Teenagers think Google is cool, study by Google finds

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Today’s teenagers think Google and Google brands are cool, research funded by Google has found.

Google published “It’s Lit: A guide to what teens think is cool”, a “magazine” compiling the results of its research into Generation Z, characterised as those aged from 13 to 17.

The Google-funded research found Generation Z relied on brands to “shape their world”, and that Google was the third-most cool. Cool was defined by the researchers as “unique, impressive, interesting, amazing, or awesome”.

YouTube, which Google owns, came out at number one ahead of Netflix. Google’s web browser Chrome placed tenth, in front of Nike.

The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think

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A recent international research study allows us to quantify the difference between the broad population and the tech elite…

The 4 Levels of Technology Proficiency
The researchers defined 4 levels of proficiency, based on the types of tasks users can complete successfully. For each level, here’s the percentage of the population (averaged across the OECD countries) who performed at that level, as well as the report’s definition of the ability of people within that level.

“Below Level 1” = 14% of Adult Population
Being too polite to use a term like “level zero,” the OECD researchers refer to the lowest skill level as “below level 1.” … An example of task at this level is “Delete this email message” in an email app.

Can’t Use Computers = 26% of Adult Population
…That one quarter of the population can’t use a computer at all is the most serious element of the digital divide. To a great extent, this problem is caused by computers still being much too complicated for many people.

Lonely and envious in real life? You’ll feel the same on Facebook

A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page and sending messages to her friends, UK<br>FDB0JA A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page

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It turns out that staying away from Facebook for a bit could be good for you. Known by anyone who is actually honest with themselves, that piece of obviousness is now backed up by academics: experts – boo, hiss! – from the University of Copenhagen. The publication of The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Wellbeing makes it scientific fact now: social media sucks for you.

But you knew that. Facebook is, and always has been at heart, a party made up of people you don’t really like who all have better lives than you, and you’re the prat who walked through the door to hear about it. Everyone else’s holidays are more exciting than yours, their relationships happier, and their jobs way more impressive than the crap you’re dragging yourself through every day to scrape enough money together for Super Noodles. Because you can’t really cook, either. They can all cook.

 

When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees

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Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do.

…The company’s team of data scientists announced that statistical evidence hints at budding relationships before the relationships start.

As couples become couples, Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk writes, the two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together.

How do children use the internet? We asked thousands of kids around the world

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The report from Global Kids Online is the first stage of an ambitious project to find out which children are using the internet, what they are learning, and the opportunities and risks it presents. To hear their perspectives, the project conducted interviews and surveys of children aged between nine and 17 in South Africa, the Philippines and Serbia, and aged 13 to 17 in Argentina…

We did not really know what to expect, although we knew some of the problems. In Latin America, for example, children live in hugely different urban and rural environments, and at the extremes of wealth and poverty. South African society exhibits high levels of violence, which now extends online. The Philippines faces a growing challenge around child sexual exploitation and abuse, while Serbia struggles with the social exclusion of its Roma population. Does internet access help children and their families face these issues, or does it make them worse?

How an Algorithm Learned to Identify Depressed Individuals by Studying Their Instagram Photos

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One of the curious things about color is that we associate it with emotions. Intuitively, we tend to link darker, grayer colors with negative moods and brighter, lighter colors with positive ones. Indeed, researchers have found that people suffering from depression prefer darker colors.

That raises the fascinating possibility that it might be possible to diagnose depression  en masse by analyzing the photos people post to social-media sites such as Instagram. But how reliable could such an approach ever be?

Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Andrew Reece at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chris Danforth at the University of Vermont in Burlington, who have found significant correlations between the colors in photos posted to Instagram and an individual’s mental health. The link is so strong that the pair suggest that it could be used for early detection of mental illness.

 

 

For Teenagers, the Pleasure of ‘Likes’

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…New research shows that likes appear to be somewhat intoxicating to teenagers. The same reward center in the brain that is involved in the sensation of pleasure and activated by thoughts of sex, money or ice cream also is turned on when teenagers see their photos getting a lot of likes on social media.

…Teenagers were more likely to give a like to an image that had already gotten dozens of likes, even if it was a fairly banal picture of a plate of food or a pair of sunglasses. They were less apt to like the same kind of image if it had gotten few likes.

…“Conformity is part of adolescence, and some of it is normal,” said Ms. Sherman, who prefers the term “peer influence” to “peer pressure.” “It’s how teenagers learn the rules of how to communicate and how to develop relationships.”

…The likes are “potentially serving as a social cue, orienting them to what is cool or socially appropriate,” Ms. Sherman said. “Learning about the social world is a really important task of adolescence.”