Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nickelodeon Promotes Inappropriate Content

I am not a techie who believes in locking down the net for the greater good.  How can we raise responsible internet community citizens if we keep everything behind locked filters and never demonstrate appropriate internet behaviors? 
Because I have this open access policy, and faith that it is the responsibility of every provider of content targeted at children to maintain their integrity and self police the information they support, it makes me very angry when I find flagrant fouls of common decency.  That is why I must put Nickelodeon on BLAST!!
On the Nickelodeon website, there is a small drop down button that says MORE.  If you choose ADDICTINGGAMES.COM, the screen refreshes and you see an ad at the top of the screen that states "You are now leaving Nick.Com".  Fair enough, but what happens next is the issue that I have with Nickelodeon and it's parent company, Viacom.
One of the things that I teach students (and adults) in my profession is to never click on any floating ad that appears on the screen.  Advertisers have gotten slick with their advertisement practices, and the more it shines and glitters, the more likely someone is to click on it.  (Why do you think Vegas is so popular with it's flashing lights and bells and whistles in the casino?)  So students and adults have been trained to ignore ads that proclaim 'you have won a free purse! Click here to claim prize."
Once the advertisement that you are leaving Nick.com disappears, a gray toolbar remains at the top of the screen for AddictingGames.com.    On the right hand side of the toolbar, the Nickelodeon emblem remains.  Does the previous disclaimer really override the fact that AddictingGames.com has the nickelodeon promotion at the top of the page?  Isn't this a problem with truth in advertising?
 Here is where the inappropriate content arises.  Scroll down the page and look at some of the games offered by AddictingGames.com.    If you look at the Life and Style games, you will be shocked at what your children are offered to play.  Naughty Beach, Naughty Elevator, and Candy the Naughty Cheerleader are just a few of the games under the toolbar at the top of the page that states NICKELODEON.  Notice that the top right of the toolbar doesn't promote the parent company, VIACOM.  Anyone playing any of the games under the heading NICKELODEON are definitely not experiencing games that are directed at Nickelodeon's targeted audience!
I have no answer as to how to combat such a violation in the decency of internet content for children.  All I know is this..  sites make money off of the ads they can host and the clicks you make on their site.  Boycott Nickelodeon and AddictingGames.com until they take the protection of our children seriously!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Schools out for Summer!

The little kiddies are at home for the summer, and you wonder to yourself... what do I do with them now?

There are so many options parents have at their disposal to ensure Silly Sally or Adventurous Johnny stay out of trouble and reamin on course to be ready for the upcoming school year.  Although summer conjures thoughts of playing outside until dark and the absence of touching a book until September, there are some healthy alternatives that kids in which kids can participate to help alleviate the loss of skill over summer break.

Check with your local library.  I always love the word free, and there are ususally at least a couple of programs offered by the library to entice kids into visiting the library and developing their lifelong love of reading.  These programs are not usually great for working parents, because they are always during a weekday and last no longer than a couple of hours.  However, if you can find a way for your child to make it to a program, they are secretly getting a little bit of school when they don't even know it!

Another option is to find out what summer programs are being offered by the school system.  Federal funds exist for School Boards to offer one program during the summer to help children combat the loss of achievement that can sometimes happen during summer months.  These programs do not go the entire summer, and they are usually set up in a more relaxed learning environment than during the school year. 

There are many great sites for kids to visit and play academic games on the internet.  My first word of caution is to monitor what your child is viewing on the internet.  If you have a computer at home, move it into a place that where contents can easily be checked with a mere glance.  Also, if you do not have internet at home, the local library offers free internet service with a mere scan of your library card.  Before you allow your child to engage in learning via the web, it is important to sit with them and pull up a web page.  Show them that content located on the side of the page, or boxes that flash and are usually very enticing, are nothing more than ads that can sometimes install spam on the computer.   A little big of planning in the front end can save much headache in the future.

I know of sites that provide activity that is geared towards national standards for all grade levels.  For now, I will post one that is geared towards K - 2.  Keep checking back, as you never know what you might find!

Activities for grades K - 2