Understanding and Overcoming

Hello all. Here’s Digitally Literate, issue #347.

I helped post the following this week:

  • Co-constructing meaning: Parents and children navigating digital literacies together – Together with Kristen Turner, Elizabeth Stevens, and Katie Paciga, we published this research in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL). The article documents a collaborative inquiry we conducted with our children as we explored the question, “What happens when parents and children co-construct meaning regarding the challenges and opportunities in using digital technologies?”

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Humpback Whale Jumps Out of Water Landing on Kayakers

You may remember this video that went viral several years ago as a humpback whale breached a kayak and knocked the paddlers out into the ocean.

One of the kayakers, Tom Mustill, a wildlife filmmaker, soon became a lightning rod for individuals that wanted to share their own encounters with these leviathans. Mustill pulled these stories into a BBC documentary, and now a new book, How to Speak Whale, an exploration of past, present, and future scientific endeavors to communicate with animals and better understand cetaceans in particular.

Research reveals new evidence of Facebook’s negative impact on the mental health of college students

A new study tries to build the causal link between use of the platform and reported worsening in anxiety and depression among college students. The study was led by Dr. Roee Levy of the Berglas School of Economics at Tel Aviv University, Prof. Alexey Makarin of MIT Sloan School of Management, and Prof. Luca Braghieri of Bocconi University. 

The research combined information from two different datasets – the specific dates on which Facebook was introduced at 775 American colleges and the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), a survey conducted periodically at American colleges.

Take this with a grain of salt. Regular readers of this newsletter will know that Facebook themselves has indicated that the social network may be bad for your health. But, I think there are many other factors at play here. The research methodology (structure) is definitely interesting and the findings are one more datapoint.


Meta has made thousands of dollars from hate speech ads, report finds

Media Matters identified over 150 ads that use the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur in 2022, garnering Facebook at least $13,600 in profit. Even though Meta publicly confirmed that the use of the word “groomer” to baselessly describe members of the LGBTQ community violates its hate speech policies, the company continues to profit from ads containing this messaging. 

LGBTQ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. The term groomer is a smear that implies that LGBTQ people are predators and seek to “groom” minors by building a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.


Five ways independent news media get around censorship in Russia

Days into Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, Russian authorities started blocking media outlets to suppress independent coverage of the war. Here are five ways independent Russian news publications bypass censorship today.

  • Mirrors – site replicas that have different URL addresses than the original website but host identical content
  • Newsletters – newsletters cannot be blocked without restricting access to the entire mail service used by the newsletter
  • Podcasts – similar to blocking newsletters, you cannot block a podcast without blocking the IP (web) address or the RSS feed of the server
  • Apps – developers can use applications to push content to users to simplify opportunities to push content to viewers
  • PDFs – old school, offline content (づ ◕‿◕ )づ

Understanding and Overcoming Belonging Uncertainty

Geoffrey Cohen and Gregory Walton coined the term, “belonging uncertainty” to refer to the state of mind in which one suffers from doubts about whether one is fully accepted in a particular environment or ever could be.

We can experience it in the workplace, at school, at a snooty restaurant, or even in a brief social encounter. Belonging uncertainty has adverse effects. When we perceive threats to our sense of belonging, our horizon of possibility shrinks. We tend to interpret ourselves, other people, and the situation in a defensive and self-protective way. We more readily infer that we are incapable or that we aren’t meant to be there, that we will not understand or be understood. We’re less inclined to accept challenges that pose a risk of failure.


The $15 gadget that’s eliminating cell phone use at schools and concerts

Yondr Pouches are mobile phone pouches that seal up devices and close them with a magnetic security lock, similar to those of a retail security tag.

These pouches gained in popularity at comedy shows and musical performances. Philadelphia Public Schools and numerous other school districts are purchasing the pockets and requiring their use on school grounds.

How to make more time to read

Reading is proven to be beneficial in multiple ways, from acquiring vocabulary to enhancing creativity, and even slowing the progress of dementia. Here’s a couple of practical strategies to read more:

  • Stick to physical books or an e-reader
  • Schedule regular times for reading
  • Design a reading ritual
  • Carry a book with you
  • Create accountability

In high school, I learned chemistry, biology
But not how to cope with anxiety.

Big Sean

Say hey at hello@digitallyliterate.net or on the social network of your choice.

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