When my kids saw the TikTok app icon on my phone, both of them had the same reaction: “WHAT? Why are you on TikTok?” While I thought it was because they wanted to tell me I was too old for the app, it was more that they really didn’t understand the appeal since they aren’t current users (for now).
It’s time to buy a smartphone for my youngest (who is only a few months away from being 14 years old). While we know there are considerations and conversations needed around the use of phones, safety, apps, privacy and other responsibilities when owning a phone, we also know the time is right.
I have teens, but up until recently they didn’t have social media accounts (although, I suppose Discord may count as one).
They hadn’t had much interest in the past, other than a few requests for Snapchat and Instagram that came and went almost as quickly as they were mentioned. But recently, my eldest asked again about Instagram and through conversations together it seemed like the logical time to get one.
A new smartphone is a big responsibility for kids, who have a lot to learn about using them safely, especially when it comes to protecting their privacy.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has created a graphic novel, Social Smarts: Nothing Personal! to help young Canadians to better understand and navigate privacy issues in the online world.
The #ForYou discussion guide includes a gameplay overview, instructions on how to run the game as a workshop, a pre-brief and debrief before and after each round of the gameplay to introduce and discuss key ideas about algorithms, rules for quickplay, and a glossary of key terms.
Not many words have had a rise as meteoric as the term “algorithm.” Once only familiar to mathematicians or computer scientists, today algorithms are the subject of warnings from scholars and activists, protested by students whose future lives and careers are increasingly determined by algorithmic decision-making, personified and catered to by would-be YouTube stars, and seen as the almost magical element that is vital to the success of newer platforms such as TikTok.
In this lesson, students play the educational card game #ForYou: A Game About Algorithms and use it as a prompt to learn about and discuss the role that algorithms, data collection, and machine learning play in their lives. After playing, they analyze the game as an example of a serious game and then design their own serious game to communicate some of what they have learned in the lesson.
#ForYou is a card-based pattern-matching game that helps youth aged 13 to 18 understand the role that algorithms play in their online and offline lives, and the value of their personal information to companies that use those algorithms. The game is designed to be delivered either in school or in community spaces such as homework or coding clubs.
Our older two teens are close to finishing high school, and we’re starting to think about moving them into the adult phase of their lives. That means managing their own online presence and technology, and making sure they have full ownership of their profiles.