Study: Kids Need Help Deciphering Real from Fake news


If you wondered whether we need to do more to help our kids recognize “fake news,” a new report makes it clear the answer is a resounding yes.

Although 44% of tweens and teens in a recent survey said they can tell the difference between fake news stories and real ones, more than 30% who said they shared a news story online during the past six months admitted that they didn’t get it exactly right.

They said they later found out that a story they shared was wrong or inaccurate, according to the survey by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization focused on helping parents, kids and educators negotiate media and technology.

The survey of 853 children ages 10 to 18 in the United States also asked kids how much they trust the information they received from each of their news sources.

Family got higher marks than teachers, news organizations and friends. Sixty-six percent of tweens and teens said they trust the information they received from family, compared with 48% for teachers and other adults, 25% for news organizations and just 17% for friends.

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When to Let Your Child Use Social Media & Teen Screen Time Guidance (TIPS)


When is a good time to start letting your child use social media? What is the most effective way to curb a teen from using their mobile device for too long during the day? In this increasingly digital world we live in where children as young as 4 or 5, sometimes, own smart phones and know their way around an iPad app; and where everyone in the family may have their own device, parents now have a new set of challenges in reigning in all that screen time.

A little while ago,  Emmy nominated series Larry King Now focused on the health and wellness of social media. During the show, Larry King welcomed a panel of social media experts and influencers including Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Nicholas Carr, to evaluate the good, the bad, and the ugly of the ever-expanding digital world.

I was most interested in the segments related to social media and mobile phone use by children. Clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Nalin discusses the appropriate age for children to start using social media and provides tips for lessening use among children who already have access to smartphones and apps.

Watch the brief clip below about this topic and then watch the full episode on Ora.TV HERE!

I also highly recommend parents head over to CommonSense Media to find tons of tips, guides and information for parents (and educators) on helping their children navigate the digital world safely.

STUDY: Teens Spend more Time on Digital Screens than Sleeping or Learning in School

teen screen time

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that a new report found that teens and tweens spend a lot of time watching TV, videos and movies, playing video games, reading, listening to music and checking social media, but you might be somewhat shocked (I was!) by just how much time.

On any given day, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment, according to the report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping children, parents and educators navigate the world of media and technology.

Let’s just put nine hours in context for a second. That’s more time than teens typically spend sleeping, and more time than they spend with their parents and teachers. And the nine hours does not include time spent using media at school or for their homework.

Tweens, identified as children 8 to 12, spend about six hours, on average, consuming media, the report found.

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Eva Marcille’s Girls Weekend in Caribbean: THIS is how to Maximize a large Instagram Following

America’s Next Top Model  Cycle 3 winner and actress Eva Marcille has shown how to use Instagram to market an event.  The mom-to-be and TV hostess offered some of the young women among her nearly half a million people who follow her on Instagram and nearly quarter million on Twitter a chance to hang out with her in the Caribbean this May.
We suppose this will be a post baby trip as the former reality TV star and her beau music producer Kevin McCall are expecting their daughter pretty soon. 

It took less than 3 days for the 20 spots to fill up in each of the countries/properties on her tour: Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, Barbados and Anguilla. For packages starting at $800, the All Girls Caribbean Weekend includes hanging with Eva, professional photo shoots, make overs, fashion and beauty tips, relationship talks and more.  Those who pay the $2,000 each for the 5 Platinum spots on each stop get a shoot with Eva and their photos published in a non-specified magazine. 

That’s not a bad deal if you can afford it and have the time off from work and/or flexibility. And it is also for social good as a portion of the proceeds from the weekends will go to a group called The Right to Rights Foundation, which appears to promote awareness of Human Rights abuse and violations.
And who knows, if she gets consent from participants, she could partner with a production company to  film parts of the adventure to sell as a short-run docu series to a cable network. 
She previously starred with her girlfriends in the 2012 Oxygen channel reality TV show she produced called Girlfriend Confidential: LA   which got a pretty good review as a mostly positive show about the importance of strong female friendships from Common Sense Media.  It didn’t get picked up for a second season, meanwhile BadGirls Club is on Season 17. (hmmm. Marinate on that for a bit)
Anywhoo….each day, we see in Instagram and social media, fashion bloggers wearing clothes provided to them by brands who pay the most popular ones upwards to thousands of dollars in promotional funds to do so.  It’s great to see these partnerships between influentials and companies take off. 
Some people just love social media for its ability to connect with friends, old and new. Others for just clowning around, sharing, news links and memes and getting a distraction from their daily day and life. 
And then there are others who use it fully to maximize entrepreneurial and brand promotional opportunities.
Kudos to Eva for using her celeb status and ample following to connect with her fans and followers.

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How to use apps & online tools to grow super smart digital literate kids from birth

Would you consider investing in an iPad for your baby, toddler, pre-schooler or young child?   You should as it could be a tremendous asset to your kid and save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Common Sense media reports that among 0 to 8-year olds, a quarter or 27% of their screen time is spent on digital devices such as video iPods, iPad-style tablet devices and phones.  It also reports that half (52%) of all children have access to one of the newer devices at home and more than a quarter (29%) of all parents have downloaded “apps” (applications used on mobile devices) for their children to use.
The benefits of apps are endless as there are thousands of excellent free to low cost educational applications that you can download and use to instruct your children.
Further, several apps and services sell the traditional and most popular story books at a steep fraction of the price as a hardback or soft cover book.  A typical board book costs $5.99 and a typical story book $9.99 but the same books can cost as low as $.99 cents.  You can amass a significant library for fraction of the costs.
During my visit to the OneEconomy Corporations Educational Expo last month, I discovered several digital tools that could benefit parents:

1.    Footsteps2Brilliance is an early learning academic language program for students to help accelerate language acquisition, vocabulary and reading for Pre-K to 2nd grade students by connecting school and home through mobile gain platform. It has various programs including interactive ebooks, games, teacher planning tools and progress tracking tools.  Pre schoolers at California’s Calistoga Elementary School,  with children who were learning English as a second language used the software from 4 weeks. Their reading comprehension increased from 58.5 percent to 76.4 percent in that one month.  The program provided kids an average of 31 books and exposed them to 9,800 vocabulary words, said Eugene Narcisco,  Footsteps 2 Brilliance Chief Operations Officer. “What you’re seeing here is a great example of a grassroots public-private partnership that makes transformation possible and can be a model for all of California,” said Dorothy Salmon, a board member of NapaLearns which donated the IPads. “Every community has this potential and can use technology as an innovative tool with a great curriculum.”
2.       Partner with Great Schools and College Bound offer an award winning online parents support program for parents who want to set their kids on the path to academic success. Using vibrant and easy-to-use animated lessons, the software teaches parents how to reinforce what their kids are learning at school, ways to address behavioral and academic issues from homework woes to cyber-bullying, time management issues and teacher respect. It also provides strategies for talking with teachers and making sure their children get the resources they need.  For example, in one lesson it instructs parents to avoid labels such as “you are so lazy and irresponsible” and to replace them with words like “you are so smart.”  The overall benefit is that is motivates parents to work with their children at home.  Parents learn not to argue with their kids and to be more calm during homework time.
3.       CommonSensemedia offers a FREE online digital literacy and citizenship curriculum to kindergarten to 12 graders to teach them safety security, digital citizenship using teacher tested, video-rich, practical and fun videos and real-world scenarios.  The purpose of the service is to guide children who each day post, chat, text, download and update their profiles. It teaches them not to cyber bully or  borrow excessively when doing online research.
When properly harnessed, and using these three services, for example, parents can grown digitally literate, savvy and super smart kids from birth to high school graduation!
[And if you want to raise brilliant future Mensah kids, a friend of mine whose child is 3 and doing algebra and could read at age 2 recommends the curriculum from Gentile Revolution Press, Usborne, TestingMom and The Well Trained Mind]
Learn about College Bound’s success stories

College Bound from GreatSchools on Vimeo.

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