Digitally Literate #236

When One Affects Many
Digitally Lit #236 – 3/7/2020**

Hi all, welcome back. I hope you’re feeling successful and staying positive this week.

I posted and shared the following this week:

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Companion Robot Robin Helps Children During Medical Treatments (1:05)

Robin is a friendly robot that can express emotions and build interactive dialogues with children. By engaging them in play and peer-to-peer conversations Robin reduces their feeling of loneliness and mitigates their stress during their hospital stay.

Read more here.


The EARN IT Act Is a Sneak Attack on Encryption

This week a bipartisan pair of US senators today introduced long-rumored legislation known as the EARN IT Act. Meant to combat child sexual exploitation online, the bill threatens to erode established protections against holding tech companies responsible for what people do and say on their platforms. It also poses the most serious threat in years to strong end-to-end encryption.

As the final text of the bill circulated, the Department of Justice held a press conference about its own effort to curb online child predation: a set of 11 “voluntary principles” that a growing number of tech companies—including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Roblox, Snap, and Twitter—have pledged to follow. Though the principles the companies are pledging to adopt don’t specifically impact encryption themselves, the event had an explicit anti-encryption message.

The cumulative effect of this morning’s announcements could define the geography of the next crypto wars. Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, presented some of these fears in this post.

Build resilience in children to help them stay safe on social media

This report by UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific regional office and the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention explores social media use in East Asia, gathering the views and experiences of children aged 11 to 18 years in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The report makes several recommendations for family, school, community and service providers:

  1. Improve support for digital parenting, and parenting in a digital age: digital parenting should be integrated into evidence-based parenting programs and should consider differing levels of digital literacy amongst female and male caregivers, as well as differing levels of access to technology.
  2. Foster online and offline resilience in children: Resilient children—those equipped with skills in areas such as communication, conflict resolution and self-efficacy—are more likely to make appropriate choices when using social media, be better equipped to manage conflict that they may encounter through the platforms that they use and take better measures to keep themselves safe online.
  3. Ensure that messaging and responses by teachers and adults are based on evidence of patterns of use, and what works: Greater emphasis must be placed on evidence-based approaches within schools, and in homes, that equip children with the skills required to keep themselves safe online, to promote appropriate and positive decision-making skills, and that also support the opportunities that present through an increase in digital skills.
  4. Three steps for technology companies: Technology companies should make profiles private by default; the default options for new contacts is most commonly ‘everyone’; this could be changed to ‘friends of friends.’; and finally, social media apps can relatively easily be designed to block photos being sent by people outside contact lists.

Tech firms take a hard line against coronavirus myths. But what about other types of misinformation?

Tech firms take a hard line against coronavirus myths. But what about other types of misinformation?

If tech companies can move to promote truth on a fast-moving public-health crisis, why do they struggle to do the same on other important issues?

Here in the U.S., it appears that the government is botching the response to this pandemic. Colleges and universities are responding to this with a push for online coursework, mobile access, and COVID-cats.

Of course, online learning and distance education doesn’t mean that we just put our coursework online. These resources from Google may help as you think about making that transition.

Anouk Ruhaak with an essay on the concept of “collective consent,” or ways to collectively decide how to govern data about us. Ruhaak indicates that the informed consent process is broken online, as we collectively decide who to give access and usage rights and what to collect in the first place.

The essay argues that data protection rights need to be extended to allow for data rights to be managed collectively.

What If We Didn’t Grade? A Bibliography

A great resource from Jesse Stommel on “ungrading” & inspiration to rethink our assessment & evaluation policies. Ungrading is not as simple as just removing grades. This suggests that we need to do intentional, critical work to dismantle traditional and standardized approaches to assessment.


Connect with kids by speaking their love language

Thanks to a podcast, my Wife has been speaking a lot about love languages in our familial relationships. The five languages are:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

This post in Lifehacker provides guidance as we interact with youth, or those around us.



A man is worked upon by what he works on. He may carve out his circumstances, but his circumstances will carve him out as well.

Frederick Douglass

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Digitally Literate is a weekly review of the news, notes, tips, and tricks from the week that resonated with me. I leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs. Feel free to pay attention if you’d like to check my notes. 🙂

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