What We’re Reading: Net Neutrality and Schools, Apple Refunds, Reporting Online Abuse, Useful Wearable Tech

Posted on 22. Jan, 2014 by in For Parents, For Teachers

LynetteOwens_Trend_bw_editBy Lynette Owens

Week of January 20, 2014

To help you keep up with what’s going on with kids, families, schools, and technology, we’ve compiled a list of stories, tips, and insights, we’ve found most useful over the past week.  What have you been reading? Tell us below or Tweet @TrendISKF.

NET NEUTRALITY’S IMPACT ON EDUCATION: Last week, the federal court decided to end the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules, changing the way ISPs can deliver content to customers. This ruling will now allow ISPs to differentiate among Internet content and charge differently for their delivery.  ISPs have an interest in this because some types of content are more expensive to deliver for them (such as streaming video) than others (such as static web pages).  However, such a scheme makes it highly likely that only those who can pay will be able to access anything online.  One casualty from this could be schools writes Dian Schaffhauser in Campus Technology.  Most schools already get discounted Internet access via the eRate program.  Will a new pricing scheme by ISPs or the fact that they already get a deal from ISPs mean they won’t be able to access rich media content which is more costly to deliver?  It’s a great question and one we should all be watching closely.

APPLE REFUNDS KIDS’ ACCIDENTAL PURCHASES: Due to an new FTC ruling, Apple has to refund money for all those accidental in-app purchases, whether it was a single $.99 mistake or hundreds of dollars on games, Apple is now required to provide full compensation to parents whose kids made in-app purchases without permission.

I wrote about this issue last year in Forbes.  It appears it’s easier for Apple to pay their way out than it is for them to design their products or demand app developers to design their products where it’s more obvious to kids they are about to spend real money.  And it’s also easier then parents having to be more involved in their kids’ online time then turn off settings to prevent in-app purchases (or substitute iTunes gift cards vs. credit cards to pay for app purchases).  Money may make the problem go away temporarily, but new kids and new parents will be new Apple customers in due time.  How long can they simply throw money at the problem?

TEEN FACEBOOK EXODUS LEVELING OFF: Mashable reports that while there has been a decline of teens on Facebook, it still has the lion’s share of all social media users, including teens.  We only care because it matters to us where youth are spending their time and where we should focus our energy.  Stockholders, parents, and advertisers all care for different reasons, too.  A more interesting trend to watch is not how many are leaving Facebook, or even how many different sites they use, but how much time they’re spending on all of them combined.  We’re be watching this over the next year.

WHERE TO REPORT ONLINE ABUSE/MISUSE: Our friends at the Cyberbullying Research Center have put together this great resource on how to report abuse, misuse, or bullying on all the major social networking, messaging, mobile phone services, search engines, and  more.  Please bookmark this page!  http://cyberbullying.us/report/

WEARABLE TECH THAT LETS YOU DISCONNECT: One of the coolest finds we’ve seen come out of the recent CES show is this wearable tech bracelet that can be programmed so you can put your phone away, but be subtly alerted when that important email, text or phone call is coming through. This way you can enjoy an afternoon, meal or meeting without having to check your phone every 10 minutes for that important health, family or work update. It’s available on pre-order, anticipated to be out late-summer.

See you next week!

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