Social Media | KERA News

Social Media

Deciding At What Age To Give A Kid A Smartphone

Nov 21, 2017

It's the time of year when kids are thinking about their holiday wish lists. So what's a parent to do when a child, possibly a very young child, asks for a smartphone?

We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can't these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?

Like the United States, Germany is grappling with fake news and hate speech and what to do about it. For decades, it has banned incitement, defamation, and phrases and symbols from the Nazi era.

But the lines have been a lot murkier when the offenses in question are on the Internet.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition tried to address the discrepancy this year with a controversial "Network Enforcement Law," which the German parliament passed on June 30, and which quietly went into effect on Oct. 1.

The Department of Homeland Security put a notice in the wonky Federal Register that caught widespread attention this week: It plans to keep files on the social media activity of immigrants.

That touched off concern among immigrant rights groups that this was a new level of surveillance and an intrusion in their lives.

But Homeland Security officials say this is nothing new. In fact, the agency says, it has been collecting social media information on immigrants for years.

J.J. Pearce High School Football Facebook page

The Richardson Independent School District has suspended two high school students after they posted racially charged messages on social media.

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A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington is developing algorithms to detect automated accounts — also known as "bots" — that spread misinformation online.

The project focuses on Twitter bots that spread fake news and their threat to national security. But identifying the characteristics of these bots can help the everyday social media user, too.

From Texas Standard:

In the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attack in London that left seven people dead, Prime Minister Theresa May has gone beyond asking social media companies to vet content posted on their sites more fully. She’s raised the specter of holding social media platforms legally accountable for facilitating the spread of terrorist ideology.

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Another potentially dangerous trend: the "eraser challenge." That's where you vigorously rub an eraser on your skin while reciting a certain phrase or the alphabet. The results can be disfiguring or worse. 

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A recent study from Stanford University found most teenagers couldn’t tell the difference between fake and credible news. That problem isn't limited to teens, though. Leading up to and after the election of Donald Trump, there’s been growing criticism over fake and hyper-partisan news sites. Overwhelmed social media users have even begun to cut back on their Facebook habits.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A little travel tech could help you get to your turkey on time.

Twitter/@Target

Have you heard the online craze about Alex from Target? He’s real -- and he's from North Texas. He’s had a wild November.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Flight running late? Searching for baggage? Forget standing in line. Send a tweet or Facebook message. A growing number of airlines are hiring social media first responders to help with customer relations, and Southwest Airlines has just joined the club. They now have nine “social care” representatives working seven days a week, eighteen hours a day.

UTA

When your neighbor buys a new car, your brother closes on a five-bedroom house and your boss brags about his trip to the Greek islands, it’s hard not to compare your life to theirs.

As part of our series One Crisis Away, which spotlights North Texans on the economic edge, here's a look at our compulsion to keep up.

Parents, students and teachers in Fort Worth ISD can now stay digitally connected with the district and its schools. The district has launched a new free mobile app for smartphones.

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Does social media help or hurt the quality of news coverage? NPR’s Andy Carvin redefined reporting with his crowdsourced updates on Middle East conflicts via Twitter 7 days a week, sometimes 16 hours a day. He talks to Think host Krys Boyd about his book Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring, and a Journalism Revolution at 1 p.m.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Millions upon millions of people are on Twitter, especially student-aged users. Teachers are trying to catch up by learning how to use Twitter in class.