Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?


As my sixth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share an article I read this morning regarding the social (or anti-social) outcomes that come with the frequent and constant use of the smartphone and other mobile gadgets.

Check it out here: Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it

I also suggest you to watch this brilliant TED Talk related to the matter:

If on one hand “smart technologies offer the possibility of instantaneous and continuous global communities where knowledge is shared, opinions are contributed, relationships are rekindled, expressions of support are enhanced and social movements are spawned”, on the other hand, regarding recent studies, there are more negative sides or the “smart” coin.

According to a new study released by Virginia Tech (The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices) – examining how “distracting digital stimuli” undermine the character and depth of our face-to-face interactions” -, your attention is divided socially even if you’re not actively looking at your phone, saying that the mere presence of a cellphone or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy”.

The authors of the study argue that “networked technologies let us manage several loyalties – work, family, friends – at once“, but they also have a negative effect, breeding “a persistent state of ‘absent presence’ (…) a technologically mediated world of elsewhere“.

For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write. The phone becomes “representative of people’s wider social network and a portal to an immense compendium of information.” (A previous study by two of these researchers found that people checked their phones every three to five minutes, regardless of whether it rang or buzzed.)

The researchers write in the study that “individuals are more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner’s voice, and have less eye contact”.

According to post-modern and contemporary studies these new global communities, gadgets and social medias deserve closer and deeper examination, they may even emerge at the cost or at least some sort of deficit of face-to-face interpersonal relationships.

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,

Pedro Calado

The Future of Content Consumption


Gigaom

After years struggling through a public identity crisis it appears [company]Yahoo[/company] has decided, for better or worse, that it’s a content company. There will be no Yahoo smartphones or operating systems, no Yahoo Fiber, and no Yahoo drones, robots or satellites. But that doesn’t mean the company can’t innovate.

When it comes to the future of web content, in fact — how we’ll find it, consume it and monetize it — Yahoo might just have the inside track on innovation. I spoke recently with Ron Brachman, the head of Yahoo Labs, who’s now managing a team of 250 (and growing) researchers around the world. They’re experts in fields such as computational advertising, personalization and human-computer interaction, and they’re all focused on the company’s driving mission of putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.

Really, it’s all about machine learning

However, Yahoo Labs’ biggest focus appears to…

View original post 1,262 more words

Should Handheld Devices be Banned for Young Children?


On March of 2014, The Huffington Post posted the article “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12”.

It has been proven that handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013), as I’ve already posted on my blog (Preschoolers More Digital-Smart than College Students), but there are also side-effects and negative points on the matter, some of which you can explore on these posts:
Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?
Delayed Social Development Cost of Texting?

10 research-based reasons presented by The Huffington Post for this “ban”:

1. Rapid brain growth
2. Delayed Development
3. Epidemic Obesity
4. Sleep Deprivation
5. Mental Illness
6. Aggression
7. Digital dementia
8. Addictions
9. Radiation emission
10. Unsustainable future

(Read more about each reason on the original post here)

Megan Egbert – a librarian, blogger and mom – answered the article with 10 Reasons Why I Will Continue Giving My Children Handheld Devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1. Because banning things never, ever, ever works
2. Problem solving
3. Technology skills
4. Expectations in school
5. Interest
6. Because I care about their brains
7. Girls
8. Balanced life
9. Literacy
10. Reality

(Read more about each reason on the original post here)

My personal opinion is that we need to be smart and have a critical posture about how (future) kids use technology, gadgets, social media and connect to the World Wide Web in general, since it was and has been continuously scientifically and psychologically proven that the new technology paradigm is affecting some manual, social and language skills.
Recent reports and studies show that nowadays young children and teens have less and less hobbies and extracurricular activities, preferring instead to “stay online”, consequently not getting enough exercise, outside activities, etc., some are even using tech to bully, exploit themselves, post horrible things anonymously, etc., a new kind of social interaction and social/digital (inter)relation on digital communities/groups that require further analysis and practical investigations. Nevertheless, parents and care takers need to stay vigilant about how their kids and young children use tech, new gadgets and get connected to the World Wide Web.
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