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Free Resource: The Internet Archive

Youth workers are creators without the budget of your typical creative business.

That’s why the Internet Archive is such a gold mine. In an effort to digitize and preserve countless out-of-print recordings and videos, the Internet Archive has a huge repository of free, downloadable digital content. That’s right… just download away! 

Some of my favorites include:

What could you use these for? I can actually think of a number of quick ideas.

  • Dub your own audio for funny announcements
  • Slice-n-dice videos to make things funny
  • Use as illustrations
  • Play old movies during soft time, just for kicks.
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How to Stop Facebook from Tracking You

Recent announcements from Facebook, the world’s largest social network, make it clear that they intend to force you into absolute transparency. On the one hand that’s great accountability. On the other, that’s pretty scary stuff.

Whether or not you know it (or like it) Facebook and Google track your every click, tweet, comment, and share. They know that you read the New York Times or use Biblegateway or even that you bank at Chase. When you are logged in on one tab they are tracking what you do with every tab so they can market to you. And since Facebook’s cookies don’t expire,

Starting soon, they want to automatically share what you are up to with your Facebook friends. Any site which has integrated the Facebook’s open graph protocol on their site may eventually be eligible to publish to your friends what you are reading or what you are watching on YouTube. (It’s piloting this with Netflix & Spotify already.)

While I don’t think this will last long– first because it violates your privacy, which is likely breaking some law and second because people will hate it— it will be important to know how to disable this “feature.

While this will be enabled by default you can disable it. Here are three options/plugins from Lifehacker for turning off this tracking. (No, logging out isn’t enough!)

  • Facebook Privacy List for Adblock Plus is perfect for those of you who already have AdBlock Plus installed (get ABP for Chrome or Firefox). Just download the subscription and add it to AdBlock Plus to specifically block Facebook plugins and scripts all over the web—including the Like button-whenever you’re not visiting Facebook directly.
  • Facebook Disconnect for Chrome keeps Facebook from dropping those tracking cookies on your system in the first place, and disables them when you’re finished using Facebook-enabled services. It’s essentially an on/off switch for third-party access to Facebook servers, meaning you’ll still be able to log in to Facebook and use the site normally, but when you’re visiting another site or using another application, that site or service won’t be able to use your information to communicate with Facebook.
  • Disconnect for Chrome and Firefox is a new plugin from the developer behind Facebook Disconnect, but it doesn’t stop with Facebook. Disconnect takes protection to a another level and blocks tracking cookies from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Digg, and Yahoo, and prevents all of those services from obtaining your browsing or search history from third party sites that you may visit. The app doesn’t stop any of those services from working when you’re visiting the specific sites, for you can still search at Google and use Google+, but Google’s +1 button likely won’t work on third party sites, for example. The extension also lets you see how many requests are blocked, in real time as they come in, and unblock select services if, for example, you really want to Like or +1 an article you read, or share it with friends.

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Free resource for students on preventing and responding to dating violence

Traditionally in youth ministry we don’t talk about dating until February. But you don’t need to wait until your scheduled teaching series to talk to your students about things that cross the line.

Think this might not be important to your students? 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse by a dating partner.

Recently, the National Dating Abuse Hotline and an organization called Break the Cycle came together to put together an online resource for teenagers called, “Love is Respect.” While not specifically Christian, there are lots of great resources here I’ve not seen anywhere else.

  • Healthy relationship quizzes (Not the crazy ones in magazines, actually these are pretty good.)
  • 24 hour live chat helpline
  • 24 hour text hotline
  • Lots of articles, videos, and resources for students to explore.
Even if you don’t want to bring it up in youth group. This might be a great resource to post on your groups Facebook page or mention in a monthly resource.
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Thriving as a Digital Parent

I have 3 kids. A 10 year old, an 8 year old, and a 7 month old. All of them (even the baby) love digital toys.

Today was like any other day. My 8 year old gets out of bed early, gets ready for school on his own, makes his own breakfast, then comes and asks us… “Can I play DS until it’s time to go to school?” The older kids go to a charter school that emphasizes technology. They came home from the first week of school and told us they could now share their work with us via Google Docs. On long trips I don’t have to worry about texting while driving because my kids are playing games or watching a video on my wife and my iPhones the entire time.

It’s no wonder sociologists are calling our kids generation, The Digitals. Over the summer my son actually cried when I told him he needed to take a couple days of his summer break to have non-digital adventures. Like reading a novel or playing outside.

Surviving it and thriving in this new environment of parenting are two different things. It’d be easy to keep buying new games or just pay the monthly internet bill… but that’s just surviving and I want to thrive.

Mashable recently posted some parenting tips that I thought were great. You don’t typically see parenting advice on a tech blog, but I suppose context is everything. Here are their 5 lessons for parents.

  1. Technology no longer has boundaries.
  2. Know when to cut it off.
  3. Know the difference between preference and addiction.
  4. Focus on technology that truly connects us to our kids.
  5. Model the balance

Check out the full list and descriptions.
What do you think? Did the author pretty much nail it? Or did she miss something?