Doug McIntyre: How is the digital age changing us?

By Doug McIntyre | [email protected] | PUBLISHED: February 25, 2018 at 6:04 am | UPDATED: February 25, 2018 at 10:34 am No wonder our heads are spinning. Our world is in a constant state of flux as we rotate on our axis at a thousand miles per hour. Oceans rise and recede, plate tectonics send continents crashing into one another, volcanos spew hot magma forming new lands, while wind and rain slowly, inexorably, erode the tallest mountains into deep valleys. The earth is forever changing. And change makes people nervous. Change can also be cathartic, even thrilling. My grandmother, Margaret Jennings Reed, witnessed amazing changes in her lifetime. Born in Ireland in 1898, she died in New York in 1986. A long life, but not uniquely so. Still, in her path through life, she witnessed stunning changes unimaginable when she got on that boat back in 1914. The Europe she left was on the brink of the First World War. Women were fighting for the right to vote. She survived the Great Depression while raising her children, including my mother, sending a son to fight at Iwo Jima during a second world war. A short-lived peace was followed by the threat of nuclear incineration while blacks and other minorities fought for their belated seat at the table something that didn’t happen until my lifetime. My grandmother was born before Kitty Hawk and outlived Apollo. And we call these, “the good old days,” when life was simple. My grandmother’s world was simple in only one way, it was analog, with physical mass you could pick up and hold. Our world is digital, dominated by smartphones, with virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the promise of technology so astounding language will have to be invented to describe it. How is this awesome paradigm shift going to change us? How has it already changed us? The digital revolution is one of the most profound developments in human history. It’s as if we took the slow transition from the Continue Reading

Experts Warn Parents About The Dangers Of ‘sharenting’—sharing Too Much Information Online

While you won’t find the term “sharenting” in the dictionary, you will find plenty of examples on any social media platform. The word is used to describe parents who overshare pictures and information about their children on social media. Besides gaining a few likes, and possibly some “unfollows,” experts tell Denver7 there is much more to consider before parents choose to post. “It’s a closed group, so we have to invite the members,” Rachel Stephens said. “It actually can’t even be searched for on Facebook.” Stephens and her husband have 2½-year-old twins. The toddlers were born at 25-weeks and were up against some serious medical complications. She and her husband made the decision early on, not to publicly post about their children. Instead, the two used the private Facebook group to keep long-distant family members in the loop. This is a privacy measure not very many make. Sharing Is The Norm A University of Florida study found 92 percent of kids under the age of 2-years-old already have a digital footprint. “The question becomes one of, you know, there’s an inherent conflict between parents who have a right to publish and children who have a right to privacy,” Dr. Lynn Schofield Clark told Denver7. Dr. Clark works in the University of Denver’s Media, Film and Journalism Studies department. She’s studied and has written literature on “sharenting.” This is privacy Clark said could play a crucial role in your child’s development, and actions that could potentially cause serious future issues like identity theft, anxiety, stalking and bullying. Dr. Clark added, “I think where it becomes problematic is when parents make decisions that are funny to them, but turn out to be embarrassing for young people.” How Much Is Too Much? It’s also a problem when parents don’t realize what they’re posting. Continue Reading

Fox Run Elementary School transforms library for the digital age

By Kaitlyn Krasselt Updated 3:23 pm, Friday, February 9, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-24', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 24', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media Image 1of/24 CaptionClose Image 1 of 24 Buy photo Fox Run Elementary School students Emily Marcelino and Ethan Ready try out the new tablets while Ethan's father, Michael Ready, looks on as the school unveils its new Learning Commons and Media Center on Friday. The media center replaces the library. less Fox Run Elementary School students Emily Marcelino and Ethan Ready try out the new tablets while Ethan's father, Michael Ready, looks on as the school unveils its new Learning Commons and Media Center on ... more Continue Reading

Day cares cited by Texas inspectors in the Houston area

By Dana Burke Updated 6:23 pm, Monday, January 29, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); Continue Reading

When it comes to ‘sharenting,’ new parents are divided over online footprints

July 21, 2017—Two million likes in the first hour. Even for Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, that is an impressive rate. One week ago, Ms. Knowles-Carter announced the birth of her twins with husband Jay-Z on Instagram, and the photo has since amassed more than 9.8 million likes. Knowles-Carter, arguably the most famous pop star in the world, frequently posts photos of her family on social media. Her Instagram post announcing her pregnancy on Feb. 1 is currently the most-liked photo on Instagram with 11.1 million likes. But a friend of Beyoncé’s and fellow star, Blake Lively, has taken a different approach to fame and motherhood. Ms. Lively’s two daughters with husband Ryan Reynolds are absent from the actress’ Instagram account and the private couple made their first and only public appearance as a family in December. Beyoncé and Lively are public figures, but their differing stances on motherhood and social media reflect a debate that goes beyond Hollywood.    “[T]hey represent two very different ways of parenting in the digital age when it comes to Instagram and an image-based social network,” says Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and author of the book, "The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age." Increasingly, young mothers across the United States have strong opinions on “sharenting.” Those who favor using Instagram say the platform is a great way to share everything from first steps to zoo visits with distant family and creates a living photo album for their child to look back on. Those who oppose online sharing say it invades their child’s privacy with unknown future implications. Mothers on both sides of the debate, though, cite relationship-building as one main reason behind their “sharenting” stance. Some find camaraderie through new virtual friendships, while others choose to deepen Continue Reading

Toddlers love selfies, and parenting in an iPhone age

LOS ANGELES — Every so often, Brandi Koskie finds dozens of photos of her 3-year-old daughter, Paisley, on her iPhone — but they aren't ones Koskie has taken. "There'll be 90 pictures, sideways, of the corner of her eye, her eyebrow," said Koskie, who lives in Wichita, Kan. "She's just tapping her way right into my phone." The hidden photos, all shot by Paisley, illustrate a phenomenon familiar to many parents in today's tech-savvy world: Toddlers love selfies. Observant entrepreneurs have caught on to these image-obsessed tots, marketing special apps that make taking photos super-easy for little fingers. You can even buy a pillow with a smartphone pocket so toddlers can take selfies during a diaper change. But toddlers aren't the only ones taking photos nonstop. It's not unusual for doting parents to snap thousands of digital photos by the time their child is 2. Today's toddlers think nothing of finding their own biopic stored in a device barely bigger than a deck of cards. While the barrage of images may keep distant grandparents happy, it's not yet clear how such a steady diet of self-affirming navel-gazing will affect members of the first truly "smartphone generation." Tot-centric snapshots can help build a healthy self-image and boost childhood memories when handled correctly, but shooting too many photos or videos and playing them back instantly for a demanding toddler could backfire, said Deborah Best, a professor of cognitive developmental psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The instant gratification that smartphones provide today's toddlers is "going to be hard to overcome," she said. "They like things immediately, and they like it short and quick. It's going to have an impact on kids' ability to wait for gratification. I can't see that it won't." Julie Young, a Boston-based behavioral analyst, has seen that firsthand. She was recently helping her 3-year-old son record Continue Reading

Can T.J. Maxx save the Shore’s aging strip centers?

Real estate agent Christine Stout was between appointments on a recent day, when she decided to kill time at the new T.J. Maxx store in the newly named The Marketplace in Middletown.Stout wasn't sure what she would find inside, but that was the reason she was there. The store reminded her of a garage sale, only with nicer merchandise. It reminded her of a treasure hunt, only with discounted items."I was immediately attracted to it because it’s a fun experience," Stout, 51, of Red Bank, said. "You never know what you might find in there."The Shore's aging shopping centers are getting makeovers in a bid to lure tenants that can withstand the force of online shopping. Among them: The 60-year-old Middletown Shopping Center is completing a massive renovation that includes a more upscale name. And the 47-year-old Kmart Plaza in Hazlet was sold to a new owner that promptly bought out the sprawling center's namesake and has its sights set on a large grocer.They are salvaging properties that rarely won marks for their visual beauty — even before some of their anchors like A&P and Pathmark closed six years ago. The process isn't always smooth sailing; long-time tenants, faced with sharp rent hikes, can be forced out. But it is a sign of retail in the digital age."That strip mall has got to give customers something they can’t get online,” said Gene Simko, a management professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. MORE: Mall tenants: Lord & Taylor, Foot Locker,...Realtor? MORE: Geek out at ThinkGeek in Toms River The Marketplace in Middletown on Route 35 and New Monmouth Road is an example.The outside is freshly painted with pastel colors. Its facade has been redesigned to include sharp edges. Its pillars are supported with stone. And it has lined up new tenants. T.J. Maxx opened in November. Bed Bath & Beyond is moving in next door. And a sign says Continue Reading

Toys R Us’ bankruptcy filing was long in the making

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Perfect timing helped Toys R Us grow from a single, tiny store into an international powerhouse over the course of 69 years.Now it becomes the victim of imperfect timing, filing for Chapter 11 Monday ahead of the critical holiday toy-buying season. The filing, and the debt that came with it, was years in the making.The company got its start selling cribs and carriages just as the baby boom was about to explode. It expanded into toys as those babies grew and it realized dolls and trucks produced more repeat business than baby furniture. It opened the first toy superstores just as the age of hot toys fueled by TV ads was dawning.But the company that billed itself as "the center of the toy universe" found itself behind the times in the digital age and challenged by a retail world that is playing by a whole new set of rules. It faced $400 million of its crushing $5 billion debt next year with lenders who have grown less patient about waiting for results and who are less confident about the future of traditional retailers.Before the filing, the company said it had hired a top restructuring firm and was evaluating "a range of options." It's unclear what happens next. Toys R Us, which is headquartered in Wayne, N.J., may see a  significant number of store closings. More: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy Related: Toys R Us predicts your kid will pester you for these must-haves No one expects Toys R Us to disappear. But most experts agree it will need radical changes to survive. And in a world where Walmart, Target, Amazon and even drugstores and discount fashion stores like T.J. Maxx are selling toys, any missteps could help those competitors gain an edge.Toys R Us faces the same core problem that has plagued other retailers that have filed for bankruptcy recently: Too many stores and too many large stores, said Jeff Gleit, a bankruptcy partner at New York law firm Sullivan & Continue Reading

No texting at the table! Tips for parenting in the digital age

Holly Kopczynski always prided herself on raising her kids the right way, teaching them etiquette basics like saying "please" and "thank you." Then it happened. "We were at a restaurant for my mom's birthday. I looked over and there are my daughter and my oldest son texting, holding their phones under the table," said the mom of four in Lewiston, Idaho. "I just came unglued. I was like, `Are you kidding? You're at your grandma's birthday party. Put those phones away now!'" We all know teens love their gadgets - more for texting than talking. But the devices are posing some new challenges for parents. How can they teach their tech-savvy kids some electronic etiquette? So far, parents are learning on the fly, imposing new rules for their young offenders such as "no texting at dinner." Beth Herina of Ringwood, N.J., made that rule two years ago because her 13-year-old son was texting friends at the dinner table. She has another rule, too: No texting on family outings. "He can text en route but not when it is family time," she said. "And I ask questions about who he is texting." Her son Dylan may not like mom's rules, but she considers them mild. Her brother-in-law goes into his children's cell phone accounts to read their texts. When it comes to gadgets like cell phones and computers, some kids and even some adults don't seem to consider their gadget behavior rude, said P.M. Forni, co-founder of Johns Hopkins University's Civility Initiative. "We're seeing behavior that you never would have seen before," he said. "Students getting up in the middle of class to answer their phones, texting during class, students watching TV on their laptops during lectures." Kopczynski said she told her 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter to shut their phones off and put them away, which they did, but it was their reaction to her order that still bothers her. "That was a sad moment for me," she said. "I grew up with rules, the `no elbows on the table' kind of Continue Reading

‘School’ kids: The ideal digital age

News flash: The digital revolution is being led by 8-year-olds. For proof, check out the download-driven, runaway success of the kiddie album "High School Musical." This Disney CD, beloved by tweens (those between the ages of 6 and 14) - and reviled by anyone a day older - has seen a higher percentage of its sales come through digital ports than any album in history. According to Billboard's Geoff Mayfield, an average of 24% of "High School's" purchases derived from downloads in its five weeks of release. In its impulsive first week, roughly 40% came from downloads, according to Disney marketing exec Damon Whiteside. For a little perspective, the normal figure for digital (as opposed to retail) album sales is around 2%. On CDs by hot rock acts like Beck and Coldplay, they hover at around 10%. As all beleaguered parents know by now, "High School" serves as the soundtrack to a pie-eyed musical that's been haunting the Disney Channel since last month. (It's first airing drew 7.7 million viewers, a Disney Channel best.) History was also made by the album's oppressively zippy singles: Nine of the buggers bolted onto Billboard's Digital Chart directly after the first airing of the film, though only one, "Breaking Free," has had staying power. That cut enjoyed the largest leap in the history of Billboard's Hot 100 Song Chart, in one week pole-vaulting from No. 83 to 4. The song has since settled down to No. 41, but the full "High School" album keeps building. Last week, its numbers jumped 28% over the week before, landing at No. 13 on Billboard's Top 200 CD list. Amazingly, the album has pulled all this off without any help from radio - other than the stations controlled by Radio Disney. Whiteside says the company hasn't even gone for Top 40 spins - wise since the newcomer "stars" who sing on the disk are too, shall we say, dewy and naive to get play on even the least hip contemporary station. Whiteside admits that the soundtrack's smash success Continue Reading