Are You Sometimes “Botified” When You Communicate Online?

Watch David Ryan Polgar’s video below.

Take some time to watch an interesting video, Are We Becoming Bots, presented by tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar. In his video Polgar describes how in today’s digital age, each person is connected to many, many other people. Too many connections can lead individuals to send “botified” responses —  meaning that we sometimes behave more like robots and less like people. “Botified” behavior occurs because of the digital world challenges that arise when we try to accommodate way too many online connections.                                Continue reading

Family Online Safety Institute Conference 2014: Lots to Learn

A  year has passed and once again I’ve attended the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) annual conference — this time the 2014 edition. I was especially excited to be learning,  connecting, and enjoying the events with a bevy of edtech and teaching colleagues — 15 at last count — educators who are committed to supporting 21st Century learning and to guiding our students’ parents, grown-ups who must continually fine tune their 21st Century parenting skills.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.49.52 AMRead my FOSI 2013 posts.

Right at the beginning we learned about FOSI’s latest research, this time focused on parenting in the digital age. A presentation by researchers at Hart Associates gave us more insight into the excitement, the concerns, and the hope that parents have about their children’s connected world lives. The good news is that parents’ knowledge is increasing and so is the confidence that they bring to parenting digital natives. I’ll share lots more about that in a future post, but you can read the full report before I get to my review of the research.      Continue reading

Terms of Use, Readability, and Digital Kids

Check the terms of use readability level at your favorite sites.

Just about every time I head over to iTunes to purchase something, I’m all set to finish up when the site diverts me to a change in the terms of use. It happens at lots of sites.  And each time I click to look at a site’s terms of use, it’s a longer document — 40 pages, 41, 42… Now I don’t object to changes or even insisting that users check things out, but terms of use are abstract and arcane and not especially easy to read or even understand.

I’ve always thought it would be an interesting conversation topic for parents and kids — taking a few minutes to look at those terms of use statements that most people accept and go right by, and helping children discover a bit about the fine print.

About eight months ago, I read a posting about terms of use documents, C’mon! Match Terms of Use Text to Users’ Comprehension Level, written by Linda Criddle over at the I look Both Ways blog.

Criddle described her experience examining terms of use documents posted on well-known and popular websites. She looked over the terms of use documents for the sites such as the New York Times, Amazon, iPhone, Club Penguin. Then she ran each document through a readability index – a tool that examines a passage and estimates how easy or hard it will be for a person to read the words, as well as what level of education the reader might need to comprehend the information. Continue reading