steps, you can improve your privacy and limit who takes your data. While this article is long, it is also incredibly informative and easy to read. There is one hitch. The article is accessed through Medium, a new media company. Medium only offers three free articles before you hit the paywall. That said, we think this piece is worth using up one of those freebies or paying for a subscription.