Design Week: V&A launches interactive website in a bid to engage Generation Alpha. “The V&A has launched Mused, a new interactive website, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture, in a bid to engage young people in art, design, performance and creativity.” The site was designed with 10-14 year-olds in mind.
BBC: AI-generated naked child images shock Spanish town of Almendralejo. “A sleepy town in southern Spain is in shock after it emerged that AI-generated naked images of young local girls had been circulating on social media without their knowledge. The pictures were created using photos of the targeted girls fully clothed, many of them taken from their own social media accounts.”
WJZY: Pre-teens lose full night of sleep a week to social media, new study. “A study out of Leicester, England with De Montfort University monitored 10- and 11-year-olds participating in social media. Researchers found the subjects were only getting about 8.7 hours of sleep each night. The recommended amount for the age group is nine to 11 hours. Young people cite increased social media usage as a fear of missing out, commonly known as FOMO. They said they didn’t want to miss a post or message from their friends.”
Smithsonian: Negative Effects of Social Media May Impact Adolescent Girls and Boys at Different Ages . “Girls and boys appear to be susceptible to the negative effects of social media use at different ages, according to new research. A study published today in Nature Communications suggests that teens and tweens have different windows of vulnerability to technology depending on their biological sex.”
Wall Street Journal: . “Inside the company, teams of employees have for years been laying plans to attract preteens that go beyond what is publicly known, spurred by fear that Facebook could lose a new generation of users critical to its future. Internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the company formed a team to study preteens, set a three-year goal to create more products for them and commissioned strategy papers about the long-term business opportunities presented by these potential users. In one presentation, it contemplated whether there might be a way to engage children during play dates.”
EurekAlert: Excessive social media use linked to binge eating in US preteens. “The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders on March 1, found that each additional hour spent on social media was associated with a 62% higher risk of binge-eating disorder one year later. It also found that each additional hour spent watching or streaming television or movies led to a 39% higher risk of binge-eating disorder one year later.”
Phys .org: Teen museum educators increase engagement, learning, in tween visitors. “Do you want to get the most out of a museum and encourage your child’s interest in STEM? Try interacting with a teenaged museum docent. Research led by investigators from North Carolina State University and the University of Exeter in the U.K. has found that youth docents have an overall positive effect on visitors’ experiences, learning and information retention at informal learning sites. The positive effects accrued across age groups regardless of museum type, but were most apparent in children ages 9 to 11.”
Mashable: A majority of kids have smartphones by middle school, study finds . “Between 2015 and 2019, the age at which a majority of kids have a smartphone dropped from roughly 13-14 to 11, according to new research. A new study from Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that seeks to inform parents about safe technology and media for children, found that 53 percent of kids have their own smartphone by the age of 11. By age 12, more than 69 percent of kids do.”
Phys.org: The benefits of social media for young people in care . “Young people in care benefit from the psychological, emotional and social support gained via social media networks – according to new research from the University of East Anglia’s Centre for Research on the Child and Family (CRCF). Until now, the automatic assumption has been that platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp only pose a risk for this vulnerable group.” I believe in this case “in care” would be what the United States would refer to as “foster care” – at least one aspect of it. You can get more information here.
The Daily Beast: ‘Niche Memes’ Are the Secret Clip Art Diaries Teens Are Posting on Instagram. “Almost every day, while she’s waiting for soccer practice to begin or for her mom to pick her up from school, 14-year-old New Yorker Carly* fires up her phone and vents about her day to 150 anonymous strangers on Instagram, the only group of people who she feels truly understand her. Her emotional outpourings aren’t posted to a finsta, spam account, rinsta, or any number of other types of Instagram accounts most kids maintain. Instead, she shares these pink and yellow diatribes to a dedicated niche meme account.”
Quartz: Facebook debuts Messenger Kids, an ad-free app that gives parents control. “Technically, children under the age of 13 aren’t allowed on Facebook. But many kids manage to sign up for Facebook and Instagram quite easily, making them vulnerable to all of the internet’s dangers. Now Facebook is rolling out a platform that will allow children to use one of its services—with plenty of parental supervision. Opening up a massive new pool of users, the company is introducing Messenger Kids, a standalone app that lets kids communicate with their family and friends.”