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Why You Shouldn't 'Like' Stories About Violence

The Huffington Post | By Carolyn Gregoire

Posted: 07/17/2015 7:30 am EDT Updated: 07/17/2015 11:59 am EDT


In the wake of mass shootings like the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, last
month, media coverage of the violence is all over social media. Often, it focuses on the
If you're sharing or "liking" stories about these crimes on Facebook, you may be
inadvertently helping perpetuate the violence -- and new research suggests that kids, in
particular, can be led astray by that attention.
"When kids approve of any kind of violent word or statement or gestures or symbols, it
really increases the likelihood that they'll go on to commit violent acts in the future,"
said Dr. Tom Dishion, a psychologist at Arizona State University and the study's lead
author. "Kids are very sensitive to the audience."
The Arizona State University researchfinds that sharing negative or violent news -- and
receiving feedback in the form of "likes" and comments -- may beget aggressive behavior
in children.
While previous research has shown that exposure to violent media overall can increase
aggressive behavior in children, the new study indicates that parents might want to pay
particular attention to the way that their kids are engaging with violent news on social
The researchers don't know whether the same connection applies to adults. But the
study suggests that not "liking" posts about violence on social media may be one way to
halt the spread of violence.
Dishion explained by way of example: A person who posts a racist joke on his or her
Facebook page and receives lots of likes and positive comments will find it easier to use
racist language offline. Similarly, when children who share violence online are
essentially told by their peers that they did the right thing, they're more likely to carry
out violent deeds in the real world.
Peer approval is highly reinforcing for children -- a phenomenon Dishion refers to as the
"Beavis and Butthead effect."

"Kids are very sensitive to peer approval, and they're likely to change their norms and
values based on subtle signs of approval -- or even on the opportunity to have an
audience," he said.
Dishion emphasizes that the media have a role to play here, too. It's possible that the
glamorization of killers -- the most famous recent example being the Rolling Stone cover
of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -- may inspire mimicry.
"I think it's a good idea to talk more about the victims and less about the perpetrator,"
Dishion said, adding, "People are very sensitive to media, media attention and now
social media."

Nation's 'Father-in-Chief' Bans Phones From The Family

Dinner Table
"Theres nothing wrong with every once in a while putting the technology
aside and actually having a conversation."

Posted: 07/16/2015 | Edited: 07/16/2015 03:03 PM EDT

President Barack Obama made a simple request Wednesday to young people spending
eight hours a day looking at their screens: Please look up. In announcing the "Connect
Home" initiative to provide Internet access to low-income communities, Obama shared
some advice in an aside, suggesting that America's teenagers may be a
bit ... too connected.
"Now, that doesnt mean I want folks on the Internet all the time," he said. "I always tell
young people when I meet them, sometimes they just have the phone up, Im standing
right in front of them -- and I got to tell them, young man, put down that phone. Shake
the hand of your president. Then after you shake my hand and look me in the eye, and
told me your name, then you can maybe go back to taking pictures."
Obama also let fellow parents know that he and Michelle Obama have set a boundary for
the use of mobile devices at the dinner table.
"So theres nothing wrong with every once in a while putting the technology aside and
actually having a conversation," he said.
"This is something I talk to Malia and Sasha about. We dont let those phones at the
dinner -- but thats a whole other story."

The Obamas have talked before about the boundaries they set for their children's screen
time. In a 2012 interview with the Stir, the first lady shared the strict rules they follow
and how she's involved in monitoring virtual study groups.
The girls have limited television and screen time -- none during the week unless its
school-related, because now kids are doing these -- they video chat study groups. And
when theyre doing that, I always go in their room to make sure theyre actually talking
about school ... Kids, instead of how we used to call on the phone and talk about
homework, they get on the computer now and chat. So I dont want to interfere with
that, so I monitor with the teacher to make sure that the kids who were studying
together are actually -- that then theyre studying in a way thats helpful.
It's good to know that on this count, the Obamas are setting an example that's worth
considering as we all look for the right way to integrate technology into our lives.
But it's unclear whether the chief executive who famously fought to bring a BlackBerry
into the White House also respects the same boundary. After all, parents need to model
screen sense themselves: Kids tend to use screens as we do, not as we say.

Google Will Soon Let You Buy Things Using Your Voice
Just say what you want and tap to have it shipped. Like

Damon BeresTech Editor, The Huffington Post

Posted: 07/15/2015 | Edited: 07/15/2015 03:11 PM EDT

We're not quite at the point where you can simply imagine a product to have it billed to
your credit card and shipped to your doorstep, but Google is bringing us a bit closer.
The company announced Wednesday a new "Purchases on Google" feature, which will
allow people to buy things directly from Google Search. If you look up something like
"woman's hoodie," you might get a relevant ad from a retailer which you can interact
with and purchase from -- without leaving Google's page. This will work with voice
search, The Next Web reported, so you can ask Google out loud for a new colander (or
whatever) and, with just a couple delicate taps of your thumb, have it shipped.
(Story continues below image.)

"Conversational search is also really important -- were seeing more shoppers literally
asking Google to help them learn more about products. So were rolling out new
experiences that answer them right back," Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product
management at Google Shopping, wrote in a blog post.
Here's something to keep in mind if you plan to use voice search for shopping, though:
Google has thus far stored voice data for features like Google Now, so if you're wearing
an Android Wear smartwatch and ask it to "send a text to Sweetie saying 'I love you,'"
that recording is sticking around on Google's servers. You can revisit these precious
moments -- which may now include you asking Google things like "what's the best
electric toothbrush?" -- in the "Voice and Audio Activity" panel in your privacy
It should be noted, of course, that Google says the recordings are kept private, and you
can delete them whenever. You can also disable this history function, though Google
notes the recordings will still "be stored using anonymous identifiers."
The new Purchases on Google feature will be tied to a user's Google account credentials.
So, you won't have to type in your credit card number and send that information to
specific merchants.
According to Alferness' post, the new feature is "in early experiments with a limited
number of retailers." Moving forward, more may be included.