Facebook Launches ‘Messenger Kids’ for Children Ages 6-13

On December 4th, 2017,  Facebook launched a new app called ‘Messenger Kids‘ which is slightly similar to the normal Messenger App but more targeted towards children ages 6-13 . It is mostly a texting and video chatting app, that allows parents to have complete control over who their child can add and thus communicate with. The app has no advertisements for children, and doesn’t require a Facebook account, it also has fun filters, stickers and augmented reality like Snapchat to attract the children, therefore making their video chats and text messages a lot more interesting. Facebook said its 100-person team that built the app for teens and kids consulted with parent groups, advocates, and childhood-development experts during the 18-month development process and the app solves most of their concerns.

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Nevertheless, some people still remain concerned, and believe that Facebook is going against it’s decision of creating an age restriction of 13 in the first place. And others are frightened that this app may enable for their 6 year olds, who are still significantly young to talk to their friends about anything and everything. Yes it stops children from giving fake ages, and also gives parents complete control, but this could sooner or later become a platform for bullying and other sorts of harassment among children, as their parents can’t control what their children are saying to others.

However I personally believe that this app has potential, and seems to ensure complete safety and  may properly introduce children to communication through social media. Which I wish I could have had when I joined social media. I had friends who joined with fake ages, and I indeed felt left out. I chose to, or was rather forced to join the world of social media when I was actually supposed to. But to be completely honest, the age restriction didn’t stop many others from joining. Which is worrying, and is why I think this app is a good idea, because it is controlled access until children are matured enough to understand who is safe to talk to, and who is not. Plus it’s fun and entertaining with all the stickers and galore. Overall I think, Facebook has taken a risk, but is stepping towards a great idea. In the comments below, let me know what you think, are you more into the risks or do you have hope in the potential of Messenger Kids?

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What Employers Look For In A Potential Employee

Finding a job can be a hassle. Especially if you have no idea what the employers want to see in the chosen one they will hire, and even herder if you have little to no work experience. However don’t freak out, you have the skills, you just don’t know you do. With a little reading and a bit effort you can portray yourself perfectly in front of your employers, impress them, and hopefully get the job.

CCO Public Domain image via Pixabay

So what are employers looking for? What skills are an asset to have?

  • Communication –  being a good talker or a good writer. You need to be confident about speaking to people whether that’s face-to-face or over the phone. It also involves writing well and clear enough for others to be able to understand you in emails and memos.
  • Teamwork –  being good at working with people, both with your colleagues and the people that come into contact with where you work, such as customers.
  • Problem solving – being able to calmly tackle issues and come up with solutions that make everyone happy.
  • Initiative and enterprise – being creative in the way you work, and make positive improvements in the way things work at your workplace.
  • Planning and organizing – understanding what is required of you to get tasks done, and then executing in an organized, and orderly manner. It can also be getting things in before the deadline, being punctual, and not procrastinating.
  • Self-management – being able to control yourself in whatever situations you find yourself in, and also being able to do your work on your own, without anyone’s assistance.
  • Learning – grasping new skills at a regular basis is an amazing skill to have, the faster you learn and understand things, the better you will be able to about being able to take on new tasks and to adapt when the things change.
  • Technology – being able to use a computer for word processing, sending emails, knowing how to use photocopiers, social media, cash registers, etc.

Then there are hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the tangible and technical skills easily demonstrated by a persons qualifications and specific professional experiences, they’re more directly connected to the specific job you’re applying for. And soft skills are what employers seek from employees and are  more intangible and non-technical abilities, they are personal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what job you’re applying for, you need at least some soft skills.

CCO Public Domain image via Flickr

Today, most employers are looking for a specific set of skills in their employees, and don’t consider people if they miss some of them. According to the University of Kent, the top ten skills employers want are:

  1. Verbal Communication
  2. Teamwork
  3. Commercial Awareness
  4. Analyzing and Investigating
  5. Initiative/ Self-Motivation
  6. Drive
  7. Written Communication
  8. Planning and Organizing
  9. Flexibility
  10. Time-Management

And if you’re worried about what skills will be more important to employers in the next 5-10 years, most employers believe that since technology is advancing, higher skills with technology is a must in potential employees. Also communication, digital fluency, critical thinking, creativity, financial fluency, teamwork, problem solving and presentation skills will be of high demand in the near future. Skills obviously change as time change, so if you wish to have a heads up on what could make you shine brighter than other candidates in front of employers, you know what to work on.

The Next Best Thing: Virtual Reality

The world is advancing, new technologies are being introduced, and everything is slowly turning to the world of technology. Something that has recently blown-up is virtual reality. It at this point is only used for the sole purpose of entertainment, however it has great potential to change the near future and how society will work.

I personally believe that new technology is great. if there is no innovation, are we really advancing towards the future or are just freezing time. Now that there is the research and the knowledge on how to make change, so why not use it to invent things that could be of benefit for the whole. And virtual reality has the ability to do just that.

Photo Credit: Yelp Inc. via Flickr cc

It may seem like an advanced toy now, but in the near future experts infer that virtual reality will be used almost everywhere. Here are some places virtual reality could take off.

  • In movie theaters – to give the audience an enhanced experience of the movie.
  • Travelling – you can go places, from your own home.
  • Amusement Parks – will add extra excitement over real-life experiences, like dragons and fairies on roller-coasters.
  • Help with training – put people in real situations so that they more educated about the field they are in.
  • Real Estate – used to gives buyers a more realistic view of houses.
  • Courtrooms – to give judges a better understanding of evidence and crime scenes.
  • Fashion – to give consumers a sense of how the clothing will look on them, without trying them on.

These are just a few sectors where Virtual Reality could be introduced, however I believe in the future it has the potential to do even more amazing things.

Now here is where the controversy comes in, I know many intellectuals out there are worried about virtual reality taking over actual reality. I am not in favor of that, I find it to be frightening. However I feel like virtual reality is going to change things for the better, I don’t think in our time it will be able to advance enough to take over actual reality.

In the comments down below, let me know what you think. Are you looking forward to the new innovations virtual reality will bring, or you worried of it taking over the reality we live in now?

Residential Schools And Their Dark Shadow That Still Tower Over Us To This Day.

“We were children” ~ A Residential School Student

Residential schools are probably the darkest point in time for Canada that I can think of, but I am a first generation Canadian who has no European roots, so why should I care. I had nothing to do with it. But if I truly am a well-informed citizen, I should have knowledge about when this great county wasn’t so great.

Indigenous people still suffer from the horrific past of Residential schools. They were stripped away from their families, homes, cultures, religion, mother-tongue, and identity because they were considered to be a “problem” and “dirty”. Well let me just remind you of something before colonization, when the Europeans had just come to Canada, it was the Indigenous people who welcomed them, helped them survive the cold winters, taught them how to acquire the basic needs of living. And what did they get in return? Pain and suffering.

There is common misconceptions among today’s people that Residential schools weren’t as bad. That they were a long time ago. That not many children attended the schools. That they were there for short amounts of time. That they were benefited from the schools. And that they were aware of the Residential schools from the treaties they had signed.

Well I repeat, they’re all misconceptions. Residential schools were horrible. Not only did they barely learn anything, they were basically slaves and had chores to do for the majority of the time. Their hair were chopped off, and their belongings were taken away from them. In their time there, many were seriously abused mentally, physically, and sexually. They were taken away from their families and also from their siblings so that they could not remember their traditions and speak their languages.

Residential schools weren’t much long ago. To be specific the last residential school to close was in 1996, which is only about 2 decades ago.  And actually 150,000 and 7 generations and maybe more of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children had attended the schools far away from their homes, which is no small amount. And some children were there for many consecutive years from 2-10 years and even more.

Photo Credit: floyd_wiebe Flickr via Compfight cc

To make another thing clear, Indigenous people at the time were asked of what they wanted in the treaties. And they understood the need to have an education like any other group of people, so they asked for”red-brick houses” on their reserves so that their future generations could have the basic knowledge alongside their traditions and cultures. They were tricked, and given these assimilating residential schools, who took their children far, far away from them, breaking their family connections forever. And they didn’t know about a thing, until their children came back and noticed that they have been distanced from them.  So they weren’t even given the chance to defend and fight back.

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The negative impacts of Residential schools live on to this day. When we look at the living standards of Indigenous people today, it’s not pleasant unfortunately. And we always assume that that’s how its always been. But we never try to look into why their suicide and depression rates are so high, why they have high addictions of drugs and alcohol, and why they’re having difficulty doing well in schools. Well its a trickled-down effect. Since then, generation after generation were even more distanced away from their roots. And what’s most unfortunate is that Residential schools took away the childhoods of the students who attended, and of all those who came after, because none of them knew how to parent and raise children. So the result is that generation after generation many children had ill-fitted parents for the job, and then they became the same.

Now after all this, does it still seem like the Indigenous people got themselves in this situation. Absolutely not. They were tricked into losing everything they held dear to them. And to think that 2 decades after the end of Residential schools, a lot would have changed towards the better. Yeah, they aren’t attending Residential schools anymore, but their lives seem to remain as difficult. More than 150 First Nation reserves still have boiling water advisories, suicide among Indigenous teenagers sky-rocket every now and then, and there are still more than thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women. At this point in time, words about Truth and Reconciliation is not enough. We as Canadians need to WAKE UP, and realize that a mistake our nation made a while back, has only been apologized for, and no real reconciliation has taken place yet. Now is the time to fix all the damage and break through the tricked effect of Residential schools, because if not now, then when? Not doing anything now, is almost like supporting what happened then.

Photo Credit: Canadian Pacific via Flickr


An Invention That Could Change Lives

I’m no inventor, but I have ideas that could potentially be inventions that have the ability to change the lives of people, even though I probably would never be able to execute them in reality. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

So recently I’ve started looking at most nutrition facts on the packaging of food, and I still kind of doubt the accuracy of them, and its really hard to estimate the amount for the servings you would normally eat, which would obviously be a portion of what is in the packaging, not all of it.

CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

There really is no way of being sure of what is actually in what you’re eating, which could be a struggle for those who are very health conscious. And it can be difficult to sit there and calculate how much calories you’re taking in, which probably scares some people away from being healthier. And not everyone eats everything from stuff that is in packaging, how do you calculate the calories in the meal your mom just cooked?

So get this, I’m thinking why not have a phone app that can scan your food and tell you exactly how many calories and other nutrition facts you have in that amount of food, not more nor less. Leave all the calculating for technology to do. How will this change the lives of people, you ask? Well for those who wish to put an effort into living healthy, I believe will never have to look back at manually calculating calories no more. And no, I do not know if this will ever be possible.

Rohingya Muslims: Isolated at Home

Hey everyone, I am finally back to blogging again. Over the summer, blogging really hasn’t been on my list of things to do. But now that the new school year has started and I’m taking an Information Processing class, blogging is full on for sure. Onward from that, today’s topic is quite unfortunate, and I’ve been hearing it on the news for quite some time  and it’s something I wish more people gave attention to. Recently, tens and thousands of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar have been persecuted, denied citizenship, and left stateless in their home of more than 100 years, solely because of their religion and ethnicity.

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The Rohingya people are originally from the state of Rakhine, Myanmar. They are a population of about 1 million and majority of them belong to the religion of Islam. They were stated to be the most persecuted minority in the world by the United Nations. And under the 1982 Burmese Citizenship Law, they were denied recognition of their nationality and also restricted of education, freedom to move, and jobs. And sadly, not only are they denied recognition to the world that they exist, but the kind of violence that they are going through is just heart-aching to witness and having little to nothing to do to help. Rape, killings, and even massacres have become daily occurrences for them, and villages are attacked by the military and Mogs who are the Buddhist community, almost everyday as well. And for this the UN is accusing the Myanmar government of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and in response the government says that they’re “only dealing with terrorists.”

Today more than 160,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh coming with horrific stories to tell about how they’ve witnessed the murders of their families and their villages completely in flames. Many say that the military were using rifles and shot many people to death for attempting to escape and they also used rocket-propelled grenades to set fire on the villages. And after the killings, dead bodies were thrown into the rivers as if they had no value.

In Bangladesh, the Rohingya refugees have made camps on hills. Several thousands of Rohingyas have started building homes from trees, mud and raised tents using bamboo bought from the market. Everyone is hungry from the long journeys, and many local Bangladeshis are trying their best to supply them with as much food and other basic needs as possible. Local mosques have deployed to hand out donated clothes and food as well.

In conclusion, I just want to say that I in no shape or form had the intention of frightening anyone with these explicit, violent descriptions. But I think I was able to make it quite apparent that what is happening to the Rohingya Muslims is genocide and more awareness is needed to be raised. Concern is indeed about how many more refugees Bangladesh may be able to take in, as Bangladesh itself is being faced with the Monsoon floods and poverty. Hopefully our prayers will in some way or another assist them, and others who have the ability can do something for them in the near future.

An Audit of My Blog So Far

Since the beginning of March 2017, my Technology class and I took part in a worldwide Student Blogging Challenge. Every week we would have a specific topic to write a blog post on. So through the process I believe I learned many skills that helped me improve my blog and overall my way of writing on a digital platform. And now that the challenge has come to an end, the time has come for me to evaluate my blog and the progress I have made, since the beginning.

So in this time I have written 17 blog posts including this one, 10 of them being school related and set by the challenge, and the other 7 being free posts from my own interests. In this time period I have received 44 comments from teachers, classmates, and others from around the world. My post What is Success and What Determines It, and Global Issues: Women’s Rights both received 7 comments each, which is the most so far, I don’t think there is a specific reason for why that happened, but I assume they appealed to the readers a bit more than my other posts do.

Overall, writing all of my posts was truly a great experience for myself. I feel like as time passed, I learned to open up a bit more through my writing and appeal a bit more with the readers. And of course, learning of new strategies was everlasting, it just continued through it all.

With time, I changed my blog theme at least 5 times, changing the color scheme, the header image, my quote, and the overall theme as well. I also added a few widgets on the way, at the moment I have 7 including: Categories, Blog Stats, Calendar, Tag Cloud, a Search Bar, a Flag Counter, and a Blog Roll. I think the amount of widgets is just right, I feel all of them are pretty important, however a few more would be too much.

On my Blog Roll, I have one overseas blog, Katherine’s Blog, we’ve exchanged a few comments, and she also takes part in the Student Blogging Challenge.

And lastly the web tool I used to make my blog pleasing to the eye, was just WordPress and what it has to offer.

Now taking everything to account, my blogging experience in these few months has been great, and I think I’ll continue blogging once in a while. I’d like to thank the Student Blogging Challenge for making this possible!

CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay