Reduce Your Digital Footprint

AUTHOR: Katherine Fitzgerald, Law student, University of Paris 8

The Internet is ubiquitous and it has become an integral part of our consumer experience. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I booked a trip or purchased a movie ticket without going online. And whilst this may be an overwhelmingly good thing, there are nonetheless inconveniences.

A major problem with buying online is the digital footprint we leave behind, a kind of breadcrumb trail of information. Even on social media sites, our habit’s or ‘Likes’ illustrate our preferences and in turn this information can be used for target advertising.

This is done through the use of “cookies” which are a kind of short term memory for the web.  They are stored in our browsers and enable a site to “remember” little bits of information between pages or visits. Cookies are widely used to make the web experience more personal, which is generally a positive thing. However some...

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Understanding In-App Purchases

AUTHOR: Katherine Fitzgerald, Law student, University of Paris 8

Let’s face it apps are everywhere and all invasive it seems. There are apps for dating, banks, bookstores, cinemas, health, music and of course the holy mecca when it comes to children: games.

Whilst our older children still prefer to use their smartphones, a growing phenomenon has develop in the last few years in smaller children. Case in point according to OFCOM tablet computers are growing fast in popularity, becoming a must-have device for children of all ages. The use of tablets has tripled among 5-15s since 2012 (42%, up from 14%), and one quarter (28%) of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet computer at home. Whilst this figure seems alarming it just seems to reflect a greater use of technology as a form of entertainment at home. I remember my parents being concerned at my love of television as a child. It therefore doesn’t seem so surprising to see that the younger generations are now turning to...

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Back-to-School Digital Habits

Only three weeks into the school year and I feel the burning need to write yet another post about back-to-school digital habits.  Perhaps because I’m thinking that some parents out there are just not feeling the technology.  Or maybe because I think that there are parents out there cowering in kitchens (with a glass of wine) when they think about apps and ipads and games, oh my.

So the good news first: you are raising a child in the 21st century and unless you live in a hermetically sealed, self-contained and self-sustaining pod somewhere, your child will one day inevitably come into contact with technology.  And the simple truth is that technology IS changing education and your child will need to know these skills of the future.

Embrace the technology and get with the program.  (And when I mean embrace the program, I don't mean run out and buy an iPhone 6 plus for your 3 year old. But I do mean, understand that technology can be a good thing if you set...

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Cartoons in the better?

I read this Huffington post article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/how-screen-time-affects-kids_n_5765568.html)  that really got me thinking about cartoons and our children.  So much so that I knew I needed to write a blogpost about it.  The burning issue?  Screen time.

Yes, yes, I know that I’ve covered screen time in the past: screen limits, setting boundaries, but this article made me re-think some of my own television habits.  You see, I’ll let you in a dirty little secret: before we head off to school, I let my boys watch 15-20 min of cartoons in the morning while I’m getting dressed.

Like you, I thought this was a key move in multi-tasking.  The kids get a cute little break with Mickey and his friends, Peppa Pig or even that square guy, Sponge Bob.

But attention parents, as quoted in the article:

Parents who are waking up in the morning and letting their children watch TV first thing before school are really missing...

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Parent Perspective: My Digital Parenting Journey

AUTHOR: Joanne Cammish

As a parent of two children under four, I am on a journey.

A journey to learn all that I can about digital parenting so that I can provide my children with the best that the digital world has to offer while avoiding the scary stuff. If you’re the parent of a young child and feeling overwhelmed, join me on my digital parenting journey, one step at a time.

STEP ONE: Talk to children and young people to understand their world, their perspective.

So I had a chat with my nephew and nieces about their internet use – yes, they still enjoy speaking to me! It was like they were speaking in a special digital language that I wasn’t privy to. They were telling me about the apps they like to use and I managed to glean the odd familiar sound like Minecraft but here ends the extent of my cool recognition.

They mentioned videos on YouTube by CutiePieMarzia. Not to be confused with her boyfriend PewDiePie. They live together so there’s a slight...

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School's out for the summer

As a parent of a teenager, you have faced digital challenges all year long, from teenagers multi-tasking on IM, while doing Google searches (and swearing that they are doing homework), watching the latest videos and tweeting at the same time.

Parents of younger children have had a tough year trying to figure out which app was the best educational tool or how to put screen limits on those iPads or parental controls on a computer.

Parents of toddlers are just trying to get their head around all this digital parenting stuff and they are still wondering why their 2 year old keeps swiping the television screen.

Parents of newborns are in awe of their tiny bundle of joy, and they are taking tons of photographs to share via social media (unwittingly creating a digital identity for their baby.)

Whatever the age of your child, I want to remind you that summer is stretched out in front of us and if you don’t have a digital plan in place, you may find that your kids sit in front of the...

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Making the e-transition back-to-school safely

As the new school year approaches, parents and caregivers in countries everywhere are gathering school supplies, going through clothes to see what fits and what can last another few months, making appointments for haircuts, getting ready to purchase sturdy shoes and doing all the other things that will make the transition back-to-school go smoothly.

I thought I would chime in with my tips and resources for parents to make the e-transition back-to-school go smoothly too!  What do I mean by “e-transition?” Okay, so I just coined the phrase, but I am talking about the transition from online summer fun with any electronic and/or digital goodies to the online educational use of those same technologies and devices.

So as you make those organizational lists for back-to-school, add this term to your notepad: eTransition. (Please note: these resources are of course available to support you during the school year as well; the goal is to providing understanding on...

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Yik Yak, Anonymity Talking Back

Student post from Hannah Amreen, Law student University of Paris 8

A free social app based on anonymity can prove to be a recipe for disaster, especially in the hands of high school kids who are looking for a means to vent out bitter feelings about their classmates. Initially, Yik Yak, launched in December 2013, was meant for college students, as a ‘virtual bulletin board’ as its creators describe it, which enables its users to share ideas and information with the closest 500 users. Users are limited to 200 characters, no pictures allowed. But there is room enough for nefarious use of the app to be made and defamatory material to be posted, especially since the app has spread to middle and high schools where users are not mature enough to use the app correctly.

A debate on anonymity has been raised. At best, it is a platform where people can easily voice out their opinion, help each other and where close-knit communities can be formed. At worse, it is according to a...

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Our digital footprints

AUTHOR: Katherine Fitzgerald, Law student University of Paris 8

Nowadays it is almost impossible to disconnect, disconnect from the internet and the World Wide Web that is. We are living more and more in a digital era where we are all creating our own online persona, our individual digital footprint. A digital footprint combines everything we post online, share or view. This could include a profile on Facebook or Myspace photographs posted online as well as anything we have written or that has been written about us, for instance on discussion boards, blogs, or in articles. Nowadays we are all being encouraged to put aspects of ourselves and our lives online, and much of this content is freely available to view. Each time we add something about ourselves on the internet we enlarge our own digital footprint. Whenever we mention someone else, we enlarge theirs.

For whilst we are afforded great freedom to write, communicate and interact with one and other we are also shackled by our...

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Adblockers to Help You Get Rid of Ads

AUTHOR: Katherine Fitzgerald, Law student University of Paris 8

Let’s face it – advertising is everywhere – on radio, television, posters, and unfortunately the Internet. We all know how annoying it is to try and navigate through the web and be constantly blasted with suggestive (and more frequently explicit) pop-ups. Nowadays they are never ending and crude, repetitive and distasteful.

Whilst we are sometimes shocked or irritated by such pop-ups we are (unfortunately) no longer surprised by them. The same cannot be said of our children. Pop-ups are indiscriminate and will appear whoever is behind the screen – as such adverts with pornographic images are almost unavoidable to any child ‘surfing the internet’.

On a personal note, being sick of those images popping up on my computer screen, I was advised to download a free ‘adblocker’ program that acts as a filter on my search engine, blocking all pop-ups from appearing (and sparing me...

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