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How kids use Google Docs for secret bullying

Google’s online word processing tool is being used by kids to bully other children in secret, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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A blank Google Doc is more than just text: a bully can use words, memes, photos, videos, GIFs, among others. The document can be structured in a way that allows other children to comment underneath a photo, like one would comment underneath a photo on Facebook. Like Snapchat, one can delete a photo for everyone once it has been posted, provided nobody in the document has taken a screenshot.

Device monitoring is a complicated issue for parents. It would be easy to say: Bark, the parent control app mentioned above, can monitor text messages, emails, YouTube activity, and even Google Docs with its service. But it’s not always this simple.

Tech-savvy kids will find a way to connect or work around blocking applications because they are likely to know more about how the blocking app functions than do the parents who set it up. This Google Doc problem is simply a digital version of passing a secret notebook around.

The best thing as a parent is to teach one’s kids how to deal with bullying online. In Tech-Savvy Parenting: A Guide to Raising Safe Children in a Digital World, Arthur Goldstuck and Nikki Bush outline a procedure, starting with the advice that children should be shown the online safety mantra of “Stop, Block, and Tell”:

  • The child must stop what they are doing, and take a deep breath. It is important that they do not engage with the bully.
  • The child must block the person who is harassing them. As a parent, one must show one’s child how to use the blocking feature on social media and instant messaging apps that one allows one’s child to be on.
  • The child must tell a parent or another adult they trust.
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1 Comment

  1. Graham Downs

    Mar 13, 2019 at 7:43 am

    This is terrible. I hate bullying.

    I even wrote a book about it, but this… this makes Stingers look like literal child’s play. So diabolical. So… so… sinister! 🙁

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Google announces its ‘Netflix for gaming’

The new gaming platform, Stadia, promises high-definition gaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Google has announced that it has moved into the gaming space, and it focuses on two big aspects of gaming: streaming of games for gamers, which will allow gamers to game anywhere with a fast, low-latency Internet connection; and audiences that watch gamers in-game.

This is a big move in making gaming accessible to more gamers, as it reduces hardware costs, by utilising the benefits of low-latency cloud computing. This will be achieved by using a globally connected network of Google data centres. Gamers who stream games are most likely already using a high-speed, low-latency Internet connection, so access to the Stadia platform will be an added expense.

Through the Stadia platform, gamers will be able to access a large library of games at all times, with no installation time, on virtually any screen. Scaling of hardware like CPU, GPU, memory, and storage is also possible, as one would for cloud server resources.

Google will be leveraging its other platforms, like YouTube, with Stadia streaming. It claims that 200-million people are watching game-related content daily on YouTube. This allows, for example, Stadia players to jump in with other Stadia players – no downloads, no updates, no patches, and no installs.

For console players, Google has designed a custom controller.

The controller was designed to establish a direct connection from the Stadia controller to Google’s data centre through Wi-Fi for the best possible gaming performance. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving, and sharing gameplay in 4K resolution. It sports a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as many Google products do, for voice control. 

The device is expected to be released later this year, pending FCC approval.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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