Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

By danah boyd

What is new about how teenagers communicate through services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Do social media affect the quality of teens’ lives? In this eye-opening book, youth culture and technology expert danah boyd uncovers some of the major myths regarding teens' use of social media. She explores tropes about identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Ultimately, boyd argues that society fails young people when paternalism and protectionism hinder teenagers’ ability to become informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens through their online interactions. Yet despite an environment of rampant fear-mongering, boyd finds that teens often find ways to engage and to develop a sense of identity.

Boyd’s conclusions are essential reading not only for parents, teachers, and others who work with teens but also for anyone interested in the impact of emerging technologies on society, culture, and commerce in years to come. Offering insights gleaned from more than a decade of original fieldwork interviewing teenagers across the United States, boyd concludes reassuringly that the kids are all right. At the same time, she acknowledges that coming to terms with life in a networked era is not easy or obvious. In a technologically mediated world, life is bound to be complicated.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Data Privacy Day 2014

Privacy is a word that is becoming more and more in hot topics today.

Thursday, January 28th, presented by StaySafeOnline is Data Privacy Day. 

Data Privacy Day, encourages everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. DPD is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. 
Some quick privacy tips from StaySafeOnline for teens and young adults:
Do you own your online presence?Use the safety and security settings on online services and adjust them to your own comfort levels of sharing. Think about how and with whom you share information.Be smart online and keep your reputation in mind.

Are you old enough?Many online services, including social networks sites, require you to be a certain age. Be sure to check before creating a profile. Popular sites like Facebook require you to be 13 or older.  Sites that are for younger people have special requirements about how they handle your information. Don’t lie about your age. For a list of sites for younger people visit

Do you know this person?Be cautious about who you “friend” and communicate with online. Make sure you really know the person. People aren’t always who they say are or what their profile includes. As always, be leery and limit or have no contact with strangers.

Would you want your teacher or grandmother to see it? Things have a way of getting around on the Internet. Just because you send a photo or a message to a friend does not mean they are the only ones who will see it. Think before you send something and make sure to keep your online reputation in mind.

Would you want someone else to do the same to you?Respect others and only post or share something online if you know the other person is comfortable with the content.

If you have a smartphone, are you protecting it?Make sure to secure it with a strong password, understand how the location services work and can be adjusted, and know what personal information your apps use and share.

Would you give a stranger your personal information? Never share personal information online, like your phone number, home address, passwords, full date of birth, class schedule or vacation plans.

Follow Data Privacy Day on Twitter using hashtag #DPD14

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family

By Theresa Payton and Ted Claypoole

Digital data collection and surveillance gets more pervasive and invasive by the day; but the best ways to protect yourself and your data are all steps you can take yourself. Digital devices make our lives easier, with just-in-time coupons, directions, and connection with loved ones while stuck on an airplane runway. Yet, these devices, though we love them, invade our privacy in ways we might not even be aware of. Our devices send and collect data about us whenever we use them, but that data is not safeguarded the way we assume it would be.

Privacy is complex and personal. Many of us do not know the full extent to which data is collected, stored, aggregated, and used. As recent revelations indicate, we are subject to a level of data collection and surveillance never before imaginable. While some of these methods may, in fact, protect us and provide us with information and services we deem to be helpful and desired, others can turn out to be insidious and over-arching.
Privacy in the Age of Big Data highlights the many positive outcomes of digital surveillance and data collection while also outlining those forms of data collection to which we may not consent, and of which we are likely unaware. Payton and Claypoole skillfully introduce readers to the many ways we are ‘watched,’ and how to adjust our behaviors and activities to recapture our privacy. The authors suggest the tools, behavior changes, and political actions we can take to regain data and identity security. Anyone who uses digital devices will want to read this book for its clear and no-nonsense approach to the world of big data and what it means for all of us.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

By Jennifer Senior

Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior now asks: what are the effects of children on their parents?

In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior tries to tackle this question, isolating and analyzing the many ways in which children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear.

Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards.

Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clean: Overcoming Addiction (Now in Paperback)

By David Sheff

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Boy, David Sheff brings you Clean.

A myth-shattering look at drug abuse and addiction treatment, based on cutting-edge research
Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. These facts are the foundation of Clean.

The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more. To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stand Tall Against Bullying

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By Dennis Vanasse

Matthew is one of the bravest eight year old boys you will ever meet. Unfortunately, Matthew is bullied at school; he is called names, spit at, and even has his lunch money taken away by a bully named Bobby. Matthew just wants to feel like he fits in and that he belongs somewhere, just like everyone else.

But Matthew is extremely special and courageous because he never physically fights back; he knows what the right thing to do is, and that's telling people he trusts about being bullied. Matthew's story sends a powerful message to readers,"If we all stand together, bullying will end."

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