Author Archives: Lauren Reno

Social Media Companies Want to Control the Internet of Things

By Lauren Reno

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Photo Credit: Vintagedept via Creative Commons.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming huge in recent years. You can find an explanation of the IoT here, but basically, it means connecting with “things” via your smart phone. This can be as simple as opening your garage door, or viewing how many miles you’ve driven recently, using apps.

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Has Instagram’s Censorship Gone Too Far?

Posted by Lauren Reno

You may have seen a few articles circulating social media lately that tell the story of 22 year old Rupi Kaur, who posted a photo of herself, fully clothed, and menstruating. Instagram promptly took the photo down, saying that it did not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

Photo Credit: José Moutinho via Creative Commons.          Continue reading

YouTube for Kids

Posted by Lauren Reno

The kid friendly version of YouTube called YouTube for Kids was recently released. The app only contains appropriate content for young kids, and is designed to grab and hold the attention of their young minds. The app supposedly makes it easier for kids to surf the Internet and find videos about things they are interested in, without their parents having to worry about them stumbling upon something inappropriate. Here is a YouTube video describing the app.

The idea behind this app is great. I wonder though, if it will truly keep kids safe from finding things on the Internet they shouldn’t. One reason I am skeptical is that just because this app is an alternative to the regular YouTube app, kids still have pretty easy access to the entirety of the Internet in general. Yes this app might make it a lot easier for parents to monitor what their kids are doing on their tablets or smart phones, but the fact is, most kids these days have their own smart phones or tablets starting very young. They probably know how to get ahold of all kinds of sources of information. It would not be hard for a child to also have the regular YouTube app on their phone or tablet. If they are using their parent’s phone, the phone probably already has that app, and if they are using their own, odds are, they know how to download it from the app store. If kids want to look up inappropriate things, they will find a way to do so. Even if they are not looking for inappropriate things, they still may have apps such as the regular YouTube, Vine or Snapchat that could lead them to stumble upon something they shouldn’t.

I am wondering also if YouTube for Kids will be extensive enough to satisfy a young kid, or if they will quickly become bored and go back to the regular YouTube app. Maybe this app would satisfy a five year old, but what about an eight year old? Nine? Apps for kids will only go so far, and sooner or later, kids will be exposed to all kinds of things on the Internet that they shouldn’t be seeing. In this day in age, everyone is obsessed with technology, and technology has made it so easy to access all kinds of information that a child could do it, and even accidentally. I’m not suggesting that YouTube for Kids believes it can fix this problem, but how much impact do they think they can make? It will be interesting to find out just how much this YouTube for Kids app really helps kids stay away from seeing bad things on the Internet, and if it will give parents the piece of mind they so badly desire.