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Give your kids a head start in this connected world

What we learned this week #10

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For a start we learned that pre-ordering a beautiful new iPhone 5 to arrive today is no guarantee of a beautiful new iPhone 5 arriving today (SOB) but far more importantly than that, we learned ALL THIS STUFF!

It’s been a very ‘debatey’ week…

Teachers and pupil Facebook friendships aren’t clear cut

We posted a little discussion piece on both our LinkedIn group and our Facebook page, expecting a pretty unanimous response to the question: ‘Is it inappropriate for over-13s to be friends with their teachers over Facebook?’

Most people felt that it was wildly inappropriate to cross the line between personal and professional, or as one commenter on our Facebook page put it:

‘I’m quite happy for my kid’s teachers to get drunk and go skinny dipping when on their hols in Ibiza and post pictures… but I don’t think it’s appropriate for my kids to then have access to those photos.’

But some people felt it wasn’t that clear cut. What, for example, if the teacher was also a family friend, asked a member of our LinkedIn group. Or, as one of our e-safety experts suggested happens, when a pupil has set up a school-related page and then invited teachers on to it. One of our Facebook friends was even more strident and mentioned a well-liked playground assistant who had many pupils befriending her and was threatened with a disciplinary hearing if she did not shut down her profile. Our friend felt this was an outrageous punishment for popularity, that was giving into fear over common sense.

The debate is still raging (well, bubbling more than raging) and we’d love to get your input.

Why Apple’s new iOS could be good for disabled kids 

Okay, everyone’s torn the maps to shreds and this latest iteration of Apple’s operating system is not perfect, but iOS 6 has a lot of cool stuff going on and lot of it could be very helpful to children and teenagers with disabilities. Quib.ly contributor Cliff Jones gives you an overview.

Whether sexism in the gaming world affects our kids

Hell yeah, it does, says Quib.ly contributor Hayley Krischer. From bouncing body parts to cringe-worthy stereotypes,

the gaming world is not a healthy place when it comes to gender roles, and that can’t fail to rub off on children.

The gaming world is not a healthy place when it comes to gender roles, and that can’t fail to rub off on children.

Female representation in video games has always been narrow at best – there’s the princess in distress, the sexy villain or the half-shirt wearing sidekick. But as technology has advanced, so have the more misogynistic factors of the games. Take, for instance ‘jiggle physics’ – the ability for a character’s breasts or other body parts to literally bounce  - in popular games. Body parts become the focus of the game instead of the strategy of the game itself.

As the mother of an eight-year-old boy, it’s impossible to write off this long-standing misogynistic behavior in the video gaming world. I can’t help but think how this kind of sexism is affecting our kids.

First, the misogynist references, though most passive, are starting to leak outside of the game. Hundreds of message boards are filled with sexist remarks against women, making it nearly impossible for women and girls to feel safe.

But this isn’t just a problem online. In August, the New York Times documented the inappropriate interactions happening outside of the game. One recent example includes that of 25-year-old Miranda Pakozdi, who was sexually harassed by her coach via webcam during a Cross Assault video game tournament and was told to take off her shirt.

While I’d like to think my son is currently experiencing the positive side of video games, it’s frightening to think of him as a teenager influenced in any way by this crudely sexist world. The answer isn’t to bash the industry – there have been numerous reports of gamers, convention organizers and bloggers showing how to help your kids deal with these messages as well as try to create a safer environment for women and girls. In the meantime, parents need to understand the effect it’s having on our children.

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