Showing posts from 2009
I recently cancelled the daily subscription to my local newspaper, The San Diego Union Tribune. Local newspapers are dying and they blame their demise on the Internet and other news sources. While I agree with their conclusions, I added my own concerns. If you share the same concerns, you may want to send a similar letter to your local newspaper. To Whom It May Concern: When I called to cancel my subscription, I was asked to give a reason. I would like to explain my decision. Frankly, you no longer publish the news. I have been a faithful reader of the San Diego Union for more than 40 years and formerly I counted on you to tell me what was happening in our community, city, state, and country. I can no longer count on your perspective. I understand that covering the "news" is like studying "history." What a student learns about history depends on what the teacher believes to be important and what the reader learns about the news depends on wh
Julia Angwin of the Wall Street Journal wrote this article about keeping your kids safe online. It is a major issue and she has some excellent advice. Let me know what you think. Let's keep in touch, Al Menconi, THE DECODER JANUARY 22, 2009, 10:07 A.M. ET How to Keep Kids Safe Online By JULIA ANGWIN Last week, a bunch of high-powered researchers issued a much-anticipated report on children's Internet safety. The Harvard University-led Internet Safety Technical Task Force concluded that technology ranging from age verification to filtering won't necessarily help make the Internet more safe for our darling tots. The results, while true, don't do much to allay most parents concerns. Although the Internet is an integral part of most Americans everyday life, we as a society are still struggling to figure out how to navigate a world where every danger imaginable – from predators to porn to that infernal "Chocolate Rain" video – lurks mere mouse-clicks away from
Dear Parent, Do you know what your kids are doing on line? Common Sense Media has conducted a survey to find out and a summary of their findings is below. Every parent needs to read this report. Social Networks and Teen Lives By Common Sense Media August 10, 2009 Face-to-face or -to-cyberspace? Common Sense Media conducted a survey to examine how social networks were affecting kids and families. The results? Kids increasingly connect with friends, classmates, and people with similar interests through social networks -- often outside their parents' awareness. The poll results illustrate a continuing disconnect between parents and kids when it comes to kids' digital lives. In today's society, there's more technology and less time for parents to supervise their kids' actions and behaviors on Facebook, MySpace , or any other digital environment. Communication and socialization in our kids' world is increasingly moving from face-to-face to face-to-cyberspace. Fam
What parents think teens are doing on social networks, and what the teens are actually doing. August 9, 2009 Teens may not be into Twitter, but 51% say they log into a social network such as Facebook at least once a day. Do you know where your teens are on the Web tonight? Most parents aren't surprised by the most likely answer: social networks. But they may be unsettled by what their kids are doing on those sites, according to a survey to be released Monday by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco advocacy group. The survey polled 1,013 teens and 1,002 parents. The bottom line: Parents consistently underestimate how much time their kids spend on social networks and how often they engage in risky behavior, such as posting revealing photos of themselves, bullying other kids or hacking into their friends' accounts. The study mirrors an earlier report from Common Sense Media on kids using technology to cheat in school. Here's a sample of the new repo
Teens losing sleep to electronic distractions 
 BY MARISSA LANG • MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS • JULY 22, 2009 To many parents, text messaging is an enigma -- a practice their children engage in when they could just make a phone call or walk down the street to their friends' houses. It seems to be a strange but harmless means of communication. What most don't know is that too much texting can be detrimental to their teens' health. That's because new technologies, such as cell phones and social networking sites, give teens easy access to their friends 24 hours a day. "The more technology we develop, the more we rely on technology," said Dr. Myrza Perez, a pediatric pulmonologist in California. A specialist in sleep disorders, she says "before technology, we went to sleep when the sun went down. Now, with all these distractions, teenagers alone in their rooms stay up to extremely late hours on their cell phones and computers. Their parents have no idea.
Internet Safety for Kids MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter can help teens connect with friends — but can leave them vulnerable to bullying and worse, too. Here's how to keep your kid safe online. By Bob Tedeschi July 22, 2009 Three years ago, when our daughter Rikki, then 17, shared a presentation on the dangers of kids exposing their personal information online, I was relieved to know our high schooler had a handle on this tricky terrain. A few weeks later, on a whim, I logged on to my MySpace account, searched for Rikki, found her MySpace page, and then clicked on her friend Kristen's picture, which brought us to Kristen's page. There we could see that Rikki had posted, "Call me now!!!" Our home number followed — for Kristen and potentially the site's then 90 million other users to see, since Kristen had not made her page private. When we asked Rikki about it, she sheepishly admitted to having made an impulsive mistake and quickly asked Kr
Last week I read about a youth leader who had a student who thought she might be a lesbian. I read volumes of material everyday and I can't recall the last time I was led to write to anyone about anything. Live and let live. If I don't like something, I delete it. I don't like to argue over strongly held opinions. I have enough work on my plate as it is and I don't need to involve myself in someone else's article, blog or story. They are not going to convince me and I'm not going to convince them. But I HAD comment about this youth pastor. Not only do I believe she was doing her student a disservice, I believe she was doing the Church a disservice. I am not publishing her original article because it is much too long and I don't want to identify her or her church. My response to her will give you a good idea of what she had to say. I am publishing my response now because in the future what I've written will be a "hate crime" and I want
The following article is a paraphrase of A Word on Citizenship by Heidi Swander, from Olive Tree Ministries. Her article so closely matched my heart on this issue that I couldn’t improve on her words. This is only edited for space. Al Menconi, President . We Shouldn’t Forget Our Citizenship! When the sins of Israel became so abhorrent to God He told the prophet Jeremiah to stop praying for Israel, " Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you" (Jer. 7:16). Could it be America has become this abhorrent to Almighty God? We cannot know the mind of God, but Romans 1:18-32 shows a series of judgments that God will bring to a society that forsakes Him. A glance at your favorite news source these days will confirm that our country is well down this path of destruction. We are not only in moral decline, but headed toward political, financial, and social ruin.
  A new sexual revolution Marcia Segelstein - Guest Columnist, From,- 5/19/2009 6:40:00 AM We are awash in sex.   We, and our children, can't escape it.  The teen clothier Hollister prominently displays Maxim , a "soft core" pornographic magazine on a shelf next to publications devoted to skiing and skateboarding.  Urban Outfitters , another retailer targeting teens, has naked models in its catalog. Victoria's Secret TV commercials, which run during supposedly family-friendly fare like American Idol , show high-heeled models strutting down runways in suggestive barely-there underwear.   The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, available annually at your local drugstore chain, has become an American icon.  Sexual references and innuendoes abound in television shows and movies.  "Women's" magazine cover headlines regularly promise to reveal secrets to better sex.  Hotel chains make huge profits from their in-room X-rated movi
Where are your kids?  eMarketer has completed an excellent research on teens and Social Networks that you should read.         Teens on Social Networks   APRIL 16, 2009   Making friends is important, but the experience not always positive.  Young people are going online more than ever before, and many are using social networks. eMarketer estimates that in 2009, 15.5 million US Internet users ages 12 to 17, or 75%, will use social networks. In 2013, that number will jump to 17.9 million, or 79% of all online teens. According to the  Pew Internet & American Life Project , US teens mostly went to social networking sites in 2008 to interact with friends. That includes activities such as staying in touch, making plans, finding new friends and flirting. A poll of “technology embracing” youth ages 12 to 24 from the US, UK, Germany, Japan and India conducted by  OTX Research  hints at how young people are staying in touch. The average number of friends respondents had on a social ne