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August 02 2011

17:20

Special Series: Kids & Media

We've all been there before. Whining kids at a grocery store with their dad, they can't sit still until finally the dad hands over his iPhone, and peace is restored. Kids are growing up with media all around them, from computers to smartphones to tablets to flat-screen TVs. And even in households without as many screens, kids find ways to get their media fix at school, the library or at friends' homes. We decided to do another in-depth special report focused on "Kids & Media" all this week on MediaShift, and likely into next week. We have great expert advice, an interview with a kid, and a live chat coming up on Aug. 3 on Twitter -- so you can join in and share your experience.

All the Kids & Media Posts

> Screen Time for Kids: Balancing Fun, Learning, Media Creation by Tina Barseghian

> How to Control (Or At Least Influence) Children's Media Access

Coming Soon

Wednesday: PBS Parents' webisode on augmented reality in kids' apps
Wednesday: LIVE TWITTER CHAT with special guests, moderated by Mark Glaser and Courtney Lowery Cowgill; 2 pm PT at the #kidsmedia hashtag.

Thursday: Mark Glaser interviews his son Julian about various screens he uses

Friday: Chris Purcell on parental controls for streaming video services

Monday: Courtney Lowery Cowgill on baby photos on Facebook

*****

What do you think about our series? Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts on how your kids use media and what you'd like to see change about it.

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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June 14 2011

05:43

Fukushima Daiichi - Young parents continue to leave the towns near the nuclear power plant

Mainichi :: Young parents are moving away from towns near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as areas of high radiation continue to be discovered, raising fears over the effects on young children.

I can't stop thinking about the power plant. I can't smile or laugh with all my heart," says Aki Ohashi, 30, tearfully as she cares for her children in her home here.

Published June 11, 2011

Continue to read mdn.mainichi.jp

May 20 2011

19:57

Children and Facebook: The Promise and Pitfalls for Social Media

With more than 500 million Facebook users across the world, it's hard to refute that the social networking site has profoundly changed the way we communicate and share information. But what's the Facebook effect on kids? When it comes to navigating the social networking world -- whether it's Facebook or fan fiction sites -- the terrain becomes even murkier.

Parents worry about what's age-appropriate, what should be kept private, and exposure to cyberbullying, among many other issues. And it's true -- there's a lot to navigate, even for adults. But Facebook and social networks aren't going away anytime soon, and the better parents understand this, the more they'll be able to help their kids comprehend the medium.

Rather than block all access to the Internet, parents can see that for every pitfall, there's a potential promise.

"Parents can and should moderate sites, but they have to give kids the opportunities to figure out what it means to be digital citizens, and allow kids to be empowered," said Carrie James, who's conducting a qualitative survey of kids and social networks at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "They need prompts and supports to develop guidelines together."

CONNECTION AND SELF-EXPRESSION

For better or for worse, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and their ilk provide ways for kids to connect with each other and express themselves.

This level of unchecked expression, some argue, is too much for young children who can't handle the complexities of social networking sites. "The amount of angst has increased in my school in the past few years," said Anthony Orsini, principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J. With three suicides (including Tyler Clementi) in the past year, he said, "it's been a fearful time in our town for our parents."

The irony is that the fear doesn't come from the traditional so-called stranger danger but from how kids behave toward each other online. "Stranger danger is unbelievably minute compared to the social and emotional damage they receive from each other everyday," Orsini said. And the matter becomes much more complicated when you consider that strict anti-bullying laws render schools responsible for kids' online behavior, he said.

But for administrators like Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in Bergen County, N.J., privacy and cyberbullying issues are a red herring. "What if a kid swears in the hallway? It's the same thing. People want to hide behind the legal issues, but it's the same as swearing on Facebook," he said.

girl with tablet.jpg

Either way, kids will have to learn that their digital footprint is born from the moment they start posting on each other's walls and create their first online avatar. They'll have to figure out that every YouTube video they upload will be a reflection of themselves as the public sees them. With guidance from parents and educators, they can figure out what the world knows about them.

But at the moment, it's not a high priority at most schools, Sheninger said. "Schools aren't teaching kids to be digitally responsible," he said. "We can't fault kids for doing something wrong on Facebook or Twitter because we're not teaching them. We need to have digital citizenship curriculum in schools."

It's important to note that Orisini is the principal of a middle school, while Sheninger is the principal of a high school, and the age difference can be a factor in how kids behave online.

LEARNING

Chances are, anytime the computer is on near a kid (and let's face it, even adults), some kind of social networking is happening. Whether it's Facebook or instant messaging, or watching or uploading videos to share, the distractions are endless. As we all know, one link can easily lead to another, until suddenly an hour and a half has passed and we've lost track of the task at hand.

Last year's comprehensive study by Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids age 8 to 18 actually manage to pack in almost 11 hours worth of media content into 7½ hours of using media.

So is there any time left for learning? Researchers like Henry Jenkins would argue that the best kind of learning -- engaged and collaborative -- is happening on social network sites.

Jenkins, who is a professor at the University of Southern California, talks about "deeply meaningful forms of learning...taking place through engagement with affinity groups and social networks online" such as the Harry Potter Alliance, which has mobilized more than 100,000 people against the Darfur genocide and labor rights at Wal-Mart.

But because of privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, most schools shut off access to social networking sites -- with a few exceptions. To principal Sheninger, "if you're not on Facebook, you can't really communicate with us. Our new hub of real-time information is Facebook. I post things about what the kids are doing, and when they comment or parents comment, as a principal, I'm proud," he said.

PRIVACY

Facebook's changing privacy settings and its tendency to default to more open information is a source of constant annoyance for many of its users. We have to keep close tabs on those changes, especially when it comes to kids.

But young children are not the primary target user for Facebook, which officially does not allow kids under 13 to sign up for an account. Parents must decide whether they'll allow their children to become a part of the vast Facebook network, or to harness the social networking world into smaller, more contained sites like Togetherville or Club Penguin.

Parents can use the subject of privacy settings as an opportunity to teach kids about navigating the online world. They can talk about social media etiquette and what information they agree is acceptable to be shared with friends and the public at large. With guidance and support, and with parents setting examples of what they think is appropriate, kids can learn their place and responsibility as part of a worldwide community.

Photo of girl with an iPad by Alec Couros via Flickr.

Tina Barseghian is the editor of KQED's MindShift, an NPR website about the future of education. In the past, she's worked as the executive editor of Edutopia, a magazine published by the George Lucas Education Foundation, as well as an editor at O'Reilly Media and CMP Media. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

mindshift-logo-100x100.pngThis post originally appeared on KQED's MindShift, which explores the future of learning, covering cultural and tech trends and innovations in education. Follow MindShift on Twitter @mindshiftKQED and on Facebook.

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August 09 2010

18:16

Light, Seeing, and Framing…

Made it to Wyoming and my two pupils and I finally caught up in an office supply store. Why? Well they wanted to learn how to properly (i.e., professionally) mount their photos for the local country fair. So we got a grey and a black matte board (kind of a heavy cardboard, white on one side and colored/shaded on the other…second side is kind of rough texture) and a can of spray adhesive. Not my first choice, but no dry mount tissue available.

Once we got back to the ranch I hauled them outside with their (wonderful) little Canon (model number here) and my Panasonic E300 and Canon HV20 (in still mode).

To protect the identities of the innocent, please meet “A” and “J”, henceforth known as Alicia and Jasmine.

The little cutie pie who keeps popping up in front of the camera we’ll just leave at Cutie.

I get students like Alicia and Jasmine occasionally…so excited about learning something of interest they take in every word. (One of my many Jesus’ at McNair was once trembling with excitement at the prospect of editing some video – scary, but gratifying.)
My goal with the girls was to have them understand seeing light, composition (although they both have a natural talent in that area), and natural framing. In other words, to move away from taking snapshots and into shooting photographs.

First we worked with light…understanding where light comes from and how to move to make the best use of light. The photo of Jasmine above was taken by Alicia as Jasmine sat in a chair near a window. Not direct sunlight, but a soft window light. We had Jasmine turn her face from looking out the window to a 3/4 view of her face where the light looked best.

The shot of Alicia (by Jasmine) is the second photo – Alicia is naturally framed between some trees and has soft lighting. This is not only due to the shade from the trees, but also because of the overcast skies, which make for a giant softbox effect. Sweet.

While we were shooting and walking, one of the local munckins came skipping up, asking if she could have her photo take. Score!! We had a model – Cutie. This little bundle of energy was willing to be placed anywhere…so the girls chose the side of an old shed with vines growing up it.

Here are some of the ideas we tested out by the corral. First, framing using “nature.” What that means is you don’t have to buy a wooden/plastic frame and put your photo inside it. You can use whatever’s nearby and create a frame with it. Take a look at Cutie below.

First a disclaimer…there are unedited shots – straight out of the camera(s). The E300 shoots a slightly more intense photograph.

Cutie was in a chute peering between the boards…both Jasmine and Alicia were shooting at the same time pretty much, but their angles and framing were slightly different. Both photos are good shots with very expressive faces. Besides good framing, these shots are also close-ups showing great detail in both the wooden slats and Cutie’s face. I love that the blonde streaks in the wood echo the color of Cutie’s hair.

So we’ve gone through natural framing and basic use of light. Both girls got to whiz around with the hand trick, which is a great tool for beginners to visualize light. They also got a flash lesson in the difference between a normal, wide angle, and telephoto lens (how each of the latter two distort perspective differently).

Now part of the problem in teaching is that many lessons overlap. The photo above for instance, is an example of stop action, telephoto lens, and composition (and if you want, exposure).
A moment frozen in time as Cutie tries to make a catch.
The telephoto lens has compressed the layers in the photo closer together.
Center framing.
Dark background with lighter point of interest.

Shadow the cat (above) was shot with a wide angle lens…see how the background seems far away. Center composition again. This time a darker subject on a lighter background.

Off track for a moment. The last two shots tie into something called low key and high key.
Low key is when you have a very light picture with little contrast. Think polar bear on ice. Egg in white eggcup on white lace tablecloth. Monochromatic.
High key is the opposite. Lots of contrast…white egg on dark background. Stark differences between parts of the scene.
The shot of Jasmine up at the top leans towards high key…as does the last shot of Cutie.

I’ll just end this posting with a sampling of Alicia’s and Jasmine’s photos. As soon as I know how they did in their country fair photography competition I’ll let yah know.


March 16 2010

07:21

Magic Shows-to Add Excitement to Children Entertainment Parties


When it comes to children entertainment parties, there are a plethora of options available, such as theme parties, musical chair game parties and flip-flop fun parties. As being parents you are the host of your kidsâ?? parties and to make it a memorable one, you can hire professionals who would ensure kid entertainment to the fullest.

These professionals organize kids live shows that are the most enjoyable and rewarding branch of entertainment among kids especially magic shows. Kids of almost of every age loves magic and the children entertainment parties with the theme of magic is one of the nicest ways to celebrate and add fun and pleasure at your kidâ??s birthday party.

Kidâ??s magic shows are very much different from the close up magic or the sleigh of hand, and it is nearer to the stage magic with loads of illusions for keeping the kids attentive. The professionals who perform magic shows at children entertainment parties are often the stage shows where the kids sit as an audience. The magician performs using colorful and visual magic props such as wands in addition to animals like the giant white rabbit coming out of a collapsible illusions or the magical entry of a white colored bird from a plain flat book catching the children attention to the fullest. The kids feel simply elated when they see small little animals popping out and jumps forward to touch those animals. It is an amazing illusion that the children along with the adults enjoy a lot.

The kids live show professionals during the event make all the efforts to raise the level of thrill and excitement among kids to make it an exhilarating memorable experience. There are numerous skills required on the part of professionals so as to capture childâ??s attention that include expressions, dynamics of the body language and voice and selecting the words, which connect in a manner that delivers an overwhelming response from the kids.

The entertainer or professional magician shows mind boggling and exciting magic tricks during children entertainment parties. Generally, the magician begins the magic games showing tricks using a hat, card or several other props and the excitement gets multiplied when the magician involves kids as well. The volunteered kid helps the professional in performing a specific magic trick that further excites other fellow kids too. As the shows move on, the tricks get smarter making the kids to enjoy every moment of the entertainment.

The professional magician performing at kids live shows holds expertise of many years and is recognized in the industry of offering best entertainment in parties for kids. The best part about calling magician for kids live shows is that it allows the parents to host children party where there is no chaos and no messing up of things even it is a kidâ??s party as every child attention is captured with the exciting magic shows so there is less of worry for parents. These fast-paced shows are designed to capture childrenâ??s attention and entertain them in the most memorable way.

Michael Ricketts is the author of this article on children entertainment parties. Find more information relating to kid’s entertainment, kids live shows and childrens entertainment here.

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February 21 2010

08:42

Ideas To Keep The Children Entertained At Parties

If you are having a kids birthday party at home, you are a real brave person. A real, real brave person. Already aware of the havoc a bunch of kids who are having too much fun can create, you probably deserve an award. Thinking of changing your decision already? Panic not. What you need is good quality kids entertainment Brisbane has to offer. Here are some ideas which you can use to keep your party a safe, injury free place and still make sure you have good kids entertainment gold coast.

First thing to remember is to organize the party in a nice open space. Don’t attempt to use your home if you’ve got costly furniture. If the weather is nice, keep the party out in the lawn and for kids entertainment Brisbane organize a show, or some music. Remember, kids love music and activity, so for kids entertainment gold coast pick something that involves the children.

If you are hiring a caterer or a decorator for the party, he might also be able to arrange a jumping castle. The jumping castle is a great device, simple but invaluable for kids entertainment Brisbane. The kids will be drawn towards the castle, and will have a fun time jumping, getting their restless energy out where it’s safe and fun. The jumping castle will require a big area, so pick this method of kids entertainment gold coast if you are organizing your party outdoors.

You can also organize little games like musical chairs, running train, etc. Keep the games simple, and keep a little prize for the winner of each game so that the children have fun competing. That is one of the most popular kids entertainment Brisbane ideas, and the simplest too. But do remember that the kids entertainment gold coast games will work only if there are not too many kids around. Otherwise there will be chaos.

Not all games have to be active to occupy the kids mind. You can also have comparatively easy-paced games like hunt the treasure, 20 questions, do the opposite, etc., which can be a great source of kids entertainment Brisbane without being too much of a disruption. You should have someone who is good around kids to organize the games. Maybe you can ask one of the guests to volunteer, remember to ask beforehand, and not immediately at the venue.

If you want to have a great party, you can also recruit a professional entertainer to do the job for you. Kids just love magic shows, and you love to see them laugh. Magic combined with comedy is the best kids entertainment Brisbane offers, and Magic Mike is the source for this. If you want to have kids entertainment gold coast, that your guests will remember for a long time, Magic Mike is the right kids entertainer.

For more resources about kids entertainment brisbane or even about kids entertainment gold coast please review this page http://www.magicmike.net.au

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