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Links for September 2nd 2011 through September 7th 2011:
- 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – Pew research, September 2011: “More than a quarter (28%) of all American adults use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This includes anyone who takes part in one or more of the following activities:
* 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location—that works out to 23% of all adults.
* A much smaller number (5% of cell owners, equaling 4% of all adults) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones.
* 9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services. That works out to 7% of all adults.” [Full PDF Report]
- Random thoughts about piracy [Social Media Collective] – boyd on the culturally-specific takes on media piracy: “I was absolutely enthralled with how the discourse around piracy in India was radically different than anything I had seen elsewhere. In India, piracy is either 1) a point of pride; or 2) a practical response to an illogical system. There is no guilt, no shame. I loved hearing people talk about mastering different techniques for pirating media, software, and even infrastructural needs (like water, electricity, even sewage…) There was a machismo involved in showing off the ability to pirate. To pay was to be cheated, which was decidedly un-masculine. Of course, getting caught is also part of the whole system, but the next move is not to feel guilty; it is to bribe the person who catches you. Ironically, people will often pay more to bribe inspectors than it would’ve cost them to pay for the service/item in the first place. Again, we’re back to pride/masculinity. Pirating was an honorable thing to do; not pirating is to be cheated.”
- Practise the web safety you teach [SMH] – Important little piece reminder K-12 schools that they need to practice what they are starting to preach. It’s great to give students and parents tips on protecting their identity online, but when schools post photographs of students with full names online – often without getting parental or student consent – that’s hardly reinforcing the privacy-aware message.
- The Fall of WikiLeaks: Cablegate2, Assange and Icarus [techPresident] – One (of many) takes on how Julian Assange and Wikileaks went too far in releasing entirely unedited records unedited. They’ve not only lost the moral highground, but tarnished past partners and ensured anyone in a position to leak something in the future would be even less likely to do so: “WikiLeaks has now indiscriminately dumped the whole cable set into the public arena, and in doing so it has tossed away whatever claim it might have had to the moral high ground. The argument that others were doing it already, or that bad actors were already getting access to the leaked master file and thus this was a mitigating step to reduce coming harms, or that it’s somehow The Guardian’s fault for publishing what it thought was a defunct password, doesn’t absolve WikiLeaks of its large share of responsibility for this dump. People are human; to err is human. But refusing to admit error, that is hubris. Assange, like Icarus, thought he could fly to the sun.”
- AFACT Uncle Sam’s puppet in iiNet trial [SMH] – “US copyright police are pulling AFACT’s strings as it drags iiNet through Australian courts, but is anyone really surprised? The Motion Picture Association of America is driving AFACT’s legal attack on Australian ISP iiNet, bringing in Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to avoid the impression of US bullying, according to US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. It seems the MPAA deliberately avoided picking a fight with the more powerful Telstra, instead hoping for a quick victory against the smaller iiNet which could set a national and perhaps even international legal precedent to aid the Americans in their global fight against piracy. The undertones of American imperialism and Australian subservience are disturbing …”
The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a very significant survey which really challenges many popular preconceptions and myths about videogames and the impact of game play on young people. One of the most important findings is that any stereotype of the typical video game player seems pretty much useless, because almost all American teens, in all their diversity, play videogames:
- Fully 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable, or console games.
- 50% of teens played games “yesterday.”
- 86% of teens play on a console like the Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii.
- 73% play games on a desktop or a laptop computer.
- 60% use a portable gaming device like a Sony PlayStation Portable, a Nintendo DS, or a Game Boy.
- 48% use a cell phone or handheld organizer to play games.
- 99% of boys and 94% of girls play video games.
Nor is there one dominant gaming type or genre:
The five most popular games among American teens are Guitar Hero, Halo 3, Madden NFL, Solitaire, and Dance Dance Revolution. These games include rhythm games (Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution), puzzle/card games (Solitaire), and sports games.
Likewise, rather than being isolating, gaming is actually a primarily social experience for many teens:
For most teens, gaming is a social activity and a major component of their overall social experience. Teens play games in a variety of ways, including with others in person, with others online, and by themselves. Although most teens play games by themselves at least occasionally, just one-quarter (24%) of teens only play games alone, and the remaining three-quarters of teens play games with others at least some of the time.
- 65% of game-playing teens play with other people who are in the room with them.
- 27% play games with people who they connect with through the internet.
- 82% play games alone, although 71% of this group also plays with others.
It was also reassuring that most parents monitor what sort of games their kids play, at least in the earlier years, and most parents did not find any correlation between videogames and anti-social or violent behaviour in teens:
- 90% of parents say they always or sometimes know what games their children play.
- 72% say they always or sometimes check the ratings before their children are allowed to play a game.
- 46% of parents say they always or sometimes stop their kids from playing a game.
- 31% of parents say they always or sometimes play games with their children.
- 62% of parents of gamers say video games have no effect on their child one way or the other.
- 19% of parents of gamers say video games have a positive influence on their child.
- 13% of parents of gamers say video games have a negative influence on their child.
- 5% of parents of gamers say gaming has some negative influence/some positive influence, but it depends on the game.
One of the other major findings was that games tended to be played socially (ie with others) more than in isolation, and that gaming communities tended to make teens socially and politically active! If you’re in any way interested, I’d encourage you to look at the report yourself (PDF link); it’s already getting decent media coverage. Meanwhile, the BBC also reports that a huge study of EverQuest II players discovered that they were neither obese nor was their Body Mass Index (BMI) any higher than the norm (actually, it was a little lower).