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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

A Letter from Your Computer

Kids Computer Safety

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Dear Human. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. After all, we spend a lot of time together. Together, we explore the big, wide world. We play, we learn and we visit with friends. But I need to be honest with you. There are some things you do that make me feel bad.

I don’t like it when you click on bad and ugly pictures.

They make me uncomfortable and sometimes when you look at ugly pictures, I get hurt. The people who post that gross stuff also stick viruses in the picture. By clicking on those pictures, you can accidentally download a virus which could make me sick.

If I get infected, I’d have to go to the computer doctor to get fixed. While I’m being repaired, you won’t have me to play with. I’d miss you. Please, watch out for gross pictures and websites with creepy names.

I know you want to watch that new movie that just came out, but think before you click. Streaming and downloading sites are filled with all sorts of malware. When you steam a movie or download that show, you could also be downloading spyware or phishing software.

Some stranger far away can then look inside of me and take your pictures and emails and videos. Then can even break me so bad that I can’t play with you anymore. Please, take care of me. Don’t stream or download unless your parents have a subscription with a business they can trust.

Also, I don’t like it when you use me to hurt others.

It might seem like fun to you or a way to show friends how clever you are, but those mean words sting. I’m your friend, not some goon you use to push people around. Please, be nice when you use me. Be polite. Remember, computers are supposed to better the life of humans, not bully people around.

I’m your friend. I’m your study buddy. I’m on your gaming team. I’m the tool that can take you all the way around the world while you sit safe in your home. Let’s share the world together. Think before you click.

Yours truly,
Your Computer.

P.S.  My friends—your cell phone and play station—wanted me to remind you that they feel the same way that I do.

Wally and Wuzzy

Social media can be fun, but can feel strangely cold. Time spent in the real world with friends can make you stronger and happier. See how a furry friend made a difference in a boy’s life even after the puppy was gone.

Wally was tiny,
born quiet and calm.
People made him feel funny,
Made him run to his mom.

Strange kids made him cry
And new places were scary
And any adventures
Made poor wee Willy wary.

His mom and dad wanted to find him a friend,
A buddy to help him grow up.
They went to the pound, took a good look around—
and brought Wally a fuzzy, cute pup.

He called the pup Wuzzy and loved him a lot.
With Wuzzy, wee Wally felt strong.
Other kids came a running,
They asked Wally questions,
And Wally could hang all day long.

Wally and Wuzzy grew up as a team.
Wuzzy helped Wally make pals.
After years little Wally got older and cooler,
He made good friends with guys and—GASP—gals!

But his best bud of all was his fuzzy old friend
Who stood by his side those hard years.
But Wuzzy got older and soon life made him tired.
Wuzzy had spent his dog years.

And one hard, dark day, the vet checked Wuzzy’s heart,
And said Wuzzy’s last day had arrived.
With tears and with anger, with a huge aching soul,
Wally kissed his dear friend good-bye.

For the first time in years Wally’s felt all alone.
He tapped out his grief in a post.
“My best friend is gone and has left me so empty,
I feel like a sad, living ghost.”

Replies started coming.
Some typed “Buck up, pal.”
Others said, “Chill.”
Others just wrote, “Feel so bad.”
But the words were just letters
Typed out on a screen.
And they left teenage Wally still sad.

The postings, he thought, were meant to be kind,
But something about them felt cold.
His missed his warm Wuzzy, his muzzle and tongue
And how his dear friend had made him bold.

He logged off his computer and braved the outdoors.
He went to where Wuzzy had played.
A friend ran to him, heard his sad story
And shared his dog—Flip–for the day.

Wally liked his computer and going on-line,
But knew that when life felt this low,
Postings and likes were okay for a while,
But really didn’t ease his deep woe.

Going out to the park, watching other dogs play
Seeing people who loved Wuzzy, too,
Made Wally feel like he belonged in the world.
Their memories, pictures and stories so true
Filled Wally with strength and made him feel bold.
The real world that he shared with his pal
Touched him from his bones to his heart.
Time spent together remembered and shared
Meant that the two would never be apart.

Life on-line was fun, that was true,
But dog breath and tongue licks and
Catching thrown balls
Were better than posting and likes for his wall.

Wuzzy was never on-line in his life.
He never once posted or hit the button to “like.”

But Wally will spend the rest of his days
Remembering the buddy who made him feel brave.

Wally and Wuzzy
By T.S. Paulgaard

Social media can be fun, but can feel strangely cold. Time spent in the real world with friends can make you stronger and happier. See how a furry friend made a difference in a boy’s life even after the puppy was gone.

Wally was tiny,
born quiet and calm.
People made him feel funny,
Made him run to his mom.

Strange kids made him cry
And new places were scary
And any adventures
Made poor wee Willy wary.

His mom and dad wanted to find him a friend,
A buddy to help him grow up.
They went to the pound, took a good look around—
and brought Wally a fuzzy, cute pup.

He called the pup Wuzzy and loved him a lot.
With Wuzzy, wee Wally felt strong.
Other kids came a running,
They asked Wally questions,
And Wally could hang all day long.

Wally and Wuzzy grew up as a team.
Wuzzy helped Wally make pals.
After years little Wally got older and cooler,
He made good friends with guys and—GASP—gals!

But his best bud of all was his fuzzy old friend
Who stood by his side those hard years.
But Wuzzy got older and soon life made him tired.
Wuzzy had spent his dog years.

And one hard, dark day, the vet checked Wuzzy’s heart,
And said Wuzzy’s last day had arrived.
With tears and with anger, with a huge aching soul,
Wally kissed his dear friend good-bye.

For the first time in years Wally’s felt all alone.
He tapped out his grief in a post.
“My best friend is gone and has left me so empty,
I feel like a sad, living ghost.”

Replies started coming.
Some typed “Buck up, pal.”
Others said, “Chill.”
Others just wrote, “Feel so bad.”
But the words were just letters
Typed out on a screen.
And they left teenage Wally still sad.

The postings, he thought, were meant to be kind,
But something about them felt cold.
His missed his warm Wuzzy, his muzzle and tongue
And how his dear friend had made him bold.

He logged off his computer and braved the outdoors.
He went to where Wuzzy had played.
A friend ran to him, heard his sad story
And shared his dog—Flip–for the day.

Wally liked his computer and going on-line,
But knew that when life felt this low,
Postings and likes were okay for a while,
But really didn’t ease his deep woe.

Going out to the park, watching other dogs play
Seeing people who loved Wuzzy, too,
Made Wally feel like he belonged in the world.
Their memories, pictures and stories so true
Filled Wally with strength and made him feel bold.
The real world that he shared with his pal
Touched him from his bones to his heart.
Time spent together remembered and shared
Meant that the two would never be apart.

Life on-line was fun, that was true,
But dog breath and tongue licks and
Catching thrown balls
Were better than posting and likes for his wall.

Wuzzy was never on-line in his life.
He never once posted or hit the button to “like.”

But Wally will spend the rest of his days
Remembering the buddy who made him feel brave.

Wally and Wuzzy
By T.S. Paulgaard

Around the World Online With Kids

The world is a big and exciting place, filled with adventure and ideas. The world is also more and more online. Even though you explore Earth with your fingertips, the reality of kids in other lands and their online experiences may surprise you.

CHINA
The largest country on Earth has the most people online. 800 million people in China use the Internet, but that makes sense because it has the most people living there. The Chinese also see a different online world than other people, because the government controls Internet searches and there are some websites that the Chinese government keeps from coming up when people do a Google search. This is a problem that companies still fight about.

Kids in China mostly use QQ or WeChat to connect with their friends. Unlike kids in the US, Canada or most countries in Europe, kids tend to use the Internet for school or to chat with small groups of friends. Kids in China also know that too much Internet can hurt their school marks and keep them from being who they want to be when they grow up.

INDIA
If you are between the ages of 8 and 13 and live in India, you are probably using Snapchat to connect with your friends. Parents of those kids don’t like Snapchat because they can’t see what their children are sharing. Most parents think that they know what their kids do online, but about half of those kids disagree—those are kids who spend time online with activities their parents don’t know about.

To help protect kids, India has passed laws that make going online illegal for children under the age of 18. That has not stopped kids from signing up for Facebook and Google accounts. India is working hard as a country to better watch their children as they enter the online world.

NIGERIA
People in this West African country are quickly becoming huge Internet users. The biggest problem is that electricity isn’t always available. The power can go out a dozen times a day. Children lucky enough to have Internet service tend to concentrate on education, because for many, becoming educated will help them escape poverty. Unfortunately, many who are educated grow up to use the Internet for crime. Pretty much everyone online has come across a Nigerian scam. Hopefully, as more children get a good education, fewer will turn to scamming.

JAPAN
Japan has kids that spend so much time online, they are suffering from physical and mental problems. Many can’t sleep or concentrate, have problems eating and are becoming physically unfit, to name only a few of the symptoms. Doctor’s call this either Internet Use Disorder or Problematic Internet Use. Boys are more likely to have problems due to playing games online. Girls are more likely to have problems with messaging and social platforms.

Parents, doctors and school officials are looking for ways to help bring children back to the real world. Many Japanese parents are turning to camps where kids are put on an Internet “fast.” Instead of going online, children go outside and play, talk with each other and even go into counseling.

YOU
You are very lucky. You are reading this, so, obviously, you have a computer or a smart phone. You also have a good Internet connection. You can learn about our planet and can read different points of view. That isn’t the case for all kids in the world. Remember, life is much bigger than your social platform and friends. We can all learn from each other to better explore the Internet while living fun, happy lives in the real world.

The world is a big and exciting place, filled with adventure and ideas. The world is also more and more online. Even though you explore Earth with your fingertips, the reality of kids in other lands and their online experiences may surprise you.

CHINA
The largest country on Earth has the most people online. 800 million people in China use the Internet, but that makes sense because it has the most people living there. The Chinese also see a different online world than other people, because the government controls Internet searches and there are some websites that the Chinese government keeps from coming up when people do a Google search. This is a problem that companies still fight about.

Kids in China mostly use QQ or WeChat to connect with their friends. Unlike kids in the US, Canada or most countries in Europe, kids tend to use the Internet for school or to chat with small groups of friends. Kids in China also know that too much Internet can hurt their school marks and keep them from being who they want to be when they grow up.

INDIA
If you are between the ages of 8 and 13 and live in India, you are probably using Snapchat to connect with your friends. Parents of those kids don’t like Snapchat because they can’t see what their children are sharing. Most parents think that they know what their kids do online, but about half of those kids disagree—those are kids who spend time online with activities their parents don’t know about.

To help protect kids, India has passed laws that make going online illegal for children under the age of 18. That has not stopped kids from signing up for Facebook and Google accounts. India is working hard as a country to better watch their children as they enter the online world.

NIGERIA
People in this West African country are quickly becoming huge Internet users. The biggest problem is that electricity isn’t always available. The power can go out a dozen times a day. Children lucky enough to have Internet service tend to concentrate on education, because for many, becoming educated will help them escape poverty. Unfortunately, many who are educated grow up to use the Internet for crime. Pretty much everyone online has come across a Nigerian scam. Hopefully, as more children get a good education, fewer will turn to scamming.

JAPAN
Japan has kids that spend so much time online, they are suffering from physical and mental problems. Many can’t sleep or concentrate, have problems eating and are becoming physically unfit, to name only a few of the symptoms. Doctor’s call this either Internet Use Disorder or Problematic Internet Use. Boys are more likely to have problems due to playing games online. Girls are more likely to have problems with messaging and social platforms.

Parents, doctors and school officials are looking for ways to help bring children back to the real world. Many Japanese parents are turning to camps where kids are put on an Internet “fast.” Instead of going online, children go outside and play, talk with each other and even go into counseling.

YOU
You are very lucky. You are reading this, so, obviously, you have a computer or a smart phone. You also have a good Internet connection. You can learn about our planet and can read different points of view. That isn’t the case for all kids in the world. Remember, life is much bigger than your social platform and friends. We can all learn from each other to better explore the Internet while living fun, happy lives in the real world.

Where is Everybody on Facebook?

It seems like everybody has a Facebook page. You probably do, and you probably have a lot of “friends.” And your friends may have a lot of friends. But Facebook, as an Internet site, is losing friends. Studies from organizations and from Facebook itself have found that Facebook users are spending more and more time OFF Facebook.

When they are on Facebook, they aren’t as “engaged” as they used to be. Engaged is defined as when a user does something, for example, “liking” a post, responding to posts and uploading their own posts. Some don’t even go on Facebook anymore.

Where is everybody?

After years of being one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, Facebook has found that people are going to other places to visit with others. Some teenagers go on Snapchat or Instagram or privately message people. They go to Reddit to join in on heated discussions.

Older adults are only going on Facebook when they want to “catch up” with family. People are spending their time doing activities other than checking Facebook every few minutes. Those that do use Facebook don’t “share” or “like” as much as they once did. They post less and less and they log in less frequently.

Comments online point to problems people have with Facebook. Some don’t like all the advertisements that pop up. Some don’t like that their profiles get sold to big companies. Other people are upset that Facebook sometimes deletes posts that don’t agree with their philosophy.

Still others think that Facebook is outdated and even old-fashioned. Those people think that Facebook is like myspace, slowly getting replaced and fading into the past.

Of course, Facebook is still strong. The company is worth billions of dollars, but not as much as it used to be. Its strength is slowing fading. The business is trying to get people interested in it again.

They’re sending out “memory” reminders and “friend anniversary” notifications, hoping people remember how much they used to enjoy Facebook. Many people find the notifications annoying. Luckily, they can turn that off. They can also enjoy other activities, which many are choosing to do.

Where is everybody who used to be on Facebook? Maybe they’re playing one-on-one in the gym or reading a book. Some are hanging out with their flesh and blood friends in the real world.

Yes, Facebook is still there, waiting for you to log on and check your wall. Facebook can wait. Your life can’t.

It seems like everybody has a Facebook page. You probably do, and you probably have a lot of “friends.” And your friends may have a lot of friends. But Facebook, as an Internet site, is losing friends. Studies from organizations and from Facebook itself have found that Facebook users are spending more and more time OFF Facebook.

When they are on Facebook, they aren’t as “engaged” as they used to be. Engaged is defined as when a user does something, for example, “liking” a post, responding to posts and uploading their own posts. Some don’t even go on Facebook anymore.

Where is everybody?

After years of being one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, Facebook has found that people are going to other places to visit with others. Some teenagers go on Snapchat or Instagram or privately message people. They go to Reddit to join in on heated discussions.

Older adults are only going on Facebook when they want to “catch up” with family. People are spending their time doing activities other than checking Facebook every few minutes. Those that do use Facebook don’t “share” or “like” as much as they once did. They post less and less and they log in less frequently.

Comments online point to problems people have with Facebook. Some don’t like all the advertisements that pop up. Some don’t like that their profiles get sold to big companies. Other people are upset that Facebook sometimes deletes posts that don’t agree with their philosophy.

Still others think that Facebook is outdated and even old-fashioned. Those people think that Facebook is like myspace, slowly getting replaced and fading into the past.

Of course, Facebook is still strong. The company is worth billions of dollars, but not as much as it used to be. Its strength is slowing fading. The business is trying to get people interested in it again.

They’re sending out “memory” reminders and “friend anniversary” notifications, hoping people remember how much they used to enjoy Facebook. Many people find the notifications annoying. Luckily, they can turn that off. They can also enjoy other activities, which many are choosing to do.

Where is everybody who used to be on Facebook? Maybe they’re playing one-on-one in the gym or reading a book. Some are hanging out with their flesh and blood friends in the real world.

Yes, Facebook is still there, waiting for you to log on and check your wall. Facebook can wait. Your life can’t.

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