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Facebook Says It is Not Fact Checking Political Ads: Some Ideas For What to Do

It has recently come out that Facebook is exempting political ads from its fact checking processes and rules, with a statement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg noting, "We don’t fact-check political ads. We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying. And if content is newsworthy, we also won’t take it down even if it would otherwise conflict with many of our standards."

His stance on stepping away from holding that power overlooks the fact that Facebook already has that kind of power for other ads, raising the question of why in regular ads, Facebook can be okay with using outside fact-checkers, and banning false claims outright, yet in political ads it can't do the same. It is an interesting topic to discuss with your children relating to misinformation online. Also keep in mind you can edit your Facebook Ad Preferences, and remove anything that you don't agree with or doesn't look right. You can also check out Facebook’s Ad Library, which now includes a new tracker of Facebook ad spending by major political candidates. It is a bit of an eye opener. Interesting enough, on the flip side, Twitter has banned all political ads.

Schools Join Into The TikTok Craze with Clubs

TikTok, a social media app where users post short funny videos, is enjoying a surge in popularity among teenagers around the world and has been downloaded 1.4 billion times, according to SensorTower. Now high schools are joining the TikTok trend with clubs to dance, sing and perform skits for the app — essentially drama clubs for the digital age, but with the potential to reach huge audiences. And unlike other social media networks, TikTok is winning over some educators, like Michael Callahan, a teacher and drama club advisor at West Orange High School in New Jersey, who had never heard of TikTok before his students told him about it. He loves how the app brings students from different friend groups together. “You see a lot more teamwork and camaraderie,” he said, “and less — I don’t want to say bullying — but focus on individuals.”

Can Social And Emotional Learning Help Curb Cyberbullying?

Integrating a social-emotional learning in school curricula could help to encourage digital civility and curb cyberbullying, according to Mandy Manning, who was National Teacher of the Year in 2018. Now back in the classroom, Manning says she is focused in part on helping students make human connections and learn to have positive, healthy relationships -- online and in real life.

“Grandkids on Demand”

A number of tech startup companies are using social media to foster face-to-face connections and combat loneliness and social isolation among seniors. One example is Papa, a Miami-based health care firm that connects aging seniors with college students through a mobile app and other digital tools. Papa has partnered with health insurers such as Aetna, Alignment Healthcare and Priority Health to offer its "grandkids on demand" service to some Medicare Advantage members. “Papa Pals,” as the 3,500 college, nursing and pre-med students who have become part of the program are called, pair up with older adults who need assistance with transportation, house chores, technology lessons, and other services. Papa Pals have to submit to a stringent background check, a personality test, a virtual interview, a motor vehicle inspection and even a test of the tonality of their voice to ensure they have the kind of personality the service is looking for with a Papa Pal. With the strict guidelines, only 15% of applicants actually make it into the program.

Helping Your Kids Manage Digital Distractions

Digital tools that kids use for learning also can provide some of their biggest distractions. In a recent article on the EdSurge site, author Ana Homayoun shares how to help kids manage these digital distractions by supporting their intrinsic motivation to make better decisions, both online and in the real world. A key takeaway from the article: “When working with kids, I start from a place of compassion, empathy and understanding, rather than fear, anger and frustration. I recognize and admit how challenging it is for all of us to navigate this relatively new world of technology and its related distractions. Kids are receptive to this approach. They become excited to try new ways to manage and block distractions as I encourage them to realize they have a choice in how they spend their time and that they are competent to make choices that promote their social and emotional well-being.”

TikTok Safety Tips

TikTok, the app for short form videos that tweens are flocking to, has had some issues parents should be aware of, including leaky privacy settings and inappropriate comments. If your tween is active on the app you may want to take at look at these TikTok safety tips that appear on the Common Sense Media site. One thing to especially be aware of - unlike other apps, TikTok requires a special code to delete the app so don’t think it is gone until you check.

What is Sadfishing?

School leaders in the United Kingdom are warning about a new social media trend -- sadfishing -- in which students are seeking to garner sympathy online by often exaggerating and “oversharing” details of their emotional health. Instead of getting sympathy, the behavior can have negative effects on students, they say, including cyberbullying.

Parent Facebook Pages Help Parents Got With Kids to College

Whether they are an inevitable sign of hyper-connected times or something closer to next-level helicopter parenting, Facebook groups for parents of college students are on the rise. So far in 2019, more than 200,000 people have joined university parent groups on Facebook in the United States. The groups, usually created by a parent and without university involvement, are a gathering spot for the parents or guardians of a particular school’s students. Most parents see them as a blessing as well as a curse. They are great for finding out useful tips for move in day or how to find a hotel for parent’s weekend, but some parents worry they make it too easy for parents to monitor what is going on around campus.

Physician Uses Social Media to Fight Vaping

According to ABC News, family medicine resident Rose Marie Leslie is spreading the word about the dangers of vaping by sharing short videos on TikTok, a social media platform popular with adolescents and young adults. Leslie shares side-by-side X-ray images from patients with healthy and vaping-damaged lungs, and although she has received some criticism, Leslie has also fielded requests for more information.

Many Schools Looking to Monitor Students’ Online Activity

In attempts to prevent violence in schools, some districts nationwide are taking steps to monitor students' online activity and social media posts. Spurred in part by the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a year and a half ago, schools nationwide are collaborating with law enforcement in new ways in efforts to avoid these kind of tragedies. Investments are being made in new security technologies that can scan social media posts, school assignments and even student emails for potential threats. Supporters say such steps make students safer, but some others have expressed concern for student privacy. Critics also worry that social media monitoring could make criminals out of students who are just having typical kinds of teenage social and emotional problems.