Why Isn’t Your Toddler Paying the Mortgage?

Excerpt from this article:

Mila and Emma are two breakthrough stars of a new class of social media celebrities: young children who appear in viral videos. In many of the most popular clips, these whippersnappers engage in adultlike conversations, amusingly given their babyish voices. The videos can be incredibly popular. And marketers have noticed.

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Revealed: the more time that children chat on social media, the less happy they feel

Researchers have found that the more time children spend chatting online, the less happy they feel about their life overall.

Excerpt from this article:

Perhaps Facebook should carry a health warning. A study has revealed that the children who spend more time on online social networks feel less happy in almost all aspects of their lives.

The research by a team of economists at the University of Sheffield, to be presented at this week’s Royal Economic Society annual conference in Bristol, shows that the more time children spend chatting on Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram, the less happy they feel about their school work, the school they attend, their appearance, their family and their life overall. However, they do feel happier about their friendships.

Economists found that spending just one hour a day on social networks reduces the probability of a child being completely happy with his or her life overall by around 14%. They found that this was three times as high as the estimated adverse effect on wellbeing of being in a single-parent household – and larger than the effect of playing truant.

How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants

Excerpt from this article:

Children certainly enjoy their company, referring to Alexa like just another family member.

“We like to ask her a lot of really random things,” said Emerson Labovich, a fifth-grader in Bethesda, Md., who pesters Alexa with her older brother Asher.

This winter, Emerson asked her almost every day help counting down the days until a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida.

…Yarmosh’s 2-year-old son has been so enthralled by Alexa that he tries to speak with coasters and other cylindrical objects that look like Amazon’s device. Meanwhile, Yarmosh’s now 5-year-old son, in comparing his two assistants, came to believe Google knew him better.

“Alexa isn’t smart enough for me,” he’d say, asking random questions that his parents couldn’t answer, like how many miles it is to China. (“China is 7,248 miles away, ” Google Home says, “as the crow flies.”)

In talking that way about a device plugged into a wall, Yarmosh’s son was anthropomorphizing it — which means to “ascribe human features to something,” Alexa happily explains. Humans do this a lot, Calvert said. We do it with dogs, dressing them in costumes on Halloween. We name boats. And when we encounter robots, we — especially children — treat them as near equals.

Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype

Context and content may be more important factors than time alone when it comes to technology use during childhood

Excerpt from this article:

As a group of scientists from different countries and academic fields with research expertise and experience in screen time, child development and evidence-based policy, we are deeply concerned by the underlying message of this letter. In our opinion, we need quality research and evidence to support these claims and inform any policy discussion. While we agree that the wellbeing of children is a crucial issue and that the impact of screen-based lifestyles demands serious investigation, the message that many parents will hear is that screens are inherently harmful. This is simply not supported by solid research and evidence.

Should You Spy on Your Kids?

Excerpt from this article:

Digital monitoring — from tracking those whom loved ones communicate with to snooping on their social media accounts to checking their locations — is becoming common even among people who view themselves as mindful of the boundaries with their children and partners.

Is there such a thing as responsible spying on loved ones?

The answer depends on whom you ask. Strong believers in privacy reject the premise of the question outright, while others believe it is possible if consent, trust and respect are involved.

“It comes down to power dynamics,” said Mary Madden, a researcher at Data & Society, a nonprofit research organization. “You can imagine a scenario where, in a family, it’s an unhealthy dynamic.”

…“The game changes when we’re talking about a 16-year-old who feels ‘stalked’ by their parents,” Dr. Boyd wrote in an email. “This is because the sharing of information isn’t a mutual sign of trust and respect but a process of surveillance.”

In her fieldwork with teenagers, she said, she was disturbed to find that the privacy norms established by parents influenced their children’s relationships with their peers. Teenagers share their passwords for social media and other accounts with boyfriends and girlfriends.

“They learned this from watching us and from the language we used when we explained why we demanded to have their passwords,” she said. “And this is all fine, albeit weird, in a healthy relationship. But devastating in an unhealthy one.”

Is creating ‘mommy blog’ content the new child labor?

baby selfie

Excerpt from the article:

…After a week of chasing my children around to make them photo-ready, I gave up. I posted the few images I had, which were blurry and featured food stains on my kid’s faces, and let my blog die. The line between working and parenting had gotten too blurry. I felt like I was turning their childhood into content.

…In Magic and Loss, Virginia Heffernan writes that the new child labor is being photographed for the family business of multimedia publishing and social media. She compares a child’s compliance with their parents’ requests for photos to farm labor, arguing, “Every aspect of the family business becomes familiar to a child. Early on she learns that she can examine a photo on a viewfinder as soon as it’s snapped; that she should monkey around rather than ‘pose’…”

While Heffernan is speaking about all families, the observation is more salient for those who make money off of their children—writers, vloggers, bloggers, Instagram celebrities, and Vine stars.

 

Woman sues parents for sharing embarrassing childhood photos

Woman sues parents for sharing embarrassing childhood photos

Excerpt from this article (and this has sparked discussions elsewhere about how this could be the first of many such lawsuits as the children of mommybloggers, who had every embarrassing personal detail shared with the worldwide web, start to come of age):

A 18-year-old woman from Carinthia is suing her parents for posting photos of her on Facebook without her consent.

She claims that since 2009 they have made her life a misery by constantly posting photos of her, including embarrassing and intimate images from her childhood.

…The shared images include baby pictures of her having her nappy changed and later potty training pictures.

…Austrian privacy laws when it comes to social media are not as strict as some other countries – for example in France, anyone convicted of publishing and distributing images of another person without their consent can face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to €45,000. This would apply to parents publishing images of their children too.