Still looking for holiday gifts for the teen or teen-at-heart in your life? Our buddy Danny over at Gamester, the video game blog, just gave us a heads-up on some cool retro video game bundles that … OK, actually he was hinting around that he wants them for Christmas, but we figured video games that cost $9.98 each and don’t involve a trip to the mall might appeal to other people too! Our video game expertise doesn’t stray much beyond “Rock Band,” but Danny’s got the lowdown on all the latest titles, in case you need other ideas too.
Archive for the 'Technology & Video Games' Category
This should be chilling news for any teen. According to Kaplan, the test prep folks, one in ten college admissions officers check out their applicants’ Facebook and MySpace pages as part of their applicant vetting process. And some 38 percent found information that reflected poorly on the applicant. It wasn’t necessarily because they’d posted pictures from the teen kegger, either. In one case, an applicant bragged about having aced his application, even though he didn’t want to go to that school. So the school didn’t put him in that situation – they rejected him first.
Your thoughts? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and share.
Thinking about going on Facebook to keep in touch with your older teens and college kids? Tread carefully, say experts and teens. With parents flocking to Facebook in ever-increasing numbers, teens and college kids – most of whom are savvy about Internet safety and have been on Facebook long enough to feel that it is “their” playground not yours – are eyeballing these interlopers with some trepidation. Are you there to spy? Are you going to friend their friends? Or – horrors! – poke them?
So here’s a quick guide to Facebook etiquette for parents, courtesy of teens, college kids and wise parents and grandparents:
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We are just reeling over something our buddy Danny at Gamester discovered this morning. According to a survey by the family-centric game site What They Play, parents are more concerned about their older teens playing “Grand Theft Auto,” than about their exposure to booze, violence or porn. Ahem. Supposedly, the poll results “demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their childrenâ€™s media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex.” Um, no. No, it doesn’t. It demonstrates that parents are nuts. Read Danny’s hilarious take, then click “comments” and tell us: What would you worry about most at a 17-year-old’s slumber party? Kids watching porn, smoking dope, drinking beer or playing Grand Theft Auto?
Well, we knew it was bound to happen. Medical experts in Wales are warning that teens who text, i.e., all teens, are at risk for repetitive stress injuries from cell phone use. A new survey in that country found that 16 percent of texters had symptoms of TMI, which stands for Text Message Injury, not Too Much Information. Excessive texting, they said, can cause thumb and wrist tendons to swell, causing pain that may spread, in the most extreme cases, all the way up the arms and into the shoulders and neck area.
The solution? You know how us grown-ups are forever griping about text message abbreviations? LOL, OMG, LMAO and other little phrase condensations? Doctors say those are good. Very good. They shorten the amount of time you or your teen spend thumbing the teeny tiny buttons on cell phones.
Their other suggestion was terrible: bigger cell phones. Like, OMG.
But we found this part charming: when it comes to sharing good news, teens were most likely to text their moms first.
Nintendo librarians? A video game pavilion at the American Library Association conference? A million-dollar grant to “develop a national model for library gaming”?? Quick, someone check for locusts and plagues! Who’d have thought the ALA, that bastion of literacy, would ever promote video games?
“Libraries are adapting to new technology,” ALA President Loriene Roy told the Chicago Tribune in a story that ran yesterday. “It’s in the nature of the library to offer a wide range of material. It’s not the end of change for libraries.”
Nintendo‘s just as surprised as we are. And that video game booth at the ALA convention wasn’t some fluke either. A Syracuse University survey of public libraries last year found that 80 percent had video games on their library computers. Some 40 percent held actual video game events and 13 percent had Nintendo and Xbox. The surprising news? Nearly 75 percent of the video game devotees came back to check out a book.
So what do you think? Death of literacy? Publicity stunt? Cool way to bring new audiences into book-lined libraries? Click “comments” and weigh in.
An interesting new study by Scholastic Books and Yankelovich turns conventional wisdom about Internet use and kids’ reading upside down. (Er, that’s the wisdom that’s upside down, not some newfangled acrobatic reading.) According to the 2008 Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, yes, it’s true that more kids go online than read for fun each day, but high-frequency internet users are actually more likely to read for fun than low-frequency users. And nearly two-thirds of kids 9-17 use the Internet to extend their reading experience by visiting websites about the book or looking for more books by the same author.
Here’s what else they found:
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Fascinating new trend coming out of Japan where teens are writing novels … on their cell phones. The texted books, known as Ketai novels, are uploaded to a mobile site where readers pay for each new installment. Now traditional book publishers have taken notice and they’re starting to publish them. One brand new bestselling author says her cell phone story about a teen romance and desperate illness sold 400,000 copies in its hardcover rendition, and hit number two on the bestseller lists last year. And during the first half of 2007, five out of the top 10 Japanese bestsellers were ketai novels.
Soooo, next time you see your kid texting at the dinner table, you might not want to interrupt. He might be working on a novel.
We’re entranced by “Illuminati,” photographer Evan Baden’s online gallery of teens illuminated by their electronics (thanks, by the way, to YPulse’s cool blog for pointing the way!). The 23-year-old Minnesota artist says he was transfixed by the idea that this generation of youth has always been connected. There has never been a time, he says, that they didn’t have iPods, cell phones and other electronic technology to link them. “These devices grace us with the ability to instantly connect to others,” he says, “and at the same time, they isolate us from those with whom we are connected. They allow for great freedom, yet so often, we are chained to them… More and more, we are bathed in a silent, soft, and heavenly blue glow.”
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We swear we’re not Luddites. We love Facebook just as much as our teens. But MySpace for babies?? Totspot.com, a new social networking website for babies and toddlers, launches this summer. We’re guessing Totspot’s makers are capitalizing on that odd new baby naming trend – some parents aren’t naming their kids till they’ve acquired baby’s Internet domain. And OK, we’re fairly sure this Facebook-for-tots site is aimed at moms and dads who want to post updates on precious widdle snookums — but admit it, for just a sec, you visualized baby posting provocative pics of that wild toddler party, didn’t you? Milk shooters, the chug-a-lug contest, woo-hoo!
Now we’re curious. How tech-y did you go with your baby? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and add yours.